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031 – Expression: Dig Your Own Grave

In this week’s episode of The Can Learn English Podcast you will learn how to use the expression “Dig Your Own Grave”.

Defining the words in the expression

Dig is to move soil, sand or snow in order to create a hole.

Your the possessive form of you.

Own is used to say that something belongs or relates to a particular person or thing and to no other — always used after a possessive (such as “may,” “your,” or “their”).

A grave is a place where dead bodies are buried (usually in a hole in the ground). You would find graves in a cemetery.

If you’re digging your own grave, you’re creating the place to bury your own dead body

The idiom doesn’t mean that you’re killing yourself, but it’s used to highlight something that is going to cause you a big or significant problem (not a tiny mistake).

Sample Transcript

Audio begins at 04:08

So if you’re digging your own grave, you’re creating the place to bury your own dead body. Yikes, that sounds very gruesome, but the idiom doesn’t go as far as saying you’re killing yourself, but it’s used to highlight something that is going to cause you a big or significant problem. So it’s not a tiny mistake. It’s something that is big and significant. And it’s usually used when this action can be avoided. So when it’s so obvious that this is going to go wrong.

So let’s take a look at some examples. So say you’re working in a clothing store and you have a colleague who is always leaving 30 minutes before their shift is over. Every time if they’re done at 5:00, they’re gone at 4:30. If they’re supposed to be done at 6:00, they’re gone at 5:30.

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