Usage of Conjunctions

Linking words/phrases like and,but,because,therefore,if and in order,help us link our ideas together.In traditional grammar,they were called conjunctions.Let us consider: and,also,too,as well,anyway,besides and furthermore.

And is used to join two things,actions or ideas in one sentence.We can use and to join phrases and clauses,as well as sentences.

Example

  • My uncle would never steal.He worked in a bath house and never took a bath for five years.
  • Laugh and the world laughs with you;snore and you sleep alone. (Anthony Burgess)

Note: Do not start a sentence with and.

Also is used to link an idea,thing or action to another;this time from the previous sentence.It is placed directly before the verb.

Example

  • They also serve who stand and wait.(Milton)

Note: When we use the auxiliary verbs,can and have,the word also is placed after the auxiliary.

Example

  • We can also dream.We have also won laurels.

Note: With negative statements don’t use also Use either.

Too is used at the end of a sentence,when you are adding something to a list of things you have given in the previous sentence.

Example

“Hold up your right arm,”the judge said.

“Can’t,your honour.Got a shot in it.”

“Then hold up your left arm.

“”Can’t.Got a shot in that too.

“”Then hold up your leg,”the judge said,”No man can be sworn into this court,sir,unless he holds up something.”

Note: Don’t use too with negative statements.Use either.
Example

  • He didn’t smoke or drink.He didn’t gamble either.

As well is used at the end of a sentence,when you’re adding something to a list of things that you have given in the previous sentence.
Example

  • Shakespeare has written 37 plays.He has composed a sonnet sequence as well.

Note: Don’t use as well with two negative statements.Use either.

Example

  • Priya is not coming to the party.Prem can’t come either.

Anyway/Besides is used at the beginning of a sentence,when you have given one reason for something and you want to add another.This is used in informal,especially spoken,contexts.
Example

The following is supposedly a true story.Besides being true,the story is strange,weird,surprising and funny.

A Japanese rancher told reporters,in July,in Tokyo that he herds cattle by outfitting them with pocket pagers (beepers),which he calls from his portable phone.After a week of training,the cows associate beeping with eating and hustle up for grub.

Furthermore is used at the beginning of a sentence,to add a more important fact than the one you gave in the previous sentence.This is used in formal,written contexts.

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This article has been written by Dr V Saraswathi for Times of India

Speech supremacy


Sometimes we get confused in our use of two similar words. For example your and you’re. Now both are pronounced alike but the golden rule to remember is that the apostrophe is a substitute for a missing letter— in this case it means you are. The missing word is ‘a’.
Example: Seema told Raja, “You’re really looking good today.”

Your on the other hand is the possessive form of you.
Example: Your car has a flat tyre.

Let us look at another example of the proper use of the words its and it’s.
Its is the possessive form of it.
Example: My cat ate its dinner.

But it’s has an apostrophe so that means the word has a missing letter. The missing letter is ‘i.’
Example: It’s (it is) a beautiful sweater.

We now come to another commonly made mistake. The use of ‘I’ versus ‘me’.
The rule to remember here is that I is a subject pronoun while me is an object pronoun. According to well-known grammarian, Paul Brians,
A subject is the noun/pronoun that performs the action of the verb to which it is linked, while an object is a noun/pronoun that receives the action of the subject-verb pair.”
Example: I threw the ball to you
Or
You kicked the ball to me

Remember to be careful when you use these while creating a compound subject or object
Example: Seema and I went to a film together
Example: You must come with Seema and me

The best way to determine which pronoun to use in such cases is to eliminate the other person and the “and”.

Let’s look at the same examples again
Remove: Seema and
Which is correct? “I/me went to a film together”

Obviously you can’t say me went to a film together — so the correct usage is I. Now put back the removed words — Seema and I went to a film together

Similarly remove Seema and from the second example
Which is correct? You must come with I/me
Obviously you can’t say you must come with I — so the correct usage is You must come with Seema and me.

This article is published in the Tuesday  issues of Deccan Chronicle .

Make your sentences interesting

Micmanz Lanugage Improvement series

Last week we looked at compound and complex sentences. But you’ll find that sentences have much more that you should know about. The first rule should be not to use loose sentences as they will confuse your reader. Second, remember that the main point you are trying to make must not be in the middle of a long sentence.

Example: With the delicious food and the sheer beauty of the landscape, I have always wanted to go to Goa and to this end I am happy to give up my commitments.

The focus of the sentence here is that the writer wants to go to Goa and he is thus ready to give up his involvements wherever he is in order to do so. However, the reader has already got an overkill of information at the beginning of the sentence that makes little sense until he or she reaches the middle of the sentence.

It would have been better to say — I am ready to give up my commitments in the city and go to Goa because of the delicious food and sheer beauty of the landscape.

Here are a few more sentences.
The Periodic Sentence: Here your main point can come at the end of the sentence. But remember that the reader has to read all of this information without knowing what the conclusion will be. Use this only when you want to write in a dramatic but persuasive fashion.

The Declarative Sentence:
Use this as often as possible to add that extra punch to your writing. This type of sentence states a fact or argument, without requiring either an answer or action from the reader.

Example: Seema’s father is Dr Kishore Sharma

This article is published in the Tuesday  issues of Deccan Chronicle .

slang

Micmanz Lanugage Improvement series

Does the number 1661 mean anything to you?  In American slang it refers to woman said to look 16 years old from the back and 61 years old from the front! In other words,an older woman, who dresses in fashions meant for youngsters.

What is slang? It is an informal,non-standard, variety of speech, characterized by newly coined and rapidly changing words and phrases. You can use slang only with people whom you know well. Slang expressions are usually not written and not used in formal kind of communication.

According to Micheal Swan, slang expressions come in handy when we want to express strong feelings relating to sex,famil, emotional-relationships,drink,drugs, conflict between social groups,work,physical and mental-illness and death.

For example:

I spent the weekend at my gran’s. (grandfather’s)

I’ve some sort of bug. (illness)

Shut your gob! (mouth)

Slang varies from country to country. In Australia and New Zealand, slang for girlfriend is Sheila . In South Africa, slang for traffic light is robot. In the West Indies you refer to your girlfriend as goose or cherry.

However remember that it is usually a mistake for outsiders(foreigners) to try deliberately to use slang. This can give the impression that they are claiming membership of a group they don’t belong to.

The history of slang is quite fascinating. Some words,which were once respectable, have been reduced to the level of slang. The modern English word shove was in regular use in the old English period. In the  Middle English period, it was replaced by push, derived from the French pousser considered to be more genteel and respectable. On the other hand, during the eighteenth century, the word kidnap was a slang term. Its application was restricted to the practice which the word literally suggests: “kid nabbing” or child stealing, then a very lucrative trade. Now it has become a respectable trade with a slight change of meaning. You can kidnap adults too!

Sms has given rise to a new kind of  slang. You could use these next time you send an sms to a teenager:

xoxoxoxo Hugs and Kisses

KIT Keep in touch

TIC Tongue in cheek

IDK I dont know

AB Ah! Bless!

ABT All the best


Learn to be precise

This article is published in the Tuesday  issues of Deccan Chronicle .

Micmanz Lanugage Improvement series

The two words that you should keep in mind when you are writing are precision and clarity. Avoid long words and sentences. Remember you are writing to make your audience feel, think and be one with your story/essay and not to show them that you know your vocabulary! So choose the right word and make sure it fits into the context of what you are saying. After you have written your story or essay, read it and ask yourself what every word means. Long words like those ending in -ation,-lity, -ise, -isation, -ational tend to make your writing laborious and difficult to understand. Therefore use them as little as possible. Ask yourself if you can make your sentence shorter and crisper by removing these words.
Example: The student brought about the organisation of the school assembly.
Right usage: The student organised the school assembly.
Example: The usage of the words baffled many.
Right usage: The use of the words had many baffled.

Words like usage, methodology and functionality should be changed to a simpler method. Be specific in the choice of your words. Never use vague language.
Example: The newspaper industry made apparent significant financial gains this year.
Right usage: The newspaper industry made a lot of money OR the newspaper industry showed large profits.