English Phrases for Bringing Us Luck

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Superstitions have a way of influencing our daily actions, whether it's putting on a left sock first or avoiding walking under ladders. These beliefs also find expression in various English sayings linked to luck.

When hoping for a positive outcome, people often say "keep your fingers crossed." Interestingly, some actually cross their fingers while uttering this phrase. While the origins are not entirely clear, some suggest that early Christians used crossed fingers as a covert way to communicate, forming a sign resembling a cross. However, the earliest documented usage of this expression dates back to the early 20th century.

Another expression tied to seeking good fortune is "touch wood" (in the UK) or "knock on wood" (in the US). The act of physically touching or knocking on wood is thought to ward off bad luck. While some connect this to ancient beliefs about spirits residing in trees, it more likely stems from a 19th-century children's game, where touching wood served as a protective measure.

Transitioning from everyday rituals to the world of theater, the phrase "break a leg" is a peculiar way of wishing actors luck before a performance. Actors avoid saying "good luck" due to superstition and instead wish for something bad to occur, believing it will result in the opposite outcome.


1- What is the purpose of saying "keep your fingers crossed"?

2- What is the origin of the expression "break a leg" in the context of theater?

3- What do people say in the UK or the US while physically interacting with wooden surfaces to ward off bad luck?


You have completed the comprehension questions. 

Parts of this lesson are based on: An article Engoo Daily News.