Monday, June 18, 2007

Six Expressions You Should Probably Know

As if the English language is not hard enough, we all have to be aware that the world is filled with other languages. The English language is not unique to the United States or even the United Kingdom, rather people all around the world use the English language in order to communicate. In this post we will provide you with six foreign expressions that you should probably know. When we refer to "foreign expressions" we mean expressions that are not commonly used in the United States, instead they are from another country - like Australia. Foreign expressions represent an integral part of the English language. Knowing the meaning and usage of the most used ones is very important. First of all because it will enable you to understand pieces of text that include them. Secondly, because you might also need to use those expressions on particular situations (avoid using them just to sound smart though). Below you will find 6 foreign expressions commonly used in English, enjoy! We think that you will find these expressions very helpful to know.

1. De Facto

De facto is a Latin expression that means “actual” (if used as an adjective) or “in practice” (if used as an adverb). In legal terms, de facto is commonly used in contrast to de jure, which means “by law.” Something, therefore, can emerge either de facto (by practice) or de jure (by law).

2. Vis-à-Vis

The literal meaning of this French expression is “face to face” (used as an adverb). It is used more widely as a preposition though, meaning “compared with” or “in relation to.

3. Status quo

This famous Latin expression means “the current or existing state of affairs.” If something changes the status quo, it is changing the way things presently are.

4. Cul-de-sac

This expression was originated in England by French-speaking aristocrats. Literally it means “bottom of a sack,” but generally it refers to a dead-end street. Cul-de-sac can also be used metaphorically to express an action that leads to nowhere or an impasse.

5. Ad hoc

Ad hoc, borrowed from the Latin, can be used both as an adjective, where it means “formed or created with a specific purpose,” and as an adverb, where it means “for the specific purpose or situation.

6. Per se

Per se is a Latin expression that means “by itself” or “intrinsically.”

Hopefully this short list of foreign expressions will help you in the future.

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