Monthly Archives: June 2014

How to speak politically ‘correct’ English?

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Most politicians choose their words carefully, to shape the reality they hope to create. But does it work? Etymologist Mark Forsyth shares a few entertaining word-origin stories from British and American history (for instance, did you ever wonder how George Washington became “president”?) and draws a surprising conclusion.

Mark Forsyth strolls through the English language, telling stories, making connections and banishing hobgoblins.

Mark Forsyth is a passionate, self-described pedant when it comes to the English language — but his detailed knowledge of history has given him a common-sense approach to its “proper” use. He is an author, blogger, journalist, proofreader and ghostwriter.

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Vocab@Large!

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Exams
• take an exam / sit an exam = do an exam
• pass an exam = get a good enough mark to succeed
• fail an exam = not pass
Studying

• take extra lessons / have private tuition / private coaching = pay for a • personal teacher to help you with the subject
Before the exam

• revise = go over everything you’ve studied
• swot up = an informal synonym for “revise”
• cram = try and force as much information into your head as possible
• learn by heart / memorise = try to remember facts etc, without necessarily • understanding them
• test yourself = try to test your knowledge of something so that you really • know it, rather than just learning it by heart
During the exam
• cheat / copy / use a crib sheet = use dishonest methods to try and pass the exam, such as copying someone else, or hiding notes so you can read them during the exam
• get a good / high mark = do well in the exam
• get a bad / low mark = do badly in the exam
• pass with flying colours = pass with high marks
• scrape a pass = only just pass
What kind of student are you?
• stellar = a star performer
• hard-working = someone who tries
• straight A = a student who always gets top marks
• plodder = someone who works consistently, but isn’t particularly brilliant
• mediocre = not bad, average
• abysmal = terrible
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Fascinating! Did you know…?

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Keith Chen’s new research suggests that the language you speak may impact the way you think about your future.

What can economists learn from linguists? Behavioral economist Keith Chen introduces a fascinating pattern from his research: that languages without a concept for the future — “It rain tomorrow,” instead of “It will rain tomorrow” — correlate strongly with high savings rates.

Does the future look like a different world to you, or more like an extension of the present? In an intriguing piece of research, Keith Chen suggests that your attitude about the future has a strong relationship to the language you speak. In a nutshell, some languages refer to the future using verb helpers like “will” and “shall,” while others don’t have specific verbs to refer to future actions. Chen correlated these two different language types with remarkably different rates of saving for the future (guess who saves more?). He calls this connection the “futurity” of languages.

You think English is easy?

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Think again!
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture..
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

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