Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Presidential Politics: Flip Flop

File:Havaianas Tradicional.jpg 

These are flip flops. They're called that because they're not very firm. Flip flops have been worn since at least 1500 BCE.

The word "flip flop" is used in politics because so many politicians say one thing one time and say another contradictory thing later.  Politicians have probably been flip flopping since 1500 BCE as well.

Let's look at some current headlines:

President Trump, the king of flip-flops

This headlines uses the word as a noun. 

Here we see it as a verb in the same news article:

After Trump won the electoral college vote while losing the popular vote, he flip-flopped on the unique American system of electing presidents. 

Reading the articles, what are three issues that President Trump has flip flopped on? What was the position he took before and what is the position he takes now?

When is the first time that the term "flip flop" was used in English to refer to politics and politicians?  This Wikipedia article has an interesting history of the political nature of this word.

12 Huge Presidential Campaign Flip-Flops

Of the 12 huge presidential compaign flip flops, which surprises you the most?


Presidential Politics: (to) call (something) off

This is such a common verb and underscores how important these little prepositions such as "off" are to the meaning of a word.

This two-word verb is used in active voice - "He called it off" - and in passive voice - "It was called off" - in both conversation and in reading. Let's look at today's headlines and see how this two-word verb is being used today in the news.

Kushner company, Chinese firm call off development deal

Grammar background: This verb is a transitive verb, which means the verb always takes an object. Here, the Kushner company and a Chinese firm call off WHAT? A development deal.

Let's substitute the subject pronoun "they" for Kushner's company and the Chinese firm and the object pronoun "it" for "the development deal." Be careful about word order:  THEY CALL IT OFF.

Here's the following sentence in the news article (color mine):

The Chinese conglomerate Anbang and the family of Jared Kushner have called off talks to redevelop a Manhattan office tower.

To CALL SOMETHING OFF means to cancel something that was planned. What deal did they call off? Why? What is a "conflict-of-interest"? What is the conflict-of-interest in this case?

Did you ever have a vacation planned but somebody got sick? You may have had to call off your vacation or a trip.

Sometimes it gets even nastier.  Here's another headline:

Glitzy $325,000 wedding is suddenly called off after a fight erupts during the rehearsal dinner

Read the story. Who do you think should get to keep the $125,000. engagement ring?? Answer us in our blog!!