< Expressions for New Year's Resolution
By Anna Matteo
31 December 2022

And now, Words and Their Stories, from VOA Learning English.

During a new year, many of us decide to try something new. With a new year's resolution, we resolve to do something we have not done in the past.

Sometimes new things are risk-free – like eating healthier food or getting more exercise.

Fireworks are seen over Victoria Harbour at midnight on New Years Sunday Jan. 1, 2023 in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Anthony Kwan)
Fireworks are seen over Victoria Harbour at midnight on New Years Sunday Jan. 1, 2023 in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Anthony Kwan)

Sometimes we decide to learn a new skill, like a language or a musical instrument. Again, these things are not risky, nor do they have bad consequences. If you do not learn how to play the guitar, nothing bad will happen — probably.

However, sometimes we need to shake up our lives and do something different that does have consequences. That means there are risks if things do not work out.

Such a change could involve moving to a new city, starting a new job, or ending a relationship. These new things do have a level of risk . Things could go wrong. On the other hand, things could go very right.

So, for these situations, we introduce two expressions that encourage you to take a chance.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The first expression is nothing ventured, nothing gained.

This means that without doing something risky or difficult, a bad situation will not improve. You could also sum it up this way: If you try something risky, you could fail. But if you do not try at all ... you will surely fail.

The word "venture" can be both a noun and a verb. As a verb, it means to proceed in a dangerous or risky plan. As a noun, it means an action that involves chance, risk, or danger.

For example, starting a new restaurant is a risky business venture these days. And venturing into an unknown area could be dangerous.

A friend of mine wanted to learn how to drive a stunt car and then move to Los Angeles to become a stunt car driver. A stunt car is a vehicle used in the movies to perform crashes and wild driving. There are not many women in this profession. So, I told her that her decision involved lots of risk. She said to me: "Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained."

Fortune favors the bold.

Our second expression is fortune favors the bold.

"Fortune" usually means wealth or fame. But it can also mean being in a good situation. And, if you are bold, you are brave.

So, this expression means that people who are brave and take chances help themselves. Their bold, brave actions put them in a good place.

When using this expression, keep this in mind. The person who finds a fortune has done something to get it. It just doesn't happen to them by chance. So, if someone happens to win a lot of money in a lottery, you wouldn't use the expression fortune favors the bold.

However, let's say you quit your job and moved to a new city. That is a bold decision. But you are sure that it will be good for you. In the new city, you find your dream job. It might even pay more money than your old job. Here, you could definitely say, "Fortune favors the bold!"

And that's all the time we have for this Words and Their Stories. For the start of 2023, I wish you and yours health and wealth.

Until next time ... I'm Anna Matteo.

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

resolution –n. a promise to yourself to do something you believe you should do

consequence –n. the result of an action usually that is meaningful or serious

encourage –v. to make someone likely to take some action

shake up –v. (phrasal) to make a lot of changes or to make a big change

venture –v. to do something that involves risk and reward

fortune –n. wealth, fame or good conditions (often because of influences beyond direct control of an individual)

favor –v. to approve of or to support

bold –adj. not afraid of danger of difficult situations

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