Improve Your English – 191 [Archives:2003/648/Education]

July 7 2003

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
I. What to say
Situations and expressions (54):
Apologizing/making excuses.

Apology is an explanation or defence, for doing something wrong, being impolite or hurting somebody's feeling. (I'm) sorry is the commonest form of apology. Generally an apology is qualified by an excuse. Let's look at, in this lesson, expressions of apology followed by excuses including some of the oft-used responses to apology.

Apology – Excuse
– I do apologize for arriving late for the party. I had no idea that it would start so soon
– Terribly sorry for parking my car here and blocking the passage. I had no intentions of causing inconvenience to you.
– My sincere apologies for the inordinate delay in returning your book. I didn't realize that you needed it.
– I'm extremely sorry for not meeting you at the station. I was caught up in an extraordinary traffic snarl.
– I am very sorry for my failure to keep my commitment. It didn't just fructify.
– I very much regret my terse language. I hadn't even the least intentions of offending your sentiment. It came out in an unguarded moment.
– Please don't mind what he said. He has the best of intentions for you.
– I hang my head in shame for the ugly turn of events. I had no inkling of what was going on.
– I hope my words won't be misconstrued. I have your long term happiness uppermost in my mind.
– I render an unqualified apology for the publication of the hon'ble minister's statements in a distorted form. Our correspondent seems to have misinterpreted the statement, taking it out of its context.
– Kindly accept my apologies for whatever happened. It was absolutely unwarranted.
– Please forget and forgive. If I had the faintest idea about the ugly turn of events. I would have done all I could to avert it.
– Sorry for disappointing you. I was undone.

Responses to apology:
– I can't say how sorry I am for the acts of omissions and commissions, I can't apologize enough. It doesn't matter.
– I must apologize for being so late. It's ok. There's no need to apologize.
– Sorry, I didn't mean to say that. Don't worry- it's all right
– Please overlook any act of negligence on our part. It doesn't matter.
– Sorry for the discomfort. No problem.

II. How to say it correctly
Correct errors, if any, in the following sentences
1. I have a pen and book and pencil
2. With who did he go to the market?
3. The French is a sweet language
4. I have a few informations.
5. He wrote some vocabularies.

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. The bell rang at two o'clock.
2. The weather gets hot during summer.
3. Abdu is leaving next Monday.
Note: The preposition 'in' is not used before 'next'.
4. He will be there after an hour.
5. You should be at the guest house at 6 o'clock.

III. Increase your word power
(A) How to express it in one word
1. To spend time doing nothing.
2. First light of day.
3. Idle and pleasant thoughts.
4. A place where some children can be left during the day when their parents are away working.
5. A time when offences are punished

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. Person or thing that discourages and makes dull or sad: damper (n.)
2. A person who is brave but not properly careful: dare devil (n, adj.)
3. A person in a competition who surprises others by winning: dark horse (n.)
4. Something that will never end or go out of date: dateless (adj.)
5. A line in a newspaper that gives its date and place of origin: dateline (n.)

(B) foreign phrases and expressions
Give the English equivalents of the following expressions:
1. corpus; 2. coup de theatre 3. deixis;
4. diatribe; 5. donnee

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. canto (Italian): (a subdivision of an epic or narrative poem comparable to a chapter in a novel.)
2. carol (Italian) (a light hearted song of joy or praise, especially a Christmas hymn)
3. catastrophe (Gk.) (sudden happening that causes great suffering or destruction.)
4. catharsis (Gk.) (outlet for strong emotion)
5. cliche (Fr.) (a trite over-used expression, which is lifeless and is now out-dated.)

(C) words commonly confused
Bring out the meaning differences in the following pairs of words:
1. capable, capacious;
2. cast aside, cast away;
3. celebrate, celebrity;
4. censor, censure;
5. celebration, cerebration

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. all round (adv.) (in regard to everything): Considered all round it's not a bad idea.
all-round (adj.) (having ability in different ways): He is an all-round sports man.
2. born (pp. of 'bear') (come into the world by birth): He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
borne (pp. of bear, except of birth) (carry away): The fragrance of the flowers is borne on the wind
3. aid (n.) (help): I hope you will come to my aid.
aide (n.) (a person employed to help a government minister): The minister answered the questions of Pressmen with the help of his aide.
4. ail (vt.) (trouble): No one knows what ails him
ale (n.) (light-coloured beer)
5. ague (n.) (malarial fever)
argue (vt.) (give reasons in support of one's opinion): The lawyer argued convincingly to prove the innocence of the accused.

(D) Idioms and phrases
Use the following phrases in sentences
1. attach to; 2. atone for; 3. assert oneself
4. by common assent; 5. as regards

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. avowed enemy (openly declared enemy): How can I trust him, my avowed enemy?
2. rude awakening (sudden consciousness of an unpleasant state of affairs): We were listening to the election news, but the rude awakening came when it was announced that the former Prime Minister has been defeated.
3. in attendance (the act of attendance): He is the officer in attendance on the visiting dignitary.
4. attain to (to reach a desired state or condition): Each of us has the potential to attain to spiritual heights if we follow the preachings of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
5. attach importance to (to consider important): I don't attach much importance to material prosperity.

IV. Grammar and composition
(A) Grammar
Use each of the words given below in its correct form to complete these sentences
run step stroll climb
hop skip leap march

1. Slow down! There's no need to .. We're not late!
2. The boy scouts proudly down the street carrying their flags
3. The bird had hurt its foot and was along on one leg
4. The little girl used to . for hours in the street outside her house
5. The President slowly out of the car to be greeted by the crowd
6. I've told you before. Don't . trees. It's dangerous!
7. Would you like to go for a leisurely evening . before dinner?
8. He . from the top of the burning building into the river below.

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. If you had come one hour earlier, you could have witnessed the match
2. Do you remember having met him at the station?
3. The government has set up a school in our village
4. The teacher told that man is mortal
5. Your future depends upon your success in the exam

(B) Composition: Paragraph writing
Expand the idea contained in the maxim:

Last week's topic:

Haste means too quick movement or action which may have bad results. Experience proves it beyond doubt that haste and rashness are almost always negative and destructive. They inevitably break health and ruin business. A man in haste displays lack of sanity and self control. Such a man is practically haughty and impulsive and is more likely to lose the battle of life. Therefore while doing something we would do well to remember that nothing can be achieved in a single day or overnight and that every achievement takes its time. Therefore, it has been rightly said, “Unreasonable haste is the direct road to error” and “More haste, less speed”. People who drive rashly are often met with fatal accidents. The minute they save by rash driving unfortunately becomes their last. On the other hand, a patient and cool-headed person calmly considers the pros and cons of a decision before taking a plunge. The famous American essayist Emerson has rightly said: ” Manners require time and nothing is more vulgar than haste”. This view is endorsed by a Latin proverb which says: “If haste is at all to be made, it should be made slowly”.

V. Pearls from the Holy Quran
” . Allah is full of grace
To those who believe”.
S.3A. 152

VI. Words of wisdom

“Content is the Philosopher's stone, that turns all it touches into gold”.
)Benjamin Franklin