Improve Your English: 311 [Archives:2008/1130/Education]

February 18 2008

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
I. What to Say

Situations and Expressions (99):

Use of usual words with unusual meanings

The obscurity or lack of easy comprehensibility of the language of Law is due, primarily, to two reasons:

a. Use of unusual, unfamiliar words or 'jargons'; and b. Use of familiar words with unfamiliar meanings. Such words are heavily loaded with unusual connotations. A common reader readily recognizes these words, but is confused to come across their meaning in a legal context, as the following examples clearly illustrate:

Access: a right granted to a parent, who has not been awarded care or control, to come into contact with his or her child on a regular basis.

Contributory negligence: where the claimant in an action for negligence has been partly responsible for the damage caused by the defendant.

Controlled tendant: a tendant of a property below a certain rateable value, enjoying legal protection against rent increases imposed by his landlord.

Conveyance: a document transferring a free hold interest in land after sale.

Dewarding: process by which a child ceases to be a ward of court either by court order or by reaching full age.

First class paper: payable orders drawn on financial institutions of the highest reputation.

II. How to Say it Correctly

Correct errors, if any, in the following sentences

1. She'd hung her coat above the back of her chair.

2. It's impossible to find him between thousands of people who would gather there.

3. I sat nearby my friend at the lecture

4. We went for shopping at the City Mart on last night.

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. She got low grades for her exams. Therefore, she had to retake them to get into college. (Or and therefore she had to

2. I had to go into work even though I was feeling sick.

3. We landed at Aden airport, in Yemen, at 10.00 on Thursday.

4. I live at 19 Al-Jeraf Street.

5. He'd left his papers all over the room.

III. Increase Your Word Power

(A) How to express it in one word

1. Sign of what is to follow

2. See beforehand or in advance

3. Be a sign or warning of something to come

4. Suffer the loss of something as a punishment or consequence

5. Shape and size of a book, including the type, paper and binding

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. Say in advance what is likely to happen: forecast (vt)

2. Use the right given by a mortgage to take possession of property when interest or capital has not been paid at the required time: foreclose (vt)

3. Enclosed space in front of a building: forecourt (n)

4. Part of the day between sunrise and noon:

forenoon (n)

5. Medical knowledge as needed in legal matters:

forensic (adj)

(B) Words often confused

Bring out differences in meaning of the following pairs of words

1. grand, grandiose 2. hallucination, nightmare

3. accident, occident 4. amateur, immature

5. assignation, assignment

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. unmanly (adj) (lack of manliness): Cowardice leads to an unmanly attitude.

unmannerly (adj) (discourteous, having bad manners): He was punished for his unmannerly behavior.

2. grin (n) (act of smiling broadly so as to show the teeth, expressing amusement, foolish satisfaction, contempt, etc): There was a tigerish grin on the murderer's face.

green (adj) (the color between blue and yellow): Grass is green.

3. informer (n) (person who informs against another to the police): The police arrested the criminal after getting tips from the informer.

informant (n) (a person who gives details about his language, social customs, etc. in the form of facts to someone who is studying it): The researcher is analyzing the responses of the informants.

4. conqueror (n) (one who defeats or overcomes enemies by force of arms): Alexander, the great, was a famous conqueror.

explorer (n) (a person who travels into or through a place for the purpose of discovery): Columbus, a great explorer, discovered America.

5. attitude (n) (manner of feeling, judgment, and opinion): You should always nurture a healthy, positive attitude.

behavior (n) (good or bad manners): She pleases everyone by her pleasant behavior.

(C) Synonyms and Antonyms

(i) Synonyms

Choose the word that is closest in meaning to the one in bold in the following sentences

1. He is known for his parsimonious nature.

a. cruel b. prodigal

c. haughty d. miserly

2. A voracious reader as he is, he has a wide range of general knowledge.

a. desiring much b. explosive

c. strong d. active

3. The audience was impressed by the speaker's eloquence.

a. clarity b. fast delivery

c. ability d. power of expression

4. With his accurate choice of words and fluency, he was naturally selected as the best orator of the college.

a. speaker b. singer

c. debater d. critic

5. The man is suspected to be a cheat

a. accused of b. caught for

c. believed to be guilty of

d. imagined to be guilty of

6. A sense of gloom pervaded the poet Wordsworth's spirit when he heard “the still sad music of the humanity.”

a. prevailed b. influenced

c. spread all over d. struck

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

Word Synonym

1. accessory additional

2. confess admit

3. nostalgia homesickness

4. puerile childish

5. abdicate renounce

(ii) Antonyms

Choose the word that is most opposite in meaning to the one in bold in the following sentences

1. He is known for his extreme views on everything.

a. moderate b. timid

c. casual d. ordinary

2. As a result of wide reading, he has an extensive knowledge of the subject.

a. restricted b. limited

c. little d. ordinary

3. The food has gone stale.

a. fresh b. new

c. tasty d. nice

4. Everybody hates him for his meanness

a. generosity b. kindness

c. pragmatism d. timidity

5. Are you serious about what you're saying?

a. thoughtful b. insincere

c. smug d. jolly

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

Word Antonym

1. traverse hinder

2. truant sedulous

3. terrestrial celestial

4. trifle treasure

5. foggy opaque

(D) Spelling

Choose the correctly spelt word

1. a. acomplish b. accomplish

c. accomplis d. accomplic

2. a. acount b. akount

c. accaunt d. account

3. a. accumulate b. acumulate

c. accumulat d. accumulet

4. a. akurate b. akkurate

c. accurat d. accurate

5. a. ackusation b. accusation

c. akkusation d. accusetion

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. accident 2. acclaim 3. acclimatize,

4. accommodate 5. accompaniment

(E) Phrases and idioms

Use the following in sentences

1. as clear as mud 2. have the brass neck

3. like the clappers 4. be rough on

5. chickens come home to roost

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. let sleeping dogs lie (not to look for trouble on purpose): Let's not provoke him about the unpleasant incident; let the sleeping dogs lie.

2. pull a rabbit out of the hat (to produce a very pleasant surprise): The minister's expulsion from the cabinet seems certain unless the Prime Minister pulls a rabbit out of the hat.

3. be pushing (to be nearby a certain age): Dr. Ahmed is amazing – he's pushing 80 but is still active.

4. work the oracle (to produce the desired result): Your sincerity and hard work will certainly work the oracle and you will achieve your objective.

5. jump at the chance (to take advantage of an opportunity): If I win a scholarship to go abroad, I will jump at the chance.

IV. Grammar and Composition

Complete the gaps in these sentences with a phrase from the box and the best form of the verb in brackets.

shouldn't have would have could have

couldn't have should have wouldn't have

1. Oh no, I've lost my wallet. I know I ____ (do) it in the taxi.

2. Watch where you're going! That was close! We ____ (crash) into that car.

3. The cleaning lady didn't clean my flat very well. I ____ (do) it myself and saved money.

4. Why didn't you tell your friend the truth? I'm sure she ____ (believe) you.

5. I did my best to catch the flight but I ____ (run) any faster.

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. The price is $80 but it's subject to VAT so that it will be $95.70.

2. AIDS has been described as possibly the most deadly epidemic in the history of the world.

3. NASA has announced that the next space shuttle launch will take place next year.

4. The OPEC are to meet in Geneva to decide whether to increase the price of oil.

5. NATO military exercises involving American forces will be held in Britain and Germany this winter.

6. An expert from UNESCO produced a report on primary education in under-developed countries.

(B) Composition

Expand the central idea contained in the maxim


Expansion of the previous issue's topic



When someone achieves success in any field, many people come forward to share the credit; but if a person is met with failure, no one seems to take responsibility for the disaster. That is to say, success is the fond child of many who eagerly extend their arms to claim its parenthood, but if failure is likened to be a child, no body wants to be its parents. So it is an orphan. Everybody passes the buck and points the accusing finger at the other blaming him for the failure. This maxim teaches us the important lesson that it is easy to find many fair-weather friends but very hard to find a soul to share someone's misfortune.

Pearls from the Holy Quran

It is He Who hath made you the inheritors of the earth: He hath raised you in ranks, some above others that He may try you in the gifts He hath given you, for thy Lord is quick in punishment. Yet He is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

S6: A165

Food for Thought

“I don't want to live – I want to love first, and live incidentally.”

)Zelda Fitzgerald