Stationary or stationery, pick or choose, invaluable or valuable? Learn to use your vocabulary efficiently, says Dr. Upendran

Did you know that the British idiom, “Big cheese”, the phrase that is used to refer to anyone who is in a big position, was actually derived from Hindi, asks Dr. S. Upendran, author of Know Your English the weekly column featured in The Hindu since 1991. The Hindi phrase Bada cheese meaing the big thing, is a common phrase in Britian. You see how English language evolves.

Today many companies are spending a lot on training their employees in English language and communication and, the reason for this is that at the school level, the kind of attention given to subjects such as math, chemistry, biology and physics is not given to the English language. As a result, they lack in basic communication skills, and this at some point affects their career, says Dr. Upendran.

Most are apprehensive about making mistakes in English. “Just don’t worry about the mistakes, but just use English whenever you can. Only when you use can you understand the language, and use it effectively,” he says. The present generation has the great desire to improve their vocabulary and this they want in order to impress others. “In my opinion, the object of language is being understood. Therefore, I would advise the youth to keep it simple, and whatever vocabulary you have, use it carefully,” Dr. Upendran says.

Politically correct phrases

in academic world.

Cheating: academic dishonesty

Lazy: Motivationally deficient

Chit (for copying):discreet

exchange of

penned meditations

Fail: Deferred success or

exit delayed

Stupid/dull: Rationing

your consciousness

Boring: differently interesting