In time, these lessons and "stubs" will be migrated to the Buzzwords site.
Until then, consider them historical.

All for One and One for All!


1. Can you guess the meaning of this saying?
2. How do you support the people in your life?


In today's dialogue, James’s student, a girl named Maria, comes to his table in the school library.

James: Hi, Maria. What’s up?
Maria: Well, I was wondering: Do you think a study group is a good idea?
James: Yes, I think it’s an outstanding idea.
Maria: Why? How does it help?
James: Well, for one thing, the group members can "drill" each other.
Maria: What’s that?
James: That’s when you make each other practice. You can do it by asking questions, doing role plays--stuff like that.
Maria: I see. Anything else?
James: Well, as the Three Musketeers would say: "All for one and one for all!"
Maria: What’s that mean?
James: Ummm... I guess it means, "All of the members help each one, and each one helps the group." Or something like that.
Maria: I get it. Mutual support.
James: Exactly. So, are you going to start a group?
Maria: Yeah, I think I will.


Have you ever heard of "The Three Musketeers"? It's a novel by the great French writer Alexandre Dumas. In it the three heroes of the title--named Athos, Porthos, and Aramis--have adventures in 17th-century Paris (but the book was written in the 19th century). They are accompanied by their faithful friend d'Artagnan, who is actually the "star" of the book.

These friends swore to help each other no matter what happened. Their motto was today's proverb: "All for one, and one for all!" We can use this saying to describe a case of "mutual support," people helping each other.

More notes:
  • What’s up?: It’s used like "How are you?" but the answer is usually "Nothing much." Here, James is asking Maria, "What can I do for you?" or "How can I help you?" in a very informal way.
  • an outstanding idea: This means a very, very good idea, so good it "stands out" from all others.
  • ...stuff like that: James means the list is longer. It’s like saying "etc." (etcetera), but that sounds a lot more formal than "(and) stuff like that."
  • Or something like that: James is saying that this explanation may not be perfect, but it is close.


Use the above terms in one of the following sentences. Be sure to use the correct form.

1. You should hear her sing. She has an __________ voice!
2. He's around five feet ten inches __________.
3. A: Hey, Mike. What's up? B: __________. How are you?
4. I enjoy singing and dancing and __________.


If you can, try to talk about these questions in English with a friend. If not, try writing your answers.

1. Have you ever been part of a group of people who supported each other? Talk about it.
2. Have you seen a movie of "The Three Musketeers," or read the book? If not, can you think of other books and films where a group of people support each other?
3. Do you think a study group is a good idea? Why or why not? What are the good points and bad points?


1. outstanding; 2. or something like that; 3. Nothing much.; 4. stuff like that

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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