Como digo "de vez em nunca" em inglês? – Inglês Online

Como digo “de vez em nunca” em inglês?

By Ana Luiza | Podcast Inglês Online

Sep 05
Como digo “de vez em nunca” em inglês

Hi, all. Nesse episódio do podcast Inglês Online eu falo sobre algumas expressões super comuns com a palavra once.


Hello, everybody. How’re you doing? Today we have a new episode of the inglesonline podcast. To download or just listen to other episodes and download transcripts, go to and click Podcast Inglesonline.

Today we focus on a little word: once. It’s a short one, but very useful and always present in conversations. Once means one time. Here are a few examples of how we use ‘once’: “Have you ever had sushi?” someone asks. The answer: “Yes, once. I’ve had sushi once”. Have you seen this movie? Yes, once… but it was a long time ago.

And here’s the first thing you’ll hear a lot: “once in a blue moon”. Once in a blue moon means rarely. So if something happens once in a blue moon, that means it rarely happens. For example, maybe you have a childhood friend that you talk to once in a blue moon. That means you guys rarely get in touch and chat. Or maybe you really dislike a certain type of food but your husband or wife loves it, so once in a blue moon you guys will go to a restaurant that serves that food so your spouse can have it. Or here’s another one: can you cook? Maybe you’re not a talented cook at all (like me) but once in a blue moon you’ll try your hand at putting something together in the kitchen.

And here’s another very common term: ‘once in a lifetime’. People use it a lot to describe something that isn’t likely to happen again in your lifetime. For example, let’s say you receive a job offer from a top company in your field. Not just that, but the salary is twice as much what you’re making right now and the benefits are unbelievable. The only downside is, you’d have to move to the other side of the country.

Your friend Mark thinks you’d be crazy to pass this up. You’re torn: on the one hand, it is an amazing opportunity with an incredible company. But on the other hand, your current job may not be spectacular but it pays the bills and you enjoy living where you live. Mark says “Dude, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Tell them you’re moving there yesterday.”

Mark said “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”. Notice how he’s using this expression as an adjective. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You’ll hear this a lot in conversations, movies, TV shows, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And, of course, no one really knows for sure whether you’ll have a second opportunity like that in your life again, but people say that to express that it’s just an incredible offer, or event, invitation, etc.

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So maybe you teach French at a language school and one day a talent scout hears you just when you’re singing a French song, and he thinks you have incredible talent and wants you to sign a deal with a major record label. Everyone around you says that an opportunity like that doesn’t come by often. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. What to do? Well, that’s up to you, of course, but people think this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

And here’s another way to say that: an opportunity like that only comes along once in a lifetime, or it only comes around once in a lifetime.

So tell us: can you remember a great opportunity you had, or maybe someone close to you, that is the kind of thing that only comes along once in a lifetime? What about things you do once in a blue moon? Any examples? Let us know in the comments. Talk to you next time.


Key expressions

  • once in a blue moon
  • three is a crowd



once in a blue moon you’ll try your hand at (something) = muito raramente você tenta (fazer algo)

try your hand at putting something together in the kitchen = tenta preparar alguma coisa na cozinha

pass this up = não aproveitar essa oportunidade/convite

you’re torn = você está dividido, não sabe o que fazer

a talent scout = um descobridor de talentos

  • […] had at least one other podcast episode about… one of those coincidences that only happen once in a blue moon. So here we go. Check this […]

  • […] that opportunity, but you feel so lucky and you know that an opportunity like that may come around once in a lifetime so there’s no way you’ll miss it. You can’t afford to miss […]

  • aderley says:

    Hello Ana Luiza,
    Ana, I would always download the podcasts here at your website, because they are really very usefull for me.
    But this hasn’t been possible anymore, I don’t know why, everytime I try to download it appears something like
    an “instant on line player”. I would appreciate a lot if you could help me.
    Congratulions for the inglesonline website.
    Thank you!!

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Hi Aderley,

      Please right-click the link (with the button on the right-hand side of your mouse) and then choose “Save link as…”, OK?

  • Tiago Rosário says:

    Hi, Ana. why did you write “A once-in-the-lifetime? Isn’t it “AN once-…” because what I learned it was that we always should use “A” before consonant and “AN” before vowel, right? I don’t know speak and write english very well but i have this doubt.

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Hi Tiago,

      I don’t know exaclty ‘why’ – there’s probably a rule out there that says that before words that start with this sound ( “o” in once) we use a rather than an. It’s the same with U in university, for example. I remember seeing the rule for the U in university, but not for the O in once. And, to be honest, there aren’t many instances where you’ll use “a” before the word “once” – this is probably one of the few.

      • Tiago Rosário says:

        Thanks Ana. I wrote something wrong: I wrote “I have this doubt”, and I heard your podcast that explained that the word “doubt” doesn’t have this means and the more sure that we shoud to say to is “I have a question”. Thanks for your knowledge. Bye.

  • Paulo Guilherme says:

    Hi Ana Luisa

    When I finished my 12 grade I ganed a scholarship to study in Mexico. indeed, it was a once a lifetime opportunity.


  • Ana Luiza says:

    Thanks, everyone, for all the comments!! Love reading them.

  • […] the other day we had a podcast about a couple of terms that use the word ‘once‘. Remember? If you’re not all caught up with the podcasts just visit the archives on […]

  • Luciano says:

    Hi Ana, another great podcast. Congratulations!

    I had have run in the rain I did once in a life time. It was amazing! Oh… I jumped skydiving , was incredible! I think that everyone should do once in a lifetime. It’s unforgetable!

    About things that I do once in a blue moon… good question! I don’t like cook. I cook once a blue moon. It’s truth! :D

    See you next time! Bye

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Hi Luciano

      Cool things you’ve done – mas, repare q algo q vc fez apenas uma vez na vída não é necessariamente o que chamamos de “a once in a lifetime opportunity”… Essa expressão tem a ver com algo q provavelmente nunca mais vai aparecer na sua vida (embora não saibamos se isso é verdade, claro)

  • Welington says:

    Hi, Ana! OK. A few months ago I had the opportunity to live around native americans and it helped me a lot with my English. It’s probably a once in a lifetime opportunity! Thanks for all the podcasts and for the awesome job you’ve done here at inglesonline. I think I love you, Ana. LOL

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Hi Wellington,

      That’s really cool, but fortunately I don’t think that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity… you’ll have that opportunity again, many times hopefully!!!

  • Raymundo de Jesus says:

    Gostei, como sempre.
    A expressão ‘de vez em nunca’ é
    usada em alguma parte do Brasil?


  • jennifer says:

    Hi Ana! Once in a blue moon I’ll try make a different food,’cause I’m awful cook,althoug,I be a homewife who has three sons.But anyone to complain about that.For that reason I’m sure about then love for me.Just one doubt:is rigth like I wrote:I be.I means ¨eu seja”.Kisses

  • Andre says:

    Last year I moved to work in the United States. I have 10 years of experience in my area, and the company where I work invited me to move to the world headquarters in Portland. I had to change my life entirely, but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Nice Podcast. Thank you!!

  • Mv says:

    Hello Ana!! Well .. I usually read sports magazine. But if you ask me ” what about books ? ” ooohh .. I hate to read books in general.. Once in a blue moon I really try to read a book.

    Great Podcast Ana like all the others .. Thanks!! Mv

  • Luis says:

    Nowadays, once in a blue moon I sign in Windows Live Messenger. hahahahaha

  • Alessandra says:

    Once in a blue moon I’ll try mine hand at talking to Chinese people in English.
    Does it make sense?

  • Luciano Nascimento says:

    Hello Ana,
    Well I’ll try to write about something I did in my childhood.
    Once time my father came home from work and I cleaned his shoes, but after that his give to me a bicycle!
    I think this was a once in a lifetime. It was amazing to me, made me so happy!
    I also have friends who rarely see them. I see them once in the blue moon.
    Now a days I play football once in a blue moon. I think I need to practice more and make more exerccises in order to have health and a healthy lifestyle, right? lol
    At most, that’s all! I love your podcasts, always very interesting!

    See you Ana, bye.

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Hi Luciano,

      Ouça mais uma vez o podcast, e repare que “once in a lifetime” não quer dizer qualquer coisa q aconteceu apenas uma vez.

      Quer dizer uma oportunidade única, q vc não deveria desperdiçar, pois é improvável q aconteça dee novo, OK?


  • Elisama says:

    Once I tryed my hands at cooking, but it was a totally disaster. Now I cook once in a blue moom, when I don´t have choice rsrsrsr

  • Débora says:

    When my husband and I went to Punta Cana and Bahamas by the Company. It was for sure a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity.

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