(R. Sridhar, Hyderabad)

Sometimes, we are asked to do things we don't want to. What do we normally do under such circumstances? We postpone doing them! When you procrastinate, you delay doing something that you ought to be doing. This Latin word literally means `to put off until tomorrow'.

Stop procrastinating. I need an answer right now. When politicians are asked questions by reporters, what is it that they do? They try their best to avoid answering them. They do everything possible to avoid giving a direct and truthful answer.

When a person prevaricates, he avoids telling the truth. The word comes from Latin and literally means 'walking crookedly'. The `a' in the second syllable of both words is pronounced like the `a' in `cat' and `bat'.

The press accused the Prime Minister of prevaricating.

`Procrastinate' and `prevaricate' are mostly used in formal contexts. Both words have the stress on the second syllable.

S. UPENDRAN