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English in Twos: Episode 30

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:

“I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.” ─K’wan

Explanation: Socrates/sokrati:z/(470—399) was a Greek philosopher from Athens who is credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical  tradition of thought. An enigmatic figure, he authored no texts, and is known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers  composing after his lifetime, particularly his students Plato and Xenophon. Well, sometimes it happens like we feel that we know each and every thing. If you feel that, you should be with the people who are much more talented than you, who are very practical, who are very innovative, who are very creative, people who carry the great experience of any field and factor. And, then be a good listener if you find them. They will help you to gain more knowledge and they will never let you to stop there. They will hold your hand and will give you the confidence of getting aroused in your life.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.” –Socrates

Explanation: this has a lot to do with the previous quote.

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.

                    Laughter is the best medicine

Possible meaning: It’s used to say that when you are in a difficult situation, laughing can make it easier to get through that situation, e.g I am sorry to hear about it. You should go and watch a funny movie. They say, laughter is best medicine.

You scratch my back and I will scratch yours

Meaning: It is used to tell someone that if they help you, you will help them back(=Cuɗeni in cuɗeka).

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 has been preparing against the exam.

Correct: He has been preparing for the exam.

Note: You can use “prepare to do sth” as in: He is busy preparing to go on holiday. But, never “prepare against”!

Incorrect:  He is not among of them/No, he is not among.

Correct:  He is not among them.

Note: “Among of” is not standard English. “Among” is a preposition that requires a noun or pronoun after it.

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:

  • Don’t break my concentration, please!

If you “break somebody’s concentration” you interrupt and stop them from being able to continue thinking or talking about something.

  • Do you think this car will break the bank?

“Break the bank” means to cost a lot of money, or more money than you have.

Tips to Improve Your English ─ Hester

  •  Don’t become too reliant on your dictionary. It should be an aid, not your main teacher.
  • Try to guess the meaning of words rather than always going straight to your dictionary.

Thanks copiously for reading and remember ─ practice is key!

Bashir Shu’aibu Jammaje

08168757065

bashjam90@gmail.com Twitter: @Mrbashjam

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