Improve Your English: 312 [Archives:2008/1132/Education]

February 25 2008

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
I. What to Say

Situations and Expressions (99):

Use of usual words with unusual meanings (ii)

An understanding of the legal terms is only possible through an awareness of the peculiarities embedded in the language that pose barriers in understanding. Some of the peculiarities of the legal terminology are the following:

Hearing in camera: a court hearing in private, usually ordered in legitimacy and nullity matters.

Keeping house: applied to the case of an insolvent debtor who adopts the practice of not answering the callers.

Keeping a disorderly house: the criminal offence of operating a brothel

Slander of goods: a form of injurious falsehood giving rise to a civil action for wilfully disparaging the merit of another trader's goods.

Sleeping partner: a partner who assumes no responsibility for the running of the business.

Return day: the last day specified for the lodging of a complaint.

II. How to Say it Correctly

Correct errors, if any, in the following sentences

1. Fuad accompanied me in my trip to Aden.

2. Competition entries must be received until 12 on 30 November.

3. The island was uninhabited except sheep.

4. She is incredibly rich. She has two other houses except for her house in Sana'a.

5. He's always complaining on his younger brother.

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. She hung her coat over the back of her chair.

2. It's impossible to find him among the thousands of people in the crowd.

3. I sat near my friend at the lecture ('nearby' is not used as a preposition. It can be used as an adverb, eg. 'There is a stadium nearby' or as an adjective, eg. 'In a nearby shop.'

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

III. Increase Your Word Power

(A) How to express it in one word

1. Giving, or tending to give, shape to

2. Requiring great effort to deal with or overcome

3. About to come out

4. Strengthen against attack

5. Calm courage, self-control, in the face of pain, danger, or difficulty

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. Sign of what is to follow: forerunner (n)

2. See beforehand or in advance: foresee (vt)

3. Be a sign or warning of something to come: foreshadow (vt)

4. Suffer the loss of something as a punishment or consequence: forfeit (vt)

5. Shape and size of a book, including the type, paper and binding: format (n)

(B) Words often confused

Bring out differences in meaning of the following pairs of words

1. behavior, behaviorism

2. austerity, economy

3. banish, exile

4. beautiful, charming

5. beloved (adj), beloved (n)

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. grand (adj) (magnificent): He fritters away his means by living in a grand style.

grandiose (adj) (planned on a large scale. It applies to manner or style and is often used ironically to suggest affectation or showing off): The proud designer's grandiose designs came to nothing.

2. hallucination (n) (seeming to see something not present, something imagined): In a drunken state one is subjected to hallucination.

nightmare (n) (an unpleasant and terrible dream): As he was alone in the room, he woke cold and shaking from the nightmare at midnight.

3. accident (n) (something unfortunate that happens without a cause): There have been many road accidents this year.

occident (n) (the West, namely Europe and America, contrasted with the Orient): Lifestyle of the occident is in sharp contrast with that of the orient.

4. amateur (n) (person who paints pictures, performs music, plays, etc. for the love of it, not for money): He is an amateur actor.

immature (adj) (not yet fully developed): The minds of young children are usually immature.

5. assignation (n) (appointment, especially of a time and place for a private meeting): Those who are conscious of their assignation, demonstrate a sense of responsibility.

assignment (n) (task): He left for India on a diplomatic assignment.

(C) Synonyms and Antonyms

(i) Synonyms

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

1. Prince Hamlet saw the ghost of his father, King Hamlet

a. a shadow b. a reflection

c. an apparition d. an image

2. His sagacity increased as he grew in age.

a. wisdom b. love

c. kindness d. maturity

3. Malicious as he is, he entertains a sense of rancor against one and all.

a. hatred b. disgust

c. ill-will d. malice

4. A seed needs moisture and manure to germinate.

a. breed b. sprout

c. produce d. terminate

5. He was fired for his negligence in duty.

a. scolded b. dismissed

c. abused d. beaten

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

Word Synonym

1. parsimonious miserly

2. voracious desiring much

3. eloquence power of expression

4. orator speaker

5. suspected believed to be guilty of

6. pervaded spread all over

(ii) Antonyms

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

1. The newspaper gave a comprehensive account of the event.

a. casual b. inadequate

c. indifferent d. superficial

2. There is no scope for levity in a serious film.

a. seriousness b. solemnity

c. religiosity d. gravity

3. The speaker's appeal was met with a lukewarm response.

a. enthusiastic b. moderate

c. friendly d. fervent

4. After the master of the house died in an accident, the family was in a deeply morbid mood.

a. healthy b. cheerful

c. insipid d. appealing

5. His statements were overt.

a. converse b. pervert

c. covert d. contrived

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

Word Antonym

1. extreme moderate

2. extensive limited

3. stale fresh

4. meanness generosity

5. serious jolly

(D) Spelling

Choose the correctly spelt word

1. a. accustom b. acustom

c. accostom d. accustum

2. a. achivement b. achievment

c. achievement d. achivment

3. a. aknowledge b. aknoledge

c. aknoledg d. acknowledge

4. a. acoustic b. acoustik

c. akustic d. akustik

5. a. akwent b. ackwent

c. acquaint d. akquaint

Suggested answer to the previous issue's questions

1. accomplish

2. account

3. accumulate

4. accurate

5. accusation

(E) Phrases and idioms

Use the following in sentences

1. cast a shadow on

2. do (someone) the world of good

3. a nasty piece of work

4. lose touch with

5. hold the fort

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. as clear as mud (not at all clear, not easy to understand): He tried to explain the point to me, but his arguments were as clear as mud.

2. have the brass neck (to do something) (to be bold and disrespectful enough to do something unacceptable): He had the brass neck to approach the examiner to pass him.

3. like the clappers (very fast): The deer ran off like the clappers when the hunter fired the shot.

4. be rough on (someone) (to be bad luck for someone): It was rough on Marwan to be denied admission to the college when he had made only one mistake in the admission test.

5. chickens come home to roost (a situation in which past errors committed by someone begin to have an adverse effect on him/her). Mr. Abdul Aziz would like to join the faculty, but the authorities have refused to take him back in the light of his past records – his chickens have come to roost.

IV. Grammar and Composition

(A) Grammar

which/wich word?

Underline the correct word in each sentence

1. Can I do it for/fore/four you?

2. Her son/sun will be thirteen next week.

3. He through / threw the ball over the fence and it broke the window.

4. A heard / herd of elephants stampeded down to the river.

5. They sat on the bitch/beach and watched the tied/tide go out.

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. Oh no, I've lost my wallet. I know I could have done it in the taxi.

2. Watch where you're going! That was close! We would have crashed into that car.

3. The cleaning lady didn't clean my flat very well. I should have done it myself and saved money.

4. Why didn't you tell your friend the truth? I'm sure she would have believed you.

5. I did my best to catch the flight but I couldn't have run any faster.

(B) Composition

Expand the central idea contained in the maxim


(A) Composition


It is said “At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty the wit; at forty the judgment.” In the full bloom of youth, one tends to be highly emotional or impulsive. Youth is the time to go flashing from one end of the world to the other both in mind and body; to pluck roses in December and to hear the chimes at midnight. Rochefou has rightly said “Youth is a continual intoxication, it is the fever of reason.” Young men are susceptible to committing many follies. The next stage, which is adulthood or manhood, is characterized by restless and wild struggle to seek honor and achieve the impossible. In old age man tends to brood over the past and regret the mistakes he has wittingly or unwittingly committed. He wistfully longs to put the clock back and re-live his life making amends for his sins.

V. Verses from the Holy Quran

“It is We who have placed you with authority on earth, and provided you therein with means for the fulfillment of your life. Small are the thanks that ye give!” (S7:A10)

VI. Words of Wisdom

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”)Mary Lou Cook