Monday, November 28, 2011

Other Than Using So Many... Use These instead..

Wordwise: So many

By S.H. LOKE - The Star - Mind Your Language.

ALL kinds of things can be found aplenty. We enjoy bountiful blessings, food that exists in large quantities, and a great variety of fascinating customs. Here are some words to describe abundance. Using these specific words will enrich your language.

1. Avalanche

A large number of things that arrive suddenly at the same time.

An avalanche of congratulatory messages arrived from all over the world.

2. Shower

To generously give someone a lot of things.

John showers his wife with a lot of gifts.

A party at which the guests bring gifts.

During her baby shower, Pat received many lovely gifts.

3. Outpouring

Continuous expressions of strong feelings.

There was a great outpouring of joy when some students received their SPM results.

4. Flood

To arrive or go somewhere in large numbers

Thousands of spectators flooded the stadium.

If a feeling or memory floods over someone, or floods back, they feel or remember it strongly.

I felt relief flooding over me when our plane landed safely.

Memories of my childhood flooded back as I walked around my hometown.

5. Cascade

Something that hangs down in large quantities

Her cascade of wavy, black hair compliments her black eyes.

The lantana blooms cascade over her balcony.

6. Galore

To emphasise something that exists in very large quantities.

It was so delightful to see the cakes galore served at the party.

7. Gamut

A complete range of things of the same kind or a wide variety of things of the same kind.

The gamut of cameras exhibited at the show is staggering.

8. Myriad

Having a large number or a large variety of.

The Australian Great Barrier Reef is teeming with myriad forms of marine life.

Myriad stars twinkle like diamonds in the sky.

9. Multitude

A multitude of things or people means a very large number of them.

Multitudes gathered outside the embassy in silent protest.

10. Throng

A large crowd of people.

Excited shoppers throng the supermarkets during their sales.

Sam pushed his way through the jostling throng.

11. Droves

A very large number of people who go somewhere or do something.

Droves of people flocked to the computer fair.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Silver Jubilee / Jubli Perak

I was talking to one of my colleagues few days ago, the name of our college hall was the topic of discussion. Which is Dewan Jubli Perak. Just to share this info..

A Silver Jubilee is a celebration held to mark a 25th anniversary. The anniversary celebrations can be of a wedding anniversary, ruling anniversary or anything that has completed a 25 year mark. Silver Jubilee is followed by Golden Jubilee

Hence, the name of our hall is Dewan Jubli Perak because we have already celebrated 25th anniversary of our college in 2008.

A Golden Jubilee is a celebration held to mark a 50th anniversary.

For example,

In Malaysia, Sultan Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah celebrated his Golden Jubilee on 15 July 2008 after 50 years successfully reigning the state of Kedah

A Diamond Jubilee is a celebration held to mark a 60th anniversary in the case of a person (e.g. wedding anniversary, length of time a monarch has reigned) or a 75th anniversary in the case of an event

and there is also Platinum Jubilee.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Complimentary Close

Yours faithfully

`Yours faithfully' is used when the letter opens with the salutation `Dear Sir/s or `Dear Madam'

Yours sincerely

`Yours sincerely' is used with the salutation `Dear Mr. Lee or `Dear Ms. Lopez'

Sunday, September 04, 2011

On Your Bike, Malaysia = Get Lost, Malaysia?

Appalling ignorance

RECENTLY, I saw a sticker on the rear windscreen of a car ahead of me that read “On Your Bike, Malaysia!”

I was shocked and speechless. Looking carefully at the sticker I realised that it was some sort of campaign to get Malaysians to ride their bicycles. I searched for it online and discovered that there will be an event held soon and that is the name of the campaign. I don’t know whether to be appalled or just brush it aside and say, oh well, the locals don’t know what the phrase means.

Now, I cannot be the only person in the whole of Malaysia who knows what the phrase means. In Britain, when one says, “On your bike!” (usually, they say, “on yer bike, mate!”) it means “Get lost!” So, we simply copy it and what are we saying? “Get Lost, Malaysia!” We are telling Malaysia to get lost, just when we are celebrating our national day.

This may be a British phrase but surely the organisers could have come up with a more positive and persuasive tagline than that? People must be laughing at our stupidity and ignorance right now. Please, please do not embarrass the country. Word play is one thing, but this is just appalling. – A


Friday, September 02, 2011

Please Repeat Again...


One of the meanings of “repeat” is to say/write again. Does this mean it is wrong to say “repeat again” in a sentence?

If the answer is yes, then please explain the following sentence given on p.1,284 of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (7th edition) under the definition of “repeat”: She kept repeating his name softly over and over again.


Yes, we don’t usually say or write “repeat again”, because it would be redundant to do so. In the case of the sentence from the OALD, the idea of repetition is expressed three times: in the word “kept” (= did something repeatedly), in the word “repeating” and in the idiomatic phrase “over and over again” (= many times; repeatedly). Perhaps “She uttered his name softly over and over again.” would get rid of the redundancy, without losing the literary effect of the original.

Just because something is in print does not mean it cannot be questioned, and I am glad that you questioned the logic of that sentence.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Who or Whom?

The usage of Who and whom

Mind Our English -
Co-ordinated by Jane F. Ragavan

PLEASE explain how to use “who” and “whom”. Are the sentences correct?

1. Whom are they waiting for?

2. Whom do you I saw when I opened the door?

3. Whom are they referring to?

4. Whom do you think you are? – Lim Hian

“Who” is the subject pronoun and “whom” is the object pronoun. However, in modern British English, “who” is more frequently used as both subject and object pronouns, except after a preposition, and in formal speech or writing.

1. “Whom are they waiting for?” is correct, but too formal. “Whom” here is the object of the preposition “for”. “Who are they waiting for?” is more commonly used.

2. Your second sentence is ungrammatical. Did you mean “Whom did I see when I opened the door?” Here, “whom” is the object of the verb “see”. It is, however, more common to say “Who did I see when I opened the door?”

3. This question is similar in structure to question 1. Although “Whom are they referring to?” is correct, it is too formal. “Who are they referring to?” is more often used.

4. “Who do you think you are?” is the correct sentence, because “who” is the complement, not the object of the verb “are” (a form of the verb “be”).

There are well-known expressions, however, which use “whom” rather than who, but “whom” in these expressions come after prepositions, e.g. “To Whom It May Concern” written at the top of a reference for a job or scholarship, and “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, originally written by John Donne for a sermon in the 17th century and used by Ernest Hemingway in the 20th century as the title of one of his novels.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

1 Sentence 8 Different Meanings

READER Tam Yong Yuee of Mind Our English - The Star, sent in this snippet about Professor Ernest Brennecke of Columbia who is credited with inventing a sentence that can be made to have eight different meanings by placing one word in all possible positions in the sentence, “I hit him in the eye yesterday.” The word is “only”.

1. ONLY I hit him in the eye yesterday. (No one else did.)

2. I ONLY hit him in the eye yesterday. (Did not slap him.)

3. I hit ONLY him in the eye yesterday. (I did not hit others.)

4. I hit him ONLY in the eye yesterday. (I did not hit outside the eye.)

5. I hit him in ONLY the eye yesterday. (Not other organs.)

6. I hit him in the ONLY eye yesterday. (He doesn’t have another eye.)

7. I hit him in the eye ONLY yesterday. (Not today.)

8. I hit him in the eye yesterday ONLY. (Did not wait for today.)


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Has or Had?

Has or had

THIS was a question in my child’s school test paper:

I saw a proboscis monkey which ______ a huge nose in the zoo last week.

A. has B. had C. have D. having

The answer given was A. Has

Please tell me why the answer is not B. Had to synchronise with the past tense of the sentence viz “saw” and “last week”. – A mother

The answer can be either B or A. The sentence uses a past reporting verb “saw”. A verb of perception can be used to report what you or other people see, hear, etc. (See Collins Cobuild English Grammar 2nd edition, 2005, p.316, 7.10 “verbs of learning and perceiving” and p.321, 7.27 “verbs used with ‘that’-clauses”). When a past reporting verb is used in a sentence, the relative clause that follows it also uses a past tense (tense consistency). Hence “had” is used:

“I saw a proboscis monkey which had a huge nose in the zoo last week.”

However, when reporting something that is permanent, a present tense verb can be used. Since proboscis monkeys always have huge noses, we can also use “has” in the sentence:

“I saw a proboscis monkey which has a huge nose in the zoo last week.”

Below are some examples of the use of the present tense and the past tense in similar sentences on the Internet:

“Back into the main area, we saw a Gymnocereus [a type of cactus] which has an odd habit, growing as a sprawling, spreading plant.”

(from British Cactus & Succulent Society, Southampton & District Branch Newsletter, December 2009)

The odd habit described is a permanent feature of the plant: so the present tense verb “has” is used.

“We saw a puffin which had about eight sand eels in its mouth to feed its young.” (from a report on a school trip to Skomer Island, off the coast of south-west Wales, UK)

Puffins don’t always have “eight sand eels in its mouth to feed its young”: so the past tense verb “had” is used in the relative clause.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Madam, Teacher or Cikgu?


IT is acceptable to call a doctor whose name is Siti, Dr Siti and a police inspector whose surname is Lee, Inspector Lee? Is it all right to call a teacher whose name is Siti, Teacher Siti? Do we call a married teacher whose name is Lucy Lau Madam Lau? Is it correct to call this teacher Madam Lucy? Or is it more accurate to call her Madam Lucy Lau? – Bryan Yap Jet Rong

It is acceptable, in fact usual, to call (or more formally “address”) a police inspector whose surname is Lee, “Inspector Lee”. But a lady whose first name is “Siti” usually has another name after that, like “Siti Fatimah”. So, you should address her as “Dr Siti Fatimah” unless she has told you to address her as “Dr Siti” only.

You don’t address a teacher as “Teacher + her/his name”, but you may say “Cikgu + her/his name”. When addressing a Malaysian teacher, you may also use one of the following words before her or his name, whichever is appropriate: Puan, Encik, Cik, Mrs, Mr, Miss or Ms (pronounced Miz). When you have a new teacher, it is a good idea to ask the teacher what she or he would like to be called. (Ms, by the way, is a fairly new term that doesn’t indicate a lady’s marital status.)

As for the term “Madam” for married Chinese women teachers, a Chinese friend of mine (who was a teacher) explained the following to me. You use “Madam” with the lady’s father’s surname, but “Mrs” with the lady’s husband’s surname. Thus if Lucy Lau is married to Mr Lau, you call her “Mrs Lau”. If her original surname is Lau and she is married to a Mr Lim, for example, you can call her either “Madam Lau” or “Mrs Lim”. But as I said before, ask her what she would like to be called.

I don’t think you should call her “Madam Lucy” or “Madam Lucy Lau” unless she tells you to.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Curse: Elements of a novel

The elements of a novel include the following:

i. Plot - the structure of a novel. It shows the arrangement of events and actions within
a story (please refer to notes on Freytag‟s Pyramid below for details).

ii. Setting - the time, place, physical details, and circumstances in which a situation
occurs. Setting enables the reader to better envision how a story unfolds by relating
necessary physical details of a piece of literature.

iii. Theme - is the main idea, or message, of an essay, paragraph, or a book. The
message may be about life, society, or human nature. Themes often explore
timeless and universal ideas and may be implied rather than stated explicitly. Along
with plot, character, setting, and style, theme is considered one of the fundamental
components of fiction. It is the universal statement or feel when you read a piece of

iv. Character and characterisation - a character is a person in a narrative who may
represent a particular class of group of people. Characters in a novel a the vehicle
by which author conveys to us his / her view of the world. Characters maybe classify
either main character or minor character. The characterisation of a character is
revealed by actions, speech, thoughts, physical appearance, and the other
characters‟ thoughts or words.

v. Language - used by author to reveal the theme and purpose of the novel.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Novel: The Curse

What is a novel?

Only in a novel are all things given full play – D. H. Lawrence

A novel is a long narrative in literary prose. Novels tell stories, which are typically
defined as a series of events described in a sequence. The novel has been a part of human
culture for over a thousand years, although its origins are somewhat debated. Regardless of
how it began, the novel has risen to prominence and remained one of the most popular and
treasured examples of human culture and writing.

There have been stories and tales for thousands of years, but novels must combine a
few unique characteristics in order to be defined as such. First, a novel is written down,
rather than told through an oral account. Secondly, novels are meant to be fictional in form,
differentiating them from myths, which are said to have their basis in reality or theology.
Although some modern scholars argue differently, there is no truly established guideline for
length, point-of-view, or even establishment of a moral or philosophical point in novels.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Complaining Frequency

I am back people! (errkk.. is anybody still visiting this blog?)


I have this interesting thought to share;

A Secret Scrolls message from Rhonda Byrne
Creator of The Secret and The Power

From The Secret Daily Teachings

If you are complaining about things in your life, you are on the complaining frequency, and you are not in a position to attract what you want.

Get on to the frequency of good with your thoughts and words. Firstly you will feel good, and secondly you will be on the frequency of receiving more good.
May the joy be with you,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

English Literature Component Courseware: My First Experience

This semester, I had a chance to learn something new!

Instructional Computer Technology. I maybe quite a late bloomer on this.. haha, but people say, better late then never, right.

Anyway, for this class my friend and I decided to do a courseware on THE CURSE!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Armchair Critic

The English Language is rich in vocabulary, including its ways of expressing distinctions meaning.

It is particularly rich in in idiomatic expressions.

Here is an example;

An armchair critic means a person who critically judges others' work and gives advice, but who has not himself experienced doing the work.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

What’s The Best Way To Learn A New Language?

Written by David


It’s a million dollar question. Everyone has a different way of learning and different ideas of how best to learn. We’ve asked several of our colleagues and students here at the British Council what they think. Here’s what they said:


Saturday, January 01, 2011


"If the students don't learn d way we teach, then, teach them the way they learn."

Happy New Year...
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