Improve Your English: 295 [Archives:2006/984/Education]

September 25 2006

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
I. What to Say

Situations and Expressions (93)

Wishes for a sister

A sister is bound to a brother by an intangible bond of filial obligation. They mean a lot to each other. Sister is an epitome of supreme, sustainable love and sacrifice that promises to stand all impediments of life.

– Sister! It's not easy to let someone take your credit. You've stood by my side making the path of life easier for me.

– A sister is a love that you never outgrow. No matter where our paths may wind, those childhood days we left behind, are always with me in my heart and mind. You mean so much to me, dear sister!

– 'Sister'… a bond which is combined with love and friendship, too. A comfort of knowing that somebody is there to understand and would always stand by you… it's a bond which is the most loving one, especially when the sister is as special as you.

II. How to Say it Correctly

Correct errors, if any, in the following sentences

1. Shakeer is layer, like his father.

2. For most of the journey there was the clear blue sky.

3. Can you shut a door after you, please?

4. When I was young, I used to collect some stamps as a hobby.

5. For some reasons, Tawfeek doesn't want to come on holiday with us.

Suggested answers to the previous week's questions

1. Who's coming to your party?

2. She bought me a box of chocolates for my birthday. (A 'chocolate box' means a box designed for putting chocolates in)

3. There have been three break-ins this street this month.

4. I hope to go on to study for an M. A. in Applied Linguistics.

5. Have you got a pen you could lend me?

III. Increase Your Word Power

(A) How to express it in one word

1. Hand over a fugitive foreign criminal to the proper authorities of his own country.

2. Lecturers from outside a university.

3. Perception of events without the use of senses.

4. Going beyond what is reasonable in ideas or speech.

5. Operating from the outside.

Suggested answers to the previous week's questions

1. Explanation of a theory: exposition (n)

2. Wipe or rub out words from a book: expunge (vt)

3. Brought to a high state of perfection: exquisite (adj)

4. Make wrong doings seem less serious by finding out an excuse: extenuate (vt)

5. Outward aspects or appearance: exterior (adj)

(B) Words often confused

Bring out the difference in meaning of the following pairs of words

1. misappropriate, expropriate

2. extant, extent

3. contemporary, extemporary

4. erosion, corrosion

5. contemptible, contemptuous

Suggested answers to the previous week's questions

1. lateral (adj) (related to sides): The gardener pruned the lateral branches.

collateral (adj) (secondary or subsidiary): I need to to produce collateral security to get the loan.

2. brisk (adj) (active; lively; quick-moving): I took brisk steps to catch up with my friend.

brusque (adj) (rough and abrupt speech or behavior): Everyone is displeased with him for his brusque manners.

3. expedition (n) (journey or voyage for a definite purpose): The expedition to explore Antarctica was very productive.

expeditious (adj) (acting quickly): We are looking forward to an expeditious disposal of the matter.

4. expose (vt) (uncover): Don't expose yourself to nuclear radiation.

expose (n) (orderly setting out or precis of a body of facts): The fact-finding committee's expose of the malpractices shocked everyone present.

5. expound (vt) (explain, make clear): The speaker brilliantly expounded the complex scientific theory.

impound (vt) (take possession of by law or authority): The culprit's passport was impounded.

(C ) Synonyms and Antonyms

Choose the word that is closest in meaning to the one given at the top

1. ameliorate

a. to make better b. to improve

c. to grow better d. higher

2. annihilate

a. reduce

b. to put out of existence

c. to crush by word d. to wither by look

3. anomaly

a. irregularity

b. deviation from the rule

c. incongruous d. an oddity

4. arrant

a. downright b. mitigated

c. out-and-out d. notorious

5. askance

a. awry b. obliquely

c. to look with suspicion d. disapprobation

Suggested answers to the previous week's questions

Word Synonym

1. admonition reproof

2. adumbrate to give a faint shadow of

3. agrarian relating to land

4. alight to dismount

5. ambient surrounding

(ii) Antonyms

Choose the word that is most opposite in meaning to the one given at the top

1. cryptic

a. wail b. manifest

c. underground d. rude

2. contemptible

a. foolish b. unworthy

c. dull d. likeable

3. distinguished

a. ordinary b. marked

c. confused d. straightened

4. disparage

a. eject b. appreciate

c. compare d. jump

5. dissipate

a. upgrade b. lavish

c. spit d. economize

Suggested answers to the previous week's questions

Word Antonym

1. benign malignant

2. credulous unbelieving

3. curb incite

4. conservative iconoclast

5. compliant recalcitrant

(D) Spelling

Choose the correctly spelt word

1. a. gramar b. grammar

c. grammer d. gramer

2. a. heterogeneous b. hetrogenous

c. heterogineous d. heterogenous

3. a. humorous b. humourous

c. humorus d. humourous

4. a. harasment b. harrasment

c. harrassment d. harassment

5. a. imitat b. imitate

c. iminitate d. imitet

Suggested answers tot he previous week's questions

1. furniture 2. fermentation 3. fixture

4. financier 5. genealogy

(E) Phrases and Idioms

Use the following phrases in sentences

1. pluck up courage/screw up one's courage

2. teething troubles 3. like a shot

4. hit the hay 5. take a shine to

Suggested answers to the previous week's questions

1. in the bag (certain): You are most certainly going to get the award. Think that it is in the bag.

2. put the tin lid on (something) (to add the last unpleasant detail to something unsatisfactory): The boss hurled all kinds of accusations on Nasry and put the tin lid on his chance of a promotion.

3. hang on like grim death (to take a very firm hold on something in a difficult situation): The drowning man was hanging on like grim death as the rescuers were trying their best to save him.

4. one good turn deserves another (if someone does one a favor one should do that person a favor in return): This is a small token of my appreciation for your nice gesture. After all one good turn deserves another.

5. dead on one's feet ( totally exhausted): After return from the trip to the mountains I was dead on my feet.

IV. Grammar and Composition

Grammar: Giving and refusing permission

Bassim is staying as a paying guest with a host family in England. Look at what he asks for and match his requests with suitable replies.

1. Would it be all right if I did my homework in the dining room?

2. Would you mind if I made myself a cup of tea?

3. Do you mind if I come back quite late this evening?

4. Is it OK if my parents phone me here?

5. I was wondering if I could borrow your bicycle tomorrow.

6. Would it be possible for me to invite some friends over?

A. No, not at all. We'll let you have a spare key, if you like.

B. Yes, by all means. Do they know the number?

C. Yes, that would be fine, as long as you clean everything away before dinner.

D. Sorry, that's not possible. It's got a puncture.

E. I'm afraid not. We've already got some other people coming over.

F. Of course not. The kettle's just boiled.

Suggested answers to the previous week's questions


Officer: Good afternoon, sir. May I know your name, please?

Peter: Jackson, Peter Jackson. It's on the passport, if you'd care to look.

Officer: No need to be like that, sir. Now where are you coming from?

Peter: From Switzerland

Officer: What's your nationality?

Peter: I'm British. Actually, it says that on the passport, too.

Officer: Have you anything to declare?

Peter: No, nothing to declare. Just the 200 cigarettes and a bottle of gin.

Officer: Did you pack everything yourself?

Peter: Yes, I packed everything myself.

Officer: Can I check the suitcase?

Peter: Yes, of course you can, but you won't find anything.

Officer: What are there in those bottles?

Peter: In those bottles? Um.. er.. I think those six bottles have got

Officer: Why didn't you declare them?

Peter: I didn't declare them because

The customs officer's questions in reported speech

a. The officer asked him what his name was.

b. He wanted to know where the passenger came from.

c. Then he asked what his (passenger's) nationality was.

d. He asked if he had anything to declare.

e. He wondered if the passenger packed everything himself.

f. He asked whether he could check the suitcase.

g. He wanted to know what were there in those bottles.

h. He demanded why he (passenger) didn't declare them.

(B) Composition

Expand the central idea contained in the maxim


Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions


“Doing is the mother of success.” Success doesn't come easy. One has to strive hard to achieve it. One should never accept mediocrity and relentlessly be engaged in the pursuit of faultless briliance. It is rightly said, “patience and forbearance can overcome mountains.” There is no substitute to hard work. Excellence knows no time clock. One should be wary of negative energy in all one's endeavors because negative energy is counter productive. Creative thinking, planning and working towards the goal lead one on the path of success. Therefore, one should work harder and smarter. One should aim high, because one normally hits what one aims for. Dame fortune smiles upon a bold and brave entrepreneur. Such a personality need not run after success, rather success runs after a bold enterprising, insightful and foresighted individual.

V. Pearls from the Holy Quran

“Those whom Allah willeth to guide, – He openeth their breast to Islam” S6:A125

VI. Food for Thoughts

“Hope is a waking dream.” )Aristotle