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English in Twos: Episode 11

By Bashir Jammaje

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, 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.

“There is no way we can survive as a nation in the world without finding unity.” ─Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Explanation: Ngugi wa Thiong’o (1938 – {82 years}), is a Kenyan writer and academic who writes primarily in Gikuyu. His work includes novels, plays, short stories, and essays, ranging from literary and social criticism to children’s literature. He is the founder and editor of the Gikuyu-language journal Mũtĩiri . His short story, ‘The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright’, is translated into 94 languages from around the world. Absolutely, national unity in the form of racial and religious tolerance is an incremental pre-requisite to societal peace. Consequently, national unity and subsequently societal stability contributes to nation-building. One aspect of nation-building revolves around economic developments which, in extremely simplified terms, may lead to elevated standards of living; and if channeled efficiently- decreased poverty rate and income disparity, benefiting the populace as a whole.

“A person who acquires English has access to all the things that that language makes possible.” -Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Explanation: The number of English speakers around the world has been on the rise for many years, with the current number approaching 2 billion, according to some estimates. Verily, both native and second-language speakers of English are found on every continent, and English has become the lingua franca in many fields, including business, politics, science, technology, and entertainment, to name a few. Though, the English language doesn’t have the largest number of native speakers in the world, it has the widest reach of any language spoken today. Research has it that people who speak English have more job opportunities. Businesses need employees who can communicate fluently with English-speaking partners and clients. In addition, entrepreneurs can access a far wider range of customers online by using English. In the U.S. or other English-speaking countries, people who can’t speak English are at a real economic disadvantage – that,  might be applied in some societies in Nigeris.

Proverbs and Their Meanings

There is a proverb for almost any situation. It a wise saying that gives some advice about life.

All good things (must) come to an end.

Meaning: used when you accept that even enjoyable experiences cannot last for ever, e.g. It’s been a fantastic couple of weeks but all good things must come to an end.

Cleanliness is next to godliness

Meaning: If someone says that ‘cleanliness is next to godliness,’ they are referring to the idea that people have a moral duty to keep themselves and their homes clean (Tsafta cikon addini in Hausa).

Correct and Incorrect English

We all make mistakes when we are learning 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.

Incorrect: If you see the man, please inform to him.

Correct: If you see the man, please inform him.

Note: here, you cannot “inform to someone,” but you can “pass on/give information to someone,” as in: can you pass on/give some information about your childhood? What’s more, “information” is an uncountable noun and has no plural form. Therefore, we use singular verb after it. “The information is very useful” – and not “the informations are very useful”.

Incorrect: The chairman reported of/on his missing son was found safe and sound.

Correct: The chairman reported his missing son was found safe and sound.

Note: The word “report” can only be followed by “of” or “on” if it is used as a noun, e.g. He provided a written report of/on the incident.

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.

Chuffed (adjective)

very pleased or happy

  • Ado is really chuffed about passing the exam.

Note: The word “chuffed” is pronounced as /chaft/ – and not /choft/ or /chofid/. And it goes with “about” – not “of” or “in”.

Titanic/tai’tânik/ (adjective)

Very large, strong, impressive, difficult or important.

  • He came up with a titanic idea!

Tips to Improve Your English ─ Hester

  • Find out how you study best. It can be in a quiet place by yourself or with a group.
  • Get help! If you don’t understand something you’ve got to ask someone. Ask your teacher, classmates or friends for help.

Thank you for reading and remember ─ practice is key!

Bashir Shu’aibu Jammaje


Twitter: @Mrbashjam



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