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English in Twos: Episode 28

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:

“Anyone who claims to be a leader must speak like a leader. That means speaking with integrity and truth.” ─Kamala Haris

Explanation: Kamala Haris (1964 — {56}),  is an American politician and attorney, the junior United States senator from California, and the vice president-elect of the United States.

“Let’s speak the truth: People are protesting because Black people have been treated as less than human in America. Because our country has never fully addressed the systemic racism that has plagued our country since its earliest days. It is the duty of every American to fix. No longer can some wait on the sidelines, hoping for incremental change. In times like this, silence is complicity.” –Kamala Haris

Explanation: This is self-explanatory!

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.

One good turn deserves another.

Meaning:  If someone does you a favour, you should take the chance to repay it(alheri danƙo ne…in Hausa).

          You can’t keep a good man down

Meaning: said to mean that if people are able and determined, they will recover from any difficulties or problems and be successful.

Note: You can replace `man’ with `woman’ or with another word referring to a person.(Zakaran da Allah ya nufa da cara… in Hausa).

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: I want to drink my medicine now.

Correct: I want to take my medicine now.

Note: Here, some words are friends and like to go together but other words are strangers and feel kind of awkward in each others’ company. “drink” and “medicine” are two words that feel very uncomfortable together. That, do not say that you ‘drink medicine’. Say that you take medicine.

Incorrect: There is  plenty of rooms in the house.

Correct: There are plenty of rooms in the house.

 Note:  Do not say ‘there is plenty of things/places etc’. Say there are plenty of things/places etc. What’s more, do not say that a place or thing ‘is plenty of something’. Say that it is full of something, e.g I like the garden – it is full of beautiful flowers.

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:

*Thanks a lot, but that’s not really my bag.

When you say that “something is not your bag”, you mean you are are not very interested in or not very good at it.

*Do it quickly, please – we don’t have bags of time. The man has bags of money.

“bags of something”, means a lot of something.

Tips to Improve Your English ─ Hester

  • Dictation. Listen to a CD or friend, for instance, and write down what you hear.
  • Record your voice and listen to your pronunciation and intonation. Nobody likes to hear their own voice, but be brave and try it. It will help you identify your problem areas.

Thanks copiously for reading and remember ─ practice is key!

Bashir Shu’aibu Jammaje

08168757065 Twitter: @Mrbashjam


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