Today, we will continue studying some cultural facts. Here we go!
* LOCAL (REGIONAL) AND NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS
All of the British newspapers you are likely to know of are national - even the former Manchester Guardian is now The Guardian.
Besides, in the United States, most newspapers are "local" - The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times... And these newspapers are indeed difficult to find out their areas - especially on the day of publication.
Only a few American newspapers are national (The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, USA Today).
Among the popular newspapers, called "tabloids" to distinguish them from the "quality press", the most famous is "The Sun" which is notoriously anti-European and specifically anti-French. It is the most popular newspaper in England.
The tabloids are in smaller format than the quality papers (the original meaning of the word was compact and concise).
They are easier to read in the cramped (inconfortables) conditions of the Underground!
* WITH ELEGANCE
If you want to speak elegant English, try to learn something that even many native speakers have not mastered : the difference between "to lie-lay-lain" (s'allonger, se coucher) and "to lay-laid-laid" (allonger, mettre).
"To lie" has no direct object : I was lying on the bed. He lays down.
"To lay" always has a direct object : I laid the baby in its bed. He laid the plans on the table.
Baseball is traditionally, historically and linguistically the most important sport in the US.
If you get a chance, take a few hours and learn something about the game: it will help your English (like cricket in Great Britain).
"To play hardball" (as opposed to playing football) is to play the faster, harder, more dangerous and more difficult game - figuratively, to act seriously and severely.
Lots of French words are used in daily English: connoisseur, cliché, amateur... You just have to know which ones, and how to pronounce them. Also, how to spell them, because English often uses an ancient spelling of a French word: connoisseur, Rheims, Lyons... So you get the impression of "déjà vu!".
* CLUMSY OR AWKWARD?
Each term is the rough equivalent of the French maladroit. But clumsy is more physical: You knock over a vase and say, "How clumsy of me!"
Awkward is more figurative or emotional: an awkward moment = un moment genant.
* TERRIBLE OR TERRIFIC?
Terrible is very bad; terrific is very good.
This is a terrible problem.
You are a genius: what a terrific idea!
To bid = faire une enchere
The auctionneer says: "Going once! Going twice! Sold to the man in the blue suit!"
* THE NITTY-GRITTY
"The nitty-gritty" is the essential part, le fond, of a question or a deal.
Let us get down to the nitty-gritty : parlons de l'essentiel.
* WAY TOO EXPENSIVE!
"Way" does not only mean façon or voie - it is also a very common American adverb, generally spoken rather than written.
"Way" intensifies - it often intensifies words like too much, too little, too few, too many, or too + an adjective or an adverbe: way too hot, way too long (=much too hot, much too long).
With best wishes,