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Why it’s worth making the effort with WORTH

When a marketing company tell us that we’re worth it, we feel good because the “it” that we’re ‘worth’ is a lovely thing, and if our worth is so high that society wants to reward us with such luxury, we must be pretty damn special, right?

Expressions with WORTH

If you value people or things highly, you can say that they are worth their weight in gold. When you evaluate the effort and expenditure required to complete a task, you decide if it’s worth it, and a big new contract could be worth a fortune to or for your company. Essentially, ‘be worth’ in English corresponds to verbs in other languages that mean ‘have the value of’, so at a basic level, a euro in the US is worth around $1.07 right now. The trick, as always, is to make sure you can use it with all the different forms of ‘be’, including questions and negatives.


WORTH is most common in the present tense, where your best negative is the classic ‘It’s not worth it’ (etc), with the contraction at the start (‘it’s’) and the ‘not’ pronounced fully. In other tenses, the ‘not’ usually combines with the auxiliary verb, so ‘it won’t be worth it’ or ‘it wasn’t worth it’ are more likely than the alternatives.


WORTH is also very useful to indicate that something is good enough (or not) to justify some kind of difficult action. If you want to specify that action, use WORTH + Verb…ING when, for example, it’s worth waiting or it’s not worth worrying about. For business meetings, it might also be worth learning the question ‘Is it worth spending so much time and money on this?’

Once you’re agile with the variations of ‘be’ that precede WORTH and you’re comfortable adding -ING to any verbs that follow it, you can promise your impatient customers that the project will be worth waiting for, and all of your efforts will feel worthwhile.

I’ll be back with a new blog in a couple of weeks, and if you have any ideas to throw at me, please get in touch. You can always send me a personal message via LinkedIn or through our company website: https://secondlanguage.net/contacto.

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