Improve Your English – 176 [Archives:2003/628/Education]

March 24 2003

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
I. What to Say
Situations and Expressions (45):
Quite often habits and situations give indications of being in a state of flux and changing for the better or for the worse over a period of time. The appropriate gramatical device for expression this experience is seem/appear + TO BE DOING or the like.

Changing habits and situations (to be doing)
– Attitudes appear to be slowly changing towards personal and social value systems.
– He seems to be slowly realizing the magnitude of his misdeeds.
– People in Yemen are, to all appearances, slowly but surely doing away with harmful social conventions.
– The unfortunate parents who lost their only child seem to be coming to terms with the reality.
– An increasing number of people are being inclined to take yoga exercises for a healthy living.
– More and more people are seen to be protesting against America's intention to attack Iraq.
– It is heartening that students are observed to be spending more time in the library.
– How is cultivation of friendship possible for one who seems to be putting up an unfriendly exterior?
– In India more and more people are found to be evincing keener interest in the Information Technology.
– The government are leaving no stones unturned for bringing more and more people to the mainstream of development.
– I shall be doing all I can to improve your knowledge in English.
– The patient is showing signs of responding to treatment.
– We appear to be forgetting the hopeless condition of the poor when we crave for a more and more comfortable life.
– The gap/hiatus between the rich and the poor are seen to be widening day by day.

II. How to Say it Correctly
Correct errors, if any, in the following sentences
1. Every night and every day brings their own responsibility.
2. He is braver than wise.
3. This book is as good, if not better than, that book.
4. He takes no fewer than one kilo of milk.
5. It is a four-men committee.

Answers to last week's questions
1. He hit the ball hard.
2. I am hard pressed for time.
Note: 'Hardly' means 'almost no' or 'almost not'. The correct expression is 'be hard pressed' which means 'be under pressure' or 'be strained'.
3. This flower smells sweet.
Note: To give more information about an action – to say how, where or when it is done – we use adverbs. When the quality of the subject rather than the action of the verb is to be indicated, we use adjectives. It is the smell of the flower that has been described here. Hence, we have to use the adjective 'sweet', not the adverb 'sweetly'.
4. I will see you later.
5. If offered red or white shirt, I'd choose the latter.
Note: 'Later' is the comparative form of 'late'. It means 'more late in time', or 'after wards'. But 'latter' is the opposite of 'former'. It means the second of two people or things just mentioned. 'Later' denotes time, whereas 'latter' denotes position.

III. Increase your Word Power
A) How to express it in one word
1. A politician who champions the cause of peace.
2. A person who is suffering from bad fortune and seeming to be unable to do anything about it.
3. Having or showing low spirits or sadness.
4. An experience or state of affairs that is saddening.
5. To lower in rank, position, or importance.

Answers to last week's questions
1. To use apparently serious language which is, in fact, mixture of sense and non-sense: double-talk (n)
2. To believe two opposing ideas at the same time: double-think (n)
3. Double wages paid to people who work at week ends or on public holidays: double-time (n)
4. A man who doesn't easily believe things: doubting Thomas (n)
5. Flour mixed with water ready for baking: dough (n)

B) Foreign phrases
Use the following phrases in illustrative sentences
1. canard; 2. cap-a-pie; 3. carte blanche;
4. caveat emptor; 5. charge d' affires

Answers to last week's questions
1. bon voyage (Fr) (happy journey): His friends were there at the airport to wish him bon voyage.
2. bonafides (Lat) (genuineness): I have no doubt about his bonafides.
3. bourgeoisie (Fr) (the middle class): During the French revolution there was a bloody attack on the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy.
4. boutique (Fr) (a small shop for women selling fashionable clothes and other personal articles): She bought her dress at the boutique.
5. cafe au lait (Fr) (coffee with milk): We took cafe au lait at the cafeteria.

C) Words commonly confused
Bring out differences in meaning of the following pairs of words
1. accompany, company
2. accomplice, accomplish
3. accord, discord
4. account (v), recount
5. accredit, credit

Answers to last week's questions
1. accept (vt) (consent to receive something): We accepted their invitation to visit them.
except (prep) (not including): I get up early everyday except Friday.
2. exceptionable (adj) (something that can cause some one to take exception): His remark is well-intentioned; there's nothing exceptionable in it.
exceptional (adj) (unusual): She is an exceptional talent in mathematics.
3. access (n) (opportunity or means of reading): Every student should have access to internet.
excess (n) (more than what is proper): Excess of anything is bad.
4. accidence (n) (rules concerned with inflections as in 'sing', 'sang', 'sung'): This chapter deals with rules of accidence in English.
accident (n) (an unfortunate incident): He was involved in an accident, but luckily escaped unhurt.
5. acclaim (n) (shouts of applause): The artist's performance earned him acclaim from the audience.
claim (n) (demand): You have every claim to my affection.
reclaim (vt) (reform a person): Timely counselling reclaimed the drug-addict from the vicious path.

D) Idioms and phrases
Use the following phrases and idiomatic expressions in sentences
1. the bane of one's life
2. keep the ball rolling
3. the ball is in your court
4. bale out
5. in the balance

Answers to last week's questions
1. a bargain's a bargain (an agreement already made must be kept): You can't back out now. After all a bargain's a bargain.
2. make the best of a bad bargain (to do one's best in difficult conditions): The situation has gone out of my control. However, I shall make a last ditch attempt to make the best of a bad bargain.
3. be called to the bar (to become a lawyer): After he graduated in Law, he was called to the bar.
4. under the banner of (in the name of): The party won the elections and came to power under the banner of poverty alleviation.
5. jump on the band wagon (to do or say something just because a lot of other people are doing or saying so): After post graduation I'll jump on the band wagon of teaching as my career.

IV. Grammar and Composition
A) Grammar
Rewrite the following sentences in the indirect speech
1. Faiz said, “Ahmed is getting married.”
2. Manal said, “Jamila has gone to see her uncle in Hadramout.”
3. Amal said, “Faiza hasn't done her homework.”
4. Zafer said, “She is ill.”
5. Sailo said, “He doesn't know that the exam is going to be held tomorrow.”
6. Mr. Isa says, “Mr. Fernando has been an efficient director.”
7. Amna said, “Baraka must be studying hard.”
8. Abraham said, “Why didn't you come to the lecture yesterday,Khalid?”

Answers to last week's questions
Compound words
Power – thermal power
Energy – solar energy
Muscle – muscle power
House – power house
Looms – handlooms
Oil – oil engine
Steam – steam ship
Giant – water giant

B) Composition
Expand the idea contained in the proverb

Answer to last week's question
This proverbial line by the eighteenth century English poet Alexander Pope is directed against half-informed or mis-informed quacks of all trades and professions. These people with ill-digested scholarship and half-baked ideas about their trade do positive harm to the innocent people who are deceived into believing them as persons of great learning and expertise. These quacks misinterpret the areas of knowledge which they boast they are the masters of, and mislead the ignorant masses whose time, money is thus wasted. Even in some cases their life is in danger in the hands of a self-styled doctor who, in reality, maybe a quack. Therefore, it is highly unethical and immoral to pose oneself as a man of erudition, that is, one who possesses great knowledge and skill whereas, in reality, one has very shallow knowledge in one's field. We, in our turn, should also be on our guard against such deceivers. Appearance is not always the reality. As such, before reposing our trust and confidence in some one, we should be convinced about his credentials.

V. Pearls from the Holy Quran
“O ye who believe!
Fear Allah as He should be”

VI. Word of Wisdom
“Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.” )George Eliot