Monday, 14 June 2021

RELAX REFRESH YOUR ENGLISH KNOWLEDGE - 2 : Article from Mr. K.V.Shridharan

 RELAX REFRESH YOUR ENGLISH KNOWLEDGE - 2 : Article from Mr. K.V.Shridharan

Dear Comrades,

During 1980 & 1990s, the Hindu newspaper published in its Tuesday supplementary called as Open Page the Know Your English written by Sri Upendra. It was really interesting and I used to cut the relevant portion and pasted them in sheets and still I am preserving them. It contains more than 1000 episodes. I want to share the collections of Dr Upendra who is till doing the yeomen service through private channel. Thanks to him. Readers are requested not to repost the matter in any group since I don’t know whether the author got any copyright. I am sharing this with closed circulation in my website for the postal fraternity just for reading and enjoy. The following is the collection published in one month in four Tuesdays . Hope you will enjoy.



13. How is the word ‘auteur' pronounced?

The ‘au' in the first syllable sounds like the ‘o' in ‘go', ‘so', and ‘no', while the ‘eur' in the final syllable is like the ‘ir' in ‘birth', ‘bird', and ‘first'. The word is pronounced o-TIR with the stress on the second syllable. In French, the word means ‘author'; nowadays it is mostly used in relation to films. We know that all well-known directors have a distinctive style of making movies. It is possible to watch a couple of scenes from a film and guess who the director is. Dictionaries define this distinctive style which enables a director to keep creative control over his work as ‘auteur'. This is just one of the meanings of the word.

14. How is the word ‘chauffeur' pronounced?

There seem to be different ways of pronouncing this word of French origin. One simple way is to pronounce the first syllable ‘chau' like the word ‘show', and the ‘er' in the second like the ‘a' in ‘china'. The British pronounce the word ‘SHOW-fe' with the stress on the first syllable. A ‘chauffeur' is someone who drives a car for rich people. When used as a verb, the word means to drive someone around.

*The Ambanis went to the airport in a chauffeur-driven limousine.

*The mother spent the afternoon chauffeuring her son from one mall to another.

The word ‘chauffeur', which in French means ‘stoker', was in use long before automobiles came into being. A stoker was someone who worked in the engine room of a ship, and his job was to shovel coal into the boiler. The first automobiles did not run on petrol, but on steam. The engine had a firebox and a boiler, and one of the functions of the driver was to keep the fire in the engine going.


15. What is the difference between ‘demise' and ‘death'?

While both words mean ‘end or ending of life', demise is mostly used in formal contexts to refer to the death of someone or something very important or well known. One usually talks about the demise of a Prime Minister or a celebrity; the word is seldom used with ordinary people.

*The sudden demise of the Prime Minister created a political vacuum.

The word can also be used to indicate the failure of an enterprise.

*The demise of the well-known company had many investors worried.

‘Death' is a much more general term, and unlike ‘demise', can be used with things and animals.

*Neelam became very upset when she heard about the death of her puppy.

*It was the death of all her plans.


16. What is the meaning and origin of ‘windfall'

The amount of money that you win or receive from someone rather unexpectedly is called ‘windfall'. It's a sudden stroke of luck.

*When Gayathri visited her uncle after her marriage, she got a windfall of Rs. 75000.

Fruit that falls down from a tree because of heavy wind is also called windfall. In this context, we can also say ‘windfalls'.

*Sameer's garden was covered with windfalls.

In the old days in England, landowners were not allowed to cut down trees which were on their property. The law stipulated that all trees were the property of the Royal Navy, and the wood was to be used in the building of ships. If however, heavy wind made a tree fall, the ‘windfall' became the owner's property. Since in the old days such ‘windfall' was not common, the word began to mean unexpected good fortune.


17. Is it okay to say, ‘bouquet of flowers'?

Some people would argue that ‘of flowers' is unnecessary because bouquet means an attractive arrangement of flowers. But there is nothing wrong in saying ‘bouquet of flowers'. The ‘ou' in the first syllable, by the way, is like the ‘oo' in ‘fool', ‘cool', and ‘school'. The following ‘q' is like the ‘k' in ‘king' and ‘kiss', and the final ‘uet' rhymes with ‘say' and ‘bay'. The word is pronounced ‘boo-KAY' with the stress on the second syllable.

18. “What is the meaning of New York minute?”

“An extremely short period of time. It's actually less than a minute. It took the students less than a New York minute to find a solution to the problem.”

“The new CEO arrived at a decision in a New York minute.”

“Tell me what you want. I'll give you a New York minute.”

“But why New York and not some other city?”

“When people from other cities came to New York in the late 19 {+t} {+h} century, they found that life in this city was extremely fast. New Yorkers seemed to be constantly rushing from one place to another without having any time to relax.”

“It's the same feeling that some of us have today when we visit Mumbai.

19. Anyway, did you take a look at the document I gave you? Are the instructions clear?”

“The instructions are clear as mud.”

“Clear as mud? But mud isn't very clear.”

“It isn't, and that's the point. When you say something is clear as mud, you mean it isn't clear at all.”

“So what you are saying is that the instructions are difficult or impossible to understand.”

“Exactly! The directions that Sujatha gave to reach her house were clear as mud.”

“I've read his chapter twice, and it's as clear as mud to me.”

“Alok's presentation was clear as mud.”

20. “Talking about mud, there is some good news! The weatherman says we'll have a heavy downpour tomorrow.”

“If the weatherman says that, it'll probably rain kittens and puppies.”

“Kittens and puppies? You mean cats and dogs, don't you?”

“When you say it's raining cats and dogs, you mean that it is pouring or raining heavily. When the rain is light, it is possible to say...”

“You can say that it's raining kittens and puppies.”

“That's right! Now then...”“Does the expression really exist or are you trying to fool me?”

“The expression does exist.”

“I see. How about this example, then? Forget the umbrella, it's just raining kittens and puppies.”

“That's a good example. To solve the water problem, we need it to rain cats and dogs. Not kittens and puppies.”


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