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English in Twos: Episode 33

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:

“Some people think that being in government for a long time is a bad thing. But the more you stay, the more you learn. I am now an expert in governance..” ─Yoweri Museveni

Explanation:  Yoweri Museveni  (15 September 1944 (age 76)), is a Ugandan politician who has been President of Uganda since 1986. He’s one of the Africa’s longest-serving leaders, who’s now heading  toward four decades in power. Perhaps Museveni’s most widely noted accomplishment has been his government’s successful campaign against AIDS . During the 1980s, Uganda had one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world, but now Uganda’s rates are comparatively low, and the country stands as a rare success story in the global battle against the virus.  On the one hand, his supporters praise him for bringing relative peace and prosperity to the country – and, on the other hand, his critics accuse him of turning into yet another authoritarian leader. Well, the quote is self-explanatory.

“Africa is wealthy in natural resources; the problem is they are not optimally utilized.” –Yoweri Museveni

Explanation: this is quite 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.

There’s no place like home m

Meaning:  It is used to have an affinity for one’s home over every other place. to say that the home is the best place. (=kowa ya bar gida… in Hausa), e.g. I  am glad to be back on my bed again. There’s no place like home.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Meaning: used to say that a child usually has a similar character or similar qualities to their parents (Barewa ba ta gudu danta ya yi rarrafe 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: The teacher has told him severally that he doesn’t like coming late. He’s the vigilante who arrested the thief severally.

Correct: The teacher has told him several times that he doesn’t like coming late. He’s the vigilante who arrested the thief several times.

Note: “Severally” means, differently, individually or  separately – without others, e.g. Are we going to send them severally, or as a whole?

Incorrect: That’s a good/bad news. The news are/were bad. I was surprised by these news.

Correct: That’s a good/bad piece of news (also, that’s good news). The news is/was bad. I was surprised by this news.

Note: The word, “news” is an uncountable noun, and doesn’t have a plural form. Use singular forms with it – and, not plural ones.

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:

*I had to pat him on the back for the job well done.

If you “pat somebody/yourself on the back”, you praise someone or yourself for doing something well.

*You should keep your shirt on and think about the solution.

“keep your shirt on” (spoken), is used to tell someone who is becoming angry that they should stay calm.

Tips to Improve Your English ─ Hester

  •  Don’t make excuses not to learn; you’re never too young or too old to start learning English.
  • Keep yourself motivated by looking back at the books and CDs you used in the past. If you do that, you’ll be surprised at how easy they seem to you now.

Thanks copiously for reading and remember ─ practice is key!

Bashir Shu’aibu Jammaje


Twitter: @Mrbashjam


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