11 NOV 2020 The final furlong part II (US election)



Final Furlong Part II

There will be no politics discussed in this unit. We are going to focus only on words and phrases. Some of them are very easy to understand:

Everyone needs to keep his powder dry. - Put the cart before the horse.

Others are not so obvious:

Pennsylvania is the ballgame if Biden wins Pennsylvanians. 

Ballgame = done deal, game over.

There is also ‘a whole new ball game’: https://www.englishpatient.org/share/i/a-whole-new-ball-game

The most interesting, however, are the idioms like the one used by the commentator in the following video:

The idea that you can just say just because votes are coming from more Democratic leaning part of the country, they shouldn’t be counted is really beyond the pale and it has no historical precedent.


The phrase ‘beyond the pale’ is often used by educated people:

That is beyond the pale! Donald Trump is a sliver-spooned draft dodger. – And he’s been accused time and time again of going beyond the pale.

Please, read for a couple of minutes the following information: https://www.britannica.com/place/Pale-of-Settlement Now you are able to translate from Russian into English «черта оседлости». Following the news will help you to enhance your vocabulary much more than watching movies. Can you imagine a language like this in a movie?

Ah..And … It's the initial reaction by Donald Trump that is so troubling. His initial reaction was to lash out in a very petulant vindictive way and to come out… He didn’t just say ‘oh their son is a hero’ and move forward. He said… he actually had the audacity to compare their sacrifice and their son’s sacrifice to what he’s done as a businessman. That is beyond the pale! Donald Trump is a silver spooned draft dodger who bragged about bedding women while real men of courage were giving her lives serving this country in Vietnam. And he bragged about this and thought this was just wonderful and said that he was a brave soldier talking about sexual exploits.    

You have to understand modern history and present time to absorb the language of the country where this language is spoken. To comprehend the last video completely one must read the story behind it: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/03/smear-today-gone-tomorrow-khan-controversy-goes-over-trump-fans-hats

Words and phrases need a backdrop, a foundation to settle in your memory.

“Curiosity is as much the parent of attention, as attention is of memory.” (Richard Whately)

Even seemingly simple words would accumulate new meanings in your memory when you let the flow of information pass through your mind. Example:

It was so huge. It was overwhelming. It was like ah… - We know that you are still overwhelmed by requests for service and rescue. – Relief workers are overwhelmed by the scale of the influx. – There’s an overwhelming sense of desolation and decay. – The US Senate overwhelmingly approves the new round of sanctions against Russia.

Let’s go back to 2020 election in the USA:

The seemingly overwhelming lead that Donald Trump had in Pennsylvania the day after the election, this morning finally evaporated and has become a Biden lead.

As it was promised in the beginning of this unit we will not go deep into politics. But please pay attention to the meaning of the phrases because there is one more unit ahead meant to help you understand the events. 

Democrats are voting overwhelmingly in places such as Pennsylvania by mail, and the President Trump supporters were gonna vote overwhelmingly on Election Day. – The overwhelming majority of these ballots tally. 

Caricatures like these imply that Biden won due to the vote fraud. Those who sent their ballots by mail may have died before the Election Day. By the way, election officials in Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia would consider these ballots valid. That will not be the case in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin.

After the Election Night Joe Biden was waiting for the mailed ballots to be counted because he knew that the majority of those who root for Democrats traditionally vote by mail. Here is one more puzzle for your attention:

Make America wait again. This time it’s Biden His Time. – But one guy doesn’t dirty his hands. Peron was biding time out in the slow lane.

Do you know why the phrase ‘Make America wait again’ is supposed to be funny? Because the main slogan of Trump’s campaign in 2016 was ‘Make America great again’. So if you know the verb ‘to grate’ you will appreciate this funny picture:

In the second part of the previous video you heard Antonio Banderas singing in the musical Evita where politics and love merge in a very sophisticated manner. There are two units on our platform devoted to this masterpiece of Lloyd Webber:



When Republicans felt that they were losing the 2020 elections they started to look for the crimes committed by the Biden's team. There is an expression 'to throw against a wall and see if it sticks'.

An old method of testing spaghetti was to throw a strand against the refrigerator, and if it stuck, it was ready to take out of the boiling water. This metaphor original meant as a test to see if something was done or ready or validated. However, over the years, it has morphed to mean a test to see which solution might work. Instead of "throw it against the wall," one typically hears "throw them against the wall." http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/throw-against-a-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks

And the Trump people are just kind of throwing everything up against the wall.

One more word to describe this situation:

One of the things that’s going on here… The word ‘flailing’ does come to mind, but…

To flail here means ‘to work diligently towards a goal, but to make no progress or to perform poorly'. Please inquire about other more simple meanings in the dictionary .Now watch this small collection which focuses on the most important word on Election Day:

With the turnout very impressive. – Just look at the turnout in Texas. – What’s the actual turnout? - The record-breaking turnout. – Ah…turnout, obviously, in Florida is so key but it’s so hard for Democrats that their voters are some of the hardest to turn out in that state. – Across Russia’s 11 time zones election officials say turnout was high.

to turn out’ in this video meant ‘to come, appear, or be present’.

The meaning of the phrasal verb ‘to turn out’ that you will hear in the next video is much more frequently used, though:

If this turns out to be a device planted by an ISIL operative or by somebody inspired by ISIL, then clearly we will have to look again at the level of security we expect to see in airports in areas where ISIL is active.  - Not the girl you’d remember but she’s still something special, if you knew her I’m sure you’d agree, ‘cause I know she’s got a secret. Friday evening she turns out to be Nina pretty ballerina. Now she is the queen of the dancing floor. This is the moment she waited for just like Cinderella.

Just in case you did not know: cinder is a small piece of partly burned coal or wood.

One of the goals of this unit is to help you understand that cliché like ‘the language of the press’ is misleading. Never ignore the word just because you came across it in the news. In the long run you will lose a lot of necessary words. Example:

So far, again, 78% if you round it up. 22% if you round it up. So it’s coming in – lopsided for Joe Biden. There is no reason to assume that it’s going to change.

Not only mathematicians or accountants are supposed to know what ‘to round up’ means. All you have to do is to extend the same logic and protect your mind from the harmful myths about the ‘language for specific purposes’. Below you can see the slide from my presentation for physicists. Its purpose was to prove the same simple truth:

Lopsided = with one side bigger, higher, etc. than the other; not equally balanced

Skewed = distorted from a true value or symmetrical form, deviating from what is normal or accurate

More examples in sentences:

They were accused of skewing the facts to fit their theory.

He accused them of skewing the rules in their favor.

I am sick of lopsided arguments of my friends on politics.

I have a lopsided smile. I'm sure I didn't have one when I was a child.

The verb ‘to slant’:

They slanted pretty heavily toward President Donald Trump. But once they started counting the mailing vote, once that was tabulated, it was clear – Joe Biden had a clear edge.

To slant = to (cause to) lean in a position that is not vertical; to (cause to) slope

To tabulate = to show information in the form of a table

Bottom line? There is a pathway.

We have this phrase explained here: https://www.englishpatient.org/share/i/bottom-line

One more important meaning, however, should be added to this website. It is used in this video:

Bottom line: talks continue. – What’s the bottom line is for us? – Bottom line: unless I ring my bell, you stay out of heaven. – Bottom line, Tom, I cut expenses 12% - What’s our bottom line?

Watch the following videos and find the idioms in them.

It soon became clear that this would be another nail-biting race.
So thank you again to all Pennsylvanians who voted. Rest assured your vote will be counted but has not already been counted. Your vote will make a difference in this election. This is the way we elect our officials, this is the way we hire the people who are public servants. 
The elections workers and all the volunteers really stepped up the plate and are working tirelessly day in day out. 

step up to the plate = to take action when something needs to be done, even though this is difficult

Before watching the next video, please visit our website https://www.englishpatient.org/share/i/nitty-gritty

There is one minor error there. Find it, if you can. Which word is missing?

Well, if you are just waking up and watching us, you’ve timed it perfectly. We are going into the nitty-gritty of the race. This is how the map stands at the moment. 

Nitty-gritty of the race’ may sound derogatory. But only for those who know the origin of the phrase. https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/nitty-gritty.html

Now you know that this idiom is used frequently. One more example:

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the big issue – the climate summit.
Which is a big change, I mean, they really haven’t been up for grabs for a long time. 


Do you know the word ‘minutia’? It’s a minute or minor detail —usually used in plural - minutiae. Trump likes to entertain the crowds but does not enjoy the minutiae working with the government.

What is the last word in the next phrase? The answer you will find in the end of the unit (after PS)

What is the phrase at the end of the next video? The answer is also after PS. 

Are you familiar with these two interesting words?

All this should be redundant now – the election ephemera of the night before.

Redundant = (especially of a word, phrase, etc.) unnecessary because it is more than is needed

Ephemera: objects that, when they were produced, were not intended to last a long time or were specially produced for one event.

This unit is coming to an end. Here is the last word for you to memorize:

Two men vying for the US presidency.

To vie = to compete with other people to achieve or get something

Refresh 'a silver lining' in your memory:

It could be a silver lining too, because some people here are saying that, perhaps, a Biden presidency will be more predictable.

Just in case if you forgot: https://www.englishpatient.org/share/i/silver-lining

Trump's speech


In the above sentence kosher means: being proper, acceptable, or satisfactory.


Специализируемся на развитии навыков говорения и понимания реальной речи на слух. Используем только оригинальные материалы.