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English in Twos: Episode 32

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:

“Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.” ─Elon Musk

Explanation: Elon Musk (1971— {49}), is a business magnate, industrial designer and engineer. He is the founder, CEO, CTO and chief designer of SpaceX; early investor, CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; founder of The Boring Company; co-founder of Neuralink; and co-founder and initial co-chairman of OpenAI. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2018. Also that year, he was ranked 25th on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People, and was ranked joint-first on the Forbes list of the Most Innovative Leaders of 2019. A centi-billionaire, Musk became the richest person in the world in January 2021. Well, it’s true that, the secret to succeeding at anything is the importance of persistence in life. You may have heard the expression “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again”. Unfortunately most people give up. If something doesn’t work they quit and do something else. No. You shouldn’t give up that easily. Michael Jordan says, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”

“It’s OK to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket.” –Elon Musk

Explanation: This is self-explanatory, too!

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.

The grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence)

Meaning:  used to say that the things a person does not have always seem more appealing than the things he or she does have(Tuwon ƙwalama ya fi daɗi).

          Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Meaning:  used to say that if people are saying that someone has done something wrong there is usually a good reason for what they are saying(Ruwa baya tsami banza… 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 will prove him that I’m right about it.

 Correct: I will prove to him that I’m right about it.

Note: Here, in standard English, you ‘prove something to someone’ – and not ‘prove someone’. But, you can, ‘prove somebody wrong/innocent/guilty etc’, e.g. You should do your best to prove them wrong.

Incorrect: A: I think you should reply him. B: No! Why should I do that? He didn’t reply my message yet. Correct: A: I think you should reply to him. B: No! Why should I do that? He didn’t reply to my message yet.

 Note: Here, it’s non-standard to use the word, ‘reply’ without the preposition ‘to’.

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:

*He is trying to put accross his point.

To “put sth accross”, means to explain your ideas, beliefs etc in a way that people can understand

*His father told him off for misbehaving.

If someone in authority tells you off, they speak to you angrily about something wrong that you have done.

Tips to Improve Your English ─ Hester

  • If you get nervous when speaking, take two deep breaths before you say something. You’ll speak better when you feel so relaxed.
  • Enjoy what you’re learning. We learn more when we’re having fun.

Thanks copiously for reading and remember ─ practice is key!

Bashir Shu’aibu Jammaje

08168757065 Twitter: @Mrbashjam


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