Welcome to today's Lunchtime Lessons post. This week we are looking at how to use the word ‘worth’ in English. Our Lunchtime Lessons are free Online English classes where we look at areas of English which are often difficult for students.
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How to use the word 'worth'
Today we’re going to look at the word 'WORTH'. So, the reason I've chosen this is because it's one of these words that I notice comes up quite a lot with my students. Quite a lot of people are never quite sure how to use it, or if they're using it correctly. It's quite confusing. The reason it's quite confusing is because we use it in lots of different expressions, and often as part of another word as well. And we might not be quite sure how to apply it. It is really worth knowing, though, and that's because of the frequency of the words. OK, so just to show you what I mean by that, we're going to use the Longman Online Dictionary ?
It's a really useful dictionary. It's one of my favourite online dictionaries. I like moving between Longman and Cambridge online . But Longman is a really, really great one for the purposes of what I'm going to show you just now. If you have a look here, you can see these two things, the S1 and the W2, and this is why this word is a useful word to know. When you use the Longman dictionary and you see words that have three red dots, that tells you that they are in the top three thousand most frequent words used in English. So, if a word is in the top three thousand words, those are important words to know and useful words. The S stands for speaking and the W stands for writing. So what this means is that 'worth' is in the top one thousand spoken words and it's in the top two thousand written words, and what that means is that it's a word that's used a lot.
If you check another word that's maybe not a common, for example 'auxiliary', it doesn't have those things. You see, it doesn't have the three dots and it doesn't say S1 or W2 because it's not used as much. But if you've got words which are using this, then it's a word that you want to know and you want to think about. If you are following our vocabulary building course, we base a lot of the vocabulary that we choose from this collection of top three thousand words. So that's why it's a really good course to follow on Fridays, because it's going to help you develop that core vocabulary that we really need.
So, you'll see as well there's we've got the word 'worth' here, but then we've got all of these different variations of it. Some of them are expressions. Some of them are following with different patterns. And all of these are adjectives. And we've also got some nouns. So, what we're going to do is we're going to look at some of these. We're going to just discuss the differences, OK? And we're going to think about how we use them and also any errors that tend to be made by other students.
So let's begin thinking, first of all, about what the word worth actually means, and the best way for me to explain this to you is if we think about a very well-known brand of makeup's advertising campaign. This is obviously not their actual advertising campaign, this is Thor, but I'm sure you've all seen the L’Oréal advert. OK, so think about in your language. What is the advertising campaign for L’Oréal? Because the campaign in English is "because I'm worth it"- and that's what worth means, right? So it has lots of different uses, but the sort of intrinsic meaning of the words is value. So if we think about L'Oreal, what they're basically saying here is that you have value, right? That's the purpose of their advertising campaign. Let's look at a few more examples of this idea of value, of having value so we can say
OK, let's have a few more expressions with 'worth. So
Be worth something
We're really talking about money and or you have possessions, or money that will give value. OK, so the two examples:
Then we've got this expression 'worth a fortune', which is informal. For example,
Be would be worth doing something
Here instead of talking about money, we're really talking about whether something is interesting or useful or helpful. So, I can say
And then we also have these expressions which are quite common, be worth the time or be worth the effort or be worth the work.
It's worth somebody's while to do something
We use this especially in spoken English and it means that you should spend your time or your money doing that or on something because again, it's called value and you're going to gain that value from it. So
Worth his or her salt
If someone does their job well or they deserve respect, we would use this expression
Worth your weight or worth its weight in gold
This expression just means that it's really useful and valuable. So
Worth as a noun
So in all of the examples we've just seen, the word worth is being used as an adjective, remember, not a verb. But we do also use the word worth as a noun. So, for example,
I just want to highlight the word 'worthy', because that's often where people make mistakes. I quite often hear students say the word 'worthy' when they mean to say it 'is worth it'. So you might hear something like
We sometimes use this to say to be worthy of something, so that means that you deserve to be thought about or treated in a particular way. So
Another good word involves the word 'worth' is worthless. When we say something is worthless, it has no value, whether that's because of money or because of time and it has no importance. So
So let's test ourselves to finish. Here are all of the examples that we saw before. Take a second individually and read through those examples and just think to yourself, how confident am I now that I can remember each of these, or is there anything that I'm not quite sure about?
What I would suggest you do is later on today or tomorrow or maybe in , three or four days time, you watch this video again and.see if you can remember the differences with the word and how we should be using it.
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