10 English Phrases for Good and Bad Luck

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English Phrases for Good Luck

Good luck! / Best of luck!

Say these when you want to wish/desire someone good luck, good results; you hope they will succeed.

“I’m taking my driving test tomorrow.”

“Good luck!”

“I’m starting my own company.”

“Wow! Best of luck with that!”

Note: You can also use “Good luck” in a sarcastic way to mean that something is difficult or almost impossible:

“I’m hoping for a quick response about my visa application.”

Good luck. Those things sometimes take months to process.”

beginner’s luck

When a new or inexperienced person has a great success, you can say it’s “beginner’s luck” – the success happened by chance, not because of the person’s skill.

You’re in luck!

Use this phrase when you are announcing a good/fortunate situation for the other person:

(At a store): “Do you have these shoes available in size 8?”

You’re in luck! This is the last pair in the store.”

English Phrases for Bad Luck

better luck next time

Use this phrase after someone tried to do something, but was unsuccessful. Used only for minor failures.

“I tried to win the video game, but I couldn’t get past Level 1.”

“Oh well. Better luck next time.”

down on your luck

When someone is having a long period of difficulty, problems, or bad luck.

“He’s been down on his luck lately – right after buying a house, he lost his job and has been struggling to make the payments.”

Just my luck!

sarcastic phrase to say that something was very unlucky.

“I took a week off from work to go to the beach – and just my luck, it rained the entire time.”

no such luck

When a situation did not have the positive result you hoped for.

“I was hoping to leave work by 5:00, but no such luck – the meeting ran until 6:30.”

What rotten luck!

This is a sympathetic phrase for commenting on bad luck:

“The athlete got injured one day before the championship. What rotten luck!

tough luck

This phrase is typically used to say you are NOT sympathetic to someone’s problems or complaints:

“If you don’t like the way we run things in this company, tough luck. You’re free to leave.”
(= we will not change the way we manage the company; you must accept it or else leave)

English Phrases for Chance

as luck would have it

This phrase means “by chance.” It can be used for both lucky things or unlucky things.

Lucky chance: “I called the doctor to make an urgent appointment and as luck would have it, he was available to see me the very same day.”

Unlucky chance: “I called the doctor to make an urgent appointment and as luck would have it, his schedule was completely booked for the next six months.”
(booked = reserved; there are no appointments available)

the luck of the draw

This phrase means something is completely by chance or random; you cannot control it at all (similar to winning the lottery, when they “draw” – take – the winning ticket completely at random).

“You can’t choose who you compete against in the tournament – it’s the luck of the draw.”

pushing your luck

When you have good luck or a good situation, but you try too hard to extend it or get an even better situation, and risk having a negative result or losing what you have achieved so far.

“They offered me the job after a very competitive hiring process. I wanted to ask for a higher starting salary, but I felt like that would be pushing my luck.”

You’ll learn hundreds of conversational English expressions in this course:

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