Words and Their Stories: We Really Need to Talk About Your Friends – VOA Learning English (Oct 21, 2017)

Now, Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English.

Each week, this program tells about words and expressions in American English. Sometimes we give examples through conversations, stories and even songs — whatever we can use to help you improve your understanding of American English!

Today we start by asking a question: What sort of friends do you have?

The answer is probably — all different kinds!

So, we will talk about different expressions that we use for different kinds of friendship.

You’ve got a friend in me, You’ve got a friend in me, When the road looks rough ahead, And you’re miles and miles from your nice warm bed. You just remember what your old pal said, Boy, you’ve got a friend in me …

When Randy Newman sings “you’ve got a friend in me,” he simply means that he is a good friend of yours.

But what do you call someone who is not really a friend? You just, kind of, know them.

Acquaintances are people you know, but not well. When using this word, there is often a distance between two people. We often use it when we want to state that the person is not a true friend. It doesn’t mean that  you have bad feelings about the other person. You are simply acquainted with them. In other words, you know his or her name but that’s about it.

An acquaintance could one day be a friend if the two of you spend time together and you find that you have things in common.

As the adjective suggests, a distant friend is someone you consider a friend, but not a close one. Maybe time or distance has come between you. Or perhaps you know them in a limited way. Again, calling someone a distant friend does not mean you have bad feelings for them.

Distant friends could also be mutual friends — people you know through other people. Mutual friends are friends you have in common, or share, with someone else. When we don’t want to use the word “mutual,” Americans often just say a friend of a friend.

For example, I could say, “Oh, I don’t know her well at all. She’s just a friend of a friend … of a friend.” You can add as many “of a friends” as you think necessary.

Your childhood friends are the people you grew up with. Many people grow apart from their childhood friends. But some people remain close with those people who were among their first friends.

Fast friends are people who become friends soon after they first meet. It’s as if you were meant to be friends with each other.

These days, there are people who are friends through social media.

As social media developed, the word “friend” has also become a verb, as in this example: “After she stole my client list, I unfriended her on my social media accounts. She cannot be trusted.”

Now, if you have friends who are important in the community or are extremely wealthy or powerful, you might say that you have friends in high places. These friends have power and influence. They can help you when you’re in trouble or when you need something.

Not all of us are lucky enough to have friends in high places. And that is okay. Sometimes it’s more fun to have the opposite.

‘Cause I’ve got friends in low places, Where the whiskey drowns

And the beer chases my blues away. And I’ll be okay.

If someone is no longer your friend, you can call him or her an ex-friend. The two of you may have had a “falling out”, meaning a disagreement or fight. And now you are “on the outs,” meaning no longer talking to each other.

There’s another kind of friend that I’m sure we’ve all had at one point: the fair-weather friend.

First, what exactly is “fair weather”?

When weather conditions are fair, they are really nice. Everything from taking a walk to doing home repairs and playing sports is easier to do in nice weather. There’s no driving rain, heavy snow or strong winds to make things difficult.

As an adjective describing things, the term fair-weather means something is designed for nice weather use only. For example, in boating, a fair-weather sail is only good for sailing in good weather. And a fair-weather tent is only meant to be used when camping in mild, dry conditions.

Well, the same can be said for a fair-weather friend. Such a person is only there during easy, carefree times. But as soon as things get difficult, they are nowhere to be found. We should note that this idiomatic usage describing a type of friend is much more common than the actual meaning.

One online reference guide gives us another definition of a fair-weather friend as “one who is helpful, friendly or available” but only when it is convenient for them. So, this friend will help you if he or she gets something out of the relationship. If not, you are on your own!

Another online guide defines fair-weather as “insincere and temporary.” Americans often use “fair-weather” when talking about sports. When a team is doing well, fair-weather sports fans jump on board. They want to talk about the team morning, noon and night. But at the first sign of a losing streak, a fair-weather fan jumps ship!

So, a fair-weather friend will not see you through the bad times. That is why we have close friends and even best friends. This person will help you through thick and thin. They are often the wind beneath our wings, as the song says, meaning they lift us up and help us get to where want to go.

And who doesn’t want a friend like that?

And that’s Words and Their Stories. I’m Anna Matteo!

WRITING PROMPT: Do you have a word like “fair-weather friend” in your language? Let us know in the Comments Section! Or simply practice with some of these expressions by describing one of your friendships.

Why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we be friends? I seen you around for a long, long time. I remembered you when you drank my wine. Why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we be friends?

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow edited the story.

This was originally published on the www.learningenglish.voanews.com and reproduced here with permission.

Courtesy: Voice of America

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The Experiment: This Is Where… Work cut out – BBC Learning English (Oct 19 2017)

The Experiment: This Is Where… Work cut out – BBC Learning English (Oct 19 2017)

Source: BBC-Learning English

Terms Of UseThis post is reproduced under licence from www.bbc.co.uk/.  You are not allowed to modify, edit, reproduce, republish the contents of this post for any personal/commercial use and any form of reproduction of the contents of this post is strictly prohibited. You can access to view & listen to the contents (of this post) provided you comply with the Terms of Use of BBC Online Services.
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English @ the Movies: ‘Come Along’ – VOA Learning English (Oct 20, 2017)

This was originally published on "VOA Learning English" and reproduced here with permission.

Courtesy: Voice of America

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6 Minute English (What’s wetiquette?) – BBC Learning English (Oct 19 2017)

6 Minute English (What’s wetiquette?) – BBC Learning English (Oct 19 2017)

Source: BBC-Learning English

Terms Of UseThis post is reproduced under licence from www.bbc.co.uk/.  You are not allowed to modify, edit, reproduce, republish the contents of this post for any personal/commercial use and any form of reproduction of the contents of this post is strictly prohibited. You can access to view & listen to the contents (of this post) provided you comply with the Terms of Use of BBC Online Services.
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The Word “That” in Everyday American English – VOA Learning English (Oct 19, 2017)

EG_19OCT17

The 1994 crime film “Pulp Fiction” tells the story of a gunman, played by Samuel L. Jackson.

In the film, the gunman is growing tired of his life of crime. Near the end of the movie, he gives two other criminals a chance to leave a bad situation.

-“The truth is, you’re the weak and I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd. Go.”

– “I think we should be leaving now.”

– “Yeah. That’s probably a good idea.”

In this program, we explore the meaning of a word you heard in the recording: the pronoun “that”. And we will look at how Americans use this word in everyday speech. You might be surprised how often Americans use it for different purposes!

The word “that”

On another Everyday Grammar program, we explored the many uses of the word “that.” That belongs to a group of words called demonstratives. Sometimes demonstratives act as pronouns. When acting as pronouns, they suggest that nouns are either close to the speaker or far away.*

In American English, speakers use the word “that” to mean people or objects that are at a distance. But they also use it in other ways.

For example, English speakers often use the word “that” to give an opinion about something or to repeat the main points of a conversation.

We will now look at each of these uses in greater detail.

#1 Evaluating an idea or situation

Speakers often use the word “that” in sentences that give an opinion about  an idea or situation. They do this by using the structure, that’s + an adjective, or that’s + a noun phrase.

This audio from the 1996 film “Fargo” gives an example of the first structure:

– “They announced it.”

– “They announced it?”

– “Yah.”

– “So?”

– “Three-cent stamp.”

– “Your mallard?”

– “Yah.”

– “Oh, that’s terrific.”

The term “that’s terrific” is an example of that’s + an adjective. Here, the word “that” means the idea or situation presented; in other words, the new stamp. The adjective “terrific” gives the speakers positive or good opinion about the stamp.

There are any number of adjectives that speakers use to express their opinion. A few other examples are “that’s cool” or “that’s awesome,” two common expressions among younger Americans.

English speakers also use the that’s + a noun clause structure to give an opinion about a situation or idea.

Think back to the lines you heard at the beginning of this program.

– “I think we should be leaving now.”

– “Yeah. That’s probably a good idea.”

Here, the word “that” means the idea that came in the earlier sentence “I think we should be leaving now.”

The speaker gives his opinion about the idea by using the noun phrase “a good idea.” The word “probably” changes the force of his statement.

#2 Summarizing the main point of earlier statements

The second common structure in everyday speech is that’s + a wh- clause. A wh- clause suggests a group of words beginning with the letters w and h, such as why or what.

Speakers use this structure when they are noting the main points of earlier statements in a conversation.

The comedy film “Clerks” has an example of how speakers use this structure in everyday speech. Here, the actors are having a debate about the best “Star Wars” movie:

“Empire had the better ending. I mean, Luke gets his hand cut off, finds out Vader’s his father, Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. It ends on such a down note. I mean, that’s what life is, a series of down endings.”

The main speaker makes several statements and then closes with the words “that’s what life is – a series of down endings.” The word “that” means the ideas presented earlier: namely, a series of bad events. Hopefully, you do not agree with the speaker’s opinions of life!

What can you do?

Instead of giving you a down ending – such as in the line from the film Clerks – we are going to end on a positive note.

Learning and understanding the uses of pronouns such as “that” can be difficult. But, you will be successful if you take a few simple steps.

The next time you are watching a film or talking with English speakers, try to listen for examples of the word “that.”

Ask yourself the following questions: Do the speakers use it to give their opinion? Do they use it to summarize the conversation?

Then, find a person to practice with. Try to use the word “that” when speaking to them.

Let us know if you have any questions – we are always happy to help!

I’m Alice Bryant.

And I’m John Russell.

John Russell wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

*The word “that” can also introduce adjective clauses. These types of clauses are beyond the scope of this story.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

_____________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

demonstrative – n. a word (such as “this,” “that,” “these,” or “those”) that tells who or what is being spoken about

conversation – n. a talk involving two people or a small group of people; a discussion

phrase – n. a group of two or more words that express a single idea but do not usually form a complete sentence

clause – n. grammar a part of a sentence that has its own subject and verb

tyranny – n. an oppressive power

pronoun – n. a word that is used instead of a noun

stamp – n. a small piece of paper placed on something to show that a payment has been made

mallard – n. a common duck

comedy – adj. something that is meant to make people laugh

practice – v. to perform repeatedly; to train

 

This article was originally published on the www.learningenglish.voanews.com  and reproduced here with permission.

Courtesy: Voice of America

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Back to the ballot – The Hindu (Oct 21, 2017)

Back to the ballot – The Hindu (Oct 21, 2017)

Barely days before the contentious rerun of the presidential election in Kenya on October 26, the CEO of its electoral board, Ezra Chiloba, has announced that…. For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Word List-2 (To Improve English Vocabulary)

  1. contentious (adjective) – controversial, debatable, disputed.
  2. incumbent (noun) – a person who is in office and holds power; functionary, official.
  3. annul (verb) – nullify, invalidate, cancel.
  4. fray (noun) – battle/fight, contest, competition.
  5. comprehensive (adjective) – wide-ranging/all-inclusive, complete.
  6. overhaul (noun) – a thorough examination, revamp, recondition.
  7. persuade (verb) – convince, tempt/prompt, induce.
  8. avert (verb) – prevent, stop, avoid.
  9. buy time (phrase) – linger, delay, be slow.
  10. prevailing (adjective) – existing, present, prevalent.
  11. fluid (adjective) – fluctuating, changeable, inconstant.
  12. on the ground (phrase) – in a situation/place where things are happening really/practically.
  13. turmoil (noun) – confusion, disorder, unrest/disruption.
  14. sheds (throw or cast) light on (phrase) – explain, elucidate, clarify, clear up.
  15. fragile (adjective) – shaky/weak, delicate, frail.
  16. watershed (adjective) – milestone, landmark, historic.
  17. exemplary (adjective) – flawless/faultless, impeccable/consummate.
  18. assertion (noun) – affirmation, declaration, statement.
  19. overturn (verb) – cancel, reverse, repeal.
  20. indictment (noun) – charge, accusation, citation.
  21. credence (noun) – credibility, reliability, plausibility/believability.
  22. manipulation (noun) – plot, trick/tactic, intrigue/stratagem.
  23. circumscribe (verb) – restrict, limit; regulate.
  24. champion (verb) – promote, support, advocate.
  25. err on the side of caution (phrase) – take a relatively safe approach/line of action when presented with an option.
  26. unambiguous (adjective) – undeniable, undebatable, unquestionable.
  27. in the face of (phrase) – despite, in spite of, notwithstanding, regardless of.
  28. volatile (adjective) – unpredictable, fluctuating, changeable.
  29. heed (verb) – pay attention to, notice, consider.

EDITORIAL WORDS TO IMPROVE ENGLISH VOCABULARY 21OCT17_2Note:   

  1. Click each one of the words above for their definition, more synonyms, pronunciation, example sentences, phrases, derivatives, origin and etc from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/.
  2. Definitions (elementary level) & Synonyms provided for the words above are my personal work and not that of Oxford University Press. Tentative definitions/meanings are provided for study purpose only and they may vary in different context. Use it with the corresponding article published on the source (website) via the link provided. 
  3. This word list is for personal use only. Reproduction in any format and/or Commercial use of it is/are strictly prohibited.
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Darjeeling deadlock – The Hindu (Oct 21, 2017)

Darjeeling deadlock – The Hindu (Oct 21, 2017)

The 104-day shutdown in the Darjeeling hills called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) may have been lifted in late September, but peace remains elusive. For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Word List-1 (To Improve English Vocabulary)

  1. deadlock (noun) – stalemate, impasse, stand-off.
  2. sink (verb) – ignore, disregard/forget, set/put aside.
  3. tripartite (adjective) – involving three parties.
  4. elusive (adjective) – difficult to catch/find; slippery.
  5. host (of) (noun) –  lot, large number, great quantity.
  6. spar (verb) – quarrel, argue, have a fight.
  7. on the same page (phrase) – in agreement.
  8. on the ground (phrase) – in a situation/place where things are happening really/practically.
  9. fluid (adjective) – fluctuating, changeable, inconstant.
  10. on the run (phrase) – running away, fleeing, in flight/fugitive.
  11. misappropriation (noun) – embezzlement, expropriation, theft.
  12. proclaimed (adjective) – announced, declared, trumpeted.
  13. prop up (phrasal verb) –  support, assist, stimulate.
  14. faction (noun) – a small group, section, division (of dissenter within a large group).
  15. chart (out) (verb) – follow, outline, describe/detail.
  16. flush (noun) – a fresh growth of (crop).
  17. prevail (verb) – exist, be present, be widespread/rampant.
  18. set in (phrasal verb) – begin, start, arrive (something unpleasant).
  19. trickle (back)  (verb) – go slowly or gradually.
  20. far from (phrase) – not, not at all, no way near.
  21. revive (verb) – revitalize, restore, bring back.
  22. stir (noun) – commotion, turmoil, uproar/disturbance.
  23. retract (verb) – take back, withdraw, disown/disavow.
  24. conciliatory (adjective) – propitiatory, appeasing, pacifying/peacemaking.
  25. stakeholder (noun) – a person with an interest in something.

EDITORIAL WORDS TO IMPROVE ENGLISH VOCABULARY 21OCT17_1Note:   

  1. Click each one of the words above for their definition, more synonyms, pronunciation, example sentences, phrases, derivatives, origin and etc from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/.
  2. Definitions (elementary level) & Synonyms provided for the words above are my personal work and not that of Oxford University Press. Tentative definitions/meanings are provided for study purpose only and they may vary in different context. Use it with the corresponding article published on the source (website) via the link provided. 
  3. This word list is for personal use only. Reproduction in any format and/or Commercial use of it is/are strictly prohibited.
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West Asia, post-IS – The Hindu (Oct 20, 2017)

West Asia, post-IS – The Hindu (Oct 20, 2017)

The capture of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria, by U.S.-backed Kurdish and Arab troops this week is a crushing blow to the group. For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Word List-2 (To Improve English Vocabulary)

  1. wrest (verb) – wrench, snatch, take control of (power).
  2. de facto (adjective) – actual/real, existing, effective.
  3. Caliphate (noun) – (Arabic: khilāfa) is an area containing an Islamic steward known as a caliph (Arabic: khalīfah), chief Muslim ruler-a person considered a religious successor to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad (Courtesy: Wikipedia).
  4. crumble (verb) – disintegrate, fall down/fall apart, collapse.
  5. propaganda (noun) – information, promotion, publicity.
  6. beheading (noun) – the act of cutting off a person’s head (as a form of execution).
  7. shambles (noun) – chaos, mess, disorder/disorganization.
  8. on the run (phrase) – running away, fleeing, in flight/fugitive.
  9. insurgent (adjective) – rebellious, revolutionary, rioting/subversive.
  10. proto-state (noun) – quasi-state; a political entity which does not represent a fully institutionalized or autonomous sovereign state (Courtesy: Wikipedia).
  11. predecessor (noun) – forerunner, precursor, antecedent.
  12. retreat (verb) – withdraw, retire, pull back/pull out.
  13. lone wolf (noun) –  a person who likes to do to things on his/her own.
  14. chaotic (adjective) – messy, confused, in disorder/disorganized.
  15. stakeholder (noun) – a person with an interest in something.
  16. usher in (phrasal verb) – start/begin, initiate; herald/signal.

EDITORIAL WORDS TO IMPROVE ENGLISH VOCABULARY 20OCT17_2Note:   

  1. Click each one of the words above for their definition, more synonyms, pronunciation, example sentences, phrases, derivatives, origin and etc from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/.
  2. Definitions (elementary level) & Synonyms provided for the words above are my personal work and not that of Oxford University Press. Tentative definitions/meanings are provided for study purpose only and they may vary in different context. Use it with the corresponding article published on the source (website) via the link provided. 
  3. This word list is for personal use only. Reproduction in any format and/or Commercial use of it is/are strictly prohibited.
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A first step – The Hindu (Oct 20, 2017)

A first step – The Hindu (Oct 20, 2017)

With the introduction of a new financial instrument, India is a step closer to building a vibrant market for commodities.For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Word List-1 (To Improve English Vocabulary)

  1. derivatives (In Finance) (adjective) – they are financial instruments whose value is derived from the value of something else (underlying entity like asset, commodity, currency, security ( a tradable financial asset).
  2. hedge (verb) – safeguard, protect, shield.
  3. volatility (noun) – likely to change in a very sudden or extreme way.
  4. turn out (phrasal verb) – transpire/emerge, happen, occur.
  5. binding (adjective) – compulsory, imperative, mandatory/necessary.
  6. realm (noun) – domain, sphere, area.
  7. speculation (noun) – a high-risk investment strategy aimed at making quick, substantial gains from the buying or selling of stocks, currencies or other assets.
  8. in line with (phrase) – in accordance with.
  9. mull (verb) – ponder, consider, think about.
  10. portfolio management (noun) – the managing of a group of different types of investments, paying attention to the risk and profits of each in relation to the rest.
  11. outweigh (verb) – supersede, offset, cancel out.
  12. systemic (adjective) – constructional, organizational, constitutional.
  13. asset bubble (noun) – used to refer to a situation when the prices of assets rise so sharply above their intrinsic value and making a sudden collapse.
  14. anticipate (verb) – expect, foresee, predict.
  15. prospect (noun) – chance, hope, possibility.
  16. facilitate (verb) – enable, assist, help.
  17. hostility (noun) – aversion, unfriendliness/opposition, antipathy.
  18. hasty (adjective) – reckless, irresponsible, unthinking/ill-advised.
  19. blanket (adjective) – overall, complete, total & inclusive.
  20. mitigation (noun) – alleviation, reduction; lessening.

EDITORIAL WORDS TO IMPROVE ENGLISH VOCABULARY 20OCT17_1

Note:   

  1. Click each one of the words above for their definition, more synonyms, pronunciation, example sentences, phrases, derivatives, origin and etc from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/.
  2. Definitions (elementary level) & Synonyms provided for the words above are my personal work and not that of Oxford University Press. Tentative definitions/meanings are provided for study purpose only and they may vary in different context. Use it with the corresponding article published on the source (website) via the link provided. 
  3. This word list is for personal use only. Reproduction in any format and/or Commercial use of it is/are strictly prohibited.
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Lingohack (Shark-detecting drones) – BBC Learning English (Oct 18 2017)

Lingohack (Shark-detecting drones) – BBC Learning English (Oct 18 2017)

Source: BBC-Learning English

Terms Of UseThis post is reproduced under licence from www.bbc.co.uk/.  You are not allowed to modify, edit, reproduce, republish the contents of this post for any personal/commercial use and any form of reproduction of the contents of this post is strictly prohibited. You can access to view & listen to the contents (of this post) provided you comply with the Terms of Use of BBC Online Services.
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