Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

how to be a winner in English

Are you a winner when it comes to learning English?

Today we’ll show you three great phrases that you can use in your regular conversations with natives to connect with them.

Find out what they are today.

We’ll start today with a role play.

A: So Michelle for the Urban English Adventure in Boston this past weekend we went to the Harvard Princeton football game.

B: Oh yeah? How was it?

A: It was pretty funny. Actually most of us had no idea what was going on in the game but we did get the rules explained to us.

B: And who came out on top? Who was the winning team?

A: Oh Harvard lost. It’s probably because we sat on the Princeton side.


Today we’re talking about winning.

Are you a competitive person?

Will you do anything to win?

Here is the question from our listener:

Hi Lindsay hi Michelle how are you? I’m Robson. I live in a small town about fourty miles away from Salvador called Mata sun- juan. I came across your podcast about a month ago and i really love them. They are so easy to understand and i enjoy listening to them on my way to work and on my way home.

I’ve been studying English for some years and I still have a question. Why do you guys use some verbs in the present tense when my logic tells me to use them in the past. For example, if you are playing  a game and you aren’t able to defeat your rival, you say – you win instead of you won.

Also if you are able to defeat your enemy you say “you lose” instead of “you lost” can you girls tell me why such verbs are used that way.

Thanks in advance and keep up with your good work, bye!



Robson that’s a great question!

Today we are actually NOT going to answer your question because we have already answered it in Episode 642

The 3 reasons why we might say the verb in the present tense instead of the past when it happened in the past are:

  • Recounting a story
  • Competitive situation “I win!”
  • Newspaper headlines

We covered that thoroughly so there’s no reason to go back and do it again, but we can help you in another way today.

We’re going to show you 3 simple phrases using the word “win” that you can add to your repertoire to become more natural and build more connections.


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1- to win someone/somebody over- During the Boston Adventure someone shared a story about showing a future mother-in-law around a city to win her over. What does it mean? When do we use it? We use it when we want to get someone to like us. This is usually someone that is going to be important in our lives.


2- I can’t win!  We use this when we feel defeated or we feel that we can never “catch a break” and nothing ever goes right.

  • Example: I slept past my alarm and now a flat tire on my way to work? Seriously, I can’t win.


3- It’s a win-win- Something that benefits both sides. This phrase is super useful in business. We might talk about a win-win negotiation.


Here is a great quote:  

A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.

Billie Jean King


This quote reminds me of episode 135- fear of success in English learning

Michelle do you think people are afraid to succeed sometimes?

What comes up with success?

When we succeed we also get expectations for future success and increased pressure.


Come back to our blog and leave your comment on this topic. Are you afraid of success in English or any other aspect of your life?

Let us know your thoughts.

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