Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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!!

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