AE 321 – Expression: To Make Ends Meet

Learn Australian English in this Expression episode of Aussie English where I teach you how to use TO MAKE ENDS MEET like a native!

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AE 321 – Expression: To Make Ends Meet

G’day guys. How’s it going?

Welcome to today’s episode of The Aussie English Podcast.

I’m Pete your host, and The Aussie English Podcast is the number one podcast for learning Australian English.

Whether you want to understand Australian English and our tricky accent or whether you want to try and sound like an Australian, which you can do with practice, The Aussie English Podcast is the podcast for you.

So, today I’m sitting in my bedroom. It is Saturday morning. I’ve just gotten up.

I’ve made myself a coffee, and I decided I should nip it in the bud.

I should get on top of things. I should work hard and get this podcast episode done for you guys.

Get it done. So, nip it in the bud. Get it finished. Address it straight away.

So, to talk about news this week, obviously, a few things have been happening.

I’ve been trying to put out an episode every single day on YouTube as well as on the podcast.

I want to know what you guys think.

So, feel free to email me, feel free to message me on Facebook, feel free to comment on anything that you see on YouTube or Facebook, and let me know what you think.

Are these coming out too often? Are they too long? Are they too short?

Would you prefer other topics? I would really love your feedback.

The basic idea here, guys, is to keep you engaged and to give you material on a daily basis that is going to help you practice English.

Obviously, I’m trying to keep these longer episodes for the weekend, but I want to give you shorter ones to play with, to listen to, to practice with every single day as well.

So, that was the first thing. Daily episodes and daily videos. What do you think?

The second one was that I have started creating a video library on the website.

So, this is for members who have signed up to be Aussie English members on the website and I’ve started designing a video library where you can go on there and you can watch a lot more videos than on YouTube.

So, I’m putting up lots of broken down bits of the longer videos, of the live classes, and everything too.

So, like, I’ll dissect the videos and take out each slang expression, each expression that I go over, the verb tenses, and make them into smaller videos for you to more easily watch and go through and consume.

So, that was one extra thing that I wanted to tell you guys. If you’re a member already it’s in the menu.

Just click on video library and you can go through and discover it. You can have a look at it.

You can play with it if you’re not a member. What are you doing, guys? Sign up.

It supports me at Aussie English and it also helps you learn English even faster.

So, the third thing, before we get into today’s episode too that I wanted to discuss, is that I’m currently working on a phrasal verb course.

I know you guys hate phrasal verbs or at least find phrasal verbs difficult and annoying and tricky.

So, I’ve decided to put together a course to try and help you guys, as well as obviously to try and generate a little bit more income for Aussie English.

I’m working on it currently.

I’m designing slideshows at the moment to teach you the concepts behind different phrases verbs that go with different prepositions.

So, my goal is going to be more to teach you the concepts that underlie, that underpin, these phrasal verbs so that you can understand the concepts and then create phrasal verbs spontaneously when you speak English.

So, it’s not going to be that I just go through a list of phrases verbs.

I’m going to go through all the prepositions that are used at the ends of phrases verbs and teach you how to think about the concept, the thing that’s going on in my head as a native speaker when I use these different prepositions.

Anyway, that’s enough for today guys. Let’s get into the expression.

Today’s expression is “to make ends meet”, “to make ends meet”.

And this one comes from Julianna from Colombia.

So, thank you so much for suggesting this expression, “to make ends meet”.

Remember guys, if you want me to do an expression you can recommend one to me at any time as well.

So, as usual, we’ll get into defining the words in the phrase “to make ends meet” guys.

“To make”. “To make” is obviously a verb. And this has multiple meanings.

It can mean to create or to do. So, you might make a cake.

You might make an apology to someone.

And it can also mean to force, to get or to cause something or someone to do something or to happen.

So, you might make someone pay for dinner.

So, you’re forcing them to pay for dinner. You might make someone leave a party early.

You’re literally forcing them to leave, you’re causing them to leave, you’re getting them to leave.

So, the word “ends” or “end”. “To make ends meet”, “end”, “ends”.

The end of something is the final or the last part of something.

So, the last page of a book is the end of the book.

If I look down at my nose, and I look to the tip of my nose, I’m looking at the end of my nose.

If I had a very small bed and my feet hung over the edge at the end of the bed that would be the end of the bed.

And the last one, is also obviously a verb, “to meet”, “to meet”.

If you meet someone or if you make two things meet you’re getting them to come together or you’re just coming together.

So, if you meet someone you’re obviously coming together, you’re getting in touch, you’re joining.

And if you cause two things, if you make two things meet, it means that you are causing them to come together, to touch, or to join.

So, if I put my hands together in front of me I could say that I am making my hands meet in front of me.

So, we’ll go through and talk about the expression now guys and how to use it.

The expression, “to make ends meet”.

This literally means to cause two ends of something to touch, obviously.

So, to make ends, two ends, or both ends, meet.

But, the figurative sense of this expression is to have enough money or to have enough resources to cover your expenses, to get by financially, to get through the pay period.

So, it’s usually referring to how much money you make and the fact that you make enough to be able to pay for things like food, for bills, and for rent.

So, the expression to make ends meet, guys, actually originates from a French expression, “Joindre les deux bouts”, meaning join the two ends and this dates back to the 1600’s.

So yeah, pretty cool, pretty cool. It’s an old one. We have a lot of stuff in English that comes from French originally.

Let’s go through some examples, guys, of how you would use this expression.



So, imagine that you were, number one, working crazy hours, long hours.

You’re working 12 to 14 hours a day at work in order to make ends meet.

So, that would mean you’re working so much in order to cover your expenses, to pay for yourself.

Maybe to put your kids in school, to pay for rent, to pay for food.

You’re working 12 to 14 hours a day to make ends meet.


Number two, imagine you’re incredibly rich and don’t have to worry too much about your financial situation.

You can obviously afford to do whatever you want.

So, you could say in this case that you’re so rich you don’t really have to think about making ends meet.

So, you don’t have to worry about just scraping by, just making enough money to make ends meet each week, because you’ve got so much money that it’s not a problem.

So, you don’t have to think about making ends meet. It’s already done. It’s easy.


And the third example could be imagine that you are at a birthday party or something.

You’re seeing your grandparents. You’re seeing your other relatives.

If they’ve heard that you’ve just got a new job but they don’t know what it is they might ask you, “Oh! Pete! How are you making ends meet these days?”.

Meaning, like, what are you doing for an income? What is it that you’re doing for work?

What is it that you’re doing in order to pay for your rent, to pay for your food, all of your expenses?

What are you doing to make ends meet? What are you doing as a job?

So, as usual, let’s dive in and do a listen and repeat exercise, guys.

I’m going to conjugate this in the Present Continuous, so “I’m making ends meet”, “you’re making ends meet”.

And, I want to repeat after me.

Treat it as a listen and repeat exercise and practice your pronunciation, guys.

Let’s go.

Listen & repeat:

I’m making ends meet.
You’re making ends meet.
He’s making ends meet.
She’s making ends meet.
We’re making ends meet.
They’re making ends meet.
It’s making ends meet.

Good job, guys.

So, pronunciation tip wise, I want to go through and talk about the pronunciation changes that can happen when I say this sentence like a native.

So, you will have noticed, number one, that the word “ends”, “ends”, the D is pronounced.

So, when we have a word that ends with -NDS, the D gets dropped and it’s just -NS.

The sound is an -NS, “ends”.

So, some other examples of words like this could be, “winds”.

So, you’ve got “wind” as in *sound of wind*, “wind”.

We say the D when there’s no S.

But, when we put an S on the end to make it plural, we say “winds”, and this sounds like, literally, “he wins”.

Like, “he wins a game”, “winds”.

“Sound”. If we make that plural “sounds”, or if we conjugate that as in “it sounds” in the Present Tense.

“Sounds”, “sounds”.

“Stands”, is the last example here. “Stand”, “to stand”, but if “he stands”, “he stands”, the D disappears.

So, when I say I’m making ends meet, I’m making ends meet, the D disappears.

The second tip that I want to tell you about is the fact that -ING often gets slightly contracted into an -IN’ sound instead of an -ING sound.

So, instead of “making” I would say “makin'”. “Making”, “makin'”.

So, some examples, “I’m makin’ it up”, instead of, “I’m making it up”.

“She’s doin’ more”, instead of, “she’s doing more”.

“You’re goin’ out”, instead of, “you’re going out”.

“He’s askin’ him”, instead of, “he’s asking them”.

And, “they’re chasin’ him”, instead of, “they’re chasing him”.

So, this is one of those pronunciation points, the same with “ends”, that you want to try and focus on, and just notice it’s there.

Notice people say that. Whether or not you do it, because you’ll understand Australians a lot more easily.

So, yeah, focus in on that guys. Remember, I have a video teaching this on YouTube too.

So, do a search for “One simple tip to sound Australian: -ING”.

There’s a video there that will go through step by step how to make this pronunciation shift.

And there’s also a course online when you become a member, a mini course, that gives you five or six exercises to practice to sound just like a native when you want to pronounce -ING.

So, if you’re interested in that sign up to be a member.

Before we finish, let’s do the listen and repeat exercise one more time.

But this time I’m in a pronounce it just like an Aussie would.

Let’s go.

Listen & Repeat:

I’m makin’ ends meet.
You makin’ ends meet.
He’s makin’ ends meet.
She’s makin’ ends meet.
When makin’ ends meet.
They’re makin’ ends meet.
It’s makin’ ends meet.

Good job, guys.

That’s it for today’s episode. Thanks for joining me, guys. I hope you enjoyed it.

Remember, if you sign up to be an Aussie English member you’ll get all the bonus content for today’s episode including a detailed transcript with vocab, with a listening comprehension exercises.

You’ll get a phrasal verb substitution exercise to practice using phrasal verbs.

You’ll get a mission where you have to go away and learn some slang.

We’ll also go over a series of sentences going through the pronunciation of -ING as well as words ending in -NDS.

And then, in the grammar section we’re going to go over about the Present Continuous and the Past Continuous.

So, if you want to learn English even faster, sign up to be a member on the Aussie English website.

It’s a dollar to try it for a month. So, go give it a go.

Anyway guys, I hope you have a great week and I’ll see you later.

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