don't count your chickens

“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 idioms and expressions  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 (sad news I know!) so you can’t assume you will have 10 chickens just because you have 10 eggs.
Therefore, 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 have passed your test, you are going to do a driving tour of the south coast. Your friend says to you:

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

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. Your friend says to you:

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


Do you use this expression in your language? Do you have any of your own examples like mine? Let me know in the comments below! 

Published by


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

4 thoughts on ““Don’t count your chickens yet!”

  1. Thank you, that’s very interesting! We don’t have this expression in German, but we say ‘Man soll den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben’ which means don’t praise the day before the evening. I think that is the same meaning?

    1. Oh that’s interesting. I haven’t heard that one before but yes, it sounds like it means the same as ‘don’t count your chickens yet’! I like how it sounds in German 🙂 Thanks for the comment Daniel!

  2. “I got five girls’ phone numbers at the party!”
    “Don’t count your chicks before they hatch – they might be phony numbers.”

Leave a comment and Nicki will personally reply (your email address won't be shown)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.