Learn English with English, baby!

Join for FREE!

Ali Krieger - Sink or Swim

Ali Krieger - Sink or Swim English, baby! Video Lesson
阿里·克里格 - 自主沉浮

Date: Oct 26 2011

Themes: Celebrity, Sports

Grammar: Gerunds vs. Infinitives


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

Go Super to Listen Go Super!

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Go Super to Listen Go Super!

If for some reason, you suddenly found yourself alone in the middle of the ocean, you would have only two options: sink or swim. You could give up or try to survive. The choice would be yours.

In English, we say someone will “sink or swim” anytime it is up to them to succeed or fail. When Ali Krieger isn’t playing for the US Women’s National Team, she plays club soccer for FFC Frankfurt in Germany. Over the last few years, she has learned a lot of German. We recently got the chance to see her German tattoo and talk to her about how she had to sink or swim when she got to Germany.

在英语中,当成败与否全凭其自身时,我们会说某人将“sink or swim”(自主沉浮)。当阿里·克里格不为美国女子国家队效力时,她在德国 FFC 法兰克福一家俱乐部中踢球。在过去的几年中,她学习了不少德语。我们最近有机会看见她的德文纹身,并询问她刚到德国时,如何“自主沉浮”。

3. Watch - Watch the video without reading the dialog.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

Log in to Listen

2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Ali:  I’m Ali Krieger from the US Women’s National Team. Thank you for having me on.

Jason:  So you recently learned, over the last few years, a lot of German. I was just wondering, what’s your strategy for learning a language? How did you go about learning German?

Ali:  You know, I didn’t know a word of German until I went to Frankfurt. Honestly, they threw me in the courses, the German classes. I’m now in German 8, so I’m still learning and I love to speak the language. I love to learn. But also, I was lucky enough that I landed on the team and I automatically can speak with the girls. Not all of them speak English, which I didn’t expect them to. So I had to learn pretty quick. You have to sink or swim, and I decided to swim a bit and try to test the waters and see how much I can learn. I learned all of it in Germany because you have to live, and in the lifestyle and the people you meet, you need to know their personality. You need to know your way around, and that was the only way possible.

Jason:  When Ali got to Germany, she didn’t know any German. She had to learn it or fail. That’s what she means when she says she had to sink or swim.

Ali:  So I had to learn pretty quick. You have to sink or swim, and I decided to swim a bit and try to test the waters and see how much I can learn.

Jason:  I gather you have a German tattoo. Can we get a shot of that?

Ali:  It means “love” in German, “liebe,” it just describes and represents my experience there in Germany and how much love I have for the country, for the land, for the people, for the culture. It just is a good story to tell. When people ask me, “Hey, what does your tattoo mean?,” that’s really cool. I’m able to express how much I love the country and my whole experience and opportunity there.

Jason:  That’s awesome. Thanks so much for talking with us. Can I get you to give me a high five and say, “English, baby!”?

Ali:  English, baby!


Grammar Point

Go Super to learn "Gerunds vs. Infinitives" from this lesson Go Super!


Go Super to take Quiz Go Super!


Lesson MP3

Go Super to download full lesson MP3 Go Super!

Go to the TOEFL® page >


Go Super to Listen Go Super!

Ali didn’t know any German when she got to Germany. She had to sink or swim, and she decided to swim. She learned German and she is glad she did. She loves Germany and the German people.

If Ali hadn’t learned German, her experience there would not have been the same. It might have been bad. She might not have stayed with her team.

Ali had to sink or swim. She had to learn German to succeed. When have you had to sink or swim?

For more with Ali, see the first half of this interview or visit our blog.



Log in to Comment



Saudi Arabia

I like it and I think  is enjoyable

08:01 PM Dec 05 2011 |

1 person likes this



I had to sink or swim a lot of times in my life. During college, during my first real job, during my marriage, during all my life!!!

Sometimes it seems simple and confortable when you give things up and let it be the way they are. But most of the time, it is good to choose the swim option because when you swim, when you try, you always learn something. 

I like to say that life is not easy at the same time it is delicious becouse when you win something this victory is special and you worth it =)

02:40 PM Nov 29 2011 |


Viet Nam

I’ll swim…I wont give up before trying…

01:26 AM Nov 16 2011 |



In life every time you get into such situation when you must make dicision, to do something or not that is to say “sink or swim”. But it is not often right  to swim, because after some time you can find out that you swim the opposit diraction. Any way you must remember that in every situation you have at least two choices, and only you must make decision.


06:55 AM Nov 10 2011 |

kinjal gadhavi


do or die …............

nice lesson…....i likee it…..

10:58 AM Nov 04 2011 |



Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

despite i’m afraid swimming because of the drowning but i love it it was astonishing lesson.

12:42 PM Oct 30 2011 |



I also fell off several times when I tryed to cycle:) And I want to indicate that I really miss my childhood.

12:07 PM Oct 29 2011 |

Maria del Alba


Ali’s story reminds me a lot bacause I dedided to test the waters and come into Germany and now I have to sink or swim because I gotta throw myseflf into German if I want to understand the people and the professors. Now I came here a month ago I know better my way around but I see it is sometimes difficult for a foreigner to adapt to her new country.

01:51 AM Oct 28 2011 |

1 person likes this


Viet Nam

Sink or swim? I think that all people always try to swim for survival, but to succeed in life, you have to be persistent and try to swim until you achieve the success. I love this expression.

07:31 AM Oct 27 2011 |



be or not to be

03:34 PM Oct 26 2011 |

1 person likes this




sink or swim, make it or not , live or die , do your best or do nothing.

good lesson, it was awesome

let’s all swim .

01:46 PM Oct 26 2011 |



Syrian Arab Republic

 i decided to sink or swim when i decided to enter english literature department instead of history department and learn english although i didnt like it,but now after i got adegree in this field i think that i swim and not sink

09:45 AM Oct 26 2011 |



Sink or swim, that is what i have to do right now. when you be thrown to a foreign country, it is the only way to survive.

08:33 AM Oct 26 2011 |

1 person likes this




Hello , because of your question I decide no travelling in the future . HAHAHA

Please help me I cant swim ” thats what I will do ?

Then I say : Good bye  Ebaby I’m going to sink …......

07:12 AM Oct 26 2011 |




Well, i like it when i have to sink or swim. At first, you maybe get upset and nervous, but eventually you’ll learn a lot of things and you’ll get better and better everyday.

05:21 AM Oct 26 2011 |



pretty motaphos it is ,to be honest ,this is first time for heard that, sink or swim means give up or insist,as ali saide above ,if some unpredictable reason for our stay in ocean,we just two choices here,swim to get survive or give up waitting die in the sea,i think every one just want to survive but die in the sea ,but you know ,if you never swimming before,maybe you have no any chance to survive,as for some one can swim just need insist and swim a long distance,maybe really very far and almost no traget at all at that time ,but you can not give up,just swimming and waiting ,maybe you have chance to survive by rescuer,if you give up so early or at the very begging ,maybe you lost any chance,on the other hand ,we awareness people have to prepare some skills before something happened,like you should prepare enough food and money when you plan visit some place which is never exploitation,as for me,i have missed many chance or because my poor english,so all i have to is learing english,sink or swim ,of course ,i choice swim all the time and never think give up,i believe just need practise more and speak more ,will get success in future,they say,great opportunity alway love someone who has prepared well.

12:46 AM Oct 26 2011 |




Hello, it is very diffuclt question “to sink or swim”. I”m not a good swimmer myself, but I would do my best to swim, despite the fact  that my power for the long swimming will end sooner or later. May be the shark will have been eaten me – who knows, but I must try to SWIM as long as I can …...... only after all the all attempts for the surviving I would say: “I’m sinking  now :(

12:29 AM Oct 26 2011 |

2 people like this



Sink or Swim

i am thinking which one is better,thinking and thinking,until i have missed so many opportunities.most times i choose Sink ,i never force myself to do the unknown things,so i will never know  what  the result will be like,yes or no,good or bad.it is a tragedy.tragedy..

12:13 AM Oct 26 2011 |



yes.only two options.and must have a choice:give up or continue.

12:06 AM Oct 26 2011 |

1 person likes this



every game soccer is sink or swim

11:25 PM Oct 25 2011 |

1 person likes this

Likes (22):

See all >

Share this lesson:

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Bebo
  • Share on Myspace
  • Share on Twitter
  • Email this to a friend
  • Share on Sina

Post Ebaby! lessons on your blog:

Ebaby! Cast