A New Contender for President

A New Contender for President

for President

New Idioms are “Comes across” and “Pretty much.” The English Grammar focuses on Phrasal Modals and Gerunds.

Adair: “We have a new person running for president, Nikki Haley.”
Marlow: “She was Ambassador to the United Nations when Trump was President?”
Adair: “Yes, and before that she was the governor of South Carolina.”
Marlow: “She comes across as pleasant, but she’s slippery like Trump.”
Adair: “Trump has a big following. If you want those votes, being slippery is required.
Marlow: “Yes, I understand. That is why she says Trump is her friend.”
Adair: “She also says the US is truly becoming a ‘colorblind’ society.”
Marlow: “Meaning it’s not racist?”
Adair: “Yes, she says that.”
Marlow: “So for her, the truth is what is politically convenient.”
Adair: “Isn’t that pretty much the case for all politicians?”
Marlow: “Probably true.”


Comes across means to give an impression; to be viewed by others in a particular way. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Slippery means not firmly fixed, unstable, ambiguous; not to be trusted. See online Dictionary.
Pretty much means for the most part, mostly. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Phrasal Modals; Gerunds

She was (Simple Past) could also be expressed: “She used to be Ambassador to the United Nations.” Phrasal Modals are multiword forms ending in the infinitive to. Every Modal has at least one Phrasal Modal counterpart — “Can” has “Be able to,” “Should” has “Be supposed to,” “Must” has “Have to” or “Need to,” and so on. “Used to” corresponds with the Modal “Would” (for past habit), as in: “Back in the 60s, she would go to demonstrations when she had the chance.” Nowadays “used to” is given preference.

Being slippery is required.” The gerund in subject position can often be replaced with an infinitive, but when it is, it usually signals an outcome:
To be slippery is to invite distrust by the voters.”
Another way to phrase this is simpler and perfectly acceptable in colloquial speech: “If you want those votes, slippery is required.” Here, the overt gerund is simply dropped.


New Idioms are “In the wings” and “Out of hand.” The Grammar focuses on Adverbials.

Paxton: “Do you know if Biden will run again in ’24?”
Sky: “His wife just confirmed that he will.”
Paxton: “Why is it shrouded in secrecy?”
Sky: “It’s not a secret so much as a question of his age, isn’t it?”
Paxton: “You might be right. After all, he’s 80.”
Sky: “I remember the Anita Hill proceedings in 1991. Biden chaired the Judiciary Committee that examined her sexual allegations against Clarence Thomas.”
Paxton: “You didn’t like the outcome?”
Sky: “Biden could have called other witnesses against Thomas, but he didn’t. They were waiting in the wings to testify.
Paxton: “You’re right, and wasn’t Biden accused afterwards of some kind of wheeler-dealer thing with Senate Republicans?”
Sky: “Yes. Anita Hill took and passed a polygraph test, but Thomas wouldn’t take it. The whole thing was out of hand at the end.”
Paxton: “At least Biden voted against Thomas’ confirmation to the Supreme Court.”
Sky: “But he was still confirmed, and thirty years later voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
Paxton: “While Anita Hill has devoted much of her life and her writing to women’s rights in the last thirty years.”
Sky: “I wonder how Biden fares these days with all of that history?”


In the wings means ready to do something or to be used at the appropriate time. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Wheeler-dealer means someone who bargains aggressively by shrewd or unscrupulous means. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Out of hand means in an unruly or unmanageable state or manner; out of control. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Adverbials

“They were waiting in the wings to testify.” Interestingly, the Dictionary definition of the idiom “in the wings” is “in the stage wings, unseen by the audience,” which taken literally stands as an Adverbial of Position. The idiom in the wings might have a different definition (= available at short notice) but maintains its grammatical structure and does not change with the semantics (sometimes we encounter a different level of fluidity in language). The original idiom waiting in the wings refers to where actors stand in the theatre before stepping on stage.

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