Improve Your English (184) [Archives:2003/636/Education]

May 12 2003

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
I. What to Say
Situations and expressions (49):
Describing features of urban and rural life (I)

The din and bustle of city life and the tranquility of rural life 'far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife' present a sharp contrast. What are the distinctive marks of the urban life that distinguish them from those of the rural life? Let's look at the phrases that describe some of these contrasting features.

Urban life
– The amazing sky-scrapers seem to touch the sky.
– The multistoried buildings are a common spectacle.
– The high rise office blocks make the city appear like a concrete jungle.
– Spacious, metalled main roads and labyrinthine causeways crisscross one another.
– Impressive supermarkets, shopping arcades and kiosks make the city a shopper's paradise.
– The dazzle of the city center and the glitter of the well decorated shops unfailingly entice the prospective customers.
– Well designed public parks, amusement parks, science parks offer a lot in terms relaxation and entertainment, especially to children.
– Cinema houses, public theatres, pubs, and restaurants with delicious continental cuisines throw ample avenues for enjoyment.
– A city never sleeps at night with the dazzling electric lamps and the continuing hustle bustle.
– Opportunities are unlimited for an enterprising entrepreneur.
– For knowledge-thirsty people, internet cafe's, recreation clubs with facilities for computer games and the like offer opportunities to update their knowledge and be a part of global village.
– Sprawling educational campuses are an added attraction of the city.
– Super specialization hospitals with state of the art technology help the masses lead a healthy and disease-free life.

II. How to say it correctly
Correct errors, if any, in the following sentences
1. He told me that he may come today.
2. According to my opinion he is right.
3. He hid behind of a large tree.
4. All people are not hard working.
5. He has lived here since two years.

Answers to last week's questions
1. I have only two or three friends.
Note: We must always insert the conjunction 'or' between numbers.
2. The noise interferes with my work.
3. The teacher taught us a lesson.
4. He insisted on going home.
5. Lessons begin at half past seven.

III. Increase your word power
A) How to express it in one word
1. A long period of dry weather when there is not enough water.
2. A person who drives cattle or sheep to market.
3. To fall into a light sleep.
4. Hard, dull, uninteresting work.
5. A person not weeping, or not showing sadness.

Answers to last week's questions
1. To float or be driven away by wind, waves, or currents: drift (vt)
2. To train soldiers in military movements: drill (n)
3. To fall or let fall in drops: drip (vt)
4. To rain in very small drops or very lightly: drizzle (vi)
5. To hang or bend downwards: droop (vi&t)

B) Foreign phrases and expressions
Use the following foreign phrases in sentences
1. de trop
2. durbar
3. eclair
4. eclat
5. exempli gratia

Answers to last week's questions
1. de mode (Fr. adj) (no longer in fashion): 'I'm afraid your ideas are a bit de mode.
2. denouement (Fr. n) (the end of a story when everything comes out right): The denouement of a comedy leads to reconciliation.
3. de rigueur (Fr. adj) (proper and necessary according to fashion or custom): 'That sort of clothing is de rigueur at a formal ceremony.'
4. dishabille (Fr. n) (the state of being only partly dressed): She opened the door in a state of dishabille.
5. detente (Fr. n) (a state of calmer political relations between two countries): Efforts are on for a detente between Yemen and Eritrea.

C) Words commonly confused
Bring out differences in meaning between the following pairs of words
1. appraise, apprise
2. appalling, appealing
3. amiable, amicable
4. amen, omen
5. annual, annul

Answers to last week's questions
1. daft (adj) (foolish, silly): Such daft remarks show his silly attitude on a serious matter as this.
deft (adj) (quick and clever): The police commissioner was rewarded for his deft handling of the sensitive situation.
2. debauch (n) (a person who is known for excessive drinking and immoral behavior): He is hated for being a debauch.
debouch (vi) (to come out from a narrow place into a broader place): The river debouches into a wide plain.
3. anode (n) (positive electrode from which current enters): The current doesn't flow due to a problem in the anode.
an ode (n) (a poem expressing noble feelings): Today we were taught an English ode by Shelly.
4. borrow (vt) (get something as a loan): May I borrow your car for an hour?
lend (vt) (give something for a period of time): I'll lend you a hand (help) in shifting to your new house.
5. climate (n) (conditions of temperature, rain fall, wind, etc.): Sana'a has a temperate climate.
weather (n) (conditions over a particular area at a specific time): Today there is cloudy weather in Sana'a.

D) Idioms and phrases
Use the following phrases in sentences
1. on one's back
2. with one's back to the wall
3. be glad to see the back of someone
4. break the back of
5. back to back

Answers to last week's questions
1. to the back bone (completely): He is honest to the back bone.
2. to back the wrong horse (to support the loser): In supporting the opposition candidate in the election, you were, in fact, backing the wrong horse.
3. to know a place like the back of one's hand (to know a place very well): Having lived in Hayel street for five years, I know it like the back of my hand.
4. turn one's back on (go away): You shouldn't turn your back on a sincere friend in distress.
5. put someone's back up (to annoy someone): He always puts my back up by reminding me of that humiliating incident.

IV. Grammar and Composition
A) Grammar
Complete the blanks or put the correct form of the words in brackets.
a) One of the )- in favor of (wear) crash helmets (be) that they reduce fatal accidents.
b) Some people )- that motorcyclists should not be forced to wear crash helmets.
c) (Ride) motor cycle without (wear) crash helmets is (ask) for trouble.

Answers to last week's questions
1. Only by closing down one school will the council save money.
2. The change in bus time table by the college is intended to make the service more efficient.
3. The main aim behind their proposal to organize an international seminar is to facilitate exchange of ideas and information.
4. The main reason of the company's withdrawal of this product from the market is to carry out further tests.
5. Holding of the meeting at 7.30 is intended to enable everyone to attend.
6. Only by paying them the money you owe, will you avoid prosecution.
7. The main idea behind the Municipality's intended demolition of an old building is to erect a new supermarket.

b) Composition
Expand the idea contained in the proverb

Answer to last week's question

Most people treat work as a necessary evil. They work because they have to, because they cannot do without it and would be glad to get rid of it, if it were possible. Most of us work because we would starve if we did not. Some of us work because we would be bored if we had nothing to do. Only a few take work as a sacred duty. We should not treat work as a compulsion, nor as an imposition, but as devotion. The right attitude is to treat work not as pastime, but as prayer which has to be performed with all seriousness and sincerity. All work is noble. Work brings rewards in the world itself. Idleness is invariably followed by poverty and other undesirable consequences. It weakens the individual and saps his physical and moral strength. On the other hand nations like Japan, that have become the pride of the world and risen to the acme of progress and prosperity, have achieved this unenviable success by their hard working masses. So, as the proverb implies, perseverant work holds the key to individual and national progress. Work should be discharged with an abiding sense of devotion, dedication and single minded commitment.

V. Pearls from the Holy Quran

VI. Words of Wisdom
“Look before you leap,
see before you go.”