Improve Your English – 196 [Archives:2003/658/Education]

August 11 2003

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
I. What to Say
Situations and Expressions (55):
Emotional Reactions V

Emotional reactions are intensely personal. So they are out and out subjective. They reflect the speaker's relationship vis-a-vis his/her environment. They convey the speaker's experience from his/her own perspective, as the following expressions would serve to indicate.

– It is enlivening (making people more active, spirited, or cheerful) to notice that you are relentlessly in pursuit of excellence.
– It is refreshing (pleasantly new and interesting) to meet some one like you.
– All my efforts to build a bridge of understanding were painfully rebuffed (rough or cruel answer).
– With the dismal economic scenario, there is no room for complacency (a feeling of quiet pleasure, contentment or satisfaction).
– He gave me a left-handed compliment (negative expression of admiration, or respect).
– Her obstinate dealings make me feel that success has gone to her head.
– I was suffocated (choked) with rage at his acts of insubordination.
– He sulked (showed lasting annoyance by refusing to talk) when someone tried to have a dig at him.
– The strange stories gripped (attracted and held someone's attention) the young children.
– I was absorbed (engrossed) in the TV serial and did not notice you enter the room.
– He has an enigmatic (very hard to understand) personality.
– Imagine my bewilderment when he said he doesn't know me.
– I feel rattled (nervous, anxious) when I am in a bank.
– We were enraptured (filled with great joy or delight) to see the beautiful scenic beauty of Mahweet.
– The lecture was intellectually stimulating (exciting), emotionally enriching and spiritually elevating.
– The act of massacre of innocent people is petrifying (filling the mind with shock and fear).
– The trend of increasing violence is most perturbing (causing worry).
– I am perplexed (confused and troubled) to notice the wide spread incidence of malpractice in exams at all levels.

II. How to Say it Correctly
Correct errors, if any, in the following sentences
1. She is being tall.
2. The building is looking very old.
3. Aisha cleaned the house now.
4. We are students, don't we?
5. Everybody is ready now, isn't it?

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. She has a little money.
Note: 'money' is an uncount noun.
2. I go to school to study.
Note: The definite article 'the' is used before 'school' to indicate a visit, not to mean going there for study.
3. My friend works in the Ministry of Education.
4. Who built the Taj Mahal.
Note: Article the is used before organizations and famous monuments.
5. It is a good sheet of paper to write on.

III. Increase your Word Power
A) How to express it in one word
1. Something that makes a person weak.
2. A woman who has made her first public appearance.
3. Marked by a fall to a lower level from a higher level.
4. A competition in out-of-door games consisting of 10 separate events.
5. The quality of being dishonest.

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. Something that may be very dangerous to life: death trap (n)
2. A written official order to kill someone: death warrant (n)
3. A conscious or unconscious desire for the death of oneself: death wish (n)
4. To lower in quality or in the opinion of others: debase (vt)
5. A meeting where an argument or a question is talked about by at least two people, each expressing a different opinion: debate (n)

B) Foreign Phrases
Give the sources of origin and simple meanings of the following phrases
1. heteroglossia; 2. holograph 3. holophrasis;
4. homograph 5. homonym

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. festschrift (German 'celebration writing'): A collection of articles compiled in honor of a distinguished scholar or writer.
2. genre (Fr. 'a literary type or class'): Some of the literary genres are poetry, drama, novel, etc.
3. ghazel (Arabic 'love making'): A love song or love poem.
4. grotesque (derived from Italian 'grotte'): Strange and unnatural so as to cause fear or be laughable.
5. hamartia (Gk 'error'): An error of judgment arising from ignorance or some moral fault.

C) Words Commonly Confused
Bring out the meaning differences in the following pairs of words.
1. announce, declare; 2. disclose, proclaim
3. weak, week 4. same, similar, identical;
5. hope, wish; 6. familiar, familial

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. national (adj) (concerning a nation): Yemen Times is Yemen's national newspaper in English.
notional (adj) (existing only in the mind, abstract or theoretical): I have given the article a notional price for the purpose of calculation.
2. data (n) (pl of Lat. 'datum' meaning facts or things): He has gone on field study to collect data for his research.
date (n) (statement of the time): What is the date today?
3. respectable (adj) (deserving respect): He is a respectable citizen.
respectful (adj) (showing respect): The nation pays respectful homage to the martyrs of freedom.
4. sensual (adj) (given up to the pleasures of the senses): He is leading a sensual life.
sensuous (adj) (appealing to the senses): We love sensuous music.
5. trail (n) (series of marks left behind): The vehicle left a trail of smoke.
trial (n) (examination in a court of law): The accused is standing trial for murder.

D) Idioms and Phrases
Use the following phrases in sentences
1. anything but 2. if any 3. by any means
4. in any case 5. any number of

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. apparent to (easily seen or understood): His anxiety was apparent to everyone present there.
2. apart from (aside from, besides): Apart from being a good student, he is also an excellent artist.
3. if anywhere (or else no where at all): You'll find it in Tahrir square, if anywhere.
4. like anything (used to add force to a verb): He labored like anything to pass the exam.
5. if anything (if there is any difference): If anything, my new house is much more comfortable than the old one.

IV. Grammar and Composition
A) Grammar
Rewrite the following sentences without changing the meaning
1. Could I come and stay for a few days?
Would it be
2. Do you mind me phoning my brother?
Is it
3. Can I make myself a cup of tea?
Do you mind if
4. Could I have a bath now?
Would you mind if
5. Can I turn on the TV?
Do you mind if I
6. Would it be possible for me to take the car? Would it be allright if
7. Could I invite a few friends over?
Would you mind if
8. Can I read one of your books?
Is it
9. Would it be possible for a few of my friends to stay?
Would you mind if

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. A person who makes bread: baker
2. An expert in chemistry: chemist
3. Plays the violin: violinist
4. Teaches: teacher
5. Advises people on legal matters: lawyer, advocate
6. Plays a musical instrument: musician, instrumentalist
7. Goes up in a spacecraft: cosmonaut
8. Prepare meals for a living: cook
9. Designs buildings: architect
10. flies an airplane: pilot
11. Looks after the sick: nurse

B) Composition: Paragraph Writing
Expand the idea contained in the proverb:

Last week's topic

The world is full of imperfections. There are evils and hardships all around us, such as poverty, disease, social and economic exploitation, injustice and cruelty, deception, war and bloodshed. Any sensitive person would be filled with shock, horror, dismay and grief at the ugly turn of events and criticize the awful state of affairs. But, it is not criticism, but constructive and concerted effort that may help to alleviate some of the ills the world is suffering from. Expression of anger or dissatisfaction cannot dispel the darkness but lighting a candle can. Similarly rather than helplessly ventilating our sense of disgust, we should unleash action at our level to remedy the situation. One may not be able to remove all the problems, but one small step in that direction would mean a substantial help to make the world a better place. As the poet says, “In short measures life may perfect be.” It is people endowed with a constructive mind and a positive attitude who can redeem the suffering mankind from the quagmire of torture and, eventually, inspire others to serve the humanity as best as they can without being frightened by the horrendous proportions of the problems.

V. Pearls from the Holy Quran
“If Allah helps you,
None can overcome you;
If He forsakes you,
Who is there, after that,
That can help you?
In Allah, then,
Let Believers put their trust.”
S3: A160

VI. Words of Wisdom
“More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of”