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    • Join Date: Sep 2007
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    #1

    stand shoulder to shoulder/was the first to break away from/scrap/ standing/ conjure

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expressions in bold in the following sentences?

    1. The British foreign secretary David Miliband and the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner stood shoulder to shoulder as they arrived for the meeting.
    stand shoulder to shoulder = to support one another

    2. Their Slovenian colleague Dimitrij Rupel, whose country was the first to break away from Yugoslavia, described this as the end of the Yugoslav crisis.
    was the first to break away from = was the first winning independence from

    3. So the European Commission is asking agriculture ministers to scrap the set-aside rule, a policy which forced and compensated farmers to leave ten percent of their land fallow.
    scrap (v) = abolish

    4. Soaring cereal prices have prompted this move, reversing a policy of more than a decade's standing.
    standing = standpoint, attitude

    5. I conjure you, let him know, whatever was done against him, Cato did it.
    conjure (v) = to implore earnestly

    6. Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons conjured against the Highest. (Milton).
    conjure (v) = To combine together by an oath; to conspire; to confederate

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V.


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #2

    Re: stand shoulder to shoulder/was the first to break away from/scrap/ standing/ conj

    1. The British foreign secretary David Miliband and the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner stood shoulder to shoulder as they arrived for the meeting.
    stand shoulder to shoulder = to support one another

    Yes, with the added implication of "having the other's back" or "facing a common enemy" -- or even "prepared to do battle together." To "stand shoulder to shoulder" refers to an historical means of fighting in warfare, so to say it means only "to support" each other is to define it too weakly.

    DEAR STUDENT: When exactly TWO people are involved, the expression is "each other." Use "one another" for transactions involving more than two people.

    - "My sister and I phone EACH OTHER (not "one another") every day."
    - "Everyone in the room shook hands with EACH OTHER." (because each handshake is a two-person transaction.)
    - But "Everyone in the room waved at one another" is correct.
    - So the English and French officials supported EACH OTHER.



    2. Their Slovenian colleague Dimitrij Rupel, whose country was the first to break away from Yugoslavia, described this as the end of the Yugoslav crisis.
    was the first to break away from = was the first winning independence from

    Yes, that's correct.
    - But "break away from" carries a hint of effort (and even struggle) that is not captured by the blandness of "win independence from."


    3. So the European Commission is asking agriculture ministers to scrap the set-aside rule, a policy which forced and compensated farmers to leave ten percent of their land fallow.
    scrap (v) = abolish

    Yes, this is correct.
    - The use of the rough metaphor "to scrap" suggests a slightly more emphatic getting rid of -- "to throw in the trash bin" or "to discard as worthless" maybe.


    4. Soaring cereal prices have prompted this move, reversing a policy of more than a decade's standing.
    standing = standpoint, attitude

    No, this is not what "standing" means in this case.
    - Here, the word "standing" means "duration."


    5. I conjure you, let him know, whatever was done against him, Cato did it.
    conjure (v) = to implore earnestly
    Yes, I think this is the best definition in this case.


    6. Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons conjured against the Highest. (Milton).
    conjure (v) = To combine together by an oath; to conspire; to confederate

    Yes, this is at least an unexceptionable definition. It misses the aroma of "magical invocation" or "to bring about by black magic" that is tied up with "to conjure."
    Conjure Definition | Definition of Conjure at Dictionary.com


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