Words making the headlines – election

Polling card

The next word in our occasional series about newspaper vocabulary is in headlines everywhere. It’s election /ɪˈlek.ʃən/.

Let’s start with the definition. The Macmillan English Dictionary says an election is

an occasion when people vote for someone to represent them, especially in a government.

We’ll come back to the word vote in a moment but first let’s focus on different types of elections.

Last year, the people of the USA voted to choose a new president. That’s what we call a presidential election. The people of France are currently doing the same.

There are other types of elections; one for every level of government. In the UK this month, we have local elections in some parts of the country, including Stratford. This is when we vote to choose the people to represent us at a city or county level.

BBC election newsAnd we also have a general election in June. A general election is to choose the representatives to go to the national parliament. In the UK, we call these people Members of Parliament or MPs.

Right now, we’re now in the middle of the election campaign. The newspapers, television and radio are full of interviews with candidates from the different political parties and reports about what they promise to do if we vote for them.

This year’s UK general election is a snap election. This means that, instead of waiting for the official 5-year parliamentary period to end in 2020, the UK Prime Minister suddenly decided to call an election at very short notice.

What about the word vote /vəʊt/? We often use it as a verb, for example:

Who did you vote for?

However, newspapers sometimes use it as a noun which means the same as election, for example:

The results of the June vote will influence the Brexit negotiations.

There are lots of other words connected to elections but we’ll deal with them another time.

If you would like to suggest a word from the news for future blog posts, please use the comment box.


Practise your listening. Click on play to hear Barney reading this text.


by Barney

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