turn out: meaning and explanation

We use the phrasal verb turn out to describe something that happens which is surprising or different to what we were expecting.

For example, if I say that something turned out well, I was probably expecting it to be bad, but it was actually OK. If something turned out very badly, I was probably confident or optimistic about something, but in the end it was a disaster.

We can also use this verb with an infinitive if we want to add more detail.

For example: “I met a man on the bus this morning who turned out to be my cousin’s new boyfriend”. In this example, the result (the man is connected to you in some way) is unexpected and surprising.

Have a go at this dictation exercise to hear this phrasal verb being used in context – how much can you understand?

Dictation #1

Accent: North America

parents-in-law .
I made a cake parents-in-law very .
The time I made a cake my parents-in-law it out very .

…the first time

Notice how the /t/ at the end of ‘first’ and the /t/ at the beginning of ‘time’ are pronounced as one sound. This feature of connected speech is called gemination or twinning, and it can make it difficult to identify the beginning and end of words in rapid spoken English.

The same thing would happen in the sentences: “You’re right to ask”, and “It took two hours to geto the office this morning”.

Discussion question

Write your answer to this question in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:

  • My mother-in-law is gluten intolerant. When she came to visit last year, I decided to make her a special cake without any flour. It had about 10 eggs in it, and lots of fresh orange juice. The recipe sounded lovely, but the cake turned out very badly – kind of like an orange omelette. My mother-in-law was very polite about it but I was very embarrassed.Have you ever done anything which turned out very well/very badly?

Photo by Henry Be on Unsplash

Was this helpful?