Coco
Some sentences to understand 1.Hillary Clinton’s asterisk-heavy victory in Iowa might have been the narrowest of wins for her Q:What does the 'asterisk-heavy' mean ? 2.As of this writing, the result was a statistical tie, 49.9% for Clinton and 49.6% for Bernie Sanders. Q:Is there any difference between the 'statistical tie' and the 'tie' ? 3.The margin of victory in the delegate count was decided by six coin tosses that “flip truthers” will forever remember as mysteriously biased toward Clinton. Q:Actually, I didnt understand this sentence at all. 4.Perhaps the biggest unknown is South Korea's neighbor to the north. Q:Does the 'neighbor to the north' mean the 'northern neighbor'? 5.But beyond the estimated $500 billion cost, there are huge wild cards about the human resources of North Korea. Q:What does the 'wild cards' mean ?
Feb 4, 2016 2:26 PM
Answers · 9
I'm not surprised you were struggling with these; they are full of jargon and inside references. Anyway, let's get started and I'm sure others will chime in too so you get a better picture. 1. You could say it came with caveats, or considerations to bear in mind when you call it a victory. (An asterisk * would refer to some qualifying footnote.) 2. Not here, no. It's probably from someone who doesn't know what he is talking about. A "statistical tie" would be if you repeated the experiment (here, the election) a number of times and you found the number of times Clinton won was within a certain margin, statistically defined, of the number of times Sanders won. 3. A "truther" is someone who (oddly enough when you think about it) denies the truth of some official or commonly held position, in this case the outcome of the election. They will often have a "conspiracy theory" about what "really" happened. So the "flip truthers" here may believe that the coin tosses (which is apparently how they run some elections in Iowa) were biased to Clinton and fixed the results. Probably again, not a statistician talking, since the probability of 6 heads coming up given you know, well, 6 heads came up, is different from that of 6 as-yet unflipped coins coming up heads. 4. In this case, yes. 5. Wild cards are playing cards in a deck that may take the value of any of the others in certain games. So you don't know their value beforehand. Here, they are trying to say they have no idea about the human resources. When they say "huge", they mean the uncertainty is huge. Of course, they could have just said that -- no playing cards are bigger than any others in the deck, so the image isn't that helpful.
February 4, 2016
#4 - Yes, you understood this well. It's talking about South Korea's northern neighbor which is, of course, North Korea. #5 - The term "wild card" is a reference to many different kinds of card games [like poker] where a specific card is called "wild" and acts differently than normal. A wild card changes the strategy of the game very significantly. When someone uses the term "wild card" in a different context, they are usually trying to point out a detail that could potentially change the story a great deal. Your example sounds like the writer is starting to explain that there are many issues that could change the outcome of whatever they are discussing.
February 4, 2016
#2 - As you can see from doing simple math, 49.6% is not perfectly equal to 49.9%, so this is not LITERALLY a tie. But the numbers are so incredibly close that they are basically a tie. Try to keep in mind that the context is a competition, so most people involved care about who "wins". A tie means that nobody wins. In this case, Hillary fans might want to say that Hillary one by 0.3%, but Bernie fans would say, "C'mon...that is statistically insignificant. Hillary didn't win; it was a tie." #3 - This one gets a little complicated. I actually didn't fully understand it either when I read it, so I had to look it up. I guess there were a bunch of coin flips to determine if Hillary or Bernie won. Remember, it's all about that competition, and these people are going to very great lengths to determine a "winner". The term "flip truthers" is a reference to 9/11 Truthers. Do you know that reference? The 9/11 Truth people are largely considered to be stupid conspiracy theorists by the general public, and so if you use "truthers" you are trying to make fun of someone for believing in a conspiracy theory. The writer uses "flip truthers" as a derogatory term to make the reader think anyone who questions the coin flip results is stupid, just like people who are in the 9/11 Truth movement are stupid.
February 4, 2016
#1 - An asterisk is the little star symbol (*) that we use in English writing to indicate an extra note about something we said, but that note doesn't fit in the flow of the paragraph we're writing, so we put that extra note at the bottom of the page as a footnote. Many times this extra note clarifies a situation so that the reader doesn't get the wrong idea. Sometimes in a competition, someone wins but there is dispute about if the victory was fair or if the winner would have won in other circumstances. If you were writing about this competition you might say something like, "Tom Smith won his first US Open title* yesterday in a thrilling match." And then in the footnote it might say: *It should be noted that, for whatever reason, Djokovic, Murray, Federer, and Nadal all chose to skip the US Open this year. It's a silly example but I hope it's clear. The point is that there was a strange circumstance that means Tom Smith probably would not have won if all those great tennis players had participated. The term "asterisk-heavy" is a metaphor that describes Hillary's victory as full of controversy or dispute, because if you were going to write about it you would have to use lots and lots of asterisks to make extra notes.
February 4, 2016
Still haven’t found your answers?
Write down your questions and let the native speakers help you!
Coco
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
English