Lie and Lay — Removing the confusion

April 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Removing the confusion in the use of the words “lie’ and “lay’

The confusion arises because of the meanings of the two words in their present and past forms.

Meanings

Lie (Meaning 1) —- Be in a horizontal position

Lie (Meaning 2) —   Make a false statement

Lay (Only one meaning) —    Put something down

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It is interesting to know how these words change in different tenses.        

Lie (Meaning 1 –Be in horizontal position)

                                Lie and Lies (Present tense)

                                Lying (Present and past continuous)  

                                Lay (Past)

                                Lain (Past participle)

  Lie (Meaning 2 – Make a false statement) — 

                                 Lie, Lies   (Present tense)

                                 Lying (Present and past continuous)

                                 Lied (Past)

                                 Lied (Past participle)

Example ..

Lie (Meaning -1 – Be in a horizontal position on a surface)

Present tense:  In this spot the brave policeman was felled by the drug mafia. Now, his coffin lies here in this spot 15 meters under his tomb.

Past simple tense: The girl failed in her test. Last night, she lay on her bed and wept.

Present continuous tense: She suffered sun-stroke on her way back from college. She’s lying down, but feeling O.K now.

Past perfect tense: For more than three years her son had lain in a coma.

 

Lie (Meaning – 2 – Deliberately say something that’s not true)

Present tense:  He lies to everyone in his family, including his mother.

Past simple tense: I lied about my age to get the job.

Present continuous tense: The wife complained, “You say you like me, but I know you’re lying.”

Past perfect tense:  The judge knew that he had lied at the trial.

Point to note carefully.. Source of confusion is the word “lay”.  It is the past tense of the word ‘lie’ in its meaning 1. It is also the present tense of the word ‘lay’.

When you are tired, you may say, “I want to lie down on the bed for some time.”

It will be a mistake to say, “I want to lay down on the bed for some time.”

Another example .. In the sea beach the tortoise lies on its back. This is correct. It is incorrect to say, “In the sea beach the tortoise lays on its back.”

Other very common errors

Use of ‘lie’ in the meaning 1 ..   It is wrong to say, “Her brother’s misfortune made her to openly show feelings that had lied dormant for some time.”

It should be, “Her brother’s misfortune made her to openly show feelings that had lain dormant for some time.

It is wrong to say, “I laid down on my bed and went to sleep.”

It is correct to say, “I lay down on my bed and went to sleep.”

It is wrong to say, “The nurse is laying flat on her back after a hard day’s work in the hospital.

It should be, “The nurse is lying flat on her back after a hard day’s work in the hospital.”

It is wrong to say, “When the President died, he was lain in an ornate wooden coffin.”

It is correct to say, “When the President died, he was laid in an ornate wooden coffin”.  

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Human rights – an Indian perspective– Civil Service essay

April 28, 2012 at 5:40 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Human Rights— How India lit the first torch

Each time there is a critical reference to India in the annual reports of organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International etc., our government shows signs of nervousness and switches to denial mode. Given our pathetic record in managing insurgency, political dissent and crimes, it is but natural that we attract critical comments from observers abroad. We all will agree that today a visit to the police station even for very routine matters leaves unpleasant memories. The common man tries to shun these places where atrocity, torture and intimidation are anything but routine. In the rural hinterlands of Bihar, UP and some pockets in north-east, the picture is very dour indeed.

But, focusing only on police station atrocities or government highhandedness towards the citizens will be quite myopic. Even more unfortunate and ill-founded will be the assumption that the idea of ‘Human Rights’ is an import from the West, and we need to emulate them for imbibing its values. True, with no critical attention from the outside world, we might have taken decades longer to put in place this elaborate mechanism of Human Rights courts, human rights education in schools and colleges, and other such mechanisms. Relentless media glare on individual cases of violation has agitated the viewers’ conscience. As the stridency of chorus in favour of human rights enforcement grows, we can feel reassured that the dawn of human dignity in this most populous democracy on earth is just beginning.

But, in this chorus for aligning our human rights redressal mechanism with that of the West, we seem to forget that India, perhaps made the earliest and most forceful push towards human equality and dignity in recorded history. One need not go to as far as the Vedic days to lay claim to this heritage, because that would raise some cynical eyes. In the most documented part of human history starting from the early eighth century onwards till the advent of Dr. Ambedkar and the later day crusaders like Dr. Binayak Sen, we get to read the account of the fearless crusade against the oppressive caste system, practice of dowry and forced labour, resistance to the harrowing system of Sati, dowry and child marriage.

When the society was besmirched by the arrogant and self-seeking feudal claim to superiority by a small group of self-proclaimed elites, Mahaver Jain and Gautam Buddha raised their voice in favour of universal equality and brotherhood. They gave voice to multitude of the dispossessed and the down-trodden, seething with resentment under the dominance of society’s elite classes. They preached that every human being was entitled to enjoy freedom and dignity. According to the tenets of Biddhism and Jainism, caste discrimination was nothing but a slur– a demonic deviation to deprive the ‘lowly-born’ from his claim to equal rights, to opportunity, justice, wealth, entrepreneurship and intellectual pursuits. Birth in an affluent or upper class family does not automatically bestow superiority, these two great souls asserted with great force of conviction. Their preaching swayed millions. It was a confrontation that dented Brahminc pride and emboldened many later day Hindu saints to propound the values of universal equality. Thus, was laid the foundations of a Human Rights movement that would spread to the nook and corner of the country.

The ‘untouchable’ saints like Santh Tukaram of Maharastra and Bhim Bhoi of Odisha swept away the muck that had set in on Hinduism over centuries. Millions of people living in the fringes of the society re-entered the mainstream. But, the most notable contribution to human rights was made by Bengal’s two illustrious sons – Ishwar Chandra Vidysagar and Raja Ram Mohan Roy. Right to education, right of a widow to remarry, right of a woman to refuse to walk into the funeral pyre of the dead husband were so forcefully advocated by these two crusaders that the British had little opportunity to dither on these crying issues of social reform.

The long list of India’s human rights activists will remain incomplete without a few lines on Kabir, the human rights campaigner par excellence. The poor weaver launched the most potent human rights campaign India has ever produced. Loathed by Brahmins and the ‘highly-placed’, but adored by Hindus and Muslims alike, he tore apart the deeply entrenched ritualistic practices of Hinduism. Kabir had immense mass appeal. His simple, reasoned ‘Dohas’ carrying gospels of piety and simplicity struck a chord in the hearts of millions. No rational human being can challenge Kabir’s tenets on spirituality and equality even today.

One must note here that very few of these great thinkers and social leaders had access to western liberal education, as people like Gandhi, Nehru and even Swami Vivekananda had. They were ‘home-grown’ intellectuals who rose from the soil. The momentous social movements took place when the west was still groping in the dark.

A certain degree of caution is, however, warranted in our approach to protection of human rights, particularly in the South Asia’s terrorism-ridden environment. While it is essential to provide a decent chance of defence to the terror-accused, it must be born in mind that these elements have snuffed out life of very innocent people not connected with the political issues at all. Law must deal firmly with the terror elements who care a fig about human rights.

The torch-bearers of human rights today have, therefore, plenty of ground to reflect and feel proud for. But, the present human rights campaign in India, which is becoming stronger by the day, will lose its relevance if it remains limited to freeing the common man from the highhandedness of the local Thanedar or the arrogant civil servant. Human rights campaign must encompass right to food, shelter, security, education, employment and opportunity. Human rights must also mean the right to raise voice against the corrupt political class, the media and the immoral professionals. By doing this, India can indeed lead the world.

Contributed by Ansuman Tripathy  B.A. MFC, LL.B

 

Creative writing using words and phrases- GMAT/GRE

April 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A good example of a high-school boy’s capacity to imagine and write a piece using idioms, phrases and phrasal verbs using ‘count’ …

(This piece stands out because it took the class 8th girl just 12 miniutes to weave the story and write it.)

The list of the words / phrases /phrasal verbs are

1. Leading someone up the garden path

2. Wear something in one’s sleeves

3. To call into count

4. Count one out

5. Count upon some one

6. Lose count of

7. Stand up and be counted

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     Scourge of ‘blade’ finance companies

 There are some unscrupulous finance companies who take deposits from the public promising high rate of interest. As further enticement, they promise to give easy loans to their customers in the time of need.

They appear from nowhere, rent spaces in posh locations, open their offices with a lot of fanfare. Soon after, they commence their deposit collection and interest payment operations with almost religious alacrity. The public, generally wary of these outfits, keep these people at arms length for some time. However, seeing their promptness and acumen, the small investors lower their guard after a few months, and start sneaking into these swanky offices with their wallets. The managers and the staff in these offices are all smiles, exude confidence, and give impression that their company’s foundations are as solid as rock, and their commitment to serve the customers remains as unwavering as ever.

The words go round about the high returns the company pays for deposits. Some even chide the nationalized banks for being stingy in the matter of interest to the customers. With passage of time, more small depositors stream in, unable to resist the temptation of ‘high interest’ honey-trap. Flow of deposits to these finance offices rises from a trickle to a torrent.

These finance companies employ high-voltage sales men and women, who sway the gullible public with their cleverly crafted and rehearsed sales talk. They lead the middle class families up the garden path by explaining how the future expenses of their daughter’s wedding or their son’s studies can be met from their deposits with the finance company. These sales persons wear the customers’ interests in their sleeves.

So, a buzz builds up that these companies are the best destination to go to save one’s money. The nearby nationalized bank manager wrings his hands in disgust.

Finally, the day of reckoning arrives. Customers, one day, find that the finance company’s office has not opened in time. People wait, till some one says that the staff and officers are not traceable. Hell breaks lose. People start vandalizing the office. Police arrives. But the ‘blade company’s staff are not to be traced.

The depositors are devastated. The trauma of losing the full life’s savings haunts them. People run from pillar to post seeking redress, but it becomes a painfully futile exercise.

The sad thing is such companies sprout up at regular intervals all over the country, to dupe the public and vanish. One has lost count of the instances of such fraudulent companies fleecing the public.

Whose job is it to call these fraudsters to count? Every body sulks responsibility. The RBI should be the organization to prevent these acts of cheating. But, they often act after the damage has been done. Given the corrupt nature of the government at the center and the state, the public do not count upon them with any seriousness.

To stop such plunder of innocent middle-class investors, some brave, well-informed individuals should come forward to challenge the companies when they start their operations. No doubt, given the background of these blade company entrepreneurs, any one coming their way will invite their wrath. But the well-meaning persons must be ready to stand up and be counted. Through such bold vigilance, this malaise can be cured.

Answers to yesterday’s sentence correction questions

April 27, 2012 at 2:22 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1. On a visit to the Banneghatta Zoo, the mother and daughter duo spot a Royal Bengal Tiger. To her ten-year old daughter, the mother enthusiastically explains, “This Royal Bengal Tiger is only living in the Sundarbans of West Bengal.”

There are three mistakes, one in the first sentence and two in the second sentence. Spot and correct them.

Clues …a. The words ‘duo’ and ‘trio’ are treated as singular. So it should be ‘spots’.

b. The words ‘ten-year old’ must have two hyphens. We need to write ‘ten-year-old’.

c. In place of ‘… only living’, it should be ‘…. lives only’.

Corrected sentence ….   On a visit to the Banneghatta Zoo, the mother and daughter duo spots a Royal Bengal Tiger. To her ten-year-old daughter, the mother enthusiastically explains, “This Royal Bengal Tiger lives only in the Sundarbans of West Bengal.”

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2. A lady receives a bouquet of flowers on her birth day from one of her friends. She telephones him and says, “I call to thank you for the present you sent.”

The second sentence has one error. Correct it.

Clues .. It should be ‘…am calling’ in place of ‘call’.

Corrected sentence … A lady receives a bouquet of flowers on her birth day from one of her friends. She telephones him and says, “I am calling to thank you for the present you sent.”

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3. Heard during the chitchatting of two friends, “Your elder son Gopal is resembling his father.”

There is one error in this sentence. Correct it.

Clue .. Replace ‘…is resembling’ by ‘resembles’.

Corrected sentence …  Heard during the chitchatting of two friends, “Your elder son Gopal resembles his father.”

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4. I work at the Taj Mahal Hotel for over ten years now.

There is only one mistake. Correct it

Clue .. Replace ‘work’ with ‘..have worked’.

Corrected sentenceI have worked at the Taj Mahal Hotel for over ten years now.

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5. A college-going boy asked his friend, “Have you read a book called ‘Such a Long Journey’? ‘Who has written it?”

There is only one mistake. Correct it.

Clue.. Replace ‘..has written’ by ‘wrote’.

Corrected sentence .. A college-going boy asked his friend, “Have you read a book called ‘Such a Long Journey’? ‘Who wrote it?”

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6. Virat Kohli is a gifted cricketer, but up to now he did not play well in international matches.

There is only one mistake. Correct it.

Clue .. Replace ‘did not’ by ‘has not’.

Corrected sentence .. Virat Kohli is a gifted cricketer, but up to now he has not play well in international matches.

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7. Priya told her friend Asha, “I have seen Minita in Commercial Street the other day.”

One mistake. Correct it.

Clue … Replace ‘have seen’ by ‘saw’.

Corrected sentence .. Priya told her friend Asha, “I saw Minita in Commercial Street the other day.”

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8. An IT professional asked his friend, “Have you ever been to the Statue of Liberty when you lived in New York?”

One mistake. Correct it.

Clues .. Replace ‘Have you ever been …. ’ by ‘Did you ever go …..’.

Corrected sentence .. An IT professional asked his friend, “Did you ever go to the Statue of Liberty when you lived in New York?”

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9. I was meeting a lot of interesting people when I was working in London.

One mistake. Correct it.

Clue .. Replace ‘I was meeting…’ by ‘I met …’.

Corrected sentence .. I met a lot of interesting people when I was working in London.

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10. One mother, worried about her shy daughter, narrated her childhood days to the psychiatrist saying, “Being in large crowds was always making her feel nervous.”

One mistake. Correct it.

Clue .. Replace ‘..was always making’ by ‘… always made’.

Corrected sentence .. One mother, worried about her shy daughter, narrated her childhood days to the psychiatrist saying, “Being in large crowds always made her feel nervous.”

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11. The optician asked the visitor, “How long are you wearing glasses?”

One mistake. Correct it.

Clue .. Replace ‘..are you wearing’ by either ‘have you been wearing’  or ‘have you worn’.

Corrected sentence .. The optician asked the visitor, “How long have you been wearing /have you worn glasses?”

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12.  Ashok and Raghav had gone to Delhi for the first time on a sojourn. In the evening, while answering a call from his mother, Ashok said, “We have been staying with our uncle and aunt till last weekend.”

Two mistakes. Correct them.

Clue … 1. ‘have been staying’ becomes ‘were staying’  2. ‘till’ becomes ‘until’.

Corrected sentence .. Ashok and Raghav had gone a sojourn to Delhi for the first time. In the evening, while answering a call from his mother, Ashok said, “We were staying with our uncle and aunt until last weekend.”

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13.  An angry Asha was heard murmuring to herself, “That’s twice I’ve been forgetting to bring my cell phone to work this week.”

One mistake. Correct it.

Clue … ‘Have been forgetting’ becomes “have forgotten.”

 

Corrected sentence .. An angry Asha was heard murmuring to herself, “That’s twice I’ve forgotten to bring my cell phone to work this week.”

            

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14.  I’ve never been listening to any of Subhaluxmi’s renderings before.

One mistake. Correct it.

Clue .. ‘have never been listening’ becomes ‘have never listened to’.

Corrected sentence .. I’ve never listened to any of Subhaluxmi’s renderings before.

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15. The new bridge had been opened six months ago. Today, no sooner did a huge army truck weighing about 40 tons pass over it, it collapsed.

 Two mistakes. Correct them.

Clue .. 1. ‘had been’ becomes ‘was’.    2. Introduce ‘than’ as shown.

Corrected sentence .. The new bridge was opened six months ago. Today, no sooner did a huge army truck weighing about 40 tons pass over it, than it collapsed.

       

 

 

Common errors in English for GMAT / GRE / CAT etc.

April 26, 2012 at 5:58 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Try to correct the following sentences.

1. On a visit to the Banneghatta Zoo, the mother and daughter duo spot a Royal Bengal Tiger. To her ten-year old daughter, the mother enthusiastically explains, “This Royal Bengal Tiger is only living in the Sundarbans of West Bengal.”

There are three mistakes, one in the first sentence and two in the second sentence. Spot and correct them.

—————————————

2. A lady receives a bouquet of flowers on her birth day from one of her friends. She telephones him and says, “I call to thank you for the present you sent.”

The second sentence has errors. Correct it.

—————————————-

3. Heard during the chitchatting of two friends, “Your elder son Gopal is resembling his father.”

There is one error in this sentence. Correct it.

————————————–

4. I work at the Taj Mahal Hotel for over ten years now.

There is only one mistake. Correct it

————————————–

5. A college-going boy asked his friend, “Have you read a book called ‘Such a Long Journey’? ‘Who has written it?”

There is only one mistake. Correct it.

—————————————-

6. Virat Kohli is a gifted cricketer, but up to now he did not play well in international matches.

There is only one mistake. Correct it.

————————————–

7. Priya told her friend Asha, “I have seen Minita inCommercial Streetthe other day.”

One mistake. Correct it.

—————————————-

8. An IT professional asked his friend, “Have you ever been to       the Statue of Liberty when you lived inNew York?”

Two mistakes. Correct them.

—————————————

9. I was meeting a lot of interesting people when I was working inLondon.

One mistake. Correct it.

———————————————

10. One mother, worried about her shy daughter, narrated her childhood days to the psychiatrist saying, “Being in large crowds was always making her feel nervous.”

Two mistakes. Correct them.

——————————————-

11. The optician asked the visitor, “How long are you wearing glasses?”

One mistake. Correct it.

—————————————-

12.  Ashok and Raghav had gone to Delhi for the first time on a sojourn. In the evening, while answering a call from his mother, Ashok said, “We have been staying with our uncle and aunt till last weekend.”

Two mistakes. Correct them.

————————————–

13.  An angry Asha was heard murmuring to herself, “That’s twice I’ve been forgetting to bring my cell phone to work this week.”

One mistake. Correct it.

————————————-

14.  I’ve never been listening to any of Subhaluxmi’s renderings before.

One mistake. Correct it.

————————————–

15. The new bridge had been opened six months ago. Today, no sooner did a huge army truck weighing about 40 tons pass over it, it collapsed.

      Two mistakes. Correct them.

—————————————–

Improving readability by use of words and clauses

April 25, 2012 at 4:24 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Addition of a few words in appropriate places improves readability

If there is no coherence in your writing, the reader will not find it enjoyable. The sentences must flow freely so that the reader is not left wondering about the sequence and direction of your narration. Also, there should not be any gap or ambiguity in your writing. The intended sense should come out clearly demanding no extra effort from the reader.

 

See this example …

First text 

                      A view of a Srinagar park

It was spring time in Kashmir. The rising creepers of pink rose that clung to the Chinar trees were in full bloom.  One could see a big difference. The armed forces personnel were conspicuous by their absence. Violence in the valley had dipped. Tourists from all over the country and far off destinations had come to the sprawling garden. The local people, who live off these birds of passage (meaning people who live in a place temporarily) were elated. They could somewhat make up the income they had lost the previous year.

Compare this with the one below. See how the second text improves in clarity and readability after adding key words and clauses in appropriate places.

 Second text    

               A view of a Srinagar park

It was spring time in Kashmir. As it happens at this time every year, the rising creepers of pink rose that clung to the Chinar trees were in full bloom. But, even with a cursory glance, one could notice a big difference. The ubiquitous armed forces personnel were conspicuous by their absence in and around the park. After a year of terrible unrest, violence in the valley had dipped. Encouraged by the return of peace, tourists from all over the country and far-off destinations had come to the historic sprawling  garden. The local people, who depend upon these birds of passage for their livelihood were clearly elated. After a year of almost non-existent earnings, they could look forward to some steady income. Happier days seemed to be coming back, to erase the memory of the hard days gone by.

 

Some common errors in English among students

April 24, 2012 at 4:51 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some common mistakes and the way to avoid them

1. Some students say, ‘He has gone to his native.’  Such use of the word ‘native’ is wrong. It should be ‘native place’, ‘native village, ‘native town’ etc.. You can not use native as a noun like this.

However, ‘native’ can be used as noun, but the meaning changes. The British rarely trusted the natives. Some natives of Africa are very savage. Here ‘native, (as noun) means native people.

2. Some appointment letters carry sentences like this. ‘See the below mentioned terms and conditions of your employment offer.’

Here ‘below’ has been used as an adjective. It is wrong. It can   only be used as an adverb.

The sentence should be, “See the terms and conditions of your employment offer mentioned below.”

3. Often, students talk like this. ‘I think so the teacher will not come today.’ ‘I think so it is going to rain.”

Such uses of ‘so’ are wrong grammatically. It should be ‘I think that the teacher will not come today’. ‘I think that it is going to rain.’

4.Turn around, Turn-around

Use 1 of ‘Turn around—– I was walking in the street. An old man was walking ahead of me. He turned around and asked if I was going to Malleswaram.

Use 2  of ‘Turn around’ (phrasal verb) — It means improvement. His health turned around because of taking antibiotics and nutritious food.

Indian batting turned around because of the presence of Tendulkar.

Turn-around. (noun) — The turn-around of his health was possible because of the nutritious food and antibiotics.

The turn-around of his business happened when new partners invested fresh capitalCombat as noun, verb, adjective —

5.  Combat as noun — Duryodhana challenged Bhima to a combat. It is interesting to see the combat between a fast bowler like Rawalpindi Express and the batting legend Tendulkar.

Combat (as verb) – Paramilitary forces are combating the insurgents in Kashmir with great patience. The BJP high command is combating severe infighting in the party.

Combat (as adjective) .. Heavy combat tanks find it hard to operate in mountain areas.

Combative (as adjective) – In the debate my opponent was in a combative mood.

6. ‘Attach herewith’ is wrong. Simply “attach’ is good enough.

7. “Revert back” is wrong. “Only ‘revert’ is good enough.

8. Use of ‘with a view to’ …… I came to Bangalore with a view to appear an interview. It is wrong. It should be “with a view to appearing’.

Creative writing through use of new words

April 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Some tips in creative writing  ….

Moonlight as verb, Cherry-pick as verb, Carpet-bomb as verb, Master-mind, Bankroll as verb, Foul-mouth as verb, Steamroll as verb, Fast-track as verb, Shipwreck as verb, Sweet talk as verb, Handpick as verb

There was a young journalist, being a beginner in his profession, did not get a high enough pay. But, he had some other talents. He could write stories, draw cartoons and coin slogans for advertisements.

He had his old, ailing parents at home and a younger sister studying in college. Naturally, he yearned for more money.

One day, after office hours, he dropped into an office of an advertisement company. It was perceived to be a flourishing organization. The youngman walked up to the receptionist with unsure steps, only to meet a cold, dismissive stare. The man did not get unnerved, and told he wanted a job. The receptionist tried to shoo the man away, but he persisted. Finally, he was ushered into the room of the Manager, who gave the job-seeker a quizzical look. Soon, the youngman was asked to write a copy for an ad, and draw a few cartoons. It was baptism by fire for the young aspirant. He completed the work and took it to the Manger with his heart pounding. After a few seconds, he could discern approving smiles in the Manager’s face. He had come out in flying colours.

The Manager was impressed, heard the man out, and agreed to give him a part-time job in late evening hours. For the youngman it was a giant stride in life, a god-sent opportunity. The extra income could buy medicines for his parents or pay the sister’s college fees. It appeared as if he had got rid of a huge moral burden of life.

The youngman did this moonlighting job for a year. Later, the Manager offered to take him in as a full-time employee. From this lowest rung of the career ladder, the man rose, step by step. Today he is the chief executive of a large advertisement company.

Improve English writing skills (one word -two opposite meanings)

April 21, 2012 at 3:41 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Improve English writing skills …

(See how a single word is, at times, used for two opposite meanings.)

Oversight:

Oversight (American usage) .. The U.S. Senate has appointed a oversight committee to ensure that the large banks stick to the new rules regarding bonus payment to their senior executives. Here the meaning is alertness,  monitoring and control.

Oversight (Indian and British usage) .. The over-worked watchman failed to check the intruder through over-sight.

Many students make mistakes in their exam papers due to oversight. Here it means lack of alertness, negligence and carelessness.

Sanction:

Sanction..(mostly American and also international use) … North Korea and Iran are the two countries facing international sanctions due to their efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Here sanctions mean restriction, legal hurdle etc..

Sanction .. (Indian and British use) … The Principal has sanctioned Rs. 5000 for our Hockey team’s visit to Bangaloere. Here sanction means allow, not restriction.

Cut:

Cut: (Indian and international use) ..The college management has cut the salary of the staff by 10%. Britain has cut its diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe.

Cut (another use) .. America is secretly trying to cut a deal with certain groups of Talibans to ensure peace after they leave Afghainistan in the near future.

Here ‘cut’ means to make.

Creative writing skills –learning how to economize on words

April 20, 2012 at 5:09 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Improve creative writing skills …

(Learning the art of economizing of words)


This is the way a school girl wrote the opening of the epic sea adventure story— Swiss Family Robinson …

 

The Robinson couple loved the seas. They were brave and did not shy away from risks associated with voyages. They had dreamt of going out on an expedition to some far off uninhabited island, where they could live happily like a monarch with their three sons. They saved a lot of money, studied map-reading and geography, and hade a sturdy sail-boat made.

 

On one fine morning, they set out with all items they could need during and after their journey. These included food stuff, medicines, a few domestic animals, some plants, seeds, arms, maps, wines, cattle feed and, of course, the Swiss flag.

 

They started off well with a strong seaward breeze, clear skies and their spirits high. Was their ambition going to be fruitful, or disaster awaited them — they had little idea about. It was the seventh day of the journey. Their boat has been cruising along smoothly. But by afternoon, the sky began to be overcast. Dark cloud accumulated. Robinson anxiously looked at the sky, and at the distant horizon. Nothing was in sight. He ordered his family inside. The sky got darker and darker. A storm started to blow. Robinson hastily lowered the sails to let the wind blow over. But the raging storm got worse and worse and began to push the boat off course. The night fell. The storm was unrelenting. Robinson knew his boat was straying off course, bit he could do little to stop it. Nervously, he gulped down a drink or two and decided to wait the night out.

 

Then, the unthinkable happened. There was a violent thud and a huge jerk. Things fell off their shelves, the animals screamed, his wife and the three sons cried aloud in horror. And then came the rattling sound Robinson had never wanted to hear. The part of the boat in which they lived tilted down and water rushed in. Robinson knew the most dreadful thing had happened. Death was just miniutes away. But, that was not to be. They remained awfully perched in their broken boat, which obviously had run aground and splint into two. But the water did not engulf their cabon.

 

Robinson advised his family members to stay calm. Finally, the much-awaited dawn broke. Robinson realized that their ship had been totally wrecked by the impact of the wind. Their broken ship was just a few yards away from an island. Total words .. 380

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This is how a smarter girl wrote the same story …

 

The sea had always beckoned the brave seafaring Robinsons. They dreamed about a voyage that could take their family to an unknown, uninhabited island. They could colonize it unhindered, to live there happily with their three sons.

 

They accumulated money, ordered a schooner, and collected the wherewithal like food, ammunition, domestic animals, medicines, maps, compass etc..

 

On a clear sunny day, they set sail for the unknown. A week into their so far smooth journey, bad omens appeared in the sky. Dark clouds hovered over and strong winds raged the whole night. They were swept adrift. Undaunted, Robinson held his nerves. He had the sails lowered, and ordered the family inside the cabin. The night had to be waited out.

 

But fate had ordained otherwise.

 

The dreadful night passed. The storm calmed. At first light, they were horrified to discover that they had reached a spot close to the shore of an island with their boat spliced into two. The family cabin was half-drowned, but fate had left them unhurt and alive. They had been ship-wrecked, but they had evaded death. 

Total words … 181

 

See how as many as 200 words have been knocked out of the first text without any loss of details of the story. Understand the use of the underlined words in the second text such as …

Ship-wrecked, beckon, holding one’s nerves, wherewithal, set sail, adrift and omen etc.

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