Improve Your English: 300 [Archives:2007/1023/Education]

February 8 2007

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
I. What to Say

Situations and Expressions (95)

Thank you, teacher!

Words stand mute to express the volumes of gratitude by a pupil to her/his teacher. It's not merely the lessons taught, or the words of advice that make a learner beholden to the teacher. More than anything else the teacher typifies for the learner a living example of a wholesome individual, a vibrant role model, and a dynamic metaphor for a relentless quest for conquest.

– A warm note of thanks for all the lessons you've taught, for making us differentiate between the right and the wrong and for lighting a candle in the darkness.

– In all the world and the universe, too – there's no teacher as nice as you. And amongst all the children if you try to see, you'll not find a luckier student than me.

– You've helped me become an achiever. Thank you teacher for being so patient and understanding and for giving so much.

II. How to Say it Correctly

Correct errors, if any, in the following sentences

1. 'Do you like your parent?' 'It's just the thing what I was hoping for.'

2. You are free to do whatever you will want.

3. You don't mean to tell me that's the man to whom you paid the money.

4. The man breaking the window wants to see you.

5. I recognized Adel easily. He is the only boy worn a red jacket.

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. All reptiles lay eggs.

Note: We are talking about the class (reptiles) in general

2. The boy who is wearing the yellow shirt threw the stone.

3. The car that I had in 1990 was blue.

4. My elder brother, who you'll meet later, is a dentist.

5. He lived at the top of an old house whose attic was very small.

III. Increase Your Word Power

(A) How to express it in one word

1. Not easily pleased and quick to find fault

2. Showing self-satisfaction, quick contentment

3. Condition of being very tired

4. All the animals of an area or an epoch

5. Indiscreet action, remark, etc. that offends against social convention.

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. Extreme scarcity of food in a region: famine (n)

2. Suffer from extreme hunger: famish (vi)

3. Fanatical supporter of something: fan (n)

4. Led by imagination instead of reason and experience: fanciful (adj)

5. Person filled with excessive, and often mistaken, enthusiasm: fanatic (n)

(B) Words often confused

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

1. failing, failure 2. snob, snub

3. conceit, deceit 4. require, requite

5. fatalism, fatality, fateful

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. age (n) (great or long period in human history): The modern age may be characterized as the age of Information Technology.

epoch (n) (beginning of a period of time in history marked by special events or characteristics): The Quantum Theory marked a new epoch in physics.

era (n) (period in history, starting from a particular time or event): The Christian era began 2006 years ago.

2. continuance (n) (time for which something continues): During the continuance of the war there was wide spread loss of life and property.

continuation (n) (continuing; starting again after a stop): Continuation of study after a span of several years was a difficult experience for him.

continuity (n) (the state of being continuous): There was no continuity between the last lecture and this lecture.

3. contort (v) (force or twist out of the usual shape or appearance): The patient's face was contorted with pain.

distort (vt) (give a false account of): The witness distorted the facts relating to the murder.

retort (vt) (answer back quickly or angrily): My son retorted to my face when I disapproved of his unruly behavior.

4. weary (adj) (tired): I feel weary in body and worn out in mind after the long and strenuous journey.

worry (vi) (give oneself no peace of mind): Please don't worry. Everything will be all right.

5. facial (adj) (of or for the face): There is a remarkable facial resemblance between the mother and the daughter.

facile (adj) (easily done or obtained): The chess grand master had a facile victory over his opponent in the first round of the game.

(C ) Synonyms and Antonyms

(i) Synonyms

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

1. debilitate

a. eradicate b. to impair the harmony of

c. enfeeble d. weakness and languor

2. dissipate

a. to scatter b. to squander

c. to waste d. to dispel

3. decree

a. an order by one in authority

b. to edit or outlaw c. a guided decision

d. a predetermined purpose

4. deflect

a. to turn aside b. to swerve

c. to deviate from the proper course

d. bending

5. defray

a. to pay b. to satisfy

c. to appease d. to meet

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

Word Synonym

1. contingent accidental

2. contraband smuggled goods

3. corollary a consequence

4. corroborate to confirm

5. covenant a mutual agreement

(ii) Antonyms

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

1. grip

a. release b. fight

c. hold d. stretch

2. gratuity

a. retirement b. generosity

c. remuneration d. graceful

3. gullible

a. fish b. credulous

c. shrewd d. traveler

4. honorary

a. professional b. unpaid

c. insulting d. permanent

5. holiness

a. evil b. profanity

c. devotion d. none of these

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

Word Antonym

1. feeble robust

2. fundamental subordinate

3. ghastly healthy

4. garrulous phlegmatic

5. graceful awkward

(D ) Spelling

Choose the correctly spelt word

1. a. recipent b. resipient

c. recipient d. recepient

2. a. satellite b. sattelite

c. sattellite d. satelaite

3. a. skeliton b. skaliton

c. skeleton d. skelton

4. a. sovereignity b. sovereignty

c. soverenty d. sovereignti

5. a. spree b. sprie

c. sprei d. sprii

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. onomatopoeia 2. paralleled

3. puerile 4. protection 5. quorum

(E) Phrases and idioms

Use the following phrases in sentences

1. upto one's ears

2. play a losing game

3. lead (someone) a merry dance

4. the pot calling the kettle black

5. a near thing

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. make oneself scarce (to get out of the way quickly, usually to avoid trouble or difficulty): He cleverly made himself scarce even as all students were demonstrating.

2. in the know (having information known only to a small group of people): As the Advisor to the President, he is in the know of all important decisions of the government.

3. dice with death (to risk putting oneself in great danger): When Abdu was driving at break-neck speed, it appeared to me that he was dicing with death.

4. rush one's fences (to act with too much hurry and not enough care): Please don't rush your fences by hastily agreeing to a strategic partnership with him.

5. as dull as ditch water (extremely dull or uninterested): The seminar was as dull as ditch water.

IV. Grammar and Composition

A. Grammar

Look at these situations and write down the regrets that these people say they have

1. Mujahed sold his house for $10,000. Now it is worth $25,000. Mujahed ——

2. Rawia told his horrible boss exactly what he thought of him yesterday, and now he's in trouble.

Rawia: ——–

3. Adel is in prison. Adel: ——

4. Nora has just failed the interview. Nora: ——

5. Jamal's cheap old car has just broken down again on the motorway – it's the third time this week.

Jamal: ——

6. Mohammed went for a drive and is now completely lost. Mohammed: ——

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

Expression of regret:

1. Baraka is not enjoying her new job.

I wish I had a different job.

2. Yousif knows that he has to do military services.

If only I could escape the military service.

3. Tina has seen a lovely dress, but it costs too much.

I wish I had the funds to buy the lovely dress.

4. Abdu has been feeling ill for months and wants to feel better.

If only I could feel better.

5. Samira is jealous of Hanan who is a student of Sana'a University.

I wish I were a student of Sana'a University like Hanan.

6. I always have to get up at 5 am to go to work.

If only I didn't have to get up at 5 to go to work.

7. Fuad is poor because he has a large family to feed.

I wish I had a smaller family.

B. Composition

Expand the central idea contained in the maxim


Suggested answers to the previous lesson's questions



Books are man's best companion. It is rightly said that a book is the only immortality. As Thomas Carlyle observes “Of the things which man can do or make, by far the most momentous, wonderful, and worthy are the things we call books!” According to Francis Bacon, “Books are ships which pass through the vast seas of time.” But not all books are equally worthy of our perusal, and hence don't merit our attention. Oscar Wilde puts it succinctly in his own witty style: “Books are well-written, or badly written. That is all.” While a good book, like an honest friend, is of immense and invaluable help, a bad book or a book without the knowledge of life is useless.

So the real question is how to distinguish between a good and a bad book. As the maxim alerts the readers, a catchy title or a glossy cover is not necessarily a guarantee of the value of the book. In fact, some writers use attractive covers as a ploy to hide the inner worthlessness of the book. So an intelligent reader goes beyond the cover and exercises his power of judgment by critically evaluating the content of the book before browsing it.

V. Pearls from the Holy Quran

“For them there is Hell, as a couch (below) and folds and folds of covering above: such is Our requital of those who do wrong.”)S7: A41

VI. Food for Thought

“The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?”)Pablo Casals