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Yerevan State Linguistic University after V. Brusov

Course paper

Theme: Idioms in newspaper style

Yerevan 2009

Table of contents


1. Idiom, general characteristics

2. Newspaper style Conclusion



english language newspapers publication


Today the English language is widely spoken throughout the world. It is the language of 21st century the language of informative technologies, so while describing the English language; first of all it should be underlined that the English language is the mother tongue of the global media. To understand English clearly one should know not only its standard vocabulary but also its different styles, dialects, proverbs, sayings, phrasal verbs and idioms, as they are used in any sphere: books, films, newspapers, formal speeches. One, looking through some papers, magazines and journals, will discover the same language to sound quite different, because he will find familiar words with unfamiliar meanings. He will face idioms, phrasal verbs etc.

Besides, knowing the standard English perfectly one may have difficulties in understanding for instance American English, as many factors, such as culture, the natives’ language, slang, migration and development of the same language apart in dissimilar conditions, cause many changes in the same English language.

The focus of the research project in this paper is to represent idioms in British and American newspapers. Moreover, the research shows information on history of English language newspapers, as well as on idioms.

English newspaper writing dates from the 17th century. The first newspaper carried only news, without comments, as commenting was considered to be against the principals of journalism. By the 19th century, newspaper language was recognized as a particular variety of style, characterized by a specific communicative purpose and its own system of language means .

It includes a system of interrelated lexical, phraseological and grammatical means serving the purpose of informing, instructing and, in addition, of entertaining the reader. The modern newspaper carries material of extremely diverse character. On the pages of a newspaper one can find not only news and comments on it, but also stories and poems, crossword puzzles and the like.

Thus we can point out two main functions of the newspaper:

  1. Informative

  2. Entertaining

In order to make the article sound lively and impressive the author enriches the writing with idioms and a like.

An idiom is a phrase where the words together have meaning that is different from the dictionary definitions of the individual words. It is a phrase whose meaning cannot be made sense of from the literal definition, but refers instead to a figurative meaning that is known only through common use, that is an expression in the usage of the language that has a meaning that two or more that means something other the literal meanings of its individual words.

Ex. Between a rock and a hard place: stuck between two very bad options.

My coarse paper consists of the following chapters: Idioms general characteristics ,and the usage of idioms in newspaper style .

In the first chapter we stated the definitions of idioms by different scholars, their origin, the semantic and syntactic structure of idioms. We have also discussed the usage of idioms in American and British language.

In the second chapter we have discussed newspaper style its origin and features.

Nowadays this theme is rather contemporary as every learner must be prepared to meet the challenge simply because idioms occur so frequently in the spoken and written English.

1. Idiom, general characteristics

Idioms are found in every language and learning them is an important aspect of mastery of language. The English language is no exception as it contains a large number of idioms, which are extensively used. However, because of their rigid structure and quite unpredictable meaning, idioms are often considered difficult to learn. John Seed defines an idiom as words collocated together happen to become fossilized, becoming fixed over time. This collocation -- words commonly used in a group -- changes the definition of each of the words that exist. As an expression, the word-group becomes a team, so to speak. That is, the collocated words develop a specialized meaning as a whole and an idiom is born. An idiom is a group of words in which the meaning of this group is different than what would be expected. If the actual words of an idiom were understood as they appear, the entire meaning would be changed and the group of words would make no sense in its context as if it was understood as to be an idiom. When a person uses an idiom, the listener might take the actual meaning wrong if he or she has not heard this figure of speech before. In someone's native language, idioms may be a natural part of speaking. Thus an idiom is not really considered to be set in a language. They are more in one's culture. Idioms are mostly for just one language. In some cases, when an idiom is translated into another language the meaning of the idiom is changed or does not make any sense as it once did in another language. Idioms are probably the hardest thing for a person to learn in the process of learning a new language. This is because most people grow up using idioms as if their true meanings actually make sense. In the English expression «to kick the bucket«, for example, a listener knowing only the meaning of kick and bucket would be unable to deduce the expression's actual meaning, which is to die. Although it can refer literally to the act of striking a specific bucket with a foot, native speakers rarely use it that way. Another kind of idiom is the use of a single word to have multiple meanings, sometimes at the same time, and sometimes one meaning to be discerned from context. This can be seen in the (mostly uninflected) English language in polysemes, the common use of the same word for an ability, for those engaged in it, the product, place, or time of an activity, and sometimes for a verb. Idioms tend to confuse those not already familiar with them; students of a new language must learn its idiomatic expressions the way they learn its other vocabulary. Many natural language words have idiomatic origins, but have been sufficiently assimilated so that their figurative senses have been lost. An idiom is generally a colloquial metaphor — a term which requires some foundational knowledge, information, or experience, to use only within a culture where parties must have common reference.

According to Stephen Cramley idiom is defined as « a complex item which is longer than a word- form but shorter then a sentence and which has a meaning that cannot be derived from the knowledge of its component parts».

Raymond W. Gibbs suggests another definition of idiom according to which « by the term idiom the speaker should learn «dead» metaphors and speech gambits by arbitrarily pairing each phrase some non – literal meaning without any awareness of why these phrases mean what they do».

Gill Philip stated that « idioms are class of multy –word units which pose a challenge to our understanding of grammar and lexics that hasn’t yet been fully met».

Charles Hocket (1958) consider idiom «as a modern linguistic agreement on one composed of two or more constituent parts generally deemed to be words. The closer the wording of an idiom reflects a real world situation the easier it is to interpret».

However some idioms can be more universally used than others, and they can be easily translated, metaphorical meaning can be more easily deduced. While many idioms are clearly based in conceptual metaphors such as "time as a substance", "time as a path", "love as war" or "up is more", the idioms themselves are often not particularly essential, even when the metaphors themselves are. For example, "spend time", "battle of the sexes", and "back in the day" are idiomatic and based in essential metaphors..In forms like "profits are up", the metaphor is carried by "up" itself. The phrase "profits are up" is not itself an idiom. Practically anything measurable can be used in place of "profits": "crime is up", "satisfaction is up", "complaints are up" etc. Truly essential idioms generally involve prepositions, for example "out of" or "turn into".

It is said that if that natural language had been designed by a logician, idioms would not exist. They are indivisible units whose component cannot be varied or varied only within definable limits. Idioms are comparatively stable and semantically inseparable. The essential feature idioms is lack of motivation. This term (idiom) habitually used by English and American linguistics is very often treated as synonymous with the term phrasiological unit. Phrasiological units are habitually defined as non – motivated word – groups that cannot be freely made up in speech but are reproduced as ready – made units. Phraseological units are comparatively stable and semantically inseparable. «idioms vary in ‘transparency’: that is whether their meaning can be derived from the literal meanings of the individual words. For example, make up [one’s ] mind is rather transparent in suggesting the meaning ‘reach a decision ’ while kick the bucket is representing the meaning ‘die».

A.I. Smirnitsky worked out structural classification of phraseological units, comparing them with words. He points out one-top units which he compares with derived words because derived words have only one root morpheme. He points out two-top units which he compares with compound words because in compound words we usually have two root morphemes. Among one-top units he points out three structural types; a) units of the type «to give up» (verb + postposition type), e.g. to art up, to back up, to drop out, to nose out, to buy into, to sandwich in etc.; b) units of the type «to be tired» . Some of these units remind the Passive Voice in their structure but they have different prepositions with them, while in the Passive Voicewe can have only prepositions «by» or»with», e.g. «to be tired of», «to be interested in», «to be surprised at» etc.There are also units in this type which remind free word-groups of the type»to be young», e.g. «to be akin to», «to be aware of» etc. The difference between them is that the adjective «young» can be used as an attribute and as a predicative in a sentence, while the nominal component in such units can act only as a predicative. In these units the verb is the grammar centre and the second component is the semantic centre; c) prepositional- nominal phraseological units. These units are equivalents of unchangeable words: prepositions, conjunctions, adverbs , that is why they have no grammar centre, their semantic centre is the nominal part, e.g. on the doorstep (quite near), on the nose (exactly), in the course of, on the stroke of, in time, on the point of etc. In the course of time such units can become words, e.g. tomorrow, instead etc. Among two-top units A.I. Smirnitsky points out the following structural types: a) attributive-nominal such as: «a month of Sundays», «grey matter», «a millstone round one’s neck» and many others. Units of this type are noun equivalents and can be partly or perfectly idiomatic. In partly idiomatic units (phrasems) sometimes the first component is idiomatic, e.g. «high road», in other cases the second component is idiomatic, e.g. first night.In many cases both components are idiomatic, e.g. red tape, blind alley, bed of nail, shot in the arm and many others. b) verb-nominal phraseological units, e.g. «to read between the lines» , «to speak BBC», «to sweep under the carpet» etc. The grammar centre of such units is the verb, the semantic centre in many cases is the nominal component, e.g. to fall in love. In some units the verb is both the grammar and the semantic centre, e.g. not to know the ropes. These units can be perfectly idiomatic as well, e.g. «to burn one’s boats», «to vote with one’s feet», «to take to the cleaners» etc.Very close to such units are word-groups of the type «to have a glance», «to have a smoke». These units are not idiomatic and are treated in grammar as a special syntactical combination, a kind of aspect. c) phraseological repetitions, such as : «now or never», «part and parcel» , «country and western» etc. Such units can be built on antonyms, e.g. «ups and downs» , «back and forth»; often they are formed by means of alliteration, e.g «cakes and ale», «as busy as a bee». Components in repetitions are joined by means of conjunctions. These units are equivalents of adverbs or adjectives and have no grammar centre. They can also be partly or perfectly idiomatic, e.g. «cool as a cucumber» (partly), «bread and butter» (perfectly).Phraseological units the same as compound words can have more than two tops (stems in compound words), e.g. «to take a back seat», «a peg to hang a thing on», «to be a shaddow of one’s own self», «at one’s own sweet will».

The essential features of idioms are stability of the lexical components and lack of motivation. Lexical stability means that the components of set expressions are either irreplaceable like «red tape»or partly replaceable or partly replaceable within the bounds of phraseological or phraseomatic variance (a skeleton in the cupboard or a skeleton in the closet ). It is consequently assumed that unlike components of free word – groups which may vary according to the needs of communication, member words of idioms are always reproduced as a single unchangeable collocations.

Phraseological units can be also classified according to the degree of motivation of their meaning. Gisburg stated that there are three types of phraseological units: a) Phreseological fusions are completely non- motivated word- groups. They are highly idiomatic and cannot be translated word for word into other languages,the meaning of the components has no connection e.g. on Shank’s mare - (on foot), at sixes and sevens - (in a mess) etc; b) Phreseological unities which are partially non motivated as their meaning can usually be perceived through the metaphoric meaning of the whole phraseological unit e.g. to play the first fiddle ( to be a leader in something), old salt (experienced sailor) etc; c)Phraseological collocations are motivated but they are made up of words possessing specific lexical valency which accounts for a certain degree of stability in such word groups. e.g. cash and carry - (self-service shop), in a big way (in great degree) etc.This habitual collocations tend to become kind of clichés, where the meaning of member words is to some extent dominated by the meaning of the whole group. However, it is a difficult task to set a boundary between idioms and non- idioms. When confronted with fixed exspressions like clichés or proverbs, they often seem to have idiomatic qualities and no clear line presents itself as to when one cannot be another. The criterion of non- compositionality does not always give clear delineation either. Let’s take the proverb «every rose has its thorn». On one hand its meaning is quite compositional – it actually refers to roses having thorns. But when it metaphorically applies to non - rose situations meaning something beautiful or good has its own downsides.

Anyway an idiom should be correctly distinguished from clichés. A cliché is a saying, expression , or idea that has been overused to the point of loosing its intended force of novelty, especially when at some time it was considered distinctively forceful or novel, rendering it a stereotype. The term is likely used in a negative context. It is frequently used in modern culture to reference an action or idea that is expected or predictable based on a prior event. It can be argued that the ‘negative usage of the term cliché in order to belittle an idea or an expression’ itself is becoming a cliché.

Individual wards in an idiom cannot be replaced by synonyms and still retain the idiomatic reading of the phrase. This is what qualify them as fixed forms.

The fact that the wards of the idioms are fixed is what makes the idioms, firs of all. So the fixed state of idioms is quality which not only characterizes them, but also proves idioms to be internally structured lexical items.

A word-group which defies word by word translation is consequently described as idiomatic. Unlike idioms (phraseological units), proverbs, sayings and quotations do not always function as ward equivalents. They exist as ready- made expressions with a specialized meaning of their own, which cannot be inferred from the meaning of their components taken singly. Idioms are mostly based on metaphors which make the transferred meaning of the whole expression more or less transparent. An idiom has a non-compositional form, that is , its meaning cannot be compositionally computed from its parts. This suggests that the way many idioms had found their way into language is as dead metaphors. Secondly the bulk of idioms never function in speech as word equivalents which is a proof of their semantic and grammatical inseparability. It is also suggested that the idioms in general have very much in common with quotations from literary sources, some of which also exist as idiomatic ready- made units with a specialized meaning of their own. Such quotations which have acquired specialized meaning and idiomatic value as to be or not to be differ little from proverbs and sayings which may also be regarded as quotation from English folklore and are part of this particular branch of literary studies. However quotations differ from proverbs in their origin. They come from literature but by and by become part and parcel of the language, so that many people using them don’t even know that they are quoting . quotations from classical sources were once a recognized feature of public speech. Accordingly some quotations are so often used that they become clichés.

Ginsburg also suggests that pharseological units should be subdivided into phrasemes and idioms according to whether or not one of the components of the whole word- group possesses specialized meaning. Idioms are distinguished from phrasemes by the idiomaticity of the whole word –group and the impossibility of attaching meaning to the members of the group taken isolated. Idioms are semantically and grammatically inseparable units. Idioms made up of words normally brought together are homonymous with corresponding veliable ward groups «to let the cat out of the bag»- to divulge a secret, and the clue of idiomatic meaning is to be found in a wider context outside the phrase itself.

We should note that Idioms have no social boundaries or limitations as they exist in all cultures and classes of the society as well as in all languages. Idioms are a part of each language and cannot be described apart from the given language.

Biblical references are also the source of many idioms. Sports terms, technical terms, legal terms, military slang and even nautical expressions have found their way to everyday use of English language.

Nowadays American English is in this position. It is hard to find an AmE idiom that has not established itself in « worldwide English» (usually BrE).

Idioms are constantly dying and new ones are born. Some idioms may have gone through radical changes in meaning. The phrase – There is no love lost between them – nowadays means that some people dislike one another. Originally, when there was the British English form, it meant exactly the opposite. The shift in meaning is yet unexplained. All dialects of English have different sets of idioms and situations where a given idiom can be used .

English is a language particularly rich in idioms - those modes of expression peculiar to a language (or dialect) which frequently defy logical and grammatical rules. The background and etymological origins of most idioms is at best obscure. This is the reason why a study of differences between the idioms of American English and British English is rather difficult. New idioms originate in the U.S and then become popular in so called «worldwide English». This new situation is completely different from the birth of American English as a ‘variant’ of British English. Here are some examples which are used in either American or British English some used in both;

«Having won the first two Tests, Australia is now almost certain to retain the Ashes» .(Ashes is a British English idiom that is nowadays a well established cricket term);

to have the edge on/over someone is originally an American English idiom, now established in almost every other form of English, including British English;

«a happy hunting ground» - place where one often goes to obtain something or to make money, originally was an American English idiom.

It has to be said that in the old days English idioms rarely originated from any other form of English than British English. Nowadays American English is in this position. Some examples of early American English idioms are «to bark up the wrong tree» or «to paddle one’s own canoe». They were derived from the speech of the American natives, like the phrase «someone speaks with a forked tongue» and «the happy hunting ground». These idioms have filtered to British English through centuries through books, newspapers, and most recently through powerful mediums like radio, television and movies.

British idioms are actually more familiar to other Europeans than to Americans even though the language is the same. The reason for all these facts is that Britain is not the world power it used to be and it must be said that the United States have taken the role of the leading nation in the development of language, media and popular culture.

2. Newspaper style Conclusion

Newspaper is a publication that appears regularly and frequently, and carries news about a wide variety of current events. Organizations such as trade unions, religious groups, corporations or clubs may have their own newspapers, but the term is more commonly used to refer to daily or weekly publications that bring news of general interest to large portions of the public in a specific geographic area.

General circulations newspapers play a role in commerce through the advertisements they carry; they provide readers with information of practical value, such as television schedules weather maps and listings of stock prices; and these newspapers provide a coarse of entertainment through their stories and through such features as comic strips and crossword puzzles. However one of the most important functions of the general- circulation newspaper (a crucial function in a democracy) is to provide citizens with information on government and politics .

The printing press was used to disseminate news in Europe shortly after Johann Gutenberg invented the letter press, employing movable type in the 1450s. in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries thousands of printed news books short pamphlets reporting on a news event ballads accounts of news events written in verse and usually printed on one side of a single sheet of paper, circulated in Europe and in the new European colonies in America. The first news report printed in the America described an earthquake in Guatemala and was printed in Mexico in 1541.

The oldest surviving newspaper written in English appears to have been published in Amsterdam in 1620 by Pieter van de Keere, a Dutch and print engraver who had lived in London for a few year.

According to the historian Joseph Frank along with their political coverage newspapers in England in the 1640s, were among the first in the world to use headlines, to print advertisements, to illustrate stories with woodcuts, to employ a woman _ «a she –intelligencer»_ to collect news and to have newsboys, or more commonly newsgirls, sell papers in the streets. They are also among the first newspapers to complete with news books and news ballads in coverage of sensational events like bloody crimes.

Newspaper style was the last of all the styles of written literary English to be recognized as a specific form of writing standing apart from other forms. English newspaper style dates from the 17th century. Newspaper writing is addressed to a broad audience and devoted to important social or political events, public problems of cultural or moral character. The first of any regular series of English newspapers was the Weekly News which first appeared on May 20, 1622. The 17th century saw the rise of a number of other news sheets which, with varying success, struggled on in the teeth of discouragement and restrictions imposed by the Crown. With the introduction of a strict licensing system many such sheets were suppressed, and the Government, in its turn, set before the public a paper of its own – the London Gazette, first published on February 5, 1666. The paper was a semi – weekly and carried official information, royal decrees, news from abroad, and advertisements.

The general aim the newspaper is to exert influence on public opinion, to convince the reader or listener that the interpretation given by writer or the speaker is the only correct one and to cause him to accept the point of view expressed in the speech, essay or article merely by logical argumentation, but by emotional appeal as well. It falls in two varieties: the essay and the article.

The essay in English literature dates from the 16th century and its name is taken from the short « Essays» (= experiments, attempts) by the French writer Montaigne, which contained his thoughts on various subjects. According to Galperinan essay «is rather a series of personal and witty comments than a finished argument or a conclusive examination of any matter . Nowadays an essay is usually a kind of feature article in a magazine or newspaper. Essays are written commonly by one and the same writer or journalist, who has cultivated his own individual style. Some essays, depending on a writer’s individuality, are written in a highly emotional manner resembling the style of emotive prose.

The most characteristic features of essays, however remain

  1. Brevity of expression

  2. The use of the first person singular, which justifies a personal approach to the problems treated:

  3. A rather expended use of connectives, which facilitates the process of grasping the correlation of ideas;

  4. The abundant use of emotive words

  5. The use of idioms and metaphors as one of the media for the cognitive process

Newspapers are most often published on a daily or weekly basis, and they usually focus on one particular geographic area where most of their readers live. Despite recent setbacks in circulation and profits, newspapers are still the most iconic outlet for news and other types of written journalism. To understand the language peculiarities of English newspaper style it will be sufficient to analyze the following basic newspaper features

  • brief news items

  • advertisements and announcements

  • the headline

  • the editorial

The headline is a dependent form of newspaper writing. The main function of the headline is to inform the reader briefly what the text that follows is about. In other words headlines are almost a summary of the information contained in the news item or article.

The function of editorial is to influence the reader by giving an interpretation of certain facts. Editorials comment on the political and other events of the day. Editorials make an extensive use of emotionally colored vocabulary.

The main function of advertisements and announcements is to give information about a product or service used to attract potential consumers; advertising takes place in newspapers and magazines, on hoardings, on radio and television and on the Internet .

The principal function of a brief news item is to inform the reader. News items are essentially matter - of - fact and stereotyped forms of expression prevail.it goes without saying that the bulk of the vocabulary which is used in newspaper writing is natural and common literary. But newspaper style has also its specific vocabulary features and is characterized by an extensive use of:

  1. special political and economic terms like constitution president, etc.

  2. non – term political vocabulary such as public people unity etc.

  3. newspaper clichés which are commonplace phrases familiar to the reader. Clichés occur in newspaper headlines more often to give special coloring and emotiveness. e.g pressing problem, speaking realization etc.

  4. abbreviations _ names of organizations, public and state body, political associations, industrial and other companies etc – known by their initials are very common in newspapers. E.g UNO( united Nation Organization), FO ( foreign Office), etc.

  5. neologism_ a new word or sense of a word and the coining or use of new words and senses. Neologisms make their way into the langiage of newspaper easily. E. g coffee (the person upon whom one cough), abdicate (to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach) etc.

Most modern newspapers are in one of three sizes:

  • Broadsheets: 600 mm by 380 mm (23½ by 15 inches), generally associated with more intellectual newspapers, although a trend towards «compact» newspapers is changing this.

  • Tabloids: half the size of broadsheets at 380 mm by 300 mm (15 by 11¾ inches), and often perceived as sensationalist in contrast to broadsheets. Examples: The Sun, The National Enquirer, The National Ledger, The Star Magazine, New York Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, The Globe.

  • Berliner or Midi: 470 mm by 315 mm (18½ by 12¼ inches) used by European papers such as Le Monde in France, La Stampa in Italy, El Pais in Spain and, since 12 September 2005, The Guardian in the United Kingdom.

While most newspapers are aimed at a broad spectrum of readers, usually geographically defined, some focus on groups of readers defined more by their interests than their location: for example, there are daily and weekly business newspapers and sports newspapers. More specialist still are some weekly newspapers, usually free and distributed within limited areas; these may serve communities as specific as certain immigrant populations, or the local gay community.

A daily newspaper is issued every day, sometimes with the exception of Sundays and some national holidays. Typically, the majority of these newspapers’ staff work Monday to Friday, so the Sunday and Monday editions largely depend on content done in advance or content that is syndicated. Most daily newspapers are published in the morning. Afternoon or evening papers are aimed more at commuters and office workers.

Weekly newspapers are common and tend to be smaller than daily papers. In some cases, there also are newspapers that are published twice or three times a week. In the United States, such newspapers are generally still classified as weeklies.

Most nations have at least one newspaper that circulates throughout the whole country: a national newspaper, as contrasted with a local newspaper serving a city or region. In the United Kingdom, there are numerous national newspapers, including The Independent, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Observer, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Daily Express and The Daily Mirror. In the United States and Canada, there are few, if any, national newspapers, and in almost every market one newspaper has an effective monopoly. Certain newspapers, notably The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today in the US and The Globe and Mail and The National Post in Canada are available at limited locations throughout the country. Large metropolitan newspapers with also have expanded distribution networks and, with effort, can be found outwith their normal area.

There is also a small group of newspapers which may be characterised as international newspapers. Some, such as Christian Science Monitor and The International Herald Tribune, have always had that focus, while others are repackaged national newspapers or «international editions» of national-scale or large metropolitan newspapers. Often these international editions are scaled down to remove articles that might not interest the wider range of readers.

But the principal vehicle of interpretation and appraisal is the newspaper article and the editorial in particular. Editorials (leading articles) are characterized by the subjective handling of facts, political or otherwise, and therefore have more in common with political essays or articles and should rather be classed as belonging to the publicistic style than to the newspaper. However, newspaper publicistic writing bears a stamp of its own style. Though it seems natural to consider newspaper articles, editorials included, as coming within the system of English newspaper style, it is necessary to note that such articles are an intermediate phenomenon characterized by a combination of styles – the newspaper style and the publicistic style. In other words, they may be considered hybrids.

English newspaper style may be defined as a system of interrelated lexical, phraseological and grammatical means,which is perceived by the community as separate linguistic unity that serves the purpose of informing, instructing the reader. In fact, all kinds of newspapers writing are to a greater or lesser degree both informative and evaluative. The newspaper also seeks to influence public opinion or political and appraisal and other matters. Elements of appraisal may be observed in the very selection and the way of presentation of news, in the use of specific vocabulary. The vocabulary used in newspaper writing is natural and common literary. But apart from this, newspaper style has its one of the smartest ways to illustrate the topic and to direct it to the point is to use idioms in the article. Here are idioms found in popular newspapers.

«Venture capitalist David Cowan is a professed chess-playing nerd who studied math and computer science at Harvard. Last year, though, he decided he needed a crash course in getting hip». – The New York Times

Crash course - a quick lesson

«Many older tech investors, eager not to miss out, are going to great lengths to shed fuddy-duddy images and ingratiate themselves with the younger generation The New York Times (to) miss out - to miss an opportunity; to fail to make use of an opportunity (to) go to great lengths - to do a lot; to do a lot to achieve a certain goal fuddy-duddy - out of fashion; not modern; an old-fashioned person who doesn't want to change

«As she pushed her shopping cart down an aisle of the Super Stop & Shop near her hometown of Warren, R.I., recently, Ms. Cabrera, a retired schoolteacher, offered her thoughts on why she steers clear of high-fructose corn syrup: "It's been linked to obesity, and it's just not something that's natural or good for you." - The New York Times

to steer clear (of something) - to avoid something; to stay away from something. (Note that "to steer" means to guide with a wheel or a similar device. When there's something in the road, you may need to steer your car around it).

«No one is predicting that the iPod economy will be slowing soon. Mr. Baker said: "We've barely scratched the surface with the video iPod." - The New York Times

«In some communities, efforts are being made to increase the amount of affordable housing. Celebrity-heavy Aspen, for example, has created 2,600 low-cost units over the past 30 years. But such measures only scratch the surface of the problem». - Financial Times to (barely or only) scratch the surface - to only begin to explore or understand something; to deal with something only superficially

«Rap-metal, once all the rage in the '90s thanks to bands like Limp Bizkit, now seems as relevant as Beavis and Butt- head». – the New York Times

"Condos are all the rage right now," Hodgett said. "People like to be close to downtown and walk to restaurants and shopping. They can come home in the evening and not worry about mowing the lawn." – The daily Mail all the rage - very popular, trendy

Weber, the grill maker founded in Mount Prospect, Ill., in 1952, is refining its most expensive grill, the $2,200 Summit Platinum D6, in response to buyers who want more bells and whistles, said Brooke Jones, a Weber product manager. "They are looking for stainless steel grills and more accessories like rotisseries, warmer drawers, side burners and hand lights," she said. - The New York Times

bells and whistles - fancy features; product features that make a product more premium or expensive but that are not usually necessary; extras Just seven months after the city's bid to host the 2012 Olympics fell flat, a key booster of the effort has opened the door to a scramble for the 2016 games - statements that fly in the face of previous comments by Mayor Bloomberg and other city officials. –The Observer fly in the face - contradict; go against It took Carolyn Fellwock and Charlie Watson only 11 months to tie the knot after meeting on Yahoo Personals – and three years more to call it quits. The Times

to tie the knot – to get married to call it quits – to end something (such as a relationship, a job, a project, etc)/

Some people who met a spouse online and later divorced aren’t losing heart. Some even say they would date online again. – The Wall Street Journal to lose heart – to give up hope; to get discouraged.

Diana Leal, a Woodland Hills paralegal, said that when she was working in Dallas, she immediately lost respect for her attorney boss when he asked her out for dinner. I couldn't believe it. I think he just fell for my beauty or something. And then when I said `no,' he fired me," Leal said. "Bottom line, you can't be friends with your boss. It complicates things." – Los Angeles Daily News

bottom line – the main point is…; the conclusion is…

Kids too into school have lost their love of learning (if they ever had any). They cram and forget. They're stressed. They're sleep-deprived. They compete with their "friends" and kiss up to their teachers. – The Times

Have a good relations hip with your boss. That does not mean kiss up to your boss. If it gets too far along a bad path, it means you don't get the good assignments, don't get the promotions and don't have a chance to advance your career. Plus, you may just be miserable. Make sure your relationship with your boss is open and honest, casual yet also professional. – The News & Observer to kiss up – to flatter; try to gain favor with; behave in a way to make people like you more.

But Vladimir Nuzhny, a toxicologist, said up to half of imported wine has not corresponded to the required quality since the fall of the Soviet Union . "It never killed anyone and Russian leadership used to turn a blind eye, but now relations are worsening with the Georgian and Moldovan leaders they don't see a need to ignore it any more," he said. - The Guardian to turn a blind eye - to ignore; to pretend that something is not happening; to let something illegal or wrong happen without saying anything.

George W. Bush can be sure of one thing when he next visits China on official business. Chinese president Hu Jintao won't try to emulate the Texas charm the US president dishes out at his Crawford ranch, dressing down to shoot the breeze over pork dumplings at a village restaurant. - Financial Times shoot the breeze - to talk; to chat; to make conversation

Steve Girdler, director of services at Kelly UK, agrees that Sugar's methods are impressive. "Sometimes I think we can be too soft in our assessment of graduates. But what's the point when we know that in reality, business can be a dog-eat-dog world?" - The Guardian dog-eat-dog world - a cruel world; a challenging environment in which people just look out for themselves,

As the cost of living for young people rises, the helping hand from parents is extending well past college years. – The New York Times There was a table for the folks from Alcoholics Anonymous, another where people could sign up for food stamps and another where homeless veterans could find a helping hand. –The Guardian (the or a) helping hand – assistance; help.

In one of his first acts as president, Obama was gagging for the prison at Guantánamo closed within the first year of his presidency and ordered a review of the status of the roughly 245 men still detained there. The review is underway now.- The Guardian

Be gagging for something-to want something or want to do something very much «Companies developing this technology are not necessarily cashing in».- The Times cash in (on something) - to make money doing something.


Being based on the accomplished practical and theoretical research we came to the conclusion that Idioms are figurative expressions which do not mean what they literally state is and since they are so frequently encountered in both oral and written discourse, comprehending and producing idioms present language learners with a special vocabulary learning problem The essential feature of idioms is lack of motivation. This term (idiom) habitually used by English and American linguistics is very often treated as synonymous with the term phrasiological unit. Phrasiological units are habitually defined as non – motivated word – groups that cannot be freely made up in speech but are reproduced as ready – made units. The phraseological units may be classified into three big groups taking into account mainly the degree of idiomayticity: Phreseological fusions, phreseological unities, phreseological collocations the essential features of idioms are stability of the lexical components and lack of motivation.Idioms add spice to the communication discourse thus making it more palatable. Idioms are often used by both journalists and politicians as short hand ways of expressing opinion or conveying ready made evaluations.

Newspaper is a publication that appears regularly and frequently, and carries news about a wide variety of current events Newspapers are most often published on a daily or weekly basis, and they usually focus on one particular geographic area where most of their readers live. English newspaper style may be defined as a system of interrelated lexical, phraseological and grammatical means,which is perceived by the community as separate linguistic unity that serves the purpose of informing, instructing the reader. The available literature on studies of idioms shows the considerable involvement of newspapers by the researchers. Studies in Argentina, Finland and the UnitedStates indicate strong links between having used newspapers in the class and academic achievement. We came to the conclusion that the use of idioms isn’t only an interesting theme for research but also, creatively used, newspapers and magazines can effectively promote learning, critical thinking, creativity and resourcefulness in learners of all ages .Studies have shown that using newspapers in education helps students increase their vocabulary and comprehension.There are evidences that the newspapers can play a great role in language proficiency. «Proficiency» in a language can be divided into many categories e.g. words, grammar, syntax, length of the sentences etc. but the present study presents an entirely new angle of learning, i.e. idioms & phrases.

Although complete mastery of idioms may be nearly impossible, every learner must be prepared to meet the challenge simply because idioms occur so frequently in the spoken and written English.

In this coarse paper we have discussed how idioms can be used in newspapers and how they can influence the speech by making it more colorful and bright.

Many linguists analyzed approximately 200,000 words from political debates, taped psychotherapy sessions and compositions written by students and adults. They concluded that those people used about 4.08 idioms per minute. Cooper (1998) transcribed the idioms from 3 hours of taped television programs. The newspapers’ readers and writers are in possession of a nearly fix number of commonly used idioms and phrases and the learning is mediated by the newspaper.


1.Galperin I.R. « Stylistics» 1977

2.Ginsburg R. S. « A coarse in modern English Lexicology» 1979

3.Арнольд И. В «Лексикологиа современного английского Языка» Москва, 1979

4.Charles Hockett « A coarse in modern linguistics» 1958

5.Adam Makkai « Idiom structure in English» 1972

6.Raymond W. Gibbs « Idioms and formulaic language» 1994

7.Stephen Gramley « A survey in modern English» 1992

8.Смирнитски А. И . «Лексикология англиского языка»1956

Practical part from newspapers

9.« The Times» 2008

10.« The Guardian» 2009

11.« The New York times»2007

12.«Financial Times»2009

13.«The daily Mail»2008

14.« The Observer» 2008

15.« The Wall street Journal» 2007

16.« The Los Angeles News» 2009


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