Russian News Recap

Russian News Recap

Russian news recap

Russian news recap dominates the conversation between two friends. The Grammar focuses on Tag Questions.

Wajid: “Tell me some news, will you?
Parker: “I don’t know anything new. The jobs picture is great.”
Wajid: “What about the Ukraine?”
Parker: “That’s a hell of a mess. Putin is sending prison inmates to the front lines in the war.”
Wajid: “And what is the USA doing?”
Parker: “We’re about to send Ukraine longer-range missiles and maybe Abrams tanks, too.”
Wajid: “But nothing in the sky, right?”
Parker: “What do you mean?”
Wajid: “Like F-15’s or anything reasonably modern.”
Parker: “I think they’ll get all that eventually.”
Wajid: “Eventually they’ll take Crimea back from Russia, too.”
Parker: “We’ll see what happens.”


Hell of a mess means a really bad situation. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Front line means the front or most advanced boundary in a battle between two military positions. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Tag Questions

A Tag Question is a question attached to a statement. The standard tag questions like “isn’t it?” or “doesn’t it?” are comparable to the German “nicht wahr?” or French “n’est-ce pas?” but there are also idiosyncratic tag questions.

In our dialogue here, the first one is “will you” following an imperative, i.e. “Tell me some news, will you?” The observable characteristic of the idiosyncratic tag here is that “will you” is an inverted structure. The tag question is used to soften the command and make it sound more like a request.

The other tag question here is a standard “right?” in “Nothing in the sky, right?” This invites agreement or confirmation.


New Idioms are “Up in the air” and “Comes along.” The Grammar focus is on the Present Progressive.

LeBlanc: “Are you following the news today?”
Surrey: “Bits and pieces. I know the Democrats are holding the Senate because they won in Nevada. But I think the House is still up in the air.”
LeBlanc: “True enough, but that’s not the only thing going on in the world.”
Surrey: “Well, I think Russians have completely withdrawn from Kherson to the east side of the Dnieper.”
LeBlanc: “Yes, I read that, but apparently they first tore down much of the critical infrastructure — communications, electricity, heat, water. People don’t have food or medicine.”
Surrey: “Are they any closer to peace talks? Are there any negotiations at all?”
LeBlanc: “From what I heard, Ukraine wants more battlefield gains and Russia hopes winter will weaken the resolve of Ukraine’s allies.”
Surrey: “So that’s a no.”
LeBlanc: “I’m afraid so. Unless some other kind of miracle comes along.”
Surrey: “This is terrible for everybody.”
LeBlanc: “You don’t have to tell me. You’re preaching to the choir.”


Bits and pieces means sundry little items, tasks or chores. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Up in the air means uncertain, subject to change. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Going on here means happening, occurring. See online Idioms Dictionary.
I’m afraid so means I believe, regrettably, that the answer is yes. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Comes along here means to appear, materialize. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Preaching to the choir means to argue in favor of a viewpoint already held by one’s audience. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Present Progressive

Are you following the news today?”

The Present Progressive, also called the Present Continuous, refers to an activity in progress. It could be a temporary situation or one with an extended present, but the action will end, unlike the simple Present tense. It can also be used to express a planned event in the future, as in “We’re going to the beach tomorrow.” These generally have a time-adverbial attached.

By contrast, a Past Progressive refers to an activity in progress at a specific point in the past, e.g. “She was driving to work at 7:30 a.m. when the deer suddenly decided to cross the road.” These usually occur in conjunction with a sentence or clause in the Simple Past tense (e.g “the deer suddenly decided to cross the road”). The Past Progressive provides the background of the event, the Simple Past provides the foreground (Carter & McCarthy, 2006).

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