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6 Foreign expressions you should know

Whether you like it or not, foreign expressions represent an integral part of the English language (and of many other languages, too). 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 in particular situations (avoid using them just to sound smart, though).

Here are foreign expressions commonly used in English:

1. De facto – A Latin expression that means “actual” (if used as an adjective) or “in practice” (if used as an adverb). De facto (by practice) is the opposite of de jure (by law).

2. Vis-a-Vis – The literal meaning of this French expressions 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 expressions 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. Example: “A cul-de-sac of poverty” (The Economist)

5. Per-se – A Latin expressions that means “by itself” or “intrinsically”.

6. 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”.

– from Daily Writing Tips

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