Talking about Success and Failure


Every year, at the end of March, high school seniors in the U.S. learn which universities they were accepted or rejected by. As you can imagine, both the students and their parents become very emotional. This blog will give you some vocabulary that you can use to talk about success and failure.

Success 🙂

Everyone dreams of making it big. (succeeding) When they’re chosen for something, they yell: I made it! (My dream came true–I was hired! I was selected for the team!)

The person who makes it is the envy of his friends. Everyone wants the same success.

When you get good news, you feel thrilled or elated.  (Very excited.)

We sometimes use a baseball expression to talk about success and say you hit a home run. (You got what you wanted.)

Sometimes, you don’t even have to work for a success. It just happens. To describe this situation, we say (something) fell in (one’s) lap. The job just fell in your lap.

We can also say you lucked out. This means you were lucky or fortunate.

When you get good news, maybe you’re the kind of person who brags or boasts. Maybe you talk up your luck and make a big deal out of it.

Or, perhaps you are modest. A modest person plays down his/her luck. S/he doesn’t make a big deal out of it.

Failure 🙁

When you don’t get what you want, we say your hopes were dashed or your dreams were shattered.

If your friends succeeded, but you did not, you might feel envious or jealous of them.

If you’re really depressed, you could say you feel crushed.

Instead of hitting a home run like your successful friend, you struck out.

Instead of having something good fall into your lap, you came up empty handed. In fact, you might feel as if it were the end of the world.

Usually this feeling passes. You get over your disappointment and move on to your next goal, hoping for a better outcome!

More Practice

Here is a link to a blog article about this topic: “Why Being Rejected By Your Dream School Isn’t The End Of The World.”
Intermediate and advanced students can read it to practice their English and to pick up additional vocabulary.