Fighting chance

中国日报网 2014-11-14 16:42



Fighting chance

Reader question:

Please explain “fighting chance” in this passage, on schoolchild care:

Next, experts say antibacterial hand sanitizer is good but hand washing is best. The rule of thumb, use hot water, soap and wash long enough to sing: “Happy Birthday” twice. Then it’s about keeping their immune system up to give them a fighting chance against these common illnesses. Make sure they get enough sleep. School age kids need 10-11 hours a night. And exercise at least 40 minutes a day and eat a healthy diet rich in vitamin C.

My comments:

I got it. Keeping one’s immune system up gives one, be they kids or adults, the best opportunity in disease prevention. Even if they catch an illness, if his or her immune system is healthy and strong, then it’ll be relatively easy for them to get well again, and soon.

So, get enough sleep, eat healthy meals and exercise regularly.

But anyways, “fighting chance” here means if their immune system is strong, they’ll have a realistic chance against common illnesses.

The question is, why fighting chance?

They’ll have a chance will do, as a matter of fact. “Fighting” serves mostly as an emphasis, emphasizing, that is, the fact that the chance is real. Fighting, as fighting a fist fight or gun battle, also suggests it’s still a struggle. You’ll still have to fight, or work, in order to win or, in our example, for kids to conquer some common illnesses.

So therefore a fighting chance isn’t a mere chance or merely a chance, which feels like a mere possibility, a kind that’s kind of out of our control. A fighting chance, on the other hand, feels bigger and more real. If the chance is too small, you tend to leave everything to luck and won’t even care to fight (make an effort).

Anyways, it’s a good idea to remember this phrase this way: if you care to fight, any fighting chance you get will feel very real.

Here are media examples of “fighting chance”:

1. Brendan Rodgers believes a special Anfield atmosphere can inspire his players to claw back a 2-0 deficit when they meet Zenit St Petersburg next week.

The Reds had chances to clinch a crucial away goal in Russia on Thursday night; however, an unstoppable effort from Hulk followed by a simple tap-in by substitute Sergei Semak sealed victory for the home side.

The result now means Liverpool must win by a three-goal-or-greater margin in exactly a week's time if they are to progress to the last 16 of the Europa League.


The manager opted to withdraw Raheem Sterling in order to introduce Lucas Leiva on 78 minutes with the Reds trailing at 2-0.

And when questioned afterwards about his decision to make the switch, Rodgers replied: “I was just making sure that we stayed in the tie.

“That was the important thing for us, as much as we wanted to maybe go on [and attack]. There’s another game and at 2-0 you can retrieve something.

“The idea was to try and keep it at what it was, knowing that the tie is retrievable gives us a fighting chance.”

- Rodgers: We have a fighting chance,, February 14, 2013.

2. California’s state fire chief, Ken Pimlott, said: “We can’t recall when we have seen this level of fire activity early in this year. This is usually the time of year when much of the state is greening up.”

“We haven’t even got into the months that historically are the worst in California – late August, September and October – so that’s a big red flag right there.”

The state fire agency for years had worked to put out nearly all fires, about 95 percent, before they spread beyond 10 acres. That goal may now have to slip, Pimlott acknowledged.

“As conditions dry out and fire conditions become more extreme that goal can be challenging,” said Pimlott. Crews may just encounter too many fires at once. But the agency hopes that stockpiling water and protecting homes would give fire crew a head start.

“We are always going to have the guys out there on helicopters and we are going to have crews with chain saws, but we have to give them a fighting chance,” Pimlott said.

- California drought could spark ‘out of bounds’ wildfires, officials warn,, March 19, 2014.

3. Noah Pozner did nothing to change my mind, except die. Before he died, I believed a few sensible gun laws could save children like Noah Pozner. After he died, after he and his Sandy Hook classmates were mowed down by a man with a gun, I changed my mind.

After he died, I realized an old custom had to die with him, so a nobler one could take its place. Before Noah Pozner died, I thought there was nothing wrong with the Second Amendment a little common sense couldn’t fix. After he died, I’ve come to believe “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” no longer promotes our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but daily threatens them. How free are we when more people are shot and killed each year in America than populate the towns in which many of us live? How free are we when a backpack that unfolds into a bulletproof covering is a must-have item for schoolchildren?

“A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

While I concede that a well-regulated militia might be necessary to the security of a free state, that role is now ably served by our military, professionally trained and highly disciplined, drawn from the ranks of our families and friends, from whom we have nothing to fear. We no longer need Minutemen. The British have not surrounded Concord. This is not “Independence Day” and we’re not under alien attack. I cannot imagine any circumstance in which our government would urge us to arm ourselves in defense of our country. Our nation has outgrown its need for an armed citizenry. The disadvantages of widespread gun ownership far outweigh any perceived advantage. Ask the parents of Noah Pozner. Ask African-American residents of Ferguson, Missouri. Ask what America’s love affair with guns has meant to them.

The merit of a position can be gauged by the temperament of its supporters, and these days the NRA reminds me of the folks who packed the courtroom of the Scopes monkey trial, fighting to preserve a worldview no thoughtful person espoused. This worship of guns grows more ridiculous, more difficult to sustain, and they know it, hence their theatrics, their parading through Home Depot and Target, rifles slung over shoulders. Defending themselves, they say. From what, from whom? I have whiled away many an hour at Home Depots and Targets and never once come under attack.

They remind me of the Confederates who fought to defend the indefensible, sacrificing the lives of others in order to preserve some dubious right they alone valued. They would rather die, armed to the teeth, than live in a nation free of guns and their bitter harvest. You can have my gun when you pry it from around my cold, dead fingers, their bumper stickers read. How empty their lives must be if life without a gun is not worth living.

The first thing Hitler did was confiscate guns, the gun lovers warn, a bald lie if ever there was one. But let’s suspend reality and imagine it was true. Where is the Hitler in Canada, in England, in Sweden, in every other civilized nation whose citizens have resolved to live without guns? Let the NRA trot out its tired canard about the housewife whose husband thoughtfully armed her, who shot the intruder and saved her family. I will tell you about the father who mistook his son for a burglar and shot him dead, about the man who rigged a shotgun in his barn to discourage thievery and accidentally slew his precious little girl when she entered the barn to play with her kittens.

What drives this fanaticism? Can I venture a guess? Have you noticed the simultaneous increase in gun sales and the decline of the white majority? After the 2010 census, when social scientists predicted a white minority in America by the year 2043, we began to hear talk of “taking back our country.” Gun shops popped up like mushrooms, mostly in the white enclaves of America’s suburbs and small towns. One can’t help wondering if the zeal for weaponry has been fueled by the same dismal racism that has propelled so many social ills.

When I was growing up, our schools and colleges were unmatched, our medical care unrivaled, our infrastructure state-of-the-art, our opportunities unlimited. America set the gold standard. We can be great again, but not without addressing the fear and ignorance that feed our gun culture, for no nation can ascend until it cures the virus of violence. We cannot let the most fearful among us set our nation’s tone, lest we descend to that sorry state we labored centuries to rise above. It is time for America to grow up, to become adults, so that children like Noah Pozner have a fighting chance to do the same.

- I was wrong about the Second Amendment: Why my view of guns totally changed, by Philip Gulley,, November 13, 2014.




About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at:, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.



Kangaroo court

Keep them on side

Sheep's skin

Hold your horses

A shot across the bows?

Count your blessings


(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑:祝兴媛)



上一篇 : Kangaroo court
下一篇 : Big hat, no cattle



















关于我们 | 联系方式 | 招聘信息

Copyright by All rights reserved. None of this material may be used for any commercial or public use. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 版权声明:本网站所刊登的中国日报网英语点津内容,版权属中国日报网所有,未经协议授权,禁止下载使用。 欢迎愿意与本网站合作的单位或个人与我们联系。