Unit 09
Brand stories: Michelin

New Knowledge/Fun Science


Share your ideas with your teacher and try to make sentences.

Are you familiar with the brand Michelin? What industry do you think, Michelin operates in?


Repeat  these  sentences  after  your  teacher.

1. product-market fit (phr.) 產品市場匹配度
They were not product-market fit at first.

2. far-flung (adj.) 遙遠的,分佈廣泛的
Our over-reliance on plastic will have long-lasting and far-flung effects.

3. creme de la crème (n.) 精英,精華
Have you experienced creme de la crème?

4. wear and tear (n.) 磨損,損耗
Tires are often subjected to wear and tear. They are seldom recycled.

5. necessitating (v.) 使…成為必要
Michelin is necessitating recycling of tires.

6. prestigious (adj.) 有威望的,有聲望的,受尊敬的
Michelin is now a prestigious brand.

7. coveted (adj.) 令人垂涎的;夢寐以求的
He won the coveted position. 


Read the dialogue aloud with your teacher.

Michael, I just realized that the Michelin Red Guide is published by the French tire company Michelin. What do tires have to do with fine dining?

Well, when they first opened, they had a great product, but not really a great product-market fit of which to speak.

Go on…

So they started printing maps and guidebooks containing information about exclusive restaurants in far-flung places, encouraging motorists to drive there..

Oh, makes sense. All that driving to experience the creme de la creme of fine dining would put a lot of wear and tear on their tires.

Thus necessitating demand for replacements!

But the question remains, why should we still care about it? Why is a Michelin star still so prestigious and coveted?

I would argue that it’s partially because of their notoriously strict standards.

You mean “elitist standards,” right? It’s been said that the rating system is biased in favor of French cuisine. I guess that’s why I prefer the inclusivity of Yelp!

But those apps and their algorithms can be gamed. It’s a lot harder to game an incorruptible critic who does their work anonymously.


I would argue

In today’s lesson, we see the phrase “I would argue” used to answer a question about why Michelin stars are still so coveted.

Why would someone use “I would argue” instead of just “I argue” or “I think”?

For one, although you will read “I argue” in a lot of formal writing, English speakers generally don’t use it in daily speech.

“I would argue” on the other hand, is used all the time. Generally speaking, when we use this phrase we’re not really making an argument. Instead what we are doing is softening our speech.

Some may take this speech-softening principle further and use phrases like “some would argue.” It allows speakers to give opinions while avoiding mentioning the source or specific conditions of the argument.

1. I would argue that the reason you are so sick is because of your bad diet.

2. In this paper I argue that the relationship between language and culture is inexorable.

3. I might argue that globalization has had more positive effects than negative.

4. _________________________________________________________________.


Make a conversation with your teacher.

1.What brand advertisement have you heard recently? What do they advertise about?