There are some common ‘false friends’ and misunderstandings related to the phrase ‘It’s not worth (it)’.
Which sentence do you think is correct?
‘There is so much free information online.’
1. ‘Is it worthy to buy a course?’
2. ‘Is it worth buying a course?’
2. is correct: ‘be worth + ing’
I often see this expression confused with ‘It’s not worthy to’* (grammatically wrong).
The meaning of ‘It’s worth + ing/noun’
1. Good or important enough to justify taking action
e.g. It’s worth buying a course if writing feedback is included.
The meaning of ‘It’s not worth + ing’
1. Not good or important enough to justify taking action
e.g. It’s not worth buying a course if you can get the same information for free online.
2. Not as valuable or as important as someone thinks.
e.g. The course costs a lot of money but there’s no feedback, so it’s not worth buying.
Fixed expression ‘It’s not worth it’.
‘Stop worrying about the test. It’s not worth it’.
= the importance does not justify the concern you’re showing.
‘Why are you crying about your ex? He’s not worth it.’
= he doesn’t deserve the time/energy that you’re wasting on him.
Useful expressions with ‘It’s worth’
[Task 2] ‘It’s worth pointing out that most people are law-abiding citizens’.
[Academic Task 1] ‘It’s worth highlighting the fact that only 3% of the population have been vaccinated’.
- ‘Chinese is a difficult language but it’s (well) worth the trouble/the time.’
- ‘It’s only a small piece of land, but it’s worth fighting for‘.
- ‘If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well‘.
- ‘I bought it for £10 but it’s worth much more‘.
- ‘Even if you’re not ready to do it now, it’s worth considering‘.
- ‘You might win! It’s worth a try‘.
- ‘I learnt some interesting things – it’s worth watching/reading‘.
- ‘I spent a lot of money, but it was worth it‘.
- And of course, the famous L’Oreal advert ‘Because you’re worth it’.
The GRAMMAR of ‘It’s worth +ing/noun’
‘The museum is quite expensive. Is it worth a visit?’
‘Yes it’s definitely worth visiting‘.
As you can see from all the examples above, ‘It’s worth’ can be followed by
1. a nouns
It’s worth a try.
It’s worth the wait/the time/the trouble.
It’s worth it. (dummy ‘it’)
2. ‘ing’ verbs
It’s worth doing.
When to use ‘worthy’
Meaning: having or showing the qualities that deserve the specified action.
Use: ‘Worthy’ is a much more formal expression and takes ‘of + noun’.
Grammar: ‘be worthy of + noun’.
Example: [Task 2] ‘These issues are worthy of further consideration.’
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