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28 April 2010

Common Mistakes in English


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Common mistakes in English

Good or Well

Good is an adjective and well is an adverb. Many people, including many native speakers, incorrectly use the adjective form good, rather than the adverb well.
Examples:
I did good on the test. INCORRECT! - Correct form: I did well on the test.
She played the game good. INCORRECT! - Correct form: She played the game well.
Use the adjective form good when describing something or someone. In other words, use good when stating how something or someone is.
Examples:
She is a good tennis player.
Tom thinks he is a good listener.
Use the adverb form well when describing how something or someone does something.
Examples:
She did extremely well on the exam.
Our parents think we speak English well.

Bring Take Fetch/Get

The use of bring and take is confusing for many students. The choice between bring or take depends on the location of the speaker. If the speaker refers to something that is at her current location, she uses bring. Generally, use bring when something moves from there to here.
Examples:
I'm glad you brought me to this shop. It's great!
I'll bring the map with me on the trip.
If the speaker refers to something that has been moved to a different location, she uses take. Generally, use take when something moves from here to there.
Examples:
The coach took the boys to football field.
Jack took his laptop with him on his trip.

Fetch/Get

When speaking about going somewhere and getting something and then bringing it back, use get (American English) or fetch (British English).
Examples:
Could you get the newspaper?
She fetched her diary and showed him the entry.

Everyone

Use everyone as a pronoun to mean all the people in a group.
Examples:
Do you think everyone will want to come to the party?
She wants everyone to leave comments on her blog.

Every one

Use every one as a noun to indicate each person.
Examples:
Every one of the students has a question about the grammar.
My boss told every one of the employees himself.
Do you understand the rules? Test your

Everyday
Use everyday as an adjective to mean 'daily'.
Examples:
Peter has an everyday appointment with his boss for briefings.
Susan has an everyday yoga class at five pm.

Every day
Use every day as a time expression to mean 'each day'.
Examples:
Peter studies Russian every day.
She pratices the piano three hours every day.

Whether / If

Both whether and if are used to introduce a yes/no question:
Examples:
He asked me whether I felt well.
We're not sure if they have decided.
The verb discuss generally takes whether rather than if.
Examples:
We discussed whether he should be hired.
They discussed whether to invest in the new idea.
After Prepositions
Use only whether after prepositions:
Examples:
We talked about whether we should go or not.
I looked into whether he should stay.
Infinitives
Use only whether before infinitives:
Examples:
She can't decide whether to buy the house or wait.
He considered whether to give up the position or quit next year.
Formal / Informal
Generally, whether is considered more formal than if.
Examples:
Let me know whether you will be able to attend the conference.
The CEO will decide whether this is a risk worth taking.

Enough

Adjective / Adverb + Enough
When enough modifies an adjective or an adverb place enough after the adjective / adverb:
Examples:
Do you think he is strong enough to lift that weight?
I think it's warm enough to take a walk without my jacket.
Enough + Noun
When enough modifies a noun, place enough before the noun:
Examples:
He has enough money to buy a ticket.
She said there were enough participants to begin the study.

A Little - A Few / Little - Few

A little and little refer to non-count nouns, and is used with the singular form:
Examples:
There's little wine left in the bottle.
I've put a little sugar into your coffee.
A few and few refer to count nouns, and are used with the plural form:
Examples:
There are a few students in that classroom.
He says few applicants have presented themselves.
A little and a few convey a positive meaning.
Examples:
I've got a little wine left, would you like some?
They've got a few positions open.
Little and few convey a negative meaning.
Examples:
He's got little money left.
I have few friends in Chicago.

A Lot, Lots Of, A Lot Of

These three expressions are used in informal English. They can mean either a great quantity of or a large number of and can be rather confusing at times. Here are the general rules for their use.

A Lot Of / Lots Of

These two expressions both mean a great deal of or several. They are used before a count or non-count noun. These two expressions tend to be used in informal English.
Examples:
We need a lot of people for this game.
She likes lots of jam on her toast.
A Lot
Use a lot at the end of a sentence as an adverb. A lot is NOT followed by a noun. The meaning is the same as a great deal.
Examples:
I enjoy swimming a lot.
Mary seems to travel a lot.

Female - Feminine / Male - Masculine

Female / Male
Use female or male when referring to the sex of people, plants and animals.
Examples:
The female bear can be ferocious when defending its cubs.
Are you female or male?
Feminine / Masculine
Use feminine or masculine when referring to a characteristic that you feel is representative of the male or female of the species.
Examples:
Some people feel that he is rather feminine.
The decorating was very masculine in that house.
Femininity / Masculinity
These are the noun forms and refer to the state of being either feminine or masculine.
Examples:
Feminiity was viewed as a curse when displayed by males before the twentieth century.

It's vs. Its

It's is the contracted form of It is. This form is used in sentences using "they" as the subject of the sentence with the verb "to be" used as either the helping verb (e.g. It's going ..., It's raining ...) or the principal verb of the sentence.
Examples:
It's difficult to find work these days.
It's going to rain soon.
Its is the possessive pronoun form. This form is used to express that "it" has a specific quality, or that something belongs to "it".
Examples:
I found its taste to be superb!
Its color is deep red, almost Burgundy.

Too vs. Two vs. To

Too means "also" and is generally used at the end of a sentence. "Too" also indicates too much of a particular quality.
Examples:
That car is too expensive for me!
I'd love to come to the party, too.
Two is the written form of the number 2.
Examples:
There are two applicants for the job.
She has two cats.
To is generally used as a preposition. It is also used as part of the infinitive form of verbs.
Examples:
I gave the book to him.
The verb "to understand" is irregular.

They're vs. There vs. Their

They're is the contracted form of They are. This form is used in sentences using "they" as the subject of the sentence with the verb "to be" used as either the helping verb (e.g. They're going ..., They're playing ...) or the principal verb of the sentence.
Examples:
They're working hard this week.
They're very interested in helping out.
There is used as an introductory subject is sentences with "There is" and "There are". It is also used as an adverb of place meaning "in that place".
Examples:
There are many people in that room.
That's my house over there.
Their is the possessive pronoun form. This form is used to express that "they" have a specific quality, or that something belongs to "them".
Examples:
Their house is in Los Angeles.
He liked their looks!

You're vs. Your

You're is the contracted form of You are. This form is used in sentences using "you" as the subject of the sentence with the verb "to be" used as either the helping verb (e.g. You're going ..., You're watching ...) or the principal verb of the sentence.
Examples:
You're going to have a great time!
You're much better at tennis than Jim.
Your is the possessive pronoun form. This form is used to express that something belongs to "you".
Examples:
Your wife is such a kind woman.
I think your skills are outstanding.

Since vs. For with Present Perfect

Since is used with the present perfect to express that something has happened since a point in time.
Examples:
I've lived here since 1999.
She's been working hard since two this afternoon.
For is used with the present perfect to express that something has happened for a period of time.
Examples:
I've worked at this job for 10 years.
Peter's been playing tennis for two hours.

Have vs. Of in Conditional Forms

Of is used instead of have in conditional forms due to pronunciation (e.g. I would of visited New York if I had had the time.). "Of" is a preposition whereas "have" is an auxiliary verb used in conditional forms. Examples:
He might have left early on vacation.
She would have attended if you had asked her to come.

Has gone to vs. Has been to

... has/have gone to ... refers to someone who has gone to a place but has not yet returned.
Examples:
He's gone to the bank. He should be back soon.
Where has Tom gone?
... has/have been to ... refers to a place which someone has visited sometime in his life. In other words, "has been to" refers to an experience.
Examples:
He's been to London many times.
I've been to Disneyland twice.

Then vs. Than

Then is used as a time expression.
Examples:
I'll see you then.
I'll be at the party. We can speak then.
Note: It is not used in the form "different than" which is used for comparisons.
Than is used for comparisons.
Examples:
He's lived here longer than I have.
His skills are very different than mine.
Double Negatives
When using the negative form of a verb (e.g. He isn't working ..., They aren't going to ...) do not use a negative quantifier such as nobody, nowhere, etc.
Examples:
They aren't going anywhere special. NOT They aren't going nowhere special.
She hasn't spoken to anyone yet. NOT She hasn't spoken to nobody yet.

So … I
So + Auxiliary Verb + Subject
Use "so ... I" in a positive sense to show that we feel the same way as another person, or have performed the same action. Change the auxiliary verb related to the original statement. The form is usually used in the first person singular, however, other forms are also possible.
Examples:
He flew to Geneva last summer. - So did she.
I'd love to visit Poland some day. - So would I.
I'm meeting a colleague tomorrow. - So am I.

Neither … I

Neither + Auxiliary Verb + Subject
Use "neither ... I" in a negative sense to show that we feel the same way as another person, or have performed the same action. Change the auxiliary verb related to the original statement. The form is usually used in the first person singular, however, other forms are also possible.
Examples:
I haven't had a promotion for a long time. - Neither have I.
They weren't sure they had the resources to complete the job. - Neither were we.
She won't be able to attend the conference. - Neither will I.
Structures using 'such' and 'so' are similar in meaning, but different in construction. The main difference between the two structures is that 'such' takes a noun phrase, whereas 'so' takes an adjective.

'Such … that'

'Such … that' takes a noun or modified noun in a noun phrase. 'That' can be used following the noun phrase but is not required.
such + adjective + noun + (that)
Examples:
The recording was such a disappointment that I didn't buy any more from that artist.
It was such an expensive car that the didn't buy it.

'So … that'

'So … that' takes an adjective. 'That' can be used following the noun phrase but is not required.
So + adjective + (that)
Examples:
The game was so fascinating (that) he played for hours.
Our vacation apartment was so luxurious (that) we didn't want to leave.
'So' for Results
'So' can also be used to express a result. In this case 'so' is followed by a full clause:
Examples:
I had a lot of time so I visited the museum.
She wasn't happy in her current position so she looked for a new job.

Both … and

Subjects connected by 'both … and' take the a plural conjugation.
Examples:
Both Alice and Janice attended USC.
Both Jim and Peter are attending the conference in New York this weekend.

Either … or

'Either … or' is used in sentences in a positive sense meaning "one or the other, this or that, he or she, etc." Verb conjugation depends on the subject (singular or plural) closest to the conjugated verb.
Examples:
Either Peter or the girls need to attend the course. (second subject plural)
Either Jane or Matt is going to visit next weekend. (second subject singular)

Neither … nor

'Neither … nor' is used in sentences in a negative sense meaning "not this one nor the other, not this nor that, not he nor she, etc.". Verb conjugation depends on the subject (singular or plural) closest to the conjugated verb.
Examples:
Neither Frank nor Lilly lives in Eugene. (second subject singular)
Neither Axel nor my other friends care about their future. (second subject plural)

10 April 2010

THE ODDS AGAINST US

THE ODDS AGAINST US


                                               - Satyajit Ray

1. How does Satyajit Ray justify his observation that film making is a tough business?


According to Satyajit Ray film production is a tough business for various reasons. This is true in the case of Indian films in general, especially the Bengali films. With sufficient financial support, men and materials, it is easy for Hollywood to make a movie like Spartacus, or for the Soviet Russia to make a movie like War and Peace. They can present battles, boisterous, rowdy party, earthquakes, fires, victory processions and other similar scenes.

However, in India epics cannot be shown, because we do not have enough money, market and technology to be able to compete with Hollywood. Therefore we have chosen the intimate type of cinemas. Our cinemas have adopted mood and atmosphere instead of grandeur and spectacle. Though our financial position has improved a little, we still have problems of our own.

If we consider film making from the initial stages, the first problem is finding an effective story, which is viewed as property. It is the director who chosen the story. His choice is based on two considerations. They are his liking and sympathy for the story and his confidence that the story will make a good film. Here the public view is also important. The director must keep it in mind that if the film does not bring back its cost or capital, his backers will lose faith in him. He will become unwanted and a bad risk. A director may explore new themes, and new aspects of society and human relations, but they will find only a minority public or viewers. Therefore the director must be careful about his budge. Similarly, the director must avoid full-bodied treatment of physical passion. Love scenes in India must be suggestive only in the spirit of established moral conventions.

There are other problems, too. We cannot show a corrupt politician, a corrupt bank clerk with a Gandhi cap on, and an office boss passing comments on an Anglo-Indian. We cannot deviate a bit from a popular classic. Story-wise the directors’ choices are very limited. He is in a narrow field. The next problem is finding the suitable casting. We have no agents to scout talent. Even if there are talented people, they do not respond to advertisements. The next problem is shooting. Our studios have crevices on the wall. They are infested by rodents. There are pits in the floors and cameras groan. Electrical power drops.

In spite of all these problems, it is within the powers of the director to make a good film or a bad film. It is exciting to be able to create beauty even in the absence of necessities and comforts.


2. How does lack of money affect film making in India?

In India we cannot make films like Spartacus of Hollywood and War and Peace of Soviet Russia because we do not have the money as also the market and the know-how. That is the reason why we make intimate cinemas, that is, cinemas of mood and atmosphere rather than those of grandeur and spectacle. Foreign films are made in two years and for these two years they have the necessary publicity. But in India two years is a long time. For most of the time, the director has to be idle for want of funds. Money again affects the story which is considered property. How the public takes the film depends upon the story. If a film does not bring back its cost, the director will be down and out. He must avoid avant-guard films. He must balance his budget. Then there are the problems of casting and shooting. It is true that professional actors are not available for all roles. We cannot have agents and talent scouts. The Indian studios are shabby and inhabited by rodents. The floors have pits and cameras groan. The shabbiness and lack of facilities and comforts are discouraging. The absence of money and other facilities force the film maker to be economical and inventive.

3. What are the problems of casting in Indian films?

In the Indian film making casting has its problems. It is the first step in the process of interpretation. In Indian films some of the roles are pre-cast. The roles are created keeping certain actors and actresses in mind. But there are no professional players for the role of an 80-year old grandfather. Similarly, there are no players for minor roles such as common men, women, children, peasants, shopkeepers, professors, prostitutes and so on. How to find actors for these roles is the question. In most countries there are agents who keep a list of all available extra actors. The director can choose his actors from them. In India there are no such agents and talent-scouts. The deserving people do not respond to advertisement for fear or suspicion of rejection. Those who respond are not suitable for the roles. Therefore the search is made on streets among pedestrians, in race-meets, parties and wedding receptions. Satyajit Ray was lucky in finding the right players for his roles, but the possibility of failure was always around the corner. There is always an acute shortage of good professional actors and actresses of middle age and above. There are roles that can be brought to life only by professionals. Thus casting is always a problem in film making.

4. According to Satyajit Ray, what are the three factors that should guide a director when he/she chooses a story for a film?

If we consider film making from the initial stages, the first problem is finding an effective story, which is viewed as property. It is the director who chosen the story. His choice is based on two considerations. They are his liking and sympathy for the story and his confidence that the story will make a good film. Here the public view is also important. The director must keep it in mind that if the film does not bring back its cost or capital, his backers will lose faith in him. He will become unwanted and a bad risk. A director may explore new themes, and new aspects of society and human relations, but they will find only a minority public or viewers. Therefore the director must be careful about his budge. Similarly, the director must avoid full-bodied treatment of physical passion. Love scenes in India must be suggestive only in the spirit of established moral conventions.

There are other problems, too. We cannot show a corrupt politician, a corrupt bank clerk with a Gandhi cap on, and an office boss passing comments on an Anglo-Indian. We cannot deviate a bit from a popular classic. Story-wise the directors’ choices are very limited. He is in a narrow field. The next problem is finding the suitable casting. We have no agents to scout talent. Even if there are talented people, they do not respond to advertisements. The next problem is shooting. Our studios have crevices on the wall. They are infested by rodents. There are pits in the floors and cameras groan. Electrical power drops.

In spite of all these problems, it is within the powers of the director to make a good film or a bad film. It is exciting to be able to create beauty even in the absence of necessities and comforts.

5. How does Ray describe the films that are commonly made in India?

According to Satyajit Ray film production is a tough business for various reasons. This is true in the case of Indian films, especially the Bengali films. With sufficient financial support, men and materials, it is easy for Hollywood to make a movie like Spartacus, or for the Soviet Russia to make a movie like War and Peace. They can present battles, boisterous, rowdy party, earthquakes, fires, victory processions and other similar scenes.

However, in India epics cannot be shown, because we do not have enough money, market and technology to be able to compete with Hollywood. Therefore we have chosen the intimate type of cinemas. Our cinemas have adopted mood and atmosphere instead of grandeur and spectacle. Though our financial position has improved a little, we still have problems of our own.

4 April 2010

Organs of Speech

Phonetics

Organs of Speech

Physiology of Pronunciation


The organs of the human body, which produce speech sounds, are together called organs of speech. The organs of speech can be studied under three systems – articulatory, phonatory and respiratory systems.Articulatory system comprises of pharynx and oral and nasal cavities. The chief articulators in this system are lips, teeth (upper and lower), hard palate, soft palate/velum, uvula and tongue. Tongue has three parts - tip, blade/front and back. Phonatory system consists of trachea and larynx. Vocal cords and glottis are situated in the larynx. Respiratory system comprises of lungs and bronchial tubes.

The vocal cords: The vocal cords are two elastic folds situated in the Adam’s apple. The opening between the vocal cords is called the glottis. The air-stream travels upwards from the lungs through the vocal cords. When the vocal cords vibrate, voiced sounds are produced. Sounds produced without the vibration of the vocal cords are known as voiceless sound.

The lips: Lips are important part of the articulatory system.

The tongue: Among the organs of speech, the tongue is the chief articulator. The tongue has three parts: the tip, the blade and the back. Any one of these three may be used in the production of a sound.

The teeth-ridge: The teeth-ridge is situated behind the upper row of teeth. Sounds produced with the tongue touching the teeth-ridge are known as alveolar sounds.

The palate: The palate forms the roof of the mouth. The palate has two parts – the hard palate and the soft palate, which is also called the velum. If you run the tongue along the surface of the roof, you will find the first half of the palate hard and the second half soft.

International phonetic alphabet symbols

English Speech Sounds


Vowels 

/ɪ/ pin, English, business
/e/ bed, head, bury, exit 
/æ/ cat, bag, apple, black 
/ə/ the, a, woman, banana 
/ʊ/ look, put, could, cushion 
/ɒ/ clock, what, because 
/ʌ/ cut, come, mother
/ɜː/ girl, burn, word, heard 
/ɑː/ car, art, heart, half 
/ɔː/ or, board, door, small 
/ɪː/ sea, bee, people, receive
/uː/ too, blue, fruit, fool

Diphthongs 

 /eɪ/ take, pay, wait, ballet 
/ɑɪ/ five, sigh, height, buy 
/ɔɪ/ noise, boy, lawyer 
/əʊ/ no, road, sew, broken 
/ɑʊ/ round, renown, doubt 
/ɪə/ here, deer, dear, fierce 
/eə/ care, air, mayor, prayer 
/ʊə/ poor, insure, tour, moor

Consonants

 /p/ play, stop, speak, power 
/b/ bad, baby, big, object 
/t/ ten, later, little, pot 
/d/ day, advice, bed 
/k/ character, quick, taxi
/g/ got, exam, ignore, finger 
/f/ food, laugh, telephone 
/v/ vain, over, Stephen 
/θ/ thin, earth, method, both 
/ð/ they, father, breathe, with 
/s/ small, since, scene, psalm 
/z/ zoo, goes, xenophobe 
/ʃ/ shell, nation, machine  
/ʒ/ genre, measure, vision 
/h/ hot, hair, whole, whose
/m/ moon, lamp, lamb 
/n/ can, snow, pneumonia 
/ŋ/ string, singer, tongue
/tʃ/ chair, match, future 
/dʒ/ just, general, age, soldier
/l/ look, small, bottle, isle 
/r/ real, train, wrong, write 
/j/ yes, Europe, university 
/w/ window, twin, quick, why



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