Point to

When you cite evidence in an argument, you "point to" that evidence

Today's story: Cashless shops
Explore more: Lesson #152
Keywords:

Be your best self in English

Move confidently through the English-speaking world

Listen

  • Learning speed
  • Full speed

Learn

TranscriptYour turn
Simple TranscriptEspañol中文FrançaisPortuguês日本語ItalianoDeutschTürkçePolski

To point to

A recipe for success. Thanks for joining us at Plain English this Monday morning. Today the expression I’d like to share with you is to point to. This is a phrase that you can use when making an argument, or describing an argument that someone else is making. The more literal meaning is to indicate something with your finger. But in a discussion or an argument, when you point to something, you are highlighting it in your speech.

Here’s how you first heard it. Why are shops and restaurants going cashless? The retailers point to the added convenience and lower cost. These are the supporting examples they used for their argument, for their opinion. When asked what are the advantages, they point to greater convenience and lower cost. But what about opponents of cashless stores, like the city council in Philadelphia? They point to how unfair it is to people who don’t have credit cards. I would point to how unfair it is to people who just want to use cash instead of credit cards—but I think that’s for the stores and customers to figure out for themselves.

Do you remember our episode about Notre-Dame cathedral? The business community stepped up to raise a lot of money for its reconstruction. But not everyone thought this was a good thing—specifically, the Yellow Vest protesters. They point to the fact that big businesses can raise money for Notre-Dame, but not to help the struggling French middle class.

One more example. Back in Episode 137, we talked about the second patient ever to be cured of HIV. It was undoubtedly a huge scientific breakthrough. But some people thought the news was overblown. They thought that it wouldn’t have a big practical impact. They point to the fact that HIV has multiple strains, and the cure was only applicable to one of the strains. They also point to the way the cure is administered: a bone-marrow transplant. Not exactly a practical solution for the people living with HIV.

Quote of the week

It’s Monday, so we’re going to close the show with a quote. This one comes from the year 1654, but it’s as applicable today as it ever was, especially in the world of mobile devices and distractions. Here it is, from the philosopher Blaise Pascal: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” That’s clever—so even in 1654, before smartphones, before electricity, this was true. What would happen to your mental health, do you think, if you could be more comfortable just sitting quietly alone? Not all day, but just for a bit to reflect. I bet I would be more relaxed if I could do that some more. “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”


And with that, we will close the program for the day. I love hearing from you all, so if you’d like to get in touch with us, like Megumi did from Japan, you can send me a message on WhatsApp to +1 312 967 8757. Voice messages are welcome. You can say hi, sing a song, play an instrument, send a video, do a magic trick, whatever you like. I love hearing from all of you out there. And I always write back! Some people are surprised by that. +1 312 967 8757 Remember that we’ll be back again on Thursday for another exciting episode of Plain English. See you all then.

Use realistic expressions like a native speaker

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language


Plus+ feature

Write a sentence with this Expression

Get personal, human feedback on the examples that you write. Build the confidence to use this Expression in the real world

Story: Cashless shops