Some things to think about



Today is our final lesson before the SPM starts, so I’m giving the answers to both the language and literature exercises that I set over the last two lessons.  


Answer: The plot of The Necklace:  

1.       protagonist         7.       dress 

2.       beauty        8.       sacrifice 

3.       satisfied         9.       Forestier 

4.       status       10.       ten 

5.       devoted        11.       irony 

6.       lowly        12.       vanity 


Think about it: Get the answers yourself or check them with your teacher, to test your vocabulary: 

1. Why is the word “protagonist” better than “heroine”?  

2. What is a synonym for “beauty” starting with the letter “a”? 

3. What is a synonym for “satisfied” starting with the letter “c”? 

4. What are two synonyms for “status” starting with the letter “s” and the letter “c”? 

5. What is a synonym for “lowly” starting with the letter “m”? 


Rubber Processing: 

1.       remember  

2.        visited 

3.       collected 

4.       flows 

5.       is  

6.       put/placed 

7.       has  

8.       added 

9.       removed/               washed 

10.       rolled 

11.       made/               processed 

12.       made  

Answer: Summary:  

1.       (c) became         6.       (b) Instead  

2.       (b) bite        7.       (a) give out        

3.       (c) inhabited by        8.       (c) continued        

4.       (b) Perhaps         9.       (c) dangers 

5.       (d) saved       10.       (c) rather than 

1. a quarrel with        6.        smirk on 

2. aware of        7.        just for fun 

3. slaving over        8.        doodling with 

4. a stickler for        9.        left without 

5. under stress       10.        ticked off  

Let me quickly go through what I call redundant prepositions, i.e. the ones that are unnecessary. 


He demanded for a higher salary. 7  

to demand = to ask for, so the above sentence actually says: He asked FOR FOR a higher salary.  

Write instead: He demanded a higher salary, or He asked for a higher salary.  


He requested for their undivided attention. 7  

to request = ask for politely  

Write instead: The announcer requested their undivided attention, or He asked for their undivided attention.  


However, if you use demand or request as nouns, you must use the preposition:  

There is a good demand for Proton cars. 4  

This is an urgent request for help. 4  


Look up the meaning of the main verb in each sentence and you will see why the following sentences are wrong because they have redundant prepositions. Make them correct by omitting the prepositions in italics. 


1. They regretted for not listening to their parents’ advice. 7 

2. We discussed about how to enhance the school premises. 7 

3. She returned my book back. 7 

4. There’s so much work that you just can’t cope up with it! 7 

5. This columnist emphasises on good grammar and vocabulary. 7 

6. He regretted about not studying harder for his SPM. 7 


I’d like to go quickly over queries from some of you over a few pairs of words that students are usually confused over. 


accept, except 

accept means receive, e.g. I accepted his proposal; whereas except means excluding, e.g. Everyone except Mary came to my party. 


all ready, already 

You might feel that you already know the difference between this pair, but just in case you don’t, I am all ready with these two sentences to challenge you: 

all ready means completely prepared, e.g. I hope you are all ready for the exam; whereas already means beforehand, e.g. I’ve already packed for my trip to Turkey.  



advise, advice / practise, practice  

Remember –ise for the verb and -ice for the noun 

advise is a verb e.g. I advise you to differentiate between nouns and verbs; whereas advice is a noun e.g. My advice is to be aware of snatch thieves.  

Also, we must practise hard because practice makes perfect.  


affect, effect 

affect is a verb meaning to change or influence e.g. Her rousing speech affected me deeply; whereas effect is a noun meaning result or outcome e.g. The effects of pollution on the environment are many. 


few, less / many, much 

Use few and many for countable nouns as in a few books and many assignments; and less and much for uncountables as in Could I have less sugar in my tea? There’s just too much sugar in this cup; it’s far too sweet. 


lie, lie & lay 

These are actually three separate verbs but the problem isn’t so much with the word (a) lie meaning to tell an untruth as with (b) lie meaning to rest and (c) lay meaning to produce or to put down or place.  

Meaning (a): Billy likes to lie about his academic achievements. He lied about being the best in his class last year. In fact, he has often lied about other things too.  

Here, the infinitive (base verb) to lie becomes lied in the past tense and becomes has lied in the perfect tense. 

However, lie with meaning (b) is a bit trickier because the past tense form is lay and thus becomes confused with the infinitive (c) lay. 

E.g. I often lie in bed for a few minutes when I’m tired but yesterday I was so exhausted that I lay down for more than an hour. 

As for (c), lay has also two meanings as in: 

(i) Hens usually lay an egg a day but last Tuesday, my hen actually laid two eggs, and  

(ii) “Please lay the table for me,” Mother begged me. So I laid the forks and spoons as she asked.  

If you’re still puzzled over this lie and lay business, this jingle by Christopher Morley might help you:  

Lie and lay offer slips of the pen 

That have troubled most excellent men. 

You may say that you lay 

In bed yesterday: 

If you do it today, you’re a hen! 


lose, loose 

lose is a verb while loose is an adjective 

e.g. Don’t lose your cool, just hang loose and you should be able to differentiate between these two words. If not, remember that the word lose, like the verb it is, has four letters whereas loose is either an adverb (as in the above sentence) or an adjective as in this sentence: If your scarf is too loose around your neck, you might lose it. 


maybe, may be 

maybe is an adverb which means probably e.g. Maybe it’s just my imagination but I definitely felt something touch my hand; whereas may is a modal verb always followed by another verb, as in He may come late, but again, he may not.  

So, you must write may be as two separate words in this sentence: “You may be very clever, but I still think you’re rather rude!” 


this, these 

this is for one countable noun e.g. this student, this lesson, whereas these is for more than one e.g. these students, these last two lessons  


Good luck for the SPM, especially in English, and may you pass with flying colours!  

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