Archive for December, 2011


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From a Railway carriage

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Proverb Meanings

“The best things in life are


We don’t have to pay

for the things that are

really valuable, like

love, friendship and

good health.

“A stitch in time saves nine.”

Repair something as

soon as it is damaged.

That’s a small repair

job. If not, you will

have a much bigger and

more expensive repair

job later. Do it now and

you’ll need one stitch.

Do it later and you’ll

need 9 stitches! (Why

nine and not eight or

ten? Because “nine”

rhymes, approximately,

with “time”.)

stitch (noun) = a

link made with

thread in sewing

in time = not late

“Still waters run deep.”

Some rivers have rough

surfaces with waves.

That’s usually because

the water is shallow

and there are rocks

near the surface. But

deep rivers have no

rocks near the surface

and the water is

smooth and still. “Still

waters run deep”

means that people who

are calm and tranquil

on the outside, often

have a strong, “deep”


still (adjective) =

calm, motionless

deep (adjective) =

going far down

“He teaches ill, who teaches


The unusual structure

of this proverb may

make it difficult to

understand. It

becomes easier if we

change the structure to

“He who teaches all

teaches ill.” The word

“ill” here means

“badly”. So it means

that the teacher who

teaches students

everything, does not

teach well. A good

teacher lets students

discover some things

for themselves.

ill (adverb) = badly

“You can’t take it with you

when you die.”

When we die we leave

everything on earth. We

don’t take anything

with us. Even the

richest people cannot

take their money with

them after death. This

proverb reminds us

that some material

things are not really so

valuable as we think.

“Better untaught than ill


This proverb drops the

verb “to be”. But we

understand: “It is

better not to be taught

at all than to be taught

badly.” It’s better not

to learn something than

to learn it badly. This

idea is echoed in

Pope’s famous line: “A

little learning is a

dang’rous thing;”.

taught = past

participle of verb

“teach” (here used

in passive voice)

ill taught = badly


“Don’t cross your bridges

before you come to them.”

Don’t worry about

problems before they


“Soon learnt, soon


Something that is easy

to learn is easy to


“Even a worm will turn.”

Everybody will revolt if

driven too far. Even the

lowest of people, or

animals, will revolt and

hit back at some stage.

Even a worm, the

simplest of animals,

will defend itself.

worm (noun) =

small thin animal

with soft body and

no bones or legs

turn (verb) = revolt,

fight back

“It was the last straw that

broke the camel’s back.”

There is a limit to

everything. We can load

the camel with lots of

straw, but finally it will

be too much and the

camel’s back will break.

And it is only a single

straw that breaks its

back – the last straw.

This can be applied to

many things in life.

People often say

“That’s the last straw!”

when they will not

accept any more of


straw (noun) =

dried stalk of grain

(like dry piece of


camel (noun) =

large long-necked

animal used for

riding and carrying

goods in the desert

“The way to a man’s heart is

through his stomach.”

Many women have won

a man’s love by

cooking delicious meals

for him. They fed his

stomach and found

love in his heart.

way (noun) = path;


“If the stone fall upon the

egg, alas for the egg! If the

egg fall upon the stone, alas

for the egg!”

Life just isn’t fair, and

this realistic Arabic

proverb recognizes

that. The stone will

always break the egg.

Life’s like that!

alas = bad luck;

pity; tough;


“Where there’s a will there’s

a way.”

If we have the

determination to do

something, we can

always find the path or

method to do it.

will (noun) = strong



way (noun) = path,


“Marry in haste, and repent

at leisure.”

If we get married

quickly, without thinking

carefully, we may be

sorry later. And we will

have plenty of time to

be sorry.

in haste = quickly

repent (verb) = feel

sorry, regret

at leisure = slowly,

over time

“One tongue is enough for a


Some people think that

women talk too much.

If they already talk too

much, they don’t need

another tongue. One

tongue is sufficient.

This proverb is another

way of saying that

women talk too much.

tongue (noun) =

large, movable

fleshy part in the

mouth that we use

for talking and


“If you wish good advice,

consult an old man.”

Old people have a lot

of experience. If you

want to have good

advice or

recommendations, ask

an old person, not a

young one.

wish (verb) = want,


advice (noun) =


as to what to do

consult (verb) = ask;

go to for advice or


“The best advice is found on

the pillow.”

If we have a problem,

we may find the

answer after a good

night’s sleep. People

also often say: “I’ll

sleep on it.”

advice (noun) =


as to what to do

pillow (noun) =

cushion that you

rest your head on

while you sleep

“All clouds bring not rain.”

We can rephrase this:

“Not every cloud brings

rain.” And that’s true.

Sometimes there are

many clouds in the sky,

but it doesn’t rain.

Sometimes it’s the

same with problems,

or what we think are


“You can’t tell a book by its


We need to read a

book to know if it’s

good or bad. We

cannot know what it’s

like just by looking at

the front or back cover.

This proverb is applied

to everything, not only


“Bad news travels fast.”

“Bad news” means

news about “bad”

things like accidents,

death, illness etc.

People tend to tell this

type of news quickly.

But “good

news” (passing an

exam, winning some

money, getting a job

etc) travels more


“No news is good news.”

This is like the proverb

“Bad news travels

fast.” If we are waiting

for news about

someone, it’s probably

good if we hear nothing

because “bad news”

would arrive quickly.

“Live and let live.”

This proverb suggests

that we should not

interfere in other

people’s business. We

should live our own

lives and let others live

their lives. The title of

the famous James

Bond story Live and Let

Die was a play on this


“Birds of a feather flock


“Birds of a feather”

means “birds of the

same type”. The whole

proverb means that

people of the same

type or sort stay

together. They don’t

mix with people of

another type.

feather (noun) =

part of the soft,

light covering of a

bird’s body

flock (verb) = gather

in a crowd

“Tell me who you go with and

I’ll tell you who you are.”

Similar to “Birds of a

feather…”, this proverb

suggests that like minds

stick together.

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Pyramids by our students

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Spelling Problems in English

Spelling Problems

in English

Spelling words in English is

challenging work. As a matter

of fact, many native speakers

of English have problems with

spelling correctly. One of the

main reasons for this is that

many, many English words

are NOT spelled as they are

spoken. This difference

between pronunciation and

spelling causes a lot of

confusion. The combination

“ough” provides an excellent


Tough – pronounced – tuf (the

‘u’ sounding as in ‘cup’)

Through – pronounced – throo

Dough – pronounced – doe

(long ‘o’)

Bought – pronounced – bawt

It’s enough to make

anyone crazy!!

This feature provides a guide

to the most common

problems when spelling

words in English.

Swallowed Syllables – Three

Syllables Pronounced as

Two Syllables

Aspirin – pronounced – asprin

Different – pronounced –


Every – pronounced – evry

Swallowed Syllables – Four

Syllables Pronounced as

Three Syllables

Comfortable – pronounced –


Temperature – pronounced –


Vegetable – pronounced –


Homophones – Words That

Sound the Same

two, to, too – pronounced –


knew, new – pronounced –


through, threw – pronounced –


not, knot, naught –

pronounced – not

Same Sounds – Different


‘Eh’ as in ‘Let’




‘Ai’ as in ‘I’





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Silent Letters (Continued from Page 1) The following letters are silent when pronounced. D – sandwich, Wednesday G – sign, foreign GH – daughter, light, right H – why, honest, hour K – know, knight, knob L – should, walk, half P – cupboard, psychology S – island T – whistle, listen, fasten U – guess, guitar W – who, write, wrong Unusual Letter Combinations GH = ‘F’ cough, laugh, enough, rough CH = ‘K’ chemistry, headache, Christmas, stomach EA = ‘EH’ breakfast, head, bread, instead EA = ‘EI’ steak, break EA = ‘EE’ weak, streak OU = ‘UH’ country, double, enough


Palanquin Bearers :

Lightly, O lightly we bear her


She sways like a flower in the

wind of our song;

She skims like a bird on the

foam of a stream,

She floats like a laugh from

the lips of a dream.

Gaily, O gaily we glide and we


We bear her along like a pearl

on a string.

Softly, O softly we bear her


She hangs like a star in the

dew of our song;

She springs like a beam on

the brow of the tide,

She falls like a tear from the

eyes of a bride.

Lightly, O lightly we glide and

we sing,

We bear her along like a pearl

on a string.

By Sarojini Naidu

About The Poet :

Sarojini Naidu was born on

February 13th 1879 in

Hyderabad. She was a

political activist and played an

active role in the freedom

struggle of India. She was the

first Indian woman to

become the president of the

Indian National Congress. In

1947 she became the

governor of the United

Provinces (U.P. ), a position

she retained till her death in

1949. Apart from her political

career she was also an avid

poetry writer. For her

beautiful poetry she has been

lovingly called The Nightingale

of India . Some of her major

contributions are The Golden

Threshold and The Bird of

Time . In 1914 she was elected

as fellow of The Royal Society

of Literature. Her collected

English poems have been

published in The Sceptred

Flute and The Feather at the


Words to Know :

Sway : move from side to


Skim : glide smoothly over


Foam : mass of small

bubbles, froth

Gaily : merrily, happily

Dew : condensed drops of


Beam : ray of light, broad


Brow : forehead, eyebrow

(here : top of water/tide)

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What are the functions of an Article in English Grammar

What Are the Functions of an

Article in English Grammar?


English language uses

three words as articles:

“a” for indefinite singular

nouns starting with a

consonant sound, “an” for

indefinite singular nouns

starting with a vowel

sound and “the” for

definite nouns. The

number of specific rules

and exceptions regarding

usage can frustrate

students of English as a

second language, but most

uses of articles fall under

a few fundamental rules.

A/An : Substitute for One or


This is the most common

use of indefinite articles.

You should use a or an

before any singular

countable noun that is

indefinite. For example,

you say, “This morning I

saw a dog.” Use a

because the dog is not

your dog nor the only dog

in town, it is just one dog

that you happened to see.

A/An : Frequency or Allotment

You say, “The show costs

$20 a person,” or “I visit

my relatives twice a year.”

Using a or an in this way

denotes frequency or


A/An : One Single

Using a or an in this way is

a little old-fashioned, but

you can still see and hear

it used. A or an can be

used in negative sentences

to state emphatically “a

single”. For example, you

say, “We had not a thing

to eat,” or “There was not

a tree in sight.”

The: Known Things

This is the most common

use of the. Use the when

talking about definite

things that your audience

already knows about or

that are obvious. For

example, you say, “I

spilled my drink on the

carpet.” Use the because

you did not spill your drink

on just any carpet; it was

a specific carpet in a

specific place that your

audience knows about.

The: Things Already


Use the to refer to

something that you have

already mentioned. For

example, you say, “I saw a

dog this morning,” when

you first mention the dog

but later you should say,

“The dog looked hungry.”

Every time you refer to

the dog after this, you

should use the.

The: Something Unique

Use the to refer to things

that are unique. For

example, you say, “I saw

the Queen of England.”

There is only one Queen of

England. If you say, “I saw

a Queen of England,” you

are implying that there are

many Queens of England.

The: Superlatives

Use the with superlatives.

For example, you say,

“This is the most

expensive steak I have

ever eaten,” or, “Russia is

the biggest country in the

world.” You use the for

both of these examples

because you are talking

about single, unique and

specific things.

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