ENGLISH CORNER : Testez votre anglais médical avec Crazy Doc #6

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The English corner is happy to introduce the sixth issue of “Crazy Doc”. This issue deals with OB-GYN symptoms. Unfortunately, Crazy Doc has messed it up. Do you think you'll be able to correct the anomalies and language mistakes highlighted and numbered in this extract from a consultation? The correction and explanations can be found in the box that follows the text.

ENGLISH CORNER : Testez votre anglais médical avec Crazy Doc #6

© DR

Doctor: Miss Pole Dancer1, you said you owe me for2 your yearly visit. So, tell me, has anyone3 brought you along?

Patient: Well, actually, I’m experiencing4 strange symptoms lately, and I can’t configure5what they mean…

Doctor: Ok, tell me more.

Patient: Well, first, my full stops6… They’re different…

Doctor: Ok. What do you mean by different?

Patient: Well, they came at about the right time, but a few dates7 late.

Doctor: How many dates8 late?

Patient: Two or three. But you see, they are usually really irregular9.

Doctor: Ok, I see. But it can happen sometimes.

Patient: And… Well, they were not as ponderous10 as usual either. It was more like a bloody11 cavalry charge12 than my full stops13 really.

Doctor: Ok. And have they lasted14 about the same time?

Patient: No. That’s another thing. They only lasted a couple of days.

Doctor: Ok. And when has that been15 exactly?

Patient: They started on Monday and were done16 by Wednesday.

Doctor: Ok, last week?

Patient: Yes.

Doctor: And now, do you still have any kind of hospital discharge17?

Patient: A bit, but nothing unusual I’d say.

Doctor: Ok, and did you notice anything else? Did your breasts taste18 tender, for example?

Patient: Yes, yes, they did actually!

Doctor: Are they still tender now?

Patient: Yes.

Doctor: Is there any discharge coming out of your ripples19?

Patient: No.

Doctor: Ok, and did you forget to take your pillow20 in the past couple of months?

Patient: No, I’m sure I didn’t.

Doctor: And did anything change in your sexual habits?

Patient: No, nothing changed.

Doctor: Have you been having sex21 regularly with your porter22?

Patient: Yes, once or twice per year23.

Doctor: Ok. And did you notice any urinary problems?

Patient: No.

Doctor: No emergency24 to empty your vessel25?

Patient: No.

Doctor: No strange spill26or colour?

Patient: No, nothing like that, no.

Doctor: Fine.



  1. Pole (=poteau, barre): Pole is the patient’s name, but we don’t know whether she practices pole dancing.
  2. Are due for (=vous vous présentez pour votre rendez-vous annuel): not a question of money here (owe=être redevable, devoir de l’argent).
  3. Anything (=quoi que ce soit, quelque chose): anyone would refer to someone and not something.
  4. I have been experiencing (=je ressens): in French, the present tense is used, but in English, the present perfect is needed to show the link between the past and the present.
  5. Figure out (=imaginer, comprendre): configure (=configurer) means arranging a computer system.
  6. Periods (=règles, menstruations): in a medical context, periods refer to menses. Otherwise, the word period may also be used to refer to a full stop (=point final) in American English.
  7. Days (=jours): not a question of dates (=dates), but a question of days here.
  8. Days (=jours): see above.
  9. Regular (=régulières): irregular (=irrégulières) means the opposite.
  10. Heavy (=abondantes): the right adjective for periods is heavy and not ponderous (=lourd), which is usually used to describe something or someone slow and dull.
  11. Bloody (=sanglant): the expression bloody discharge (perte de sang) is commonly used in medicine to describe fluid containing blood.
  12. Discharge (=pertes, écoulements): patients may experience discharge coming from their vagina or nipples. Nothing to do with a cavalry charge (=charge de cavalerie).
  13. Periods (=règles, menstruations): see above, full stop.
  14. Did they last (=ont-elles duré): in French, the past tense is used, as well as in English, to refer to a specific context in the past. The present perfect shows the link between the past and the present: “have they lasted” (=ont-elles duré).
  15. Was (=était): same explanation as 14.
  16. Were gone (=étaient terminées): the American expression “I am done” (=j’ai terminé) cannot be used for periods.
  17. Vaginal (=vaginales): vaginal discharge means fluid coming from the vagina, while hospital discharge (=sortie de l’hôpital) means release from hospital.
  18. Feel (=sentir, palper): feel refers to palpation, whereas taste (=sentir, goûter) refers to the sensation of flavour perceived in the mouth.
  19. Nipples (=mamelons, tétons): ripples (=ondes) are small waves on the surface of water.
  20. Pill (=pilule contraceptive): you need a pillow (=oreiller) to sleep. The pill will only stop you from getting pregnant.
  21. Are you still having sex (=êtes-vous toujours sexuellement active): the present be+v-ing is needed here to show continuation of the action at the present time. The present perfect “Have you been having sex” (=avez-vous des rapports sexuels) shows the link between the past and the present over a period of time.
  22. Your partner (=votre partenaire): having said that, it is true that your porter (=portier) could, in a given context, also be your partner.
  23. Per week (=par semaine): per day would be too often, per year would mean abstinence.
  24. Urgency (=urgence): in case of urgency to urinate, you may be taken to the emergency department (=service des urgences).
  25. Bladder (=vessie): vessels (=vaisseaux) may contain liquid, but the medical term for the organ that contains urine is the bladder.
  26. Smell (=odeur): urine spills (=flaques d’urine) can be dangerous if you slip on them.




Let's practice some more exercices ! 

Exercice 1 : Complete the following sentences, using the verbs in brackets.

1. When she got to the hospital, she discovered she _______ her white coat at home. (leave)

2. Since I _______ to you last, I’ve had an accident. Nothing serious! (write)

3. At the moment, the senior surgeon _______ the junior surgeons. (train)

4. How many cases of meningitis _______ they _______ so far? (identify)

5. He _______ his hand while he _______ football. (break / play)

6. By the time the ambulance arrived, he _______ a lot of blood. (already / lose)


Exercice 2 : Translate the following sentences.

1. Mon père fume 10 cigarettes par jour.

2. En ce moment, il fait beaucoup d’exercices pour essayer de faire baisser sa tension artérielle.

3. Selon les résultats des recherches les plus récentes, de plus en plus de jeunes ont une dépendance à la nicotine.

4. Le tabagisme provoque des dégâts considérables aux vaisseaux sanguins.

5. Mon ami a arrêté de boire il y a 3 ans.

6. Cela fait 5 ans que mon taux de cholestérol est élevé.


Correction Exercice 1.

1. had left; 2.  wrote; 3. is training; 4. have they identified; 5. broke - was playing; 6. had already lost.

Correction Exercice 2.

1. My father smokes 10 cigarettes a day / per day.

2. He’s currently doing a lot of exercise to try to lower his blood pressure.

3. According to the latest findings, more and more youngsters / young people are addicted to nicotine.

4. Smoking / Tobacco addiction causes considerable / extensive damage to blood vessels.

5. My friend stopped drinking 3 years ago.

6. My cholesterol level has been high for 5 years.


With Anaïs Carnet & Jean-Pierre Charpy

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