Improve Your English – 251 [Archives:2004/768/Education]

August 30 2004

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
I. What to Say
Situations and Expressions (69)
'Thank you' wishes (III)

'Thank you' may be a small phrase but it has a massive emotional impact in our day-to-day social intercourse. It is that precious lubricant that facilitates the juggernaut of individual, inter-personal and social life move smoothly.

– Thanks a bunch. Words can never express the gratitude that's there for you.. But still this small note comes to let you know that your thoughtfulness and willingness to lend a helping hand have always meant a lot. You're truly appreciated.
– Thank you. Wish there were more people like you who with their kind deeds make this world a better place to be.
– Here are but few words of a sincere thanks giving. A hand outstretched in the hour of need, a kind deed can make a world bright, where sometime back nothing seemed right… Such is the help you've extended to me and so I desire to thank you today, just by saying that it's people like you, who make this world seem beautiful by all the good things you do. With sincere gratitude.

II. How to Say it Correctly
Correct errors, if any, in the following sentences
1. I love to go there at any time of the day.
2. I feel that it is quite easy doing this work without the help of others.
3. He should take your leave after an hour.
4. You and he tried his best to pass this exam.
5. Everyone of us should do our duty to the motherland.

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. Arwa has an urgent piece of work at home today.
2. The news that Rehman gave you was wrong.
3. I couldn't find it anywhere. Where is the envelope of my letter?
4. His father was angry at his leaving the house at night.
5. We think that it is no use going there.

III. Increase Your Word Power
(A) How to express it in one word
1. The character, quality, feeling, etc. of a place.
2. Having opposing feelings towards, or opinions, about one person or thing.
3. Things or circumstances that make life easy or pleasant.
4. Appliance for increasing the strength of electrical signals.
5. Study of laughter.

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. Repetition of the first sound or letter of a succession of words: alliteration (n)
2. Annual calendar of months and days with information about the sun, moon, tides, etc.: almanac (n)
3. The set of letters used in writing any language, arranged in order: alphabet (n)
4. Instrument in an aircraft for showing height above the sea-level: altimeter (n)
5. Boy or man who was a student of a school, college or university: alumnus (n)

(B) Useful terms and their origin
Give the source of origin and meaning of the following
1. serial 2. sermon 3. sic
4. simile 5. similitude

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. scansion (Lat. 'scandere': to climb): The analysis of the metrical patterns of verse. It includes the arrangement of accented and unaccented syllables into metrical feet and the grouping of lines according to the number of feet. Also, the classification of stanza according to rhyme scheme and the number of lines per stanza.
2. scribe ((Lat 'scriba': clerk): A copyst, especially one who copied manuscript before the invention of printing. Sometimes journalists are described as scribes.
3. script (Lat. 'scriptum': written): There are five meaning: a) the characters used in a writing system; b) handwriting; c) the text of a manuscript d) the text of a play or film or television or radio broadcast; e) to write a script for a play or film.
4. scripture (Lat. 'scriptura': writing): A sacred text such as the Holy Quran.
5. Semiotics/semiology: Both terms have a common Greek root: 'semeion' meaning 'sign'. Hence the science of signs. Semiology is the science of signs (and signals) in general; semiotics refers to the theory of sign systems in language. They are both concerned with the means of communication as conventions, with particular emphasis on language.

(C ) Words commonly confused
Bring our differences in meaning of the following pairs of words
1. communication, communion
2. cheat, deceive
3. delightful, delicious
4. freedom, liberty
5. attend, escort

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. beach (n) (share between high- and low- water mark, covered with sand): India has some of the finest beaches in the world.
beech (n) (tree with smooth bark and shiny dark-green leaves and small nuts): The ship has a beech mast.
2. antic (adj) (strange, awkward, amusing, or foolish behavior): Hamlet put on an antic disposition.
antique (adj) (belonging to the distant past): I am a collector of antique objects.
3. ancient (adj) (in or of times long ago): Greece and Rome are seats of an ancient civilization.
old (adj) (having lived a long time): There is a generation gap between old people and young people.
4. antipathy (n) (strong dislike): He shows an antipathy against the poor and destitute.
apathy (n) (indifference; absence of interest): He has a distinctive apathy for imported goods.
5. aught (n) (anything): Do you have aught to say in the matter?
ought (modal verb) (indicates duty or obligation): Acts of indiscipline ought not to be allowed inside an educational campus.

(C) Idioms and phases
Use the following idioms in illustrative sentences
1. at full stretch
2. out of the top drawer
3. have a job
4. to make one's bed and have to lie in it
5. work like a charm

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. have the devil of a job (doing something) (to find something very difficult to do): I had the devil of a job cleaning the mess.
2. not to have a minute to call one's own (to be very busy working and to have very little time for rest or leisure): I have not had a minute to call my own trying to clear the huge backlog.
3. from the word go (from the very start): From the word go I knew that I was going to have a fascinating experience in Yemen.
4. press the panic button (to react to a probable difficult or dangerous situation by panicking and acting in an over-hasty manner): He is used to pressing the panic button at the slightest hint of an approaching danger.
5. cost an arm and a leg (to be very expensive): Getting a new house cost him an arm and a leg.

IV. Grammar and Composition
(A) Grammar
Match the words from the text with their corresponding definitions
1. profile a. a sum of money given in addition to a salary
2. attitude b. an assembly of people, especially for discussion
3. relationship c. to tell an employee that he/she must leave his/her job
4. meeting d. to be right or convenient for
5. suit e. reduction in the number of employees
6. bonus f. the connection between two or more people
7. motivate g. to stimulate someone to take an interest in something.
8. redundancies h. a statement which tells you what you should do
9. sack i. a description of a person's characteristics
10. rationalize j. a way of thinking or behaving

Suggested answers to last week's questions
1. There is a marvelous collection of paintings in the National Gallery.
2. I like the red dress and the pink shoes. The trouble is that they don't go with each other very well.
3. There's something I want to talk to you about. Will you come and see me this afternoon?
4. I usually go to work on foot.
5. The successful applicant will be expected to take up the new post before the end of October.
6. Her English has reached a high level.
7. The new Prime Minister is trying to find a solution to the country's economic problems.
8. He said he would come at eight o'clock, but it is already a quarter to nine.
9. This is a word I have never come across before.

(B) Composition
Expand the central idea contained in the maxim
77: Love knows no barriers

Last week's topic
76: Life is not a bed of roses
Shakespeare says: “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.” Indeed life is a curious admixture of smiles and wiles. Life's highway is fraught with hurdles and hardships which have to be overcome by dint of determined efforts . Life is a pilgrim's progress, in which the pilgrim inescapably confronts “a train of gay and clouded days/ Dappled with joy and grief and praise (Emerson). So one should be armed with boldness, preparedness, courage, self confidence and a positive attitude to successfully confront the battle of life. One should also have an open mind to accept whatever comes after investing the best of efforts. A defeatist or a cynic may see life as 'a long headache in a noisy street.' But the fact remains that one has to have the awareness about the prospects, the possibilities as well as the challenges life offers which can be overcome only by honest hard work. Lives of great men are shining examples of this.

V. Pearls from the Holy Quran
“To those who believe
In Allah and His messengers
And make no distinction
Between any of the messengers,
We shall soon give
Their (due) rewards:
For Allah is Oft-forgiving,
Most Merciful

VI. Food for Thought
“Can earthly things seem important to him who is acquainted with the whole of eternity and the magnitude of the universe?” )Cicero