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English in Twos

Education is the most powerful weapon, Nelson Mandela says, which we can use to change the world.
This article helps and inspires students to improve their English and encourage their interest in achieving their goals without needing to go off the course syllabus, however strict it might be. It is divided into four segments: quotations and their explanation, proverbs and their meanings, correct and incorrect English, and some tips to improve your English. All the segments are presented in twos.
Quotations and Their Explanation
Life without motivation is like sitting in a dark room with lots of fear inside. Here are two quotes that can motivate you in life.
“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.” ─Bill Clinton
Explanation: Bill Clinton (1946 – [age 73]), is an American politician who served as the 42nd president of the US from 1993 to 2001. Prior to his presidency, he served as governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1992. Since leaving office, he has been involved in public speaking and humanitarian work. Well, as long as one is alive, they have no excuse to say they can’t. If one puts their mind to it, they can do anything ─ anything is possible! There have been millions of dreamers before you and if they had given up, the world would not have been the same. Remember, the example of the Wright brothers who faced severe ridicule when they tried to make ‘flight’ a reality. They proved those people (who laughed at them and told them it was impossible) wrong. If they gave up on their dreams, we would still be riding donkeys, horses and be taking ships across the ocean to make a pilgrimage to Makkah!
“We cannot build our own future without helping others to build theirs.” –Bill Clinton
Explanation: well, scientists have been studying a phenomenon called “helper’s high”: helping others releases endorphins which, in turn, improves mood and self-esteem. In short, helping others feels good. It’s possible that helping others does more for the happiness of the person helping than the person who receives the help.
A few months ago, one of my favourite students gave me a call and said his parents wanted to say hi. He put them through to me ─ and they told me that their son made significant progress in his English through my efforts and wanted to let me know they appreciated that. I told them the credit should be given to the school I teach. And, they insisted that I was a credit to their son’s progress because he told them all the ‘positive adjectives’ about me. So, they invited me to dinner. I had to squeeze them in because I was up to my ears(extremely busy) that day. We had pasta and fish together. Long story short, their appreciation was so sincere and their gratitude so heartfelt that it still gives me warm feeling, just thinking about it. That day, made me understand more about the value that comes from helping other people. I don’t know if I have ever been so satisfied with anything I have done before! The experience also made me realise that helping other people is an important part of living a good life.
We should always help others succeed in life because that, in turn, helps ourselves, indeed!
Proverbs and Their Meanings
There is a proverb for almost any situation. It is a wise saying that gives some advice about life.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Meaning: an image( does not necessarily mean an object in a mirror or the one obtained by using a camera) can tell a story better than words, e.g. I wasn’t sure he liked watermelon, but then I saw him eating some happily. Well, a picture is worth a thousand words.
What the eye doesn’t see, (the heart doesn’t grieve over)
Meaning: used to say if you are ignorant( not knowing facts or information that you ought to know) or uninformed about something, it will not upset, anger or worry you. (something like ‘kazantar da ba ka gani ba… in Hausa).

Correct and Incorrect English
We all make mistakes when we are speaking or writing English as a Second Language, along the way. Of course, it is inevitable. The important thing is to learn from the mistakes so you become a more confident, capable speaker and writer. Here are some mistakes that should be avoided:
Confusion About “Borrow” and “Lend
Incorrect: can you borrow me ten thousand naira until tomorrow?
Correct: can you lend me ten thousand naira until tomorrow?
Note: “borrow” means to take something from someone, knowing that you’ll give it back to them. And, “lend” means to give something to someone, expecting to get it back. Still confused? If yes, just remember ─ anything you “borrow” moves toward you. But what you “lend” goes away from you. However, ‘personal pronouns’ like me, you, him, her and others NEVER come after the verb “borrow,” but it’s correct to use them after “lend,” as in: “Lend him your car” or “let him borrow your car”─ and not: “borrow him your car”. What is more, we use the preposition “from” in a sentence we use the word “borrow”, e.g. Ali borrowed the car from Isa. And, in the word “lend,” we use the preposition “to”, e.g. Isa lent the car to Ali.
Words and Their Meanings and Examples in Sentences
Words are of paramount importance to our lives. Voltaire once said, “Language is a very difficult to put into words.” What is the best way to learn new words? Sound them out, The Seattle Time reported. Researchers found sounding words slowly helps people memorize new words easier.
Conducive/‘kan ‘dyu:siv/ (adjective) ─ {to sth}
Making it easy, possible or likely for something to happen
* The class is not conducive to learning!
Note: the word “conducive” ALWAYS goes with the preposition “to”. It’s wrong to use the preposition “for” in place of “to,” as in: “the house is not conducive for living”. It’s also wrong to say, “the house is not conducive.”
Dawdle/’do:dl/ (verb) {used without object}, dawdled, dawdling
To do something or go somewhere very slowly, taking more time than is necessary(yin nuku-nuku in Hausa).
Stop dawdling ─ you’re late already!
The noun is “dawdler”.

Tips to Improve Your English ─ Hester
* Practice every day. Make yourself a study plan. Decide how much time a week you’re going to spend studying and stick to it.
* Tell your family and friends about your study plan. Get them to push you to study and also don’t let them interrupt you.

A big thank-you for reading and remember ─ practice is key!
Bashir Shu’aibu Jammaje
Twitter: @Mrbashjam


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