Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

It’s an important skill to show intensity in English.

Are you all in on anything?

When’s the last time you went all out?

In today’s episode, Lindsay and Michelle answer a listener’s question regarding ‘all out’ and ‘all in.’

These are both used to indicate intensity or excessiveness but are used in different ways.

All in and all out

Michelle asked Lindsay when was the last time she went all out for a party.

Lindsay said she went to a friend’s holiday party and wore a dress.

She rarely wears a dress.

She doesn’t typically go all out for parties, especially on Halloween.

Michelle shares that her husband is more all out for Halloween.

She has been trying to be more involved since because her son is excited about it.

A lot of people go all out for Halloween and create very intricate costumes.

In today’s episode, Lindsay and Michelle answer a listener’s question regarding ‘all out’ and ‘all in.’

I love this podcast! I have a question for you: What’s the difference between going “all in” and “all out”? I’ve heard “All out” in the gym, and once heard Lindsay asking Michelle about her dating style and if she used to ease into a relationship or she would go “all in” at the very beginning! Thanks, Sahar

This is a great question.

It’s important to have vocabulary for sharing your level of interest.

You can also listen to this relate episode: AEE 1671: Can Personality Traits Be Changed?

The difference between ‘all in’ and ‘all out’

There are a lot of phrasal verbs in English that can be confusing like ‘all in’ and ‘all out.’

‘All in’ is about level of commitment and ‘all out’ is about level of effort.

Lindsay and Michelle share examples to help distinguish them from one another and how you can use them in a conversation.

All out

To go ‘all out’ means to put maximum effort into something.

This is something you are very excited about and you are willing to go above and beyond.

Sahar is right that this can often be heard in the gym.

When you are going ‘all out’ in a gym, it means you are exercising very intensely.

This might mean someone lifts a lot of heavy weights or does a lot of cardio.

“I went all out at the gym yesterday and today I’m really sore!”
“Do you go all out at Orange Theory?”
”That party was amazing. The hosts went all out and decorated the whole place like it was a fancy ballroom”
”You really deserve this vacation. Let’s go all out. A shopping spree, time on the beach, whatever you want!”

Why not go ‘all out’ all the time?

You can’t really go all out on everything.

The best thing to decide whether you should go all out or not is to know yourself very well and your values.

Lindsay shares that if she is celebrating or rewarding someone else, she will go all out.

If it is something that doesn’t matter too much to her, she would not spend too much money or time.

Michelle is the same and is cautious about what she goes all out for.

She considers what matters to her and what she wants to put her energy and attention on.

All in

The idea of ‘all in’ is to be fully committed.

The dictionary defines ‘all in’ as being completely committed to or very much in favor of something.

You will most often hear this when playing poker.

When you say you are ‘all in’ in poker, you are showing you are confident with the cards you have on your hand and are betting all your money.

Don’t miss this episode from the All Ears English team about poker.

AEE 1675: Do You Have a Poker Face When It Comes to Learning English?

“I’m going all in. I’m going to win with tis amazing hand”
“I’m all in on this marriage. We will fix whatever problems we have.”
“I got the job?! Yes, I’ll take it! I’m all in!”

The idea of being ‘all in’ is that you are truly committed.

You are devoted and all consumed that you are willing to put your all into something.

What’s the difference?

As we go through the definition of ‘all in’ and ‘all out’, it can seem like they are similar and you can interchange them.

But that is not the case.

‘All out’ is more of being excessive and being over the top.

It relates more to how much effort you’re willing to put in.

You use this to show extravagance in using something or consuming something.

It can be the excessive spending of money or overly showing someone you care about them.

‘All in’ shows your intense involvement and commitment in something.

It is not about using something up.

It is about taking action on something.


Here is a quick roleplay between Lindsay and Michelle using ‘all in’ and ‘all out.’

In this scenario, Lindsay is Michelle’s realtor.

Lindsay: Okay, so are you ready to start looking?
Michelle: Yes, I’m ALL IN.
Lindsay: Okay awesome! So let’s list some of the things you are looking for in a new home. Give me the whole list. Really go ALL OUT!
Michelle: Okay here we go!


Sahar sent such a great specific question.

It’s good to be all in with the relationships that matter to you.

It will make your connection stronger.

If you also commit to go all out when something matters to you, you’ll get the outcome you want.

Just like learning the English language, if you are all in on reaching the level you want, you will achieve it.

What is something you are fully committed to or are ‘all in’ on?

Share it in the comments below.

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