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Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch


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Hello and welcome to .

Each week, we tell the story of English language words and expressions – some old, and others new.

Today we talk about a proverb often used in American English.

A proverb is a short, well-known saying that offers a piece of advice. Our example of a proverb takes us to a farm – a chicken farm, to be exact.

Our explanation is part science, part folklore.

First, the science.

You probably know that chickens come from eggs. A female chicken or hen lays eggs and then they hatch into chicks. Well, not all of them. Some eggs do not have a baby bird.

So, at our farm, a hen produces 15 eggs. If the farmer counts the eggs, she might expect to have 15 chicks once the eggs are hatched. But then five of those eggs do not hatch.

Her expectations were not met, so she feels disappointed. She tells her friend how sad she feels. The friend may say to her, “Well, don’t count your chicken before they hatch.

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