Learn Brexit Quotes And Improve Your Spoken English Language
There are so many Brexit quotes and phrases it is difficult to know which quotes are the best or which quote to start with. We have “Brexit means Brexit”, funny Brexit quotes like “Brexit was a fantastic example of a nation shooting itself full in the face.” Hugh Grant. The list goes on. But we have decided upon a little gem of a phrase that is often used when speaking English.
You can apply the phrase “A tough nut to crack” to a person or a difficult problem. Given the recent increase in Brexit quotes we decided that we can learn about a common English phrase and catch up on the Brexit negotiations all at the same time.
Hi there, I’m Hilary and this is the Monday podcast from Adept English. We are here to help you with your English language learning. So if you’re new to us, listen to this podcast a number of times until you understand all the words. Then listen a few more times, then your brain learns all the vocabulary and the phrases, so that when you come to speak English, you’ll find it easier to use some of these words and phrases yourself.
We say that things ‘stick in your mind’. Well listening to this podcast will help the new and the familiar words to ‘stick in your mind’. That means that you don’t forget them. And listen to the end of the podcast, if you’re looking for the last discount code for the final week of September.
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Describing a top Brexit negotiator as a "tough nut to crack" is mostly propoganda
So there’s a phrase in English, ‘It’s a tough nut to crack’. And I’ll talk in a minute about the Brexit negotiations. I’ve left that subject alone for a while, but perhaps time for an update. But actually ‘a tough nut to crack’ is a phrase which describes the process very well.
So let’s take each word from that phrase, first of all. The word ‘tough’ is one of those words in English which has a funny spelling. T-O-U-G-H – tough. It means hard, strong or difficult. If you had a piece of beef, a steak say and it was tough – it would mean that you had to chew it for a long time. Ugh - not very nice. Sometimes you would say of people that ‘they’re tough’. It means that they perhaps can be difficult – or it can mean that they don’t give up easily.
Think of Bear Grylls, if you know him, he’s tough! And a nut is a little thing that grows on a tree that you can eat. Examples of nuts in English – walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts. Think about what’s in a Snickers Bar! And nuts have shells, which need to be opened before you can eat them. So we talk about cracking a nut, this means cracking the shell and so you can eat it – or you can eat the nut inside.
Crack is one of those words in English, which comes from the sound. If you break open a nut, you usually have to use some force, some pressure and the nut shell cracks. And it makes a noise as you do it. So there’s a verb ‘to crack’ and there’s also a noun. A crack is where something is broken, it has a break in it, but it’s not yet come apart. So you might have a crack in your car windscreen, or a crack in your favourite cup. So ‘a tough nut to crack’ means literally a nut whose shell doesn’t break open easily.
If you’re in the habit of sitting with a bowl of nuts and a nutcracker, then there’s usually one which doesn’t break very easily. If you’re using this figuratively, instead of literally, you can use ‘a tough nut to crack’ of a person or of a situation. So of a person ‘She’s a tough nut to crack’ - you may mean she’s hard to convince, hard to persuade or that it’s hard to impress her or to get her to like you. When ‘It’s a tough nut to crack’ is used of a situation, then it means there’s a problem and it’s difficult to solve.
Brexit is such a serious matter you might wonder how any British people can find Brexit quotes funny
So Brexit is proving a tough nut to crack for Theresa May. In fact, not just a tough nut to crack, but perhaps an impossible nut to crack. And not just for Theresa May, but for everyone else involved too. There was of course this week the meeting in Salzburg, in Austria where the Prime Minister, Theresa May and the heads of the 27 countries of the European Union met to try to make progress on a Brexit agreement. But it didn’t go too well.
EU leaders, led by Donald Tusk and Emmanuel Macron said ‘No’ to the ideas contained within the Prime Minister’s Chequers Proposal. It’s called the Chequers Proposal, as Chequers is the name of Prime Minister’s Country Residence, where the proposal was thought up. Part of the aim, the goal of the Prime Minister’s Chequers Proposal is to solve the difficulty of the border between Northern and Southern Ireland after Brexit.
A border is the line between two countries, which you can see on a map, but which often you can see in reality on the road for example. You might have your passport checked at the border. After Brexit, Northern Ireland will remain part of the UK, so be outside the EU and Southern Ireland will remain inside the EU. And yet it’s important for all kinds of reasons, many of them political, not to make this seem like the border which runs across Ireland is a border between two foreign countries. And yet at the same time, the rest of the EU countries don’t want to have different rules for the Irish border than for any other border between an EU country and a non-EU country. So that problem is nowhere near solved yet – and Theresa May’s attempt to solve it has not worked.
Brexit is taking so long we are now have quote categories by year "Brexit quotes 2018"
But Theresa May is in an almost impossible position in the negotiations with the EU. But not just that. She’s in an impossible situation also at home, even within her own political party – that means even the group of politicians who are supposed to support Theresa May. People can’t agree either that Brexit is a good thing, or about how to do it.
There are even those who still don’t think that it should happen at all and that there should be another vote to ask Yes or No to Brexit. But most people think that the vote should be followed, should be honoured. Hardly anyone can agree on how to do it though. Theresa May has a very tough nut to crack. Whatever she decides, there are probably going to be more people who don’t like it than those who do. And that even if she comes up with ideas which are more popular at home, then they’re not going to be well received by the other EU 27.
Without Brexit humour we would all go mad listening to the boring negotiations
I’m not always convinced that Theresa May makes the best decisions, but I do admire her for carrying on. She’s in a ridiculously difficult position, both at home and in Europe, but she just carries on because she agreed to do the job of Prime Minister. She comes in for a lot of criticism, but I think whoever was doing her job would be having difficulties because there is no solution to Brexit which keeps everyone happy. Nor is there a solution which even keeps 50% of people happy! So Brexit is a ‘tough nut to crack’.
Anyway, I hope the meaning of the phrase ‘a tough nut to crack’ now sticks in your head. If you want me to cover more information on Brexit, let us know on Facebook. I’m quite happy to talk more about it and explain it some more, if that’s what you would like.
In the meantime, this week’s discount code! Please remember, it’s the last week of September, so this is your last opportunity for a while to buy our courses at a discount. So this week’s code is ‘NUTS158’ - N-U-T-S-158. And this will allow you to have 25% discount off either of our courses, when you buy online. But the code is only available to the first 25 people to use it. So that’s NUTS 158.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
When Brexit became a reality, the British press went mad coming up with new headlines and catch phrases to help describe what Brexit was about and to characterize the pro Brexit and the anti Brexit supporters. The process of leaving the European Union is so slow and difficult the pace with which the press has been reporting the Brexit story has gotten slower and slower.
Brexit is important to the British people and they often discuss the issues surrounding Brexit in everyday English conversation. So knowing a few quotes and understanding the phrases used will help you if you are listening to an English conversation or with to join in.
We have lots of other tips on learning to speak English here.
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