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English in Twos: Episode 10

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 five segments: quotations and their explanation, proverbs and their meanings, correct and incorrect English, vocabulary learning 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 do good in secret, Allah will shower His good on you in public.” ─Ibn Taymiyyah
Explanation: Ibn Taymiyyah(1263 –1328), was a Sunni Muslim scholar, muhaddith, theologian, judge, jurisconsult, and logician, who some have argued was a philosopher, and who has been acknowledged by some as the mujaddid of the 7th century of the Islamic calendar. It is true that performing good deeds away from the scrutinizing eyes of people overwhelms a believer with an aura of a special kind, a thrill and an indescribable closeness to Allah. Naturally, though, not all the time, excessive praise causes our intentions to change; thereby leading us to perform a deed to please others and not just Allah. That, we should increase the number of deeds done in secret as that will result in truthful worship: that which Allah loves. However, good deeds in solitude teach us that Allah is the only One worthy of our attention and that we should expect our reward from Him alone – and no one else.
Don’t depend too much on anyone in this world because even your own shadow leaves you when you are in darkness.” –Ibn Taymiyyah
Explanation: Anyone who wants to achieve something great in this life, must not be over-dependent on anybody; for that will act as a barrier in their success. Those who always seek for other’s shoulder to rely on, can never come up with anything great in life. This dependency can be financial, emotional, or supportive, but the thing is that in the end, it leads them nowhere!

Proverbs and Their Meanings
There is a proverb for almost any situation. It is a wise saying that gives some advice about life. Almost every culture has its own unique proverbs. However, some proverbs exist in more than one language; people borrow them from other languages and cultures similar to theirs.
Don’t count your chickens(before they’re hatched)
Meaning: it is used to say that you should not expect a positive result before you actually see it, e.g You should slow down my friend, don’t count your chickens.
Note: the “s” after “chicken” and the “ed” after “hatch” are really necessary.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
Meaning: it is used to say that you can’t achieve anything if you never take any risks.
Note: it is wrong to say, “nothing venture, nothing gain” – without the “ed” in both words.

Correct and Incorrect English
Grammatical errors come in many forms and can easily confuse and obscure meaning. Absolutely, no one is immune to errors when it comes to the English language. Of course, it is inevitable. The important thing is to learn from the mistakes so you become a more confident, capable speaker and writer. Prepositions are tricky(difficult to deal with), confusing(unclear and difficult to understand) and significant in sentence construction. Here are some mistakes that should be avoided:
A: Do you really follow what I am saying?
Incorrect: B: Yes, I am hearing you.
Correct: Yes, I am listening to you.
Note: “Hear” simply means the ears are registering that a sound is being made. So, the speaker ‘B’ is undoubtedly listening to the speaker ‘A’, that is, paying attention to what the speaker ‘A’ is saying even if he doesn’t understand. That, the word “listen” should be used here.
However, “hear” is used, when you are having a phone conversation with someone for instance, avoid the use of the continuous form of it; use ‘can’ or ‘could’ instead.
A: Can you hear me?
B: The line is too bad: I can’t hear you very well.

Incorrect: He stressed on the importance of taking regular exercise.
Correct: He stressed the importance of taking regular exercise.
Note: The word “stress” as a verb is followed directly by its object. But, it might be followed by ‘on’ when used as a noun, as in: the doctor put a stress on the importance of taking regular exercise.

Vocabulary Learning
There are some verbs that are used with particles. Examples are sit down, get up, go out, etc. The verbs are sit, get, go, and the particles are down, up, out. These kind of combinations are called phrasal verbs. In many cases the meaning of the phrasal verbs cannot be deduced from its elements and some are polysemous (have two or more different meanings). Moreover, phrasal verbs are very important because they are so prevalent(common) in every spoken or written English. 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. Here are some phrasal verbs:
Flash back (flashes, flashing, flashed)
If your mind or thoughts flash back to something that happened to you in the past, you suddenly remember that thing, e.g. His mind flashed back to the first day they met.
What’s more, “flashback” as a noun means, an occasion when you suddenly remember something that happened to you in the past, e.g. Five years after the accident she was still having flashbacks. It is also used in a film or a book to show something that happened in the past, e.g. The film started with a flashback to the main character’s childhood.
Hail from (hails, hailed)
To have been born in or to come from a particular place, e.g. I really like your accent! Please where do you hail from?
Note: “hail from somewhere” is formal – and not informal. And it’s never used in continuous tenses.

Tips to Improve Your English ─ Hester
* Know what works best for you. Think about what methods have been successful for you in the past and stick with them.
* Figure out how you learn. It can be by memorising, reading, speaking, summarizing or other methods.

Thanks a bunch for reading and remember ─ practice is key!
Bashir Shu’aibu Jammaje
Twitter: @Mrbashjam



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