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English in Twos: Episode 23

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:

“Every sucessful person in the world is a hustler one way or another. We all hustle to get where we need to be. Only a fool would sit around and wait on another man to feed him.” ─K’wan

Explanation: K’wan Foye, also known simply as K’wan, is an American author of urban fiction. According to Foye his first novel, Gangsta, was largely autobiographical. The book reached number 3 on the Essence magazine bestseller list. Well,  it says one ought to learn how to rely on oneself and not on friends and family. There will come a time when they let you down or are no longer there to lend you support!

“Nothing in life is without consequences.” –K’wan

Explanation: this ! It has it, everything we think and say and do has consequences for ourselves and for others. And we need to remember that our actions are irreversible. That, experience can be an excellent teacher, if we reflect on our actions and their consequences. We then consider our actions more carefully and cease being merely reactive to situations. Over time we become wiser and more skilful in our actions.

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.

                   Seeing is believing

Possible meaning: It’s used to say that you will only believe that something happens or exists when you actually see  (= Gani ya kori ji  in Hausa), e.g If you are still not convinced, let’s go seeing is believing.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

Meaning: Be very aware of your enemies’ behavior in order to detect and avoid any malicious actions, e.g A: “Why were you talking to Kalla? I thought you hated him.” B: “I’m trying to see if he has any dirt on me for the student council debate. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right?”

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:

Incorrect: He made his views clear from the onset.

Correct: He made his views clear from the outset.

Note:  “Onset” talks about the beginning of something especially bad; not under human control (diseases, earthquakes); “outset” talks about the beginning of human activities.

Incorrect:  Out of bound

Correct:  Out of bounds

Note: If a place is “out of bounds”, you are not allowed to go there. “Out of bounds to/for”, e.g The office is officially out of bounds to students. That, the “s” in the word “bounds” is absolutely necessary—the same applies to its synonym, “off-limits”.

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 expression:

  • You should not bank on anybody!

If you “bank on somebody/something” you depend on it happening or someone doing something.

  • You cannot buy him off.

If you “buy sb off”, you  pay someone money to stop them causing trouble or threatening you(=bribe).

Tips to Improve Your English ─ Hester

  •  Keep an English dairy or journal.
  • Start by writing a few sentences a day and then get into the habit of writing more.

Thanks copiously for reading and remember ─ practice is key!

Bashir Shu’aibu Jammaje

08168757065 Twitter: @Mrbashjam


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