English Collocations for Success and Failure


Successful Samantha has a long list of impressive accomplishments. It seems like everything she does ends up being a phenomenal success. In her very first job, she created a highly effective way to motivate the company’s employees, resulting in a dramatic improvement in workplace morale.

Now she’s developing a system for real-time translation among 100 different languages. If she can pull it off, it’ll be an unprecedented success (success in something for the first time in history) and the crowning achievement (best or most significant achievement) of her career.

So far, the program has enjoyed modest success (some limited success) but there is still room for improvement (potential for improvement). However, Samantha says that the team is making good progress, and that in the next month or two she hopes to make a breakthrough (make a sudden advance in success, especially when you overcome an obstacle).

Although Samantha is very ambitious, she’s also a very likeable person. She brings out the best in other people, and quickly wins the respect of colleagues.

Samantha’s brother, Disastrous Dan, is the opposite – everything he attempts seems to fail miserably. He wanted to be a doctor, but his teachers told him he wasn’t smart enough, dashing his hopes (making him abandon hope) of a career in medicine. He had the opportunity to do a prestigious internship in another country, but he lost his nerve (lost his courage) and turned down the offer.

He then applied for various jobs, but completely failed to show up to the interviews on time. He was eventually hired, but later lost his job during an economic downturn due to his mediocre performance (average work, not very special) and total lack of remarkable achievements.

Dan then tried to start his own software company to compete with Samantha’s; that was a spectacular failure. He invested his life savings in the business, despite all his friends telling him that it would be a recipe for disaster (very likely to result in disaster). His sales predictions were way off the mark (completely inaccurate), and the company went under (lost all its money and shut down) just eight months after it was founded.

Poor Dan – it seems like he’s doomed to failure (destined to be unsuccessful). But if all else fails (if everything is unsuccessful), he can always move into Samantha’s mansion as a last resort (a final possibility)!

English Collocations for Success and Failure

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