DISPATCHES from the EFL front

Week beginning: 16/04/2012

This week’s selection of vocabulary, grammar and other language points – but mostly vocabulary



Add a little olive oil and a little of the chopped onion

  I had dinner with a few friendsI had dinner with a few of  my friends
A little reminder: certain expressions of quantity (a few, many, most, some) only need ‘of’ if there is a determiner (the, this, these, that, those, and the possessive adjectives)   Un petit rappel: certaines expressions de quantité (ici, un peu de) n’ont besoin de of que s’il y a un déterminant (the, this, these, that, those, et les adjectifs possessifs)

We do it every month

  We do it all the month



  tous les, toutes lestout le, toute la



Mould is harmful to humans

  and can damage walls
A lexical distinction: harm to humans, damage to structures, health, etc.   Distinction lexique entre ‘nuisible’ aux humains ou aux structures, à la santé, etc.

I went to a conference

  and attended an interesting lecture
Conference: event lasting several days including various activitiesLecture: presentation by one person on a subject   Conference : événement sur plusieurs jours et incluant plusieurs activitésLecture : intervention par une personne sur un sujet



How much profit did you make last year?

  What benefits do the employees get?
Profit: sales revenue minus costsBenefit:  advantage, good effect, government cash help, etc.   Profit = bénéficeBenefit = avantage, bienfait, allocation…

Basically, I’m a problem solver

  (so long as they’re easy problems)
Never fear expressing yourself simply in English, and tell them straight off by saying ‘Basically’ to commit yourself to keeping what you say simple.   En anglais, n’ayez jamais peur de la simplicité, et annoncez la couleur en disant « Basically » pour vous engager à garder vos propos simples



She fell in the stairs

  She fell down the stairs
French-speakers tend to say ‘fell in’ but this means she fell but stayed on the same step.‘Fell down’ is much more serious because she went down all the steps   Elle est tombée dans l’escalier mais est-ce qu’elle est simplement restée sur la même marche (fell in) ou, plus grave, a-t-elle descendu toutes les marches (fell down)?


Front runners

  Neck and neckAlso rans
The Presidential election reminds us how frequent sporting expressions are in politics (and in business).Here, horse racing provides expressions to describe the excitement of the race and the relative position of the participants.   L’élection présidentielle nous rappelle la fréquence d’expressions d’origine sportive en politique (et en affaires).Ici, les courses hippiques nous donnent ‘favoris’, ‘cou à cou’, ‘le peloton de tête’ et les ‘les autres coureurs’



Wearing clothes inside out brings good luck

  (back to front / upside down)
Finally, the tendency of French speakers to say simply ‘the wrong way round’ (à l’envers) where English speakers are more specific – in this case.   Finalement, ‘à l’envers’ se decline en ‘dedans dehors’, devant derrière’ et ‘tête bêche’.
English by Email – Friday, 20 April 2012
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