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  • Hello and welcome to News Review from BBC Learning English. I'm Neil and it  

  • seems like it's been a long time coming but finally today it is the US elections.

  • With me to discuss how it's being talked about in the news is Georgina. Hi Georgina.

  • Hi Neil. Hi everyone. So the US election is on Tuesday and we recorded this on Monday,  

  • when the candidates were in their final day of campaigning.

  • OK. Well, if you want to test yourself on the vocabulary that you learn today,  

  • you can find a quiz on our website: bbclearningenglish.com.

  • OK. Let's now hear from this BBC News report for some more information on our story:

  • So, today is the US election and Trump and Biden have been campaigning hard to get as  

  • many votes as possible. They've been traveling to the swing states to ensure that they do this.

  • Now, the swing states are important because this is... these are the states where it's not sure  

  • who will win. Now, the US election is interesting because the winner isn't the  

  • person who wins the most votes across the entire country: it's all about the electoral college.

  • OK. Well, you've been scanning the world's media and you've picked out  

  • three words and expressions we can use to talk about this story. What are they?

  • They are: 'blitz', 'shore up' and 'final sprint'.

  • 'Blitz', 'shore up' and 'final sprint'. So, let's start with your first headline please, Georgina.

  • The first headline is from the Financial Times and it is:

  • 'Blitz' – organised special effort to deal with a problem quickly.

  • Yes. So, 'blitz' is spelt B-L-I-T-Z. Now, I don't know if you know much about your history, Neil?

  • Well, I do know the word 'blitz' is not English.  

  • It comes from German and it was used to describe a kind of warfare:  

  • 'blitzkrieg' – 'lightning war'. But this headline has nothing to do with that, does it?

  • No, it's not to do with 'lightning war' or war in itself. What is to do with is the dramatic effort  

  • that has been made, in this case to win the presidential election.  

  • So, there's... the similarity between 'blitz', as in the German meaning you're talking about,  

  • and 'blitz' here is the kind of dramatic kind of feeling that we're getting:  

  • that both the campaigners are working extremely hard to get as many votes as possible.

  • OK. Well, we use this in two different ways,  

  • don't we? We can use it asnoun or as a verb in a phrase.

  • Exactly. And it doesn't have to be used to talk about, you know, serious topics like a  

  • presidential election: it can simply be used to talk about cleaning your kitchen so that it is spotless.

  • So, last weekend my flatmate and I 'blitzed' – we 'blitzed' the kitchen.

  • OK. And that doesn't mean that you attacked it with weapons; it means that you just...

  • No, we didn't, but we did attack it in the sense that we used lots of cleaning products,  

  • we went into all the corners, we dusted everywhere and it is now absolutely spotless.

  • Right. Likewise, my children's rooms were absolutely awfulso messy and untidy

  • I demanded that they had a 'blitz' on their room.

  • Exactly. So, in that sentence you used it as a noun,  

  • and in the sentence I just used before I used it as a verb.

  • OK. Let's have a summary of that word:

  • Our next expression is a phrasal verb and if you would like to learn  

  • more about phrasal verbs, there's a video that you can watch, isn't there Georgina?

  • There is. Just click on the link below.

  • OK. So, let's have your next headline.

  • So, my next headline is from CNN Politics and it is:

  • 'Shore up' – help support something to make sure it doesn't fail.

  • Yeah and this is made up of two words. It's actually a phrasal verb  

  • and the first word is spelt S-H-O-R-E and the second one is spelt U-P.

  • OK Georgina. This is easy, isn't it? I know what a 'shore' is: a 'shore' is where  

  • the land and the sea meet, for example on an island. That's right, isn't it?

  • It is right, but actually in this case we're using it to talk about  

  • something that physically supports something else. So, for example a piece of wood  

  • that supports a building. You could use it to talk about a building, a wallanything that supports  

  • something else. So, you could say, 'We shored up the wall with... to stop it falling over.'

  • But in this case, because obviously Trump and Biden haven't got a piece of wood  

  • and haven't nailed it upthey're not using it physically; they're using it figuratively.

  • So, here what they're trying to do is to ensure that they get as many votes as possible,  

  • and to do that they're visiting a lot of places – a lot of places where there's  

  • possible swing votes to ensure that they try and get as many as they can.

  • OK. So, 'shore' here is not the thingwas talking about, where the water and  

  • the land meet; it's actually a piece of wood used to support a building,  

  • but here used in a figurative sense to just mean give support to something.

  • Yeah. Another example would be:  

  • she used the informationshe used hard evidence to 'shore up' her argument.

  • OK. You can 'shore up' an argument as wellyes. Good example. Shall we have a summary?

  • If you would like to watch another video about the US election, we have one about the rapper  

  • Kanye West, who – if you remember a while agosaid he was going to run for president as well.  

  • I think he's a little bit late onto that one now, but where can they find the link Georgina?

  • They can find it below.

  • OK. Let's have a look at your next headline.

  • The next headline is from Al Jazeera and is:

  • 'Final sprint' – last big effort in a campaign.

  • Yes and it's made up of two words. The first word is final: F-I-N-A-L.

  • And the second word is sprint: S-P-R-I-N-T.

  • OK Georgina. Well, I know what a 'sprint' is:

  • it's when you run really, really fast. Now... Yes.

  • ...the interesting thing about this election is both candidatesboth Trump and Bidenthey're  

  • not young guys, you know. They're in their 70s – similar age to my dad and my dad is a kind of fit  

  • and healthy guy, but not even he can really sprint anymore, so what are we talking about here?

  • Well, yeah we're... they're using it in a figurative sense again.

  • So, what they're using it to mean is that they have made a huge effort to  

  • in the last section of their presidential campaignto get as many votes as possible.

  • So, I suppose at the beginning they were a bit more relaxed about it but as,  

  • you know, the US election comes closer and closerparticularly, you know,  

  • todayand as we come to the, you know... find out who has actually won, they're going to  

  • work as hard as they can to get as many votes as possible.

  • OK. So, you might also use this, for example, to talk about  

  • preparation for an exam, where youmaybe you spend an hour every day for weeks and weeks  

  • preparing, but just leading up to the exam you get into the 'final sprint':

  • you study for four or five hours every dayjust that final big effort.

  • Yeah, Exactly. That's a really good example and we must remember we can use it to talk about,  

  • you know, a physical... an actual marathon or, you know, a Tour de France race,  

  • where you know at the beginning of the race – these are very long racesyou're probably a  

  • bit more relaxed as a marathon runner or a, you know, cyclist but towards the end,

  • or coming to the finish line, you're probably going to make a, you know,  

  • a little sprint – a fast sprint to get across the winning line, maybe.

  • OK. So, we can use it literally as well. Let's have a summary of that:

  • Time now, Georgina, for a recap of our vocabulary, please.

  • Yes. So, we've got 'blitz' – organised special effort to deal with a problem quickly.

  • And we have 'shore up' – help support something to make sure it doesn't fail.

  • And 'final sprint' – last big effort in a campaign.

  • If you want to test yourself, go to our website: bbclearningenglish.com.

  • You can find all kinds of other things to help you improve your English and of  

  • course we are all over social mediaThanks for joining us and goodbye.

  • Bye

Hello and welcome to News Review from BBC Learning English. I'm Neil and it  

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US election day 2020: BBC News Review

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/03
Video vocabulary