Improve Your English: 315 [Archives:2009/1222/Education]

January 5 2009

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
I. What to Say

Situations and Expressions (102): Formal expressions

Most lawyers prefer the use of complex, circumlocutory expressions in the language of law although their simpler equivalents are available. Such a tendency makes the language of law formal and less intimate. The central aim of language is to ensure felicity of expression for an easy intelligibility of the message. From this viewpoint, language of Law is more formal, indirect and less straightforward. We can make the language of Law more substantial or vital and less cumbersome or stilled by replacing these expressions by more direct words or phrases.

Legal English Preferable expressions

for the reason that because

cease stop

during such time as while

subsequent to after

accorded given

commence begin

expedite hasten

contiguous to next to

II. How to Say it Correctly

Correct errors, if any, in the following sentences

1. So tired Amin was that he went straight to bed.

2. He already arrived.

3. They had leave of 10 days.

4. He wants seeing your brother.

5. I left playing football.

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. I view it as unacceptable that students should be late for my class.

2. It was because of his headache that he didn't come to the party.

3. Outside his house two children on bicycles were playing.

4. The door opened and in we went.

5. There had never been a football match like it. [We don't use inversion when the negative adverbial is not at the beginning of a clause.]

III. Increase Your Word Power

(A) How to express it in one word

1. Large space in a theatre for the use of the audience during intervals.

2. Number that is not a whole number.

3. Breaking of a bone with or without skin wounds.

4. Easily injured, broken, or destroyed.

5. Separate or incomplete part of something.

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. Strong base of a building, usually below ground-level, on which it is built up: foundation (n)

2. Person who establishes a school, etc: founder (n)

3. Deserted or abandoned child of unknown parents: foundling (n)

4. Place where metal or glass is melted or moulded: foundry (n)

5. A stream of water that shoots straight up into the air: fountain (n)

(B) Words often confused

Bring out the differences in meaning of the following pairs of words:

1. henceforth, hereafter

2. audience, spectators

3. junction, juncture

4. imposter, imposture

5. indoor, indoors

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. figure (n) (an amount with the stated number of digits): He is very rich; his pay runs into five figures.

number (n) (a quantity or amount): A large number of people attended the meeting.

2. foster (vt) (help the growth and development): Her father fostered her musical talents.

flourish (vi) (grow in a healthy manner): His business is flourishing.

3. flounder (vi) (make violent and vain efforts): The speaker several times floundered through his speech.

blunder (vi) (make foolish mistakes): Stupid politicians blunder again and again.

4. flush (vt) (to clean or drive out by a sudden flow of water): Flush the toilet after use.

blush (vi) (become red in the face from shame): She blushed at the thought of marriage.

5. fluster (n) (nervous state): He made contradictory statements all in a fluster.

flutter (vt) (move the wings hurriedly or irregularly without flying): The bird fluttered its wings in the cage.

(C) Synonyms and Antonyms

(i) Synonyms

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

1. We must eradicate poverty and illiteracy.

a. control b. condemn

c. uproot d. minimize

2. Please don't meddle in my affairs.

a. interfere b. cross

c. impose d. intrude

3. We have to look up the orphaned child.

a. survey b. contact

c. visit d. greet

4. The old man is getting feeble of late.

a. weak b. big

c. small d. tall

5. Eventually everything will fall in place.

a. primarily b. initially

c. gradually d. ultimately

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

Word Synonym

1. high spirit cheerful

2. compiled collected

3. candid frank

4. indiscriminate unselective

5. practice habit

(ii) Antonyms

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

1. The invigilator expelled the candidate from the exam hall for malpractice.

a. detain b. retain

c. preserve d. reserve

2. The teacher berated the rank holders of the class.

a. praised b. graded

c. lectured d. disciplined

3. After the minister resigned, his condition became precarious.

a. exalted b. enviable

c. important d. secure

4. The judgment delivered was very fair.

a. biased b. inconsiderate

c. insincere d. wrong

5. There was a tacit understanding among the opposition members to defeat the motion in the parliament.

a. general b. hostile

c. overt d. unfair

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

Word Antonym

1. ominous auspicious

2. zeal indifference

3. asset liability

4. obscurity clarity

5. amused saddened

(D) Spelling

Choose the correctly spelt word

1. a. adict b. adikt

c. adeect d. addict

2. a. accute b. acute

c. akute d. acut

3. a. adeige b. adege

c. adage d. adaze

4. a. adement b. adamient

c. ademient d. adamant

5. a. addendum b. adendum

c. addendam d. addandum

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. acoustics 2. acquaintance 3. actuality

4. acumen 5. acre

(E) Phrases and idioms

Use the following in sentences of your own

1. on the fiddle

2. take umbrage

3. the iron hand in the velvet glove

4. have green fingers

5. give (someone) a ticking-off

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. be breathing down (someone's) neck (to keep too close a watch on what someone is doing): I hate my boss for breathing down my neck all the time.

2. have egg on one's face (to be left looking foolish): Joodi had egg on his face when his colleagues exposed him.

3. plain sailing (progress without difficulty): The government knows that passing the bill in the parliament won't be all plain sailing.

4. make a pig's ear of something (to do something very badly): He was asked to make arrangements for the party; but he made a pig's ear of it.

5. get lumbered with (someone/something) (to be given an unwanted or unpleasant task or responsibility): I got lumbered with heading the department as I was the senior most.

IV. Grammar and Composition

(A) Grammar

Match the words and phrases on the left with the meanings they express on the right

1. irritable a. in a tricky or dangerous situation

2. frustration b. awful or terrible

3. dreadful c. fought back

4. on the go d. angry or bad tempered

5. trigger e. disappointment or dissatisfaction

6. drag f. seized by

7. sneak g. pull

8. gripped with h. cause to happen

9. rebelled i. busy

10. on a knife edge j. slip away without being noticed

Suggested answers to the previous issue's questions

1. Ayesha is complaining about her younger brother

I wish he wouldn't make such a mess (or) I wish he wouldn't take my records

2. Mariam is complaining about her husband, Fuad

I wish he wouldn't be so narrow-minded.

3. Fuad is complaining about his wife, Mariam

I wish she wouldn't be so carefree.

4. Fatima's boss makes her life very difficult at the office

I wish my boss wouldn't be so demanding.

5. Dr. Samson is fed up with Hanan, one of the other students in the class.

I wish Hanan wouldn't be so grossly indisciplined in the class.

6. Hassan has just started doing his military service, and doesn't like the officers.

I wish the officers wouldn't be so nasty.

7. Mrs. Jaffar is complaining about her children who never tell her what they are doing.

I wish my children wouldn't be so secretive.

8. Ali is having a lot of trouble with his neighbors.

I wish my neighbors wouldn't make my life so difficult.

(B) Composition

Expand the central idea contained in the maxim


Suggested answers to the previous lesson's topic



'Alone' (adv) means 'without others.' It is neither good nor bad. 'Lonely' (adj) means (to be) unhappy because of being alone or without friends. 'Loneliness' is the negative aspect of 'aloneness.' A person who has control over his mind, one who is capable of being with himself doesn't feel lonely although he is alone. A man who loves his aloneness is happy with himself and is capable of love. On the other hand, a man who is hunted by an uneasy feeling of loneliness is incapable of love. The latter kind of a person doesn't know who he is in the absence of the other. He loses his identity and feels lost. The other becomes a mirror for him to see his face in it. Without the other he is suddenly thrown to himself and feels greatly inconvenienced because he doesn't know who he is when he is alone. In the ultimate analysis, the first lesson of love is to learn how to be alone. One can transform the negative aspect of loneliness into the positive aspect of aloneness by going deeper into this loneliness until one comes to a level when loneliness transforms itself into aloneness. At this moment, one feels deep down himself an extraordinary 'calm of mind, all passions spent', which is the spring board of unbounded love.

V. Verses from the Holy Quran

” Say: Who hath forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allah, which He hath produced for his servants, and the things, clean and pure, (which He hath provided) for sustenance?” S7:A32

VI. Words of Wisdom

“Life is a pilgrimage. The wise person marches direct to the illimitable domain of eternal bliss, her ultimate destination.” – Oscar Wilde