The meaning of – Don’t count your chickens yet

A great way to make your English sound more advanced is to slip in an idiom or common English expression every now and then! However, to the native speaker, these can sound very strange if not used correctly. So my Meaning of  posts are there to help you use these chunks of language in a way that sounds natural. Today’s post will help you to use ‘Don’t count your chickens yet’ in everyday conversation.

The original expression is actually Don’t count your chickens before they hatch but we tend to shorten it to Don’t count your chickens yet.
Sometimes, when a hen lays eggs, not all the eggs successfully hatch to become chickens so you can’t assume you will have 10 chickens just because you have 10 eggs.
The expression means don’t assume something will definitely happen until you can be absolutely sure. In other words, wait to see how many chickens you have before you make plans!

Perhaps you have your driving test next month. You tell your friend that when you pass your test, you are going to do a driving tour of the south coast. You can’t be sure you will pass your test so you shouldn’t ‘count your chickens yet’. It would be best to wait and plan your trip later.
Or perhaps your football team is on target to win the championship. You tell your friend how excited you are and what you are planning to do to celebrate. But your team still have to play a strong team in the final so you ‘shouldn’t count your chickens’ until all the matches are over.

Your friend says to you:

I’ve heard the driving examiner is really strict so don’t count your chickens yet!

Your friend says to you:

Don’t count your chickens yet – We still have to play Southampton!

Can you think of other situations where you might use this expression? Try to write a mini conversation between two friends where this expression is used.

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Nicki is a Cambridge qualified, experienced English teacher for foreign learners. She loves helping English learners to learn real English and communicate with confidence!

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