During a recent conference, more than one speaker used a very clear and easy to pronounce expression:
“At the end of the day …” This expression, which means … the end result …. is roughly synonomous with
“When all is said and done” or “The bottom line”
and in French … maybe something like … Tous comptes faits … En fin de compte … and I will say that today, at the end of the day, there was a lot of goodwill, lots of business cards were exchanged and promises made!
“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)
When all is said and done …
This means that when the discussion is over, when everything has been said … the conclusion is …
Try your own recording of these!
exaggeration > amplification > overstating > creating a catastrophe out of a relatively minor issue.
One of my students is finally getting over a real complex about using “for” and “since” … sound familiar? She’s very, very fluent and native speakers admire her agility and culture in English. Right now, we’re doing memory work.
English teachers in France have traumatized millions and millions of their students over the years with this. I’m sure no other element has appeared in French schools’ English grammar tests as much as these three little words: for, since, ago.
(Depuis … le temps …. )
Sure, we say “for ages” and not “since ages” … but as the French say: “Il n’y a pas mort d’homme.” (No one’s died from it.)
And in English … need we insist on making a mountain out of a molehill ? … Sure try to get it right … but if you don’t … why make a mountain out of a molehill?
When S. used the abbreviation “e.t.a.” the other day, it took me a minute to catch on.
“What’s your “e.t.a.?” she asked her mom on the phone.
Well over in France and in Spain, those initials refer to a Basque separatist movement.
In travel-intensive North America, it does not, to my knowledge, refer to a secessionist tendency.
It does have to do with time, though_
“What’s your e.t.a.?”
“Between 12 and 12:30” … That’s to say, just in time for lunch.
E.T.A. = Estimated Time of Arrival
A fine substitute for “What time do you think you’ll get here?”
For the others, try wikipedia …
It takes a thief to catch a thief …
A few years back, I needed to replace a “burglar-proof” door. There were different models: some were 3-point systems, others were 5-point… and then there were others that had even more. When I asked how long it would take a professional burglar to get through … the answer was …
“a minute a point …
Apparently the best locksmiths … like those who can put a rubik’s Cube back to its original state in a few minutes … are those who’ve cracked the code … who have learnt the secrets.
There’s an old Eastern European proverb which says:
“Old highwaymen make the best police…
but … there are not only men on the road …
Those of us who live, or have lived our lives outside the country or the culture we were born into will appreciate what Edmund Jabès wrote. As well as those of us who have the role of hosts … Jabès, born in Egypt, later made his home in Paris.
“L’étranger te permet d’être toi-même, en faisant de toi, un étranger.”
Among the many “translations” possible, what’s yours ?
“L’étranger” : the foreigner? the other ?
“te permet d’être toi-même” : lets you be yourself ? allows you to be yourself ?
“en faisant de toi” : by making you, by rendering you, by turning you into
“un étranger” : the foreigner, the other …