English in News

“More information is always better than less. When people know the reason things are happening, even if it’s bad news, they can adjust their expectations and react accordingly. Keeping people in the dark only serves to stir negative emotions.”

Simon Sinek, a British-American author

Have you tried watching TV news in English or reading magazines like “Foreign Affairs,” “Newsweek” or “The Economist”? If you have, you must have noticed the formal English used in the press and TV news programs. Although the formal language may cause difficulty, it’s important to learn it. If you get the hang of it, you’ll be able not only to watch and read the news but also discuss it. Moreover, formal English is used in various work situations: writing business emails, conducting negotiations and meetings, etc. So, read on to improve your formal English and follow us not to miss more articles like this.

WARMING WORLD. Why Climate Change Matters More Than Anything Else

by Joshua Busby

source: foreignaffairs.com

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Vocabulary note:

  • liberal – believing in social or political change if most people want it (collocations: liberal democracy, liberal politicians, liberal party, liberal policies)
  • to besiege /bɪˈsiːdʒ/ – to make more requests, offers, comments, or complaints than someone can deal with (usually passive; collocations: the liberal order is besieged; the department is besieged with enquiries) 
  • lackluster /ˈlækˌlʌstə(r)– not lively, exciting, or impressive (collocations: lackluster performance/economic recovery/effort/participation)
  • resurgent /rɪˈsɜː(r)dʒənt/ – quickly becoming popular, important, or successful again (collocations: resurgent threat/power/country/nationalist movement)
  • disruption – a situation in which something cannot continue because of a problem (collocations: disruption to the climate/the normal life/activities/services)
  • to cease /siːs– to stop (examples: the rain/conversation has ceased / they have ceased their activities)
  • carbon dioxide /ˌkɑː(r)bən daɪˈɒksaɪd/ – a gas without color or smell, produced when you breathe out or when substances containing carbon are burnt (collocations: to emit/exhale/absorb carbon dioxide)
  • greenhouse gas – a gas that stops heat from escaping from the atmosphere and causes the greenhouse effect (collocations: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions / greenhouse gas reduction)
  • Celsius /ˈselsiəs/ (examples: zero degrees Celsius / minus 35 Celsius)
  • the Industrial Revolution – the period in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe and the US when machines began to be used for producing goods and many new industries developed
  • consensus /kənˈsensəs/ – agreement among all the people involved (examples: the decision was made by consensus; we need to reach a consensus; the talks will result in a consensus)
  • to stop short of sth. – to not do something, although you almost do it (examples: I stopped short of smoking that cigarette; I stopped short of giving the advice)
  • plausible /ˈplɔːzəb(ə)l/ – likely to be true (collocations: plausible explanation/story/scenario/argument)
  • threshold /ˈθreʃˌhəʊld/ – level (collocations: to reach/present a low/high threshold)
  • to exceed /ɪkˈsiːd/ – to go above an official limit (examples: don’t exceed the speed limit; pre-trial detention cannot exceed three months)
  • essentially – used for saying that something is mostly true, but not completely true (collocations: essentially impossible/complete/inevitable)
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“Climate change is no longer some far-off problem; it is happening here, it is happening now.” Barack Obama

THE LIBERAL ANSWER TO THE CRISIS IN SOCIAL MEDIA

by Andreas Aktoudianakis

source: economist.com

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Vocabulary note:

  • to reason – to make a particular judgment after you have thought about the facts of a situation in an intelligent and sensible way (collocations: to reason from facts; to reason well)
  • ill (adverb) – badly (collocations: ill-informed; ill-treated)
  • flame war – a period during which people send angry/rude emails (in this context, twits) to each other (collocations: to get into/get out of a flame war
  • vitriol /ˈvɪtriəl/ – very severe and cruel criticism (collocations: to stop/start vitriol)
  • collision – a very serious argument (collocations: a collision takes place / to avoid a collision between…)
  • executive – having the power to make important decisions in an organization or government (collocations: executive producer/political organ/authority/council)
  • legislative /ˈledʒɪslətɪv/ – relating to laws or to the process of creating new laws (collocations: body/council/power/process)
  • judicial /dʒuːˈdɪʃ(ə)l– relating to the judges and courts that are responsible for justice in a country or state (collocations: judicial decision/organ/supervision/process)
  • crucial /ˈkruːʃ(ə)l/ – extremely important (collocations: to become/be/prove absolutely/really/clearly crucial)
  • pamphlet /ˈpæmflət/ – a very thin book with a paper cover, usually given free to people (collocations: to circulate a pamphlet concerning… / to prepare a pamphlet) 
  • treatise /ˈtriːtɪz/ – a serious book or piece of writing about a particular subject (collocations: to write a comprehensive treatise about… / to miss a treatise on…)
  • deluge /ˈdeljuːdʒ/ – a lot of things all happening at the same time, especially if they are hard to deal with (collocations: a deluge of complaints/disrespect/information/responses)

Note that not only vocabulary can make a sentence more or less formal, grammar can too. For example, passive forms are more common in writing than in spoken English, and so we can often see them in news articles (e.g. “the liberal international order is besieged…” and “he is best known for for…”). We often use the passive to

  • focus on the issues rather than on the people involved
  • describe rules and procedures
  • describe commercial, industrial and scientific processes
  • describe historical, economic and social processes