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Last updated at 11:00 BST, Tuesday, 09 July 2013

To put all your eggs in one basket

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What has putting eggs in a basket got to do with taking risks? Rob and Feifei explain an expression that warns about depending too much on one idea.

Eggs

Are there too many eggs in this basket?

The script for this programme

Feifei: Hello and welcome to The English We Speak, I'm Feifei and with me today is Rob. Rob, what are you doing?

Rob: (counting out money) Oh hi, I'm just counting up all my money... actually, Feifei, could I borrow £100, please?

Feifei: £100? That's a lot of money. What do you need it for?

Rob: Well, with all my savings plus your £100, I'll just have enough.

Feifei: For what?!

Rob: To invest in this new company my friend is setting up. He's invented this machine where you can talk to people anywhere in the world and there are no wires or cables. It's going to be a huge success.

Feifei: Rob, that sounds to me like a mobile phone - that's already been invented.

Rob: Yeah but you can also type messages on it and send them to other people. Absolutely amazing! If this is successful my investment is going to make me millions of pounds!

Feifei: Err, Rob calm down. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Rob: What? I'm not investing in eggs - this is real money. And what do you mean about one basket? I wasn't going to put the money in a basket!

Feifei: It's a saying! Don't put all your eggs in one basket - it's an expression that means you should never rely on just one plan because it could go wrong. Rob, don't use all of your savings on this one idea - it might fail.

Rob: Fail? Do you really think so? Are you really saying putting all my eggs - or my money - in one basket is too risky?

Feifei: Exactly. Here are some more examples of the idiom in action:

  • I know you're confident about getting that job but I don't think you should put all your eggs in one basket. Why don't you apply for a few more, just in case?
  • My dad says I should buy shares in a lot of different companies, and not put all my eggs in the one basket.


Feifei: So, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Have you got the message Rob?

Rob: Yes. I mustn't depend on one idea to make me rich. I'm not so sure about my friend's new idea anyway, but does that mean you won't lend me £100?

Feifei: No.

Rob: What about for my other cracking good idea - one that you really will need a basket for?

Feifei: What is it?

Rob: I have bought a chicken. It means I won't have to buy eggs at the supermarket anymore. It will save me lots of money. Oh look, she's just laid her first egg... here, Feifei, catch. Can you put that in the basket for me?

Feifei: Watch out, that nearly hit me.

Rob: Ha, then you would have had egg on your face!

Feifei: Excuse me?

Rob: Oh it's just another saying, I'll explain another time. Come on, let's go and boil this egg.

Feifei: How egg-citing! Join us again soon for more The English We Speak. Bye.

Rob: Look! She's laying another one.

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