Phrase of the day: against all odds / against the odds

If you haven’t heard already, Leicester City won the Premier League title this week against all odds. They have one of the lowest wage bills in the league and the cost of the whole squad was less than Manchester City paid for one player. At the beginning of the season, the odds of them winning were 5000 to 1.

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When we were writing a previous book, our publisher questioned mentioning the word gamble – as some cultures do not allow gambling. We argued (successfully) that it should be included, as we were just teaching the word, not saying gambling is good or bad.

However, it might also be interesting for students to know that gambling is very common in British culture. There are betting shops (also known as ‘bookies’) on every high street. In fact, there are too many. The language of gambling also forms part of our everyday speech, so apart from the chunk for today we have:

The odds of it happening are a million to one / pretty slim

What are the odds (of that happening)?

I bet .. you can’t do it / she won’t be there

You can bet your life … they won’t do it.

Don’t bet on it

What’s the betting … they’ll do it?

It’s a bit of / huge a gamble.

The whole thing is a lottery.

You might discuss with students if gambling is allowed / common in their country.

You could also ask what the literal translation of the words odds, bet, gamble and lottery are in students L1?.

Finally,  you could see whether the L1 translations of the chunks above use the same words as the literal translation.

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