Strike a chord

If a message "strikes a chord" with you, you agree with it or identify with i

Today's story: AMLO victory Mexico
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Strike a chord

There were a couple of good phrases in today’s episode, and it’s hard to choose just one, but the one I picked was “strike a chord.” AMLO’s message struck a chord with the Mexican electorate. When a message strikes a chord with you, it means you agree with, identify with, and maybe are motivated by that message. A chord is a string on a guitar. And to strike a chord, literally, is to make a sound with that guitar string—or to make music. So think about this: when you hear something you really agree with, that you identify with personally, that idea makes a little music inside of you.

In the United States, Donald Trump’s message that the government was self-serving and corrupt struck a chord with a lot of people in the middle of our country. AMLO’s campaign against violence struck a chord with people across Mexico. The campaign to leave the European Union struck a chord with many people in the United Kingdom.

It doesn’t always have to be politics or campaigning. You might go to church one Sunday and find that the pastor’s message strikes a chord with you that week. Maybe he said something that was particularly relevant to your life in that moment. Even an advertisement might strike a chord with you. Good advertisements try to convince people that their products solve a problem. An ad for a product that could save you time or money might strike a chord with you. You might identify with that ad in a personal way.

And I think that’s the key—it has to be emotional. Just having a pleasant or good experience doesn’t necessarily strike a chord. Like, I just changed my cell phone plan. That didn’t strike a chord—that just made me satisfied. So in order for something to strike a chord, it has to have a positive emotional impact on you. Last week we talked about the crisis in Venezuela and how many people are leaving the country because of the terrible poverty and political situation there. That story struck a chord with me, because one of the listeners to this show told me about his own experience and for that reason I had an emotional reaction, or an emotional connection, with the issue. It struck a chord with me.


That’s all for today’s episode. JR and I will be back again on Friday, July 20, my birthday. Then next week we will resume our regular, pre-World Cup schedule of two episodes per week on Mondays and Thursdays. To get a reminder and a summary of each episode, go to PlainEnglish.com/mail and enter your details—if you do that, I’ll send you a message each time a new episode comes out so you never miss one. I’ll also send you a list of good English resources that I recommend. PlainEnglish.com/mail.

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Story: AMLO victory Mexico