Expression: Hit And Miss

Learn Australian English in this Expression episode of Aussie English where I teach you how to use the expression HIT AND MISS like a native!

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Expression: Hit And Miss

G’day guys!

Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today you’re going to be learning the expression HIT AND MISS.

Let’s go!

So, as I just mentioned I’m going to be teaching you the expression HIT AND MISS, which can also be sometimes said as HIT OR MISS. So, HIT AND MISS or HIT OR MISS. And I hope this episode isn’t going to be HIT OR MISS or HIT AND MISS, and you’ll get that once the episode’s finished.

So, yeah, we can write this HIT-AND-MISS with hyphens in between so it becomes one word, or HIT-OR-MISS with hyphens in between, again so it becomes one word. You’ll understand what I mean if you see the transcript.

So, let’s define the words to begin with, guys. The word HIT, the word HIT is when you strike something with something. It could be your fist that you’re HITTING someone with. If you’ve got a baseball bat you could be HITTING someone with the baseball bat. You could be HITTING the ball with the baseball bat. If you drive your car and you crash your car you could say that you HIT someone or something. You could’ve HIT a tree, a person, you could’ve HIT another car. So, that’s the word HIT. It’s that impact, strike, TO HIT something, TO HIT something.

If you MISS something, the word MISS, it’s the idea that you have not HIT the thing. So, it’s sort of the opposite of HITTING something. If you were about to crash your car and the thing that you were going to crash into moved out of the way, so if it was a person and got out of the way, or another car and it got out of the way, you could say that you MISSED HITTING that person or that car. You MISSED it.

If you dodge a tree that was coming up as you were driving your car and you’re almost going TO HIT that tree but you ended up dodging it, you could say that you MISSED the tree, or the tree MISSED you. You didn’t impact it. You didn’t HIT it. You MISSED it.

So, those are the words. TO HIT something is to impact something, and TO MISS something is for that to go by, and instead of impacting you’ve MISSED one another. So, imagine two planes coming towards one another. If they impact they HIT, and if they only just MISS the impact or they only just don’t impact one another, they don’t HIT each other, they’ve MISSED each other.

So, if something is HIT OR MISS it means that you can’t be certain of whether or not that thing is good or bad in terms of quality.

So, I tried looking up the origin of the expression HIT OR MISS or HIT AND MISS and I couldn’t find exactly where this had come from in the history of the English language, but in my mind I imagine that it’s the basic idea of perhaps a sports player, maybe imagine someone’s playing baseball, tennis or cricket, which are all sports where you have an object whether it’s a baseball bat, a cricket bat or a tennis racket, and you have to hit something. You have to hit a ball.

So, if you were to be HIT OR MISS in terms of your sport it would mean that sometimes you’re good, sometimes you’re bad. But, literally, sometimes you HIT the ball, but just as often you MISS the ball.

So, you can be HIT OR MISS, and sometimes you’re good, sometimes you’re bad. You’re HIT OR MISS.

Yeah, so that’s the basic idea, I guess. In my mind, it would be imagine someone playing baseball. 50% of the time they HIT the ball, 50% of the time they MISS the ball. You could say, “Is he a good player?” “Eh… HIT OR MISS. He’s HIT OR MISS. Sometimes he HITS it. Sometimes he MISSES it.” So, in the literal sense and the figurative sense of him being good and equally as bad.


So, now we’ll go over some examples as usual guys.

So, imagine that you’ve gone to a restaurant that was purported to be pretty good. You sit down. You have some food. The first dish is really good. The second dish’s horrible. The third dish was really good as well, and then the fourth dish was horrible. So, you have a good dish, a bad dish, a good dish, a bad dish. The quality changes between each of them. So, maybe… I mean it could be that the ingredients are horrible or the dishes were cooked by different chefs or something’s happened where the quality’s bad half the time and good the other half of the time. You could say that the restaurant is HIT AND MISS. That chef that cooked the food is obviously HIT AND MISS. The food at that restaurant is HIT AND MISS. Or you could say, “HIT OR MISS”. It’s up to you.

But yeah, it’s the idea of the quality keeps changing. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.

Another example. Imagine you have a film director for an amazing film that you absolutely love, you know. Imagine it’s The Sixth Sense and you went and saw that film and you thought, “Wow! This is amazing!”. And I’ve forgotten this guy’s name but he’s made a series of other films afterwards that… a lot of them were really really good or they were really really bad. So, you could say that the director of The Sixth Sense, as a director, as someone who makes films and directs films, you could say, “He’s really good half the time, but the other half of the time he’s pretty average, he’s pretty bad. So, as a director he’s HIT AND MISS. His films are HIT AND MISS. Sometimes they’re good. Sometimes they’re bad. It’s really HIT OR MISS. The films are HIT AND MISS, they’re HIT OR MISS.”.

One last example could be say, that you have a dad who loves having a good joke. He loves saying jokes at parties, at gatherings, wherever he is he’s always saying jokes. And, sometimes the jokes are incredibly funny, sometimes they’re incredibly awful. Half the time they’re hilarious, the other half of the time they’re atrocious, they’re awful, they’re pitifully unfunny, they’re just… they’re awful.

So, imagine they’re dad jokes, you know, the kind of jokes that are like, “Eh… Yep, yep, yep.”. But then sometimes they are actually quite clever and funny. So, if half the time his jokes are good and the other half of the time his jokes are bad, you could say, “Dad’s a funny guy, but his jokes are a bit HIT AND MISS.”. So, sometimes he delivers really good jokes and they’re hilarious, but then he’ll follow it up with a joke straight after and its awful. So, it’s HIT AND MISS. It’s HIT OR MISS. Dad’s jokes are really HIT AND MISS.

So, let’s do a little listen and repeat exercise at the end here, guys, to finish up this episode.

So, in this following exercise imagine that we’re talking about a cricket player in Australia who’s a batter, but his skills are widely variable. Sometimes he scores a century. So, he scores 100 runs. That’s a century if you’re playing cricket. And other days he gets bowled out for a duck. He gets bowled out for a duck.

“To be bowled out” means that the bowler, the person bowling the ball down the pitch to the batter, the person who bowls the ball strikes the wickets. And “the wickets” are those three posts with the little wooden things on top. I’ve forgotten what they’re called. Ah… Brain fart. I can’t remember what they’re called, but the wickets get HIT with the ball. That’s when you get bowled out. And if you get bowled out for a duck it means that you haven’t scored any runs. So, to be bowled out for a duck means that you literally came onto the field, onto the pitch, you were ready to have your first swing at the ball, you missed, it hit the wickets, you got bowled out, and you got bowled out for a duck because you didn’t score any runs for your entire innings.

So, imagine that. You’re a batter. You’ve come out to play cricket, and that’s the setup for this exercise.

So, listen and repeat after me, guys.

Listen and repeat exercise:

My skills are a little hit and miss.

Your skills are a little hit and miss.

His skills are a little hit and miss.

Her skills are a little hit and miss.

Our skills are a little hit and miss.

Their skills are a little hit and miss.


Let’s just do it one more time for good measure, guys. And, I guess, I’ll add in here, notice that I bounce the ARE the word ARE, A-R-E, after SKILLS off of the “S” at the end of the word SKILLS. So, instead of saying “Skills are…” I say “Skillz_are”, “Skillz_are”. So, it’s a Z-sound that links the two words. “Skillz_are”.

Let’s go!

Listen and repeat exercise:

My skills are a little hit and miss.

Your skills are a little hit and miss.

His skills are a little hit and miss.

Her skills are a little hit and miss.

Our skills are a little hit and miss.

Their skills are a little hit and miss.


So, yeah, remember to try and focus on bouncing the word ARE off of the S on the end of SKILLS, because this is definitely one of those small slight little tips that you can implement in your spoken English, in your pronunciation, that will definitely make you sound more like a native. And to be honest, learning these kinds of liaisons, how to link these words together and speak more fluently, more fluidly, really does up your level in spoken English. It makes you sound less like a robot if you were to sort of separate each one of these words, because native speakers don’t do that. They subconsciously link a lot of these kinds of words. So, that’s why I’m trying to include that sort of stuff in these episodes, and give you tidbits, give you little aspects, little tips, little things to focus on aside from just the pronunciation and the definitions of these words.

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode guys. I hope that this episode wasn’t a little HIT AND MISS at times. I hope The Aussie English Podcast isn’t HIT AND MISS. I hope all the episodes are good not just half of them. And I will see you in the next episode guys.

All the best!

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