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(escucha el audio más de una vez para familiarizarte con los términos que
se introducen y explican)
was an American artist. He was in the limelight of the pop art movement
in the 1960s and 1970s. Warhol once said that "everybody will be famous
for 15 minutes." And he said this long before the arrival of social
media and YouTube.
Today, you can do anything to become famous.
Just look at the Kardashian family. Reality television made the
Kardashians famous for just being themselves. It helps that nearly every
member of the family seems to like being in front of the camera. They
enjoy being in the spotlight. And they have been in the limelight for a
lot longer than 15 minutes.
They have become household names. This terms means exactly as it sounds
– names that are well-known in many households. In other words, they are
But enough of the Kardashians! Let’s go back to those terms.
Both "limelight" and "spotlight" come from the world of theater.
"Spotlight" is easy to understand. Spotlights are the bright lights used
in a theatrical production. They shine light on the most important
action in a play. It is where people should be looking.
For the history of "limelight," we turn to the Merriam-Webster online
dictionary. Its explanation is more interesting.
A limelight is a lighting instrument. It was used in theaters to light
the front of the stage. The light came from a fire. The fire was
directed at a box filled with the mineral lime. Then a lens, a piece of
glass, would concentrate the brightness, making the light more intense.
Merriam-Webster notes that Thomas Drummond, an engineer, invented
limelight in 1816. He wanted to make boating safer by lighting dark
coastlines. But limelight was too dangerous to be used in lighthouses.
In fact, it is a wonder that more of those early theaters equipped with
limelight did not burn to the ground.
When used as a noun, "limelight" and "spotlight" are interchangeable.
One word can be used in place of the other. However, "spotlight" is
probably the more common term.
The big difference is that English speakers use "spotlight" as both a
noun and a verb. "Limelight" is only used as a noun. So you could not
use "limelight" in these examples.
The teacher spotlighted a period of ancient history to his students.
While the owner of the company is in town, it is important to spotlight
any problem that requires her attention.
Now, spotlight and limelight may have both come from the theater, but we
use them everywhere.
The basketball player stole the limelight from her teammates with her
amazing three-point shots.
A wealthy businessman did not want to be in the spotlight of the project
and chose to remain in the background.
Situations, issues and problems can all be spotlighted or can all be in
the limelight. Here are two examples:
The real estate agent made sure to spotlight the fact that the house was
located in a safe neighborhood with highly-rated schools.
On the campaign trail, the politician’s personal scandals were very much
in the limelight.
To be in the limelight or the spotlight means that you are the object of
public attention. As the expression goes, ‘all eyes are on you.’ You
have taken center stage. This is also a theater term.
In the theater, the center of the stage is usually a place everyone can
see. The actor taking center stage is easy to recognize. However, that
does not mean that the actor taking center stage can't be upstaged by
"Upstaged" means to direct attention away from something.
People can be upstaged.
For example, when two people are married, the bride is supposed to be in
the limelight. She often wears a beautiful, white gown. It would be in
very poor taste to upstage the bride by wearing something white and even
more eye-catching. No one is supposed to upstage the bride!
An issue can also upstage another.
For example, let’s say the main issue of the parent-teacher meeting was
supposed to be raising money for the school. But that issue was upstaged
by the discovery that the principal was fired! All the parents wanted to
know more about the scandal!
So, just remember, anything that has been upstaged is no longer center
stage. It’s no longer in the limelight or spotlight.
stage – n. a raised platform : the part of a
theater on which the acting takes place and which often includes the
wings concentrate – v. to think about something : to give your
attention to the thing you are doing, reading, etc. background – n. a position that attracts little attention : used
to describe something that occurs without requiring attention while
something else is also occurring upstaged – v. to take attention away from (someone or something
else, such as another performer) scandal – n. an occurrence in which people are shocked and upset
because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong
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