Know Your English

Know Your English: May 9

“Why don’t the two of us get together and play a trick on Sujatha? It might…”

“No way! Whenever I try to play a practical joke on someone, it always boomerangs.”

“Boomerangs? Are you saying it becomes a big problem?”

“What I mean is that the joke backfires. I end up looking like a fool and not the person…”

“Not the person you were playing the trick on. The joke is on you. In other words, when something boomerangs, the result is the exact opposite of what you wanted it to be.”

“That’s right! The media’s attempt to discredit the Minister boomeranged. Now, people are more suspicious of the media than the Minister.”

“I thought we could bring the strike to an end by getting the VC and the students together. But unfortunately, the plan boomeranged. Now the VC is threatening to close down the university for a month.”

“Raju thought he could get the promotion by agreeing with everything his boss said. But unfortunately, the plan boomeranged on him.”

“So, he didn’t get the promotion. You know, I was watching a movie on TV yesterday, and one of the characters kept saying ‘keep on trucking’. Any idea what it means?”

“I haven’t heard that expression in a while. ‘Keep on trucking’ is a rather informal expression. It’s normally used to encourage someone. When you tell someone to keep on trucking, you’re telling him to continue doing what he’s been doing.”

“In other words, you’re telling him to keep at something, and not quit. You want...”

“Exactly! You’re telling him to stay focussed on what he’s doing — no matter how boring the task is. I hate my job. All I can do is to keep on trucking and hope that my dream job is just around the corner.”

“I’m sure you’ll find your dream job really soon. Till then, keep on trucking. Hey, we haven’t seen a movie in a while! Why don’t we go for one this weekend?”

“That’s not a bad idea. I’m rather keen on seeing ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’. Maybe...”

“I hear it’s very good. Maybe you can ask Sujatha to come along.”

“She won’t be able to, I’m afraid. She’s sitting an exam this weekend. So…”

“Sitting an exam? People usually ‘sit for an exam’, don’t you?”

“One can ‘sit for’ an exam. But it’s also possible to say, ‘sit an exam’. Both mean the same thing as ‘take an exam’. In British English, ‘sit an exam’ is very common. Revathi took a week off after she’d sat her exams.”

“How about this example? I’m usually very nervous when I sit an exam.”

“Sounds good. Of course, you can also say, I’m usually nervous when I sit for an exam.”

“I prefer ‘take’, actually. Like most students, I don’t enjoy taking exams.”

“If you ask me, nobody is fond of exams. Some people spend sleepless nights before an exam.”

“After next semester, I won’t have to worry about exams.”

“Until then, keep on trucking!”

***

Don’t talk about yourself. It’ll be done when you leave. — Wilson Mizner

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 5:32:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/know-your-english/know-your-english-may-9/article8570110.ece

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