Break a Leg or How to Talk about Luck

Break a Leg or How to Talk about Luck

“I believe in luck and fate, and I believe in karma, that the energy you put out in the world comes back to meet you.”

Chris Pine, an American actor

Some people say that luck is nothing but hard work, and let’s face it, that’s not far from the truth. But despite the down-to-earth view of it, there are numerous idioms related to luck, and even the most rational and practical people occasionally use them. So, let’s join them.


The new business has been reasonably successful – more by luck than judgement, in my opinion.

I didn’t know the answer – it was a lucky guess.

It is no coincidence that in Africa fertility rates are high.

By a strange twist of fate, we bought tickets for the same train and the same car.

By a stroke of good fortune I opened the book at exactly the right page.

My career was going nowhere, but then I got a lucky break.

As luck would have it, I was there having a walk.

Although I’m not a fortune-teller, I see that you are bound to be successful.

A couple had a lucky escape when a tree fell just in front of their car.

It’s funny you should ask about him because, as it happens, I met him the other day.

Wish me luck! I’m going on stage! – Break a leg!

Cross your fingers and with any luck we should have some better weather next week.

  • more by luck than judgement – used for saying that something happened because of luck, and not because of hard work or someone’s skills
  • lucky guess – used for saying that someone has guessed beaus they’ve been lucky
  • it is no coincidence that… – used for saying that the situation is no surprise, and there is a good explanation for it
  • By a twist of fate – if something happens by a twist of fate, it happens by chance
  • A stroke of good fortune = a stroke of (good) luck – a lucky happening
  • A lucky break = a big break – a significant good fortune/opportunity
  • As luck would have it – as it turned out, by good or bad fortune
  • Fortune-teller – a person who makes predictions about the future as by looking into a crystal ball, reading palms, etc.
  • Lucky escape = narrow escape – if you have a lucky/narrow escape, you avoid being killed or seriously injured only because you were lucky
  • As it happens – used for saying that something is true, although it is surprising
  • Break a leg! = good luck! – typically said to someone who is about to perform before an audience, especially a theater actor
  • Cross your fingers = keep your fingers crossed! – hope for good luck!
  • With any luck = I hope
Ladybugs are considered good luck!


Listen to a radio program about the law of attraction. How is the law of attraction similar to a genie? (see the answer at the bottom of the page) 

The tapescript is here.

The audio file origin: (Macmillan) New Inside Out upper-intermediate student’s book

Useful vocabulary from the recording:

  • to date (formal) – until now
  • what is all the fuss about? – what is all the (usually unnecessary) excitement about?
  • like attracts like – people tend to be attracted to those that are similar or like-minded (but in the context of the program it means that people attract what happens to them by their way of thinking)
  • put simply = simply put – used for saying that you are explaining something in a clear way
  • in turn – as a result of something that is part of a connected series of events
  • hey presto – said when someone or something changes so quickly that it seems like magic
  • plain greedy – just, merely greedy
  • to grant one’s wishes – to make one’s wishes come true
  • soulmate – someone who you have a special relationship with because you share the same feelings, attitudes, and beliefs
  • mediocre /ˌmiːdiˈəʊkə(r)/ – not very good or great, ordinary

We hope you’ve got inspired to think big and get lucky! Thank you for reading! Please like the post below and make sure to subscribe if you’d like more posts like this!

Question: How is the law of attraction similar to a genie?

Answer: It can give you whatever you want.

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