(Teacher- Nava Nirman Public School, Kochi)
English, the Universal Language, adds wonder to one’s life if imbibed and practiced in the right manner. It has always made me wonder how vast and magical this unique language in which you and I use every day. Choosing the right word or phrase is very important in bringing out the right meaning and understanding of what one intends to convey or communicate. It is surprising to note how many different uses there are even for words that we thought we knew well. Let’s learn a few words and phrases and understand what they mean so that we could use English more effectively.
- clamp down on – to control strictly (I’ll have to clamp down on his laziness and make him work hard.)
- clip someone’s wings – to limit or put an end to someone’s activities (John wanted to travel around the world but shortage of funds clipped his wings.)
- grasp the nettle – to deal with something difficult boldly and firmly(Tom found it difficult to pay up his debts, but he grasped the nettle by working overtime.)
- hither and thither – to and fro(They rushed hither and thither looking for the exit to the building.)
- miss the boat – to miss an opportunity. ( Everyone enjoyed the picnic while Mary, being sick, had missed the boat.)
- pick someone’s brains – to take someone’s ideas or knowledge ( He’s been picking your brains for the success of his project.)
- pass the buck – to pass on the responsibility ( John was asked to pass the buck to the new employee.)
- a red-letter day – an important day or a great occasion – ( It was a red-letter day for Seema when she got her first job.)
- stir up – to arouse, to cause (Sally is always stirring up trouble in her classroom.)
- on thin ice – in a dangerous situation / taking risks – ( He is on thin ice after investing all his savings on a new business.)
- twiddle one’s thumbs – to be idle(He sits at home twiddling his thumbs while his wife goes to work.
Well, aren’t these interesting when you use them while writing or speaking? I’m sure they are. They make your communication effective and interesting to read or listen to. So, all you folks out there, let’s try to communicate better. After all, Words are Powerful !!! See you again with more of the above.