Two Down, One To Go


What does the phrase ‘two down, one to go‘ mean? It means that two things have been completed and there is one more thing left to do.

Example: It has been a busy day. I wrote down three errands I wanted to complete today and I have done two of them thus far. So two down, one to go; I’m almost finished!

Note: The numbers ‘two’ and ‘one’ in this phrase can be switched out with other numbers. (e.g., We planted yet another flower in our garden, so seven down, three to go.


The phrase two down, one to go, putting in golf.
Two holes down, one more to go.

The Origin Of ‘Two Down, One To Go’

This phrase may come from sports, such as baseball or golf. Why? Because from the earliest appearances I’ve seen of this phrase, it is always used within the context of some sport.

How is this phrase applicable to some sports? Let’s go over two examples. First, we will look at baseball. If a batter has three strikes, they’re out. So when a batter is at two strikes, we might imagine the commentators of the game comment on the situation and say, “two down, one to go before he strikes out!”

Now let’s look at golf. How would this expression apply to this sport? On a golf course, each hole has a number of strokes attached to it. Golfers are expected to complete the hole within that number of strokes; doing so results in a par. So, for instance, if a golfer is playing on a ‘par 3’ hole and he’s two strokes in, the commentators might say, “that’s two down and one to go for par.” Of course, these are just a couple examples of how the expression might be used in these and other sports.

Anyway, here is a quote of the phrase being used in relation to baseball. This example comes from the Olean Evening Herald, June 1922, where a recap of a recent game was given:

“The visiting Stars again tied the score in the seventh with two down and one to go.”

Here is an example of this phrase in the context of golf. This comes from the Des Moines Daily News, June 1919:

“In defeating Walker Jr., youthful star from Staten Island was pushed to the utmost reaching the final hole of the day with the youngster two down, one hole to go.”

Example Sentences

  • I’m attempting to go three weeks without eating any fast food. So far, I have two down and one to go — I can do this!
  • A bunch of unwanted flies got into my house, and now I have to get rid of them. I just hit one with my flyswatter, so that’s two down and several more to go.

Tip: Hey, if you are done reading about this saying, well, that’s one down and hundreds more to go! Okay, you don’t have to read about all of the common phrases on here, but there are lots to explore. So if you’re interested, use the menu at the top to find the phrase’s list.