Ladies, do you remember the L’Oreal advert for shampoo where Jennifer Aniston and other celebrities would end the advert by saying “because you’re worth it?” What did they mean? They were saying that as a special person, you deserved to have L’Oreal products for your hair.
“Because you’re worth it” has since become a phrase people use when they want to justify buying or treating themselves to something special, like a spa day, a relaxing massage or a huge box of chocolates. This applies to both men and women.
The word “worth” has many meanings in English and it often confuses English Language learners. The main definition for worth is value. We use it when discussing the financial value of a business, a person’s fortune, a house, but we also use ‘worth’ when talking about the usefulness of something or someone. We use ‘worth’ as a noun, as an adjective and in fixed phrases.
In this post, I’m going to explore 13 ways you can use “worth” in a sentence.
Let’s start off with ‘worth’ as a noun.
1. As a financial value, in other words as an amount measured in financial terms
“The robbers got away with thousands of pounds’ worth of paintings.”
2. An amount measured by time – two days’ worth/ 12 hours’ worth
“I have two weeks’ worth of post to get through this weekend. Lucky me!”
3. How good and useful something is – its efficiency
“I am delighted with my virtual assistant. She has proved her worth in just 2 months. It’s the best investment I’ve made in a long time”.
4. The financial value of something
“Houses in London are selling far above their true worth (or value).”
Worth as an adjective usually follows the verb ‘to be’ and is always followed by either a noun, pronoun, or number, or by the ‘-ing’ form of a verb:
“The painting is probably worth thousands of pounds.It was a difficult journey, but it was worth it.The film was definitely worth seeing.” (Macmillan)
5. How much is it worth?/ What is it worth?
When you’re asked this question, your answer will be to give the financial value of that object.
- It’s worth £1500/ nothing/£100/ a lot
“That car is worth at least £100,000”.
- It’s worth a fortune (= it’s a worth a large sum of money)
“That house must be worth a fortune. It’s in the richest area of London”.
6. Used for saying that there is a good reason for doing something because it’s important and enjoyable.
- It’s worth visiting/doing/going and so on
“It’s worth doing the work before attending the course because you’ll get so much more out of it”.
- It’s worth a visit/ a try/ a look
“It’s worth a try. That way we know we did everything we could to make it work”.
- Well worth a visit
” The National Gallery is well worth a visit especially if you like the Impressionists”.
- Worth the effort/ time/trouble
“I don’t know….It’s a long way and I’m not sure it’s worth the effort”.
“We’re hardly going to make any money on this. It’s not worth our time and effort”.
- It’s worth doing something
“I think it’s worth talking to your tax adviser before making a decision”.
- To be worth it
” I know it’s a huge initial outlay, but I think It’ll be worth it in the end.”
7. Used for saying how good, useful or reliable something is.
- Worth something/a lot/ a great deal/nothing
“Your support is worth a great deal to me. I can’t thank you enough”.
“The Board’s assurance are worth nothing if they’re not going to back the CEO.”
8. Used to say how rich someone is.
“How much is Mark Zuckerberg worth these days?”
“I think he is worth over £2bn but I am guessing.”
“She started her business just three years ago and now it’s worth over £1m!”.
9. Net Worth – the value of your assets after deducting your debts
“My last job in finance was in the High-Net Worth Private Client division”.
“The average net worth of our clients is around £2m.”
10. Self-worth – the feeling you are as important as others and deserve to be respected and treated well.
“Work and recognition gives a person a sense of pride and self-worth that is so valuable in life”.
11. Worth your salt – respected by other people because you do a job well.
“Any CEO worth their salt will always have the loyalty of their employees”.
12. For what it’s worth
Used when you’re telling someone something and you’re not sure how useful it is. In emails and texts, it’s often written as the acronym FWIW.
“For what it’s worth, I think we did a fantastic job in putting together this tender at such short notice. Now all we can do is to wait and see the outcome”.
13. To be worth someone’s while
If it is worth your while to do something, you can get some benefit or advantage from doing it even though it may take some time or effort (Macmillan)
“It’s going to take me two days to format the book. It’s simply not worth my while. I am better off hiring someone to do it for me who will take less than half the time.”
Over to you.
Choose some of the ways you like and try incorporating them in your sentences next time you’re speaking or writing English. And if you’d like me to check them, simply drop me a line by commenting on this post and I’ll give you feedback.
Ciao for now and see you next week.
Oh and before you go….
Do you try and engage in small talk in English but find yourself lost for words? Does that drive you crazy?
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