Improve Your English: 313 [Archives:2008/1136/Education]

March 10 2008

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
I. What to Say

Situations and Expressions (100):

Use of doublets and triplets

A 'doublet' refers to one of two (or more) words with the same origin but make different meanings, such as 'shirt' and 'skirt' or 'hospital' and 'hostel'.

Use of doublets or triplets in the language of Law is triggered by the need to be precise, by the objective to accomplish certain linguistic and contextual finesse or by the desire to include or exclude certain aspects which may not be achieved by the use of a single word. It might benefit lawyers who aim at impressing the audience or the clients by their use of words exceeding the demands of necessity which contribute to achieving a certain degree of linguistic flourish. However, as legal conventions would have it, trilogies have survived in the language of Law because it is the preferred practice to say it in the same way. The following are some examples

Covenants, conditions and agreements

Executors, administrators and assigns

Leave, surrender and yield up

Signed, sealed and delivered

Retain, repossess and enjoy

Destroy, damage and defile

Rest, reside and remainder

Hired, engaged and employed

Sells, offers or exposes

Corrupts or fouls

Aid and abet

Accept or obtain

Decree or order

Obliterates or renders illegible

II. How to Say it correctly

Correct errors, if any, in the following sentences

1. Do you care if I smoke a cigar?

2. Suddenly, it was a loud bang from outside.

3. Difficult to know is why she left her job.

4. It was accepted to send a letter of complaint.

5. I find difficult to understand how she could have got lost?

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. Fuad accompanied me during my trip to Aden.

2. Competition entries must be received by 12.00 on 30 November.

3. The island was uninhabited except for sheep.

4. She is incredibly rich. She has two other houses besides (or as well as / in addition to) her house in Sana'a.

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

III. Increase Your Word Power

(A) How to express it in one word

1. Period of two weeks.

2. Any place for public discussion.

3. Recognizable part of a prehistoric animal or plant once buried in earth, now hardened like rock.

4. Help the growth and development of.

5. Having a bad smell or taste.

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. Giving, or tending to give, shape to: formative (adj)

2. Requiring great effort to deal with or overcome: formidable(adj)

3. About to come out: forthcoming (adj)

4. Strengthen against attack: fortify (vt)

5. Calm courage, self-control, in the face of pain, danger, or difficulty: fortitude (n)

(B) Words often confused

Bring out differences in meaning of the following pairs of words

1. ophthalmologist, optician

2. fort, forte

3. bold, brave

4. beret, berate

5. blockade, blockhead

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. behavior (n) (treatment shown towards others): His behavior towards me shows that he dislikes me.

behaviorism (n) (doctrine in psychology that all human actions could be analyzed in terms of stimulus and response): The Structuralist school of thought is based on behaviorism.

2. austerity (n) (extreme simplicity): Government of Yemen has adopted austerity measures to put economy back on rails.

economy (n) (opposite of extravagance): Economy in defence expenditure will help the nation to devote its resources to development schemes.

3. banish (vt) (to remove a person from the country): Government of India has banished outlawed outfits from the country.

exile (n) (a person who has been forced to leave his country for political reasons): Napoleon died in exile.

4. beautiful (adj) (possessing beauty): Beautiful faces, often, lack tenderness of heart.

charming (adj) (pleasing and captivating): Her winsome personality and charming smile is her forte.

5. beloved (adj) (greatly loved): We are prepared to sacrifice our lives for our beloved country.

beloved (n) (a sweetheart, an object of love): John Keats' letters to his beloved Fanny Brawne are treasures of English literature.

(C) Synonyms and Antonyms

(i) Synonyms

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

1. The Constitution envisages fundamental rights to its citizens.

a. to face b. to seek

c. to foresee in imagination d. to understand

2. It is nearly impossible to work in this oppressive weather.

a. impressive b. cold

c. disappointing d. unbearable

3. 'Frailty thy name is woman.'

a. boldness b. weakness

c. beauty d. intelligence

4. It is not easy for lay men to understand technical jargon.

a. expert b. learned

c. ordinary d. idle

5. The soldiers laid down their arms.

a. put their arms on the ground

b. surrendered

c. refused to obey orders

d. put the arms in their place

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

Word Synonym

1. ghost an apparition

2. sagacity wisdom

3. rancour malice

4. germinate sprout

5. fired dismissed

(ii) Antonyms

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

1. You must try and find an improvised solution to the problem under the existing circumstances.

a. a complete b. a pre-planned

c. a permanent d. a proscribed

2. His behavior is anything but logical.

a. irrational b. disorderly

c. inconsiderate d. inconsistent

3. India is trying to explore indigenous sources of oil and natural gas to meet its needs.

a. perennial b. heterogeneous

c. alien d. foreign

4. We should be alert against any foreign aggression.

a. idle b. careless

c. sluggish d. lazy

5. 'An old man is but a paltry thing.'

a. liberal b. handsome

c. bountiful d. generous

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

Word Antonym

1. comprehensive superficial

2. levity gravity

3. lukewarm enthusiastic

4. morbid cheerful

5. overt covert

(D) Spelling

Choose the correctly spelt word

1. a. ackquire b. acquire c. akuire d. acquir

2. a. acquit b. akwit c. ackquit d. acquite

3. a. akrobat b. ackrobat c. acrobat d. acrobatte

4. a. aktivate b. aktivat c. aktivet d. activate

5. a. across b. accross c. accros d. acros

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. accustom 2. achievement 3. acknowledge

4. acoustic 5. acquaint

(E) Phrases and idioms

Use the following in sentences

1. give it one's best shot

2. all fingers and thumbs

3. take the bit between one's teeth

4. give (someone) his/her marching orders

5. strike it lucky

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. cast a shadow on (someone / something) (to make someone or something less happy): The news of the bride's father suffering from heart attack cast a shadow on the wedding ceremony.

2. do (someone) the world of good (to have a very good effect on someone, to be of great benefit to someone): Regular exercise will do you the world of good.

3. a nasty piece of work (a very unpleasant person): Our new boss is a nasty piece of work.

4. lose touch with (someone) (to stop communicating with someone): I have lost touch with many friends since I left Edinburgh.

5. hold the fort (to take temporary charge of a job, task, etc.): The Vice Rector will hold the fort during the Rector's absence from office.

IV. Grammar and Composition

(A) Grammar

Read the short story given below and see if you can find the words with the wrong spellings. Rewrite the passage with the correct spellings of words

John was feeling very board in class. He looked at the rose of students reading they're books and wandered how he could stay awake for another hole our. Just then he herd annoys down by his feat. He new what two do – he was sew shore his plan wood work that he smiled two himself What a site there was when the headmaster rushed in – the teacher's scream went hire and hire as the mouse maid it's weigh towards her! She went pail as she stood on the chair ringing her hands and then turned a funny shade of read. She didn't seam to no anyone else was their!

The headmaster tolled the class too go straight home.

John was the hero of the class. They mist for hole ours of school that day and the class bully even promised two buy hymn an eye scream on the weigh home.

It turned out to bee a grate day after all.

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

Which word?

1. Can I do it for you?

2. Her son will be thirteen next week.

3. He threw the ball over.

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

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

(B) Composition

Expand the central idea contained in the maxim



(A) Composition


In order to ensure peaceful coexistence in the society we should learn to practice the principle of “live and let live.' We should respect others rights as much as we want our rights to be respected. Laws are formulated in the society for the benefit of the people. Thomas Jefferson says “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.” Every individual is granted personal liberty which is the right to act without interference of others liberty within the limits of law. When we exercise our right to liberty we should be conscious of whether it affects others liberty. Liberty is not license. It has given no one the right to act in an arbitrary or idiosyncratic manner. So we should know our limits and act within decent limits of personal liberty.

V. Pearls from the Holy Quran

“Say. My Lord hath commanded Justice; and hath ye set your whole selves (to Him) at every time and place of prayer, and call upon Him, making your devotion sincere such as He created you in the beginning, so shall ye return.” S7: A29

VI. Words of Wisdom

“It never occurs to me that there are things I can't do.”)Whoopi Goldberg