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English in Twos: Episode 44

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:
“What we need in politics today is not more democracy but less.” ─Fareed Zakaria
Explanation: Fareed Zakaria (1964 — {56}), is an Indian-American journalist, political scientist, and author. He is the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS and writes a weekly paid column for The Washington Post. He has been a columnist for Newsweek , editor of Newsweek International, and an editor at large of Time. What Zakaria said is actually self-explanatory!

“It is likely that human beings will find fulfillment and will be rewarded for the same qualities that they have been rewarded for 5,000 years. And that is intelligence, hard work, honesty, a sense of character, loyalty to family and friends, and above all, love and faith. If you are trying to decide what you should do, those are the things you should do. And you know it.” –Fareed Zakaria
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.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
Meaning: If something is already working well, don’try to change it or improve it.

      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' withwoman’ 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 only read the half of the book.
Correct: I only read half of the book.
Note: Here, it’s rather nonstandard to say, “the half” of something. The only time you say “the half” of something, is when you are referring to a particular half, e.g. I only read the first half of the book.

Incorrect: The interview will last about two and half hours.
Correct: The interview will last about two and a half hours.
Note: It is wrong to say “one and half”, “two and half” etc. Say “one and a half”, “two and a half” etc. And, remember – the phrases are always followed by a plural noun, not a singular noun, e.g. One and a half days/hours(NOT one and a half day/hour).

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:

Restrict yourself/somebody to (doing) something to allow yourself to have or do only a particular thing or amount of something, e.g. I’m restricting myself to forty pages a day.
“What planet is sb on?” is used to suggest that sb’s ideas are not realistic or practical.

Tips to Improve Your English ─ Hester
When you learn a new word, think of all its other forms: beautiful(adj.), beauty(noun), beautify(verb), beautifully(adv.).
Learn prefixes(dis-, un-, re-) and suffixes(-ly, -ment, -ful), these will help you figure out the meaning of words and build your vocabulary.

Thanks copiously for reading and remember ─ practice is key!
Bashir Shu’aibu Jammaje
Twitter: @Mrbashjam


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