Vocabulary test: Write impeccable English with your word power

Vocabulary test  .. Fill  in the blanks by selecting the right word from the three choices given.]
1. When you are hopelessly cornered by hostile elements from all sides, or a totally hopeless situation, you are ………. [are confronted, are beleaguered, stare down a hole]
2. When a fighting force like army or sports team playing a match accepts defeat without much of a fight, we say, “The side ………….” [surrendered, capitulated, lost]
3. The single person or group of persons who carry out a well-planned crime are called the ….. [conspirators, designers, perpetrators]
4. When the police prosecutes someone or a group for any offence, we say, “The police ———- the suspect / suspects. [indicted, incited, convicted]
5. When we mean that a function ended with a grand fireworks display and singing and dancing we say, “The function ——– with a lot of frenzied merry-making and spectacular show of fireworks.” [culminated, contended, collided]
6. The dozens of junior surgeons went on a wildcat strike leaving the10 operation theaters grossly under-manned. The patients awaiting emergency surgery, and their relations were gripped by angst and frustration. Some senior nurses stepped in to assist the handful of senior surgeons to conduct the emergency operations. No doubt, it was ————– to let the nurses double up as junior surgeons, but the situation demanded that. [ridiculous, ludicrous, hilarious]
7. The leader of the opposition had made an atrocious allegation against a woman cabinet minister. It triggered a verbal duel between the opposition and ruling party members. The Speaker of the Lower House of the Parliament was already finding it tough to rein in the racous members to let the House resume its business. Just as the dust was settling down, the woman minister ————– by declaring that she would commit suicide if the allegation was not withdrawn with apology. [struck a discordant note, upped the ante, stir up a hornet’s nest]

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Answers ..
1. When you are hopelessly cornered by hostile elements from all sides or a totally hopeless situation, you are beleaguered.
2. When a fighting force like army or sports team playing a match accepts defeat without much of a fight, we say, “The side capitulated.”
3. The single person or group of persons who carry out a well-planned crime are called the perpetrators.
4. When the police prosecutes someone or a group for any offence, we say, “The police indicted the suspect / suspects.
5. When we mean that a function ended with a grand fireworks display and singing and dancing we say, “The function culminated with a lot of frenzied merry-making and spectacular show of fireworks.”
6. The dozens of junior surgeons went on a wildcat strike leaving the10 operation theaters of the hospital grossly under-manned. The patients awaiting emergency surgery, and their relations were gripped by angst and frustration. Some senior nurses stepped in to assist the handful of senior surgeons to conduct the emergency operations. No doubt, it was ludicrous to let the nurses double up as junior surgeons, but the situation demanded that.
7. The leader of the opposition had made an atrocious allegation against a woman cabinet minister. It triggered a verbal duel between the opposition and ruling party members. The Speaker of the Lower House of the Parliament was already finding it tough to rein in the racous members to let the House resume its business. Just as the dust was settling down, the woman minister upped the ante by declaring that she would commit suicide if the allegation was not withdrawn with apology. [struck a discordant note, upped the ante, stir up a hornet’s nest]
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Vocabulary for the ambitios school students

Fill in the blanks with suitable words, a list of which is given at the bottom.

The head master of our school had been to a high school in a far off place where he saw students enthusiastically learning martial arts under a Buddhist monk’s ———-. Highly impressed with the newly acquired ———– of the students to fend off attacks, he wanted to ——— the same program in his school, but he lacked a suitable expert. So, he requested the monk to come to his school to start the coaching.

 

Quite sadly for our head master, the monk showed only ——— interest in the offer. When pressed further, the monk cited a number of reasons for his declining the request. To the amazement and distress of our head master, the monk cited a —-of complaints against out school. These included the —— salary our school management pays to our teachers, the high drop-out rate of students, the absence of toilets for girls, and most shamefully, the recent media reports of girl students by male teachers. All these left our head master red-faced. The monk, obviously, was very well-informed about schools in the district.
Our head master, however, persisted in his effort to ——– — the venerated monk, whose ——– as a martial art coach was well known. Unnerved by the monk’s adverse observations, our head master tried to ——- the guru’s negative perception about our school. He narrated how our school had won the state-level football tournament, got at least one berth in the top ten in the final examination results for last three years consecutively, and had won the Chief Minister’s award for planting the highest number of saplings.
The monk heard everything quietly. His face remained ———– for a long time making our head master wonder if the monk was ready to reconsider his stand. After a while, with a broad grin in his face, he looked into the eyes of our head master and said, “A good teacher must never disappoint a good learner.” Without, saying anything more, he begged leave of our head master and went into his room. Our head master took the one-line comment of the monk as his willingness to come to our school. ‘Although, the message was ———, it surely was positive,’ assumed our teacher. On his way home, our head master pondered his interaction with the monk. He thought perhaps Buddhism teaches its disciples to be —– with the words.

 

Cryptic, Miser, Tutelage, Replicate, Lukewarm, Prowess, Litany, Frugal, Rope in, Dispel, Attributes, Impassive
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Word learning exercise

Fill in the blanks selecting the right word from the list given at the end.

a. A person ——– his words as the liquor he had consumed began to have its effect.
b. A person ——– to his feet as the whisky tightened its grip over his senses.
c. The tears —— his vision as the as the Kashmiri Pandit narrated his owes before the gathering.
d. The accountant ——— the accounts, but was caught a few days later.
e. The patient’s heart ——— as the surgeon approached him with a knife in hand.
f. The photos of my late father on a horse back ———- my passion for horse-riding and hunting.
g. The rat ——— to the safety of its hole on seeing a vulture overhead.
h. The High Court ———– the decisions of the lower court.

[ Fudged,       Quashed,        Staggers,        Slurred,        Blurred,       Sank,       Rekindled,            Scampered]

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Answers …

Fill in the blanks selecting the right word from inside the bracket.

a. A person slurred his words as the liquor he had consumed began to have its effect.

b. A person staggered to his feet as the whisky tightened its grip over his senses.

c. The tears blurred his vision as the as the Kashmiri Pandit narrated his owes before the gathering.

d. The accountant fudged the accounts, but was caught a few days later.

e. The patient’s heart sank as the surgeon approached him with a knife in hand.

f. The photos of my late father on a horse back rekindled my passion for horse-riding and hunting.

g. The rat scampered to the safety of its hole on seeing a vulture overhead.

h. The High Court quashed the decisions of the lower court.

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Writing lucidly using the word ‘day’

Writing intelligently and lucidly …

Save the day .. It means somehow avoiding a very difficult and embarrassing situation.
Example sentences ..
a. One night, after everyone in our family had gone to bed, my sister’s in-laws arrived in our house un-announced. They were hungry and tired after a 12-hour long train journey. My mother had no ready food to serve them. The Pizza joints had also closed by then. Clueless about how and what she could serve to these honoured guests, my mother appeared totally tensed. At that point of time, I remembered that I had bought Dosa batter from the shop that morning along with other provision items. When I whispered this into my mother’s ears, she jumped with delight. The sense of relief was palpable in her face. She rushed to the kitchen, made crisp hot Dosas which our guests ate with great relish. Like this, the one-kilo packet of Dosa batter saved the day for mother and our family.
b. The Sri Lankan batsmen were battering the Indian bowlers with savage fury. There was no way the Indian captain could stanch the flow of runs. He was obviously baffled. At that point of time, a debutant who had come to the side as a middle-order batsman asked the captain if he could bowl an over or two. He commenced the bowling attack. The Sri Lankans found his deliveries very un-orthodox and somewhat unplayable. They fell into a defensive mode. The scoring rate plummeted sharply. Like this, the debutant batsman saved the day for his side.
c. One day, nearly all the computers in our office broke down simultaneously most likely due to virus attack. There was no way we could send an urgent file to our Head Office in London. The Manager pulled out his smart phone from his pocket, and loaded the file on to it, and managed to send it. Thus the tiny smart phone saved the day for us.
Carry the day .. It means winning or succeeding.
Example sentences
a. The boy from the rural school had prepared for the debate in English weeks in advance. He had walked miles to reach the cyber café to access the internet, so that he could collect facts from Google. On the day of the debate, he had to contend with smart students from English medium schools who spoke with immaculate accent. However, they were shallow in facts because they had not done their homework well. The rural boy spoke falteringly, but he had marshaled so many facts that the judges heard his speech with rapt attention, nodding their heads approvingly. At the end of the debate, the rural boy with crude accent won the contest. He carried the day because he had done hard work, where as his English medium friends had fallen prey to complacency.
b. ‘Catching’ the ball flying off the bat is not easy in cricket. It needs sharp reflexes, and supple limbs and muscles. This is why, the slip fielders play such an important part in deciding the fate of a match. Even a weak team can carry the day against a formidable side if it holds the catches.
Have a field day … Get an opportunity to do some evil thing at the cost of someone else.
Example sentences
a. The bank was closed for three consecutive days for the Pujah holidays and Sunday. Seeing this, a group of burglars dug a tunnel into the bank’s strong room from the adjacent site, broke open the lockers and fled with huge amount of cash and jewellery. Obviously, they had a field day and made use of the long break.
b. The farmer used to guard his corn fields against the herd of voracious parrots. He used many tactics to scare the hungry birds away. One day, he couldn’t come because he was sick. The parrots descended in droves on his field and munched away the tender corns. They had a field day in the corn field.
—————–More like this tomorrow———————
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Vocabulary building for good writing

Writing to win – the words that speak loud

When writing a high quality answer, substance matter as much as style. Style depends upon brevity of expression and articulation of thought. Both of these are facilitated through use of right words in right places. Here is a small list of such words that convey a lot of sense. To master them, read the sentences keeping a dictionary in front.

Mull .. a. President Obama is mulling over suggestions for mounting air strikes against the Islamic State (IS), who have occupied vast swathes of land in Iraq and Syria in a short time.
b. Much before the general elections, the BJP had mulled over the idea of removing a few of the Congress-appointed governors. After coming to power, it carried out the idea.

Mortify … a. Jainism prescribes penance and extreme righteousness as the path to salvation of the soul. The Jain Munis (saints) feel they can go to heaven by mortifying the flesh. (Meaning 1– Subdue (the body or its needs and desires) by self-denial or discipline)
b. The orthodox Muslim gentleman, living in London, was mortified to see his teen-aged daughter emerging from a pub in the company of a few rambunctious young men. (Meaning 2 — Cause (someone) to feel very embarrassed or ashamed) Continue reading

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Good writing — Saying more with less words

Creative writing skills –learning how to say more with less 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 had 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 minutes away. But, that was not to be. They remained awfully perched in their broken boat, which obviously had run aground and split into two. But the water did not engulf their cabin. Continue reading

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PRECIS WRITING WITH ANSWER Exercise 1

Précis writing for students – Exercise 1

Passage ….. A drop of water fell out of the cloud into the sea, and finding itself lost in such an immensity of fluid matter, broke out into the following reflection: ‘Alas! What an inconsiderable creature am I in this prodigious ocean of waters: My existence is of no concern in the universe; ‘I am reduced to a kind of nothing, and am the least of the works of God’. It so happened that an oyster which lay in the neighbourhood of this drop chanced to gape and swallow it up in the midst of this his soliloquy. The drop, say the fables, lay a great while hardening in the shell, until by degrees it was ripened into a pearl, falling into the hands of a diver, after a long series of adventures, is at present that famous pearl which is fixed on the top of the Persian diadem. [No of words = 147] Continue reading

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Grammar Lesson 1 .. Phrasal Verbs

Grammar lesson 1.. Use of Phrasal verbs

Stand by   [This is a phrasal verb sometimes used for opposite meanings.]

 
Meaning one – To do nothing when the situation warrants action
a. The Nato leadership just stood by when Russia-backed armed groups created havoc inside Crimea which is an integral part of Ukraine.
b. The United States has so far looked the other way despite the ISIS armed groups making sweeping gains in their fight against Iraqi army. If America continues to just stand by like this avoiding military involvement, crude oil supplies from the area may be severely disrupted. Continue reading
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Vocabulary Building 2

Vocabulary Building 2 … Articulate writing through use of right words …

Fill in the blank choosing the right word from the three words given below the sentence.

a. Smith was an attractive young man in the office. Two girl colleagues vied with one another to attract his attention. There was the vivacious Anne and the silent Lara. She was not so gifted as Anne. Everyone thought Anne will carry the day, and Lara will be left with a broken heart. But, there was one minus in Anne. She was ________ by nature. Smith wanted a life partner, not so much a sizzling bed partner. Finally, Lara won the race, and Anne was left broken-hearted.

(Cohort, Calumny, Capricious)

Continue reading

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Vocabulary Building 1 – Right word in the right place

Words with subtle differences in meaning— How to use them correctly

Eye-catching, Conspicuous, Visible, Apparent, Attractive, Stand out, Dazzling, Eye-popping,  


Eye-catching

a. During the Kumbh Mela, consumer goods manufacturers trying to take advantage of the huge gathering of people, display their products in eye-catching positions to get optimum publicity.
b. The travel agency was allotted a place in the lobby of the five-star hotel. The agency had paid a higher fee to get the eye-catching spot. Continue reading

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