Improve your English -185 [Archives:2003/637/Education]

May 26 2003

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
Situations and expressions (49):
Describing features of Urban and Rural life (II)

It is no denying the fact that the city life offers an apparently endless array of absorbing attractions. Yet this superficial glitter is not without its concomitant problems.
Here are a few more ways of referring to the ambivalent urban ambience.

Urban life
– Transport and communication network provide connectivity.
– Shopping precincts buzz with customers from early in the morning till late at night.
– The luminous hoardings and illuminated concrete structures add lustre and make the city wear a colorful festive look.
– Multinational farms and industrial houses provide greater opportunities for employment.
– Life in cities is decidedly more complex, complicated and competitive. Understandably, it is fraught with many serious problems.
– Industrial wastes and heaps of garbage infinitely increase the pollution problem and lead to inevitable ecological imbalance.
– From early morning to late evening there is a mad rush of crowds so much so that it is impossible to walk on the pavement without jostling with scores of pedestrians. This nauseating experience makes one feel claustrophobic.
– Loud speakers blare for most part of the day making cool enjoyment of leisured moments virtually impossible.
– The stress and strain of the hectic daily schedule saps life of its charm.
– Exodus of people from villages to settle in cities results in the fast development of building sites.
– Poverty and plenty coexist in cities.
– The scattered litter spoiling the glitter of the city is a common sight.
– The individual leads more a dreary, detached, isolated life.

II. How to say it correctly
Correct errors, if any, in the following sentences
1. I hear that he is not so intelligent.
2. The ordered books have not arrived.
3. At the end he achieved his goal.
4. Her father would not let her to go.
5. The train left before I arrived.

Answers to last week's questions
1. He told me that he might come today.
2. In my opinion he is right.
3. He hid behind a large tree.
4. Not all people are hard working.
5. He has lived here for two years.

III. Increase your Word Power
A) How to express it in one word
1. Of uncertain value or meaning
2. A piece of music by two performers.
3. A slow thinking person.
4. To be unable to speak because of wonder.
5. An object made to look like and take the place of a real thing.

Answers to last week's questions
1. A long period of dry weather when there is not enough water: drought (n)
2. A person who drives cattle or sheep to market: drover (n)
3. To fall into a light sleep: drowse (vi&t)
4. Hard, dull, uninteresting work: drudgery (n)
5. A person not weeping, or not showing sadness: dry-eyed (adj)

B) Foreign phrases and expressions
Use the following phrases in illustrative sentences
1. ex gratia; 2. ex libris; 3. ex officio;
4. ex parte; 5. expose

Answers to last week's questions
1. de trop (Fr. Adj) (not wanted, unwelcome): A heavy coat is de trop when it is so hot and humid.
2. durbar (Indi & Pak. N) (a court held by Indian princes in former times): In emperor Akbar's durbar there were many learned courtiers.
3. eclair (Fr. N) (a small finger shaped cake): I'm very fond of eclair.
4. eclat (Fr. N) (great success): The brilliant dance performance was met with eclat.
5. exempligratia (e.g.) (for example): I avoid sweet food e.g. cake, chocolate, sugar, and ice cream.

C) Words commonly confused
Bring out the meaning differences in the following pairs of words:
1. anonymous, unanimous
2. animation, animism
3. ancient, old
4. anarchism, anachronism
5. amoral, immoral

Answers to last weeks questions
1. appraise (v.t.) (fix a price for): The income tax officials appraised his property for taxation.
apprise (vt) (inform): Please apprise me of the latest developments.
2. appalling (adj) (filled with fear and shock): Most of the countries protest against the appalling war.
appealing (adj) (moving): The last scene of the play was very appealing.
3. amiable (adj) (easy and pleasant to talk to): He has an amiable personality.
amicable (adj) (done in a friendly way): We want an amicable settlement to all contentious issues between India and Pakistan.
4. amen (int) (word used at the end of a prayer or hymn and meaning 'be it so'): The prayer ended with everybody saying 'amen'.
omen (n) (thing or happening regarded as a sign of something good or warning of evil fortune): This is a good omen and makes us optimistic about a positive outcome.
5. annual (adj) (coming or happening every year): We have the annual exams in June.
anneal (vt) (to make a metal, glass, etc. hard by allowing it to cool down): The blacksmith will anneal the metal before polishing it.
annul (vt) (put an end to): The contract has been annulled following breach of the terms.

D) Idioms and Phrases
Use the following phrases in sentences
1. at one's back; 2. at the back of;
3. get the axe; 4. have an axe to grind;
5. far and away

Answers to last week's questions
1. on one's back (ill on bed): He was on his back for one month.
2. with one's back to the wall (in a bad state of affairs): The country's economy is in doldrums – the country has really got its back to the wall.
3. be glad to see the back of someone (to be glad when someone goes away): He's such a repulsive personality; I'm indeed very glad to see the back of him.
4. break the back of (to do most of): If we start preparations early, we can break the back of the tough assignment before late in the evening.
5. back to back (with the backs facing each other): There are several rows of back-to-back houses in this block.

IV. Grammar and Composition
A) Grammar
Make emphatic statements about the following situations using negative inversion to show the emphasis.
a) You have just returned from an excursion which you did not enjoy at all.
b) Name one very good thing that is only to be found in your country.
c) You once went to the wrong party and didn't realize for a long time.
d) You are dissatisfied with a second hand washing machine you have bought recently.
e) You refused to help a friend in difficulty, and now you feel very bad about it.
f) You got home last night feeling very tired, but as soon as you walked in, the phone rang.
g) Yesterday afternoon you went walking and saw no one. It was a very pleasant experience.
h) You have just got home from holiday. It was one of the most miserable times you have ever had because it never stopped raining.
i) You are warning a child not to leave the house without telling you.
j) A politician is making a speech promising that people will not have so many taxes any longer if he is elected.

Answers to last week's questions
a. One of the common arguments in favor of wearing crash helmets is that they reduce fatal accidents
b. Some people forcefully argue that motorcyclists should not be forced to wear crash helmets.
c. Riding motor cycles without wearing crash helmets is asking for trouble.

B) Composition: Paragraph writing
Expand the idea contained in the saying


Answer to last week's question:

In this proverb 'pen' stands for writers, poets, philosophers, thinkers, etc. In other words, it represents the mass of intelligentsia, the intellectuals. On the other hand, 'sword' stands for soldiers. The proverb contrasts the men of letters with the warriors and proclaims the superiority of the men of ideas over the men of action, of the philosopher over the soldier. In other words, it shows the triumph of the brain over the brawn, of the mind over the muscle, of mental acumen over brutal force. The world history is replete with examples of thinkers who have wielded more influence than monarchs and warriors. All along, men with higher intellectual vigor and vitality have had a distinctive edge over men of superior physical prowess. Revolutions have occurred in the realm of ideas where prominent thinkers have been the leaders. The impact of bloody victory brought about by the sword is transient and temporary. In contrast, the impact of electrifying current of revolutionary ideas and ideals is more persuasive and has a lasting value. European history furnishes two towering personalities who have exercised far more extensive influence on the human psyche than any warriors who ever wielded a sword. They are Rousseau and Karl Marx. Rousseau was the brain behind the French Revolution which shook the entire Europe and which is a landmark in the human history. Marx ushered in the Proletarian revolution which changed the face of Russia and which is still rocking the world.
Suffice it to say that, men of ideas have a decidedly more far-reaching and powerful impact on the mankind than men of physical prowess.

V. Pearls from the Holy Quran
“Remember Allah
And ask for forgiveness
For their sins,-
And who can forgive
Sins except Allah?”
S3: A:135

VI. Words of Wisdom
“The only present love demands is love”
)John Gay