DISPATCHES from the EFL front

Week beginning: 26/03/2012

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


It depends on what is planned. Even students who know often make the slip of the tongue and say ‘of’ instead of ‘on’   Ça dépend de ce qui est planifié. Même les stagiaires avertis font souvent la faute et disent ‘of’ au lieu de ‘on’.


auxillary or main verb?
I didn’t have breakfastI hadn’t eaten. In French, whether ‘have’ is the main or the auxiliary verb makes no difference to its negative & interrogative forms.In English when it’s the main verb it behaves like all main verbs (with do-does/did for questions and negative statements).   Have you received the answer yet? Do you have the answer yet? En français que le verbe avoir soit auxiliaire ou verbe principal n’affecte pas ses formes négative et interrogative.En anglais, quand c’est un verbe principal il se comporte comme tous les verbes principaux (avec do-does/did pour les questions et négations)


Patients mustn’t self- medicate but you

mustn’t (it’s forbidden)

don’t have to (no obligation)

  don’t have to consult your doctor to take aspirinmustn’t (interdiction)don’t have to (absence d’obligation


Closes (2 syllables)

A typical pronunciation problem

  Clothes (1 syllabe ‘cloze’)Un problème de prononciation typique


Spiders web


vs cobweb

Both translate the same way in French but the first is still a going concern whereas the second just gathers dust

  Tous deux se traduisent par ‘toile d’araignée’ mais le premier est toujours ‘en opération’ et le second simplement un attrape-poussière


He’s involved in the project

Once again differing implications! involved being neutral whereas implicated is negative

  He’s implicated in a scandal

Ici encore le sous-entendu est neutre pour involved mais négatif pour implicated


Most airlines (in the world)

Expressions like all, some, many, none, etc. are only followed by ‘of’ if there is a determiner (your, that, the, etc.)

  Most of the airlines in Sky Team

Les expressions comme all, some, many, none, etc. ne sont suivi de ‘of’ que s’il y a un déterminant (my, these, the, etc.)



Management, staff

Misleading expressions – ‘management’ here is not like ‘management training’ or ‘stock management’, ‘staff’ means employees, and ‘Executives’ doesn’t correspond to the French word ‘exécutants’ which means the people who carry out orders

  & executives

Expressions trompeuses – ‘management’ (ici) = La Direction, staff = les employés, Executives = les cadres


I’m not sure to have time

Beware – the first expression usually has future reference

  I’m not sure I understand

Attention – ‘I’m not sure to’ indique souvent le futur


I can’t do it

Foreigners often assume (quite logically) both expressions have more or less the same meaning but ‘I can’t make it’ usually means ‘I can’t come/attend’

  I can’t make it

On a l’impression que les deux formules signifient ‘je ne peux pas le faire’ mais le plus souvent ‘I can’t make it’ veut dire ‘je ne peux pas venir / assister’

English by Email – Friday, 30 March 2012
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