A step forward

To take “a step forward” means to advance toward a goal.

Today's story: COVID pill
Explore more: Lesson #418
Keywords:

Take control of your English

Use active strategies to finally go from good to great

Listen

  • Learning speed
  • Full speed

Learn

TranscriptQuizYour turn
Simple TranscriptEspañol中文FrançaisPortuguês日本語ItalianoDeutschTürkçePolski

A step forward

Today’s English expression is “a step forward.” To take a step forward means to advance toward a goal. The important thing to keep in mind is, there has to be a generally accepted goal or destination.

Let me illustrate this with an example. Getting enough sleep is good for your health . Last night I slept nine hours. It felt so good when I woke up in the morning. I felt refreshed and ready to record a few Plain English lessons. That is unquestionably a good thing, but it’s not really a step forward. It’s just something good that happened.

But now let’s imagine that I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. And let’s also imagine that I’ve been trying to go to bed and get up at the same time, limit my screen time at night, and do all the other things you should do to improve your sleep. And let’s imagine that last night was the first night that I slept for eight hours or more, uninterrupted. In that case, I could say I took a step forward. Why? Because in that case I have a goal—to get better sleep—and I made progress toward that goal by sleeping a full eight hours.

“Infrastructure” is a word that’s trending here in the U.S. President Joe Biden was elected about a year ago and he proposed an ambitious agenda. He’s had some trouble getting the support he needs to pass his agenda in Congress. However, he took a step forward recently when he signed a large infrastructure investment bill. By signing that first bill, he made progress toward his goal of passing his proposed agenda. He still has more work to do, but he took a step forward with the infrastructure bill.

I watched the Chicago Bears on a nationally-televised Monday Night Football game a few weeks ago. They lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-26. Despite the close score, it was not a great game for the Bears. However, their first-year quarterback, Justin Fields, took a step forward during the game. This is his first year and he’s very talented; however, he’s still developing into a quarterback at the professional level. During the game, he made some good plays that showed he was getting better every week. Even though the Bears lost, we can say that Justin Fields took a step forward during the game as he refined his skills.

You can also describe something as “a big step forward” or “a major step forward” if you want to emphasize that a lot of progress has been made. And that’s how I used it in today’s lesson. Until now, there haven’t been many effective treatments for COVID-19. Hospitalized patients in about 50 countries have been eligible for an intravenously-delivered antiviral treatment. But that requires patients to be in the hospital and it’s expensive.

However, Merck and Pfizer both took a major step forward toward the goal of an effective COVID-19 treatment when they announced the test results of their new antiviral pills. Both significantly reduced the chance of hospitalization or death in clinical trials. Because they are pills, they can be taken at home. And the cost is much less than that of the existing treatments. This is a big step forward in the battle against COVID-19.

It’s a big step forward because it’s significant progress toward a goal. The goal is to reduce the harmful effects of COVID-19. This was big progress toward that goal because it will make having COVID-19 less deadly for those that do catch it.

Quote of the Week

It’s time for today’s quote of the week. It’s from a professor and author Brené Brown. She says, “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” And she went on to say that means being comfortable with being imperfect. So once more here’s the quote from Brené Brown: “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”

See you next time!

That’s all for today’s Plain English. Congratulations again on all your hard work, and I know you are doing a lot of hard work. We try hard here to provide you with the tools you need to upgrade your English, no matter where you are in the process. The number one thing we provide is the full transcript of each audio lesson.

If you’ve only ever listened to us on Spotify or a podcast app, then you might want to look at our website, where we have full transcripts available. Get it on each lesson site using the lesson number. So today’s is number 418, so you can visit PlainEnglish.com/418 to see the transcript.

If you go to PlainEnglish.com and sign up as a free member, you’ll get a brand-new Plain English home page with links to the current and past lessons, too. So those are two ways to get the transcript—directly by the lesson number or by signing up as a free member at PlainEnglish.com.

But you know, a lot of you listen in the car and that’s all you need at this point. And I think that’s just fine too. Wherever you are, and for whatever reason you listen, it’s a huge honor that you’ve chosen to spend some time with us at Plain English.

That’s it for today, we’ll be back on Thursday for what promises to be a five-star lesson. See you then!

Learn more expressions like this

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

Test your knowledge

Take a 4-question quiz to make sure you understand today’s Expression

Plus+ feature

Write a sentence with this Expression

Get personal, human feedback on the examples that you write. Build the confidence to use this Expression in the real world

Story: COVID pill