Improve Your English [Archives:2003/626/Education]

March 10 2003

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu
I. What to Say
Situations and Expressions (43)
Making general statements (1)

We often make general statements about people and their affairs. However, in doing so we need to qualify these generalizations to show that these are not true in every case. We can make these general statements by adding expressions of frequency like 'sometimes', 'often', 'generally', 'usually', 'normally' and so on.
In this lesson, we are going to discuss expressions which indicate that the statements are a) true in most cases, b) convey uncertain generalizations, or they show c) in how many cases the generalization is true.

a . Generalizations which are true in most cases
– People by and large tend to have a common outlook on life.
– Youngsters these days have a general tendency to have nuclear families.
– The middle class people are much more inclined to live in the present.
– It may be said without any fear of exaggeration that people are becoming more and more materialistic.
– Normally, people of Yemen are friendly and cooperative.
– Often we come across people who are introverts.
– Generally, Yemenis assemble in post-lunch sessions for chewing qat.
– Usually, the university students depend on handouts as learning materials.
– Doctors tend to make more money than teachers.
– Members of the public are more likely to be swept away by publicity glare in buying consumer durables.
– Most of us are prone to missing woods for the trees.
– The youth of the present day are susceptible to indulge in pleasure-seeking activities.
– More and more students nowadays are travelling to India for higher studies.
– It is a matter of common experience that young couples are increasingly becoming individualistic.
– It is customary for the youth to get married and settle down to raising a family after they complete their graduation.
– It is commonly observed that people don't concern themselves about others problems.
– Cheating in the examination is more of an epidemic phenomenon in high schools.
– In the western societies, drugs addiction has assumed a frightful proportion.
– Qat chewing is an endemic social phenomenon in Yemen.
– Spurt in the juvenile delinquency crimes translates itself to a major concern for sociologists.
– A higher enrollment ratio of girls in institutes of higher learning in Yemen is an unmistakable signal of liberation of women.

II. How to say it correctly
Correct errors, if any, in the following sentences
1. Why is she appearing so sad?
2. I'm owing a great deal to my parents.
3. I'm not feeling well today.
4. He is adoring that political leader.
5. I enjoy to travel.

Answers to last week's questions
1. You organized that function well.
Note: When we use an adverb to evaluate, it generally comes at the sentence-end position, not in the mid position.
2. Tomorrow they're leaving for India.
Note: Adverbs of definite time are put at the beginning or end of a sentence.
3. He speaks English well.
Note: Adverbs are not put between the verb and its object. These are not generally separated.
4. The first two chapters of this book are good.
Note: 'The two first' is a meaningless expression. It implies that two things may be first.
5. You have to work hard.
Note: 'Hard' is both an adjective and adverb. Its meaning is quite different from 'hardly' which is also an adverb. 'Hardly' means 'almost no' or 'almost not'.

III. Increase Your Word Power
A) How to express it in one word
1. Speech or writing that one cannot understand.
2. A person having a bad quality very strongly.
3. Having two purposes or meanings, quite different from each other.
4. A cinema performance in which two main films are shown.
5. To block a road by parking a vehicle beside a vehicle already parked.

Answers to last week's questions
1. To examine something twice for exactness or quality: double-check (vt)
2. A fold of loose skin between the face and neck, considered a sign of fatness: double chin (n)
3. To cheat by pretending friendship: double-cross (vt)
4. A deceiver or dishonest person who follows double standards: double-dealer (n)
5. A bus with two floors: double-decker (n)

B) Foreign phrases
Use the following phrases in illustrative sentences
1. bijou; 2. billet-doux; 3. bone bon;
4. bon homie; 5. bon mot; 6. bon vivant

Answers to last week's questions
1. bedlam (VS) (a wild, noisy place or activity): There was a bedlam in the parliament during the question hour.
2. begum (India and Pakistan): A Muslim lady of high rank)” Begum Musharaf, accompanied by General Musharaf visited Taj Mahal.
3. belles-lettres (Fr) (literature that is of value for its beauty rather than for its practical importance): I am a lover of French belles-lettres.
4. bete-noire (Fr) (the person or thing one dislikes): His coarse manners have made him bete noire to the entire family.
5. bidet (Fr) (a kind of small low bath for sitting across to wash the lower part of the body): The bathroom is fitted with a bidet.

C) Words commonly confused
Bring out differences in meaning of the following pairs of words
1. abstention, abstinence; 2. abstraction, obstruction;
3. abstruse, obtuse; 4. abysmal, infinitesimal;
5. accede, exceed

Answers to last week's questions
1. abnegation (n) (self-sacrifice): An attitude of abnegation is the hallmark of his personality.
negation (n) (act of denying): I was shocked by his negation to my request.
2. abode (n) (house, dwelling place): Heaven is the abode of pious souls.
aboard (adv) (into a ship or an aircraft): It's time to go aboard.
3. abolish (vt) (put an end to): We must all work to abolish the evil customs in our society.
prohibit (vt) (say that something must not be done): Smoking is strictly prohibited in the college.
4. abound (vi) (have in great number or quantity): The river abounds in fish.
rebound (vi) (spring or bounce back after hitting something): The ball rebounded from the wall.
5. abscess (n) (collection of pus): An abscess is formed on his right arm.
obsess (vt) (fixed or false idea): His mind is obsessed with wealth and material comforts.

D) Idioms and phrases
Use the following phrases and idiomatic expressions in sentences so as to illustrate their meanings:
1. as blind as a bat; 2. bask in;
3. to have a bash at; 4. base upon;
5. barter away

Answers to last week's questions
1. spill the beans (to tell a secret, usually unintentionally): The officer was embarrassed when his subordinate spilled the beans.
2. on one's beam-ends (a person almost without any money left): Can you help me out with some money? I'm on my bean-ends at the end of the month.
3. be-all and end-all (the most important thing): Money is the be-all and end-all of his life.
4. Hold/keep at bay (to keep someone some distance away):
– The miscreant held the person at bay at knife point
– An apple a day can keep the doctor at bay.
5. with bated breath (anxious waiting): When I return home after a long time, my family waits for my return with bated breath.

IV. Grammar and Composition
A) Grammar
Do as directed
1. Your bike is not running well
Oh, yes. I )- (buy) a new one very soon.
(use the correct tense form indicating future)
2. I have no time that I can spare.
(Make a simple sentence)
3. It would have been better if they not (come).
(Write the appropriate from of the verb in bracket)
4. What a foolish thing it was he did!
(Make it a simple sentence)
5. He did not tell us how old he was.
(Say whether the sentence is simple, compound or complex)

Answers to last week's questions
1. He always tries to keep up our family's good name.
2. Ask the driver if he can catch up with the truck.
3. He still behaves like a child. I wish he'd grow up.
4. Don't hold me up. I will be late.
5. You should look up the word in a dictionary.
6. Speak up. We can't hear you.
7. The soldiers put up a brave fight.
8. Do up your buttons.

B) Composition
Expand the idea contained in the saying:

Answers to last week's question:
Every dark cloud has a silver lining
'Dark cloud' symbolizes misfortune. But no cloud is entirely dark. The sun which it hides brightens the fringes or borders of the clouds. The proverb gives us a message of hope. Just as the sun is hidden but has not totally disappeared, in the same way our days are only temporarily darkened. We should not, therefore, become disheartened in the face of calamities or misfortune. We should rather face them boldly, bear them cheerfully and wait for the sun of good fortune to shine and the dark cloud of misfortune to fade out. This optimism and a positive attitude in the face of troubled times would lessen our misery and give us the strength to bear the pain.

V. Pearls from the Holy Quran
“All bounties
Are in the hand of Allah;
He granteth them
To whom He pleaseth;
And Allah careth for all,
And He knoweth all things”
S3: A73

VI. Words of Wisdom
“Children have more need of models than of critics”