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The best of the blog

Marzo 2017
The Speak Up blog answers any questions you may have either about the English language or our articles. Write to us at: http://blog.speakuponline.it. The most interesting questions will be published on this page. A word of warning, though: our blog is not a translation or homework service!

How do you do?
Can I use “How do you do?” to say “Come fai?” or is there a better translation?
Thanks. Nicola

By itself “How do you do?” is an old-fashioned way of saying “Piacere.” It’s still used, but nowadays people tend to say “Pleased to meet you” or “Nice to meet you.” You can, however, say “How do you do that?” when asking someone to explain something athletic (like a complicated dance move) or technical (like getting a computer programme to work). There’s also “How did you manage to do that?” which can be used to ask someone how they did something, although this could refer to anything (like finding tickets for a show that is sold out, avoiding traffic etc.).

What is a shuttle? And a shuttle bus? A space shuttle? What is the difference between a space shuttle and a space ship?

A shuttle, or shuttle bus, is a navetta, while the verb to shuttle means “to move back and forth from one place to another.” Originally, the shuttle was the spoletta volante,  the part of the weaving instrument (tessitrice) that moved back and forth. Later the word was used in badminton (the shuttlecock is the volano which moves back and forth during the game) and in transport. A shuttle bus carries people between two places, while the space shuttle carries astronauts between space stations in orbit.  A space ship, on the other hand, is used for longer journeys in space.

Poker face
Potreste spiegarmi cosa significa esattamente l’espressione Poker Face (nella canzone di Lady Gaga)?

A poker face is that of a person who shows no emotion. In the game of poker players never show what they are thinking.

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