Category: Idiomatic Expressions

Posted in Fluency Expressions Sarianna Video

Someone will be waiting for you at the airport

Posted in Cross Cultural Comments Fluency Expressions Sarianna Video

The sooner the better!

Posted in Cross Cultural Comments Expressions Hear it, Say it, Write it ! Idiomatic Expressions

Answers to the Listening Bee: October 8, 2010

  1. “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”
  2. Nothing hurts like the truth.”
  3. “Let’s get down to business
  4. “Keep smiling!”

5.  “I’ve got to run now”

  1. ” The rest is history.”
Posted in Notes on English Cross Cultural Comments Cinema Idiomatic Expressions Reading

“Love – 15”

It’s simply a score!  … A tennis score, silly !

The French, who have a reputation, deservedly or not, in these matters: love or tennis, you choose … just do it … and (whisper?) talk about it.

They say, a little upset for one and self-satisfied for the other,  “Zéro-quinze” and then after the next ball is served, it can be “quinze-quinze” or “Zéro-trente” … followed by “Zéro-quarante” and if the non-serving player scores the next point it’s …

“Jeu.” Game over. No Love. Just a game. On to the next one … A set. Two sets. Match point. Match.

Anglo-Saxons, on the other hand, tend to be much more emotional. We start with “Love” and then the 15s and the thirties and the forties until … someone gallantly says …

“You won!” And then? Well, the next game begins with … “Love”, doesn’t it ? Two winners.

Of course, the British started by playing on … green grass. Lawn tennis. Like love, a little unpredictable as to where the ball bounces.

Fate? Destiny? as in Woody Allen’s masterpiece “Match Point.”

Posted in Notes on English Cross Cultural Comments Idiomatic Expressions

“The bottom line” and “at the end of the day”

The bottom line is the final result.

“The bottom line,” said Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, chief of pulmonology at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital, “is there’s no longterm health effect from volcanic ash.”

(see the article on the vocabulary of green, too)

and at the end of the day …

Posted in Notes on English Cross Cultural Comments Hear it, Say it, Write it ! Idiomatic Expressions Online Language Resources for English

“I can’t help it…”

Now if this were … “I can’t help you” or “I can’t help him” or “I can’t help them”… it would be easily translatable.

In French, for example, we’d say literally: “Désolé, je ne peux pas vous aider” ou “Je ne peux pas t’aider … dans le sens de “Je ne peux pas te donner un coup de main” , “Je ne peux pas te dépanner … ” “Je ne peux pas vous être utile…” ou même “Mon cher ami, si vous saviez …” … etcetera.

But the “it” … changes everything! Unless you’re talking about Minerva,  your pet cat, or Tolleston, your pet dog …  for example …,

“I can’t help it” is what someone says when they’re doing something compulsively. Indulging in something. Having an uncontrolled reaction. Cleptomania, for example … just picking up something that doesn’t belong to them.  Maybe having … one more drink.

Just listen: 

[audio:|titles=can’t help it]

In French, we might now translate this as:

“Je n’y peux rien…” ou “Je ne peux pas m’empêcher …” ou “C’est plus fort que moi …”

Apparently, it’s said on both sides of the Atlantic. As much by women as by men?

Why did I put this little thing in here today?

[audio:|titles=just couldn’t help it!]