Know Your English Education

Don’t be a Twitterholic

“Bala doesn’t have to worry about money. He comes from a wealthy family. He is the .... How do you pronounce h..e..i..r?”

“It is pronounced like the word ‘air’. Unlike the word ‘hair’, the ‘h’ is silent in this case. Do you know what ‘heir’ means?”

“Of course, I do. Isn’t he the person who receives money or property when someone in his family dies — usually, when the father or the mother dies?”

“It needn’t be just the parents. It could be anyone.”

“My friend Bala has nothing to worry about because he is the heir to his uncle’s fortune.”

“That’s a good example. Unfortunately, my uncle has no children. He has no heir.”

“Really? Then, why don’t you get him to adopt you? If he doesn’t like you, he could consider me. I am also available for adoption!”

Extremely wealthy

“Very funny! If he chooses to adopt you, you will come into some serious money.”

“Serious money? What are you saying? How can money be serious about anything?”

“Native speakers of English often use the word ‘serious’ before nouns in informal contexts to mean ‘substantial’ or ‘considerable’.”

“So, in this case, you are emphasising the fact that your uncle’s heir will come into a lot of money. A large amount!”

“That’s right. During the winter break, Mala did some serious partying.”

“Meaning that Mala did a lot of partying. Perhaps a little too much?”

“Yes, it could suggest that it was extreme. Here’s another...”

“Let me give it a try. Even after the surgery, Naresh was experiencing serious pain.”

“Sounds good. What’s wrong with the biscuits? Don’t you like them?”

“Of course, I like them. What makes you think I don’t?”

“I have seen you eat biscuits before. If it is something you like, you usually finish it in two bites. The way you have been nibbling at the one in your hand suggests that you are not...”

“Nibbling? Does it mean to eat something reluctantly?”

“No, that is not what it means. When you ‘nibble on’ or ‘nibble at’ something, you take small bites of it. It can be something you like or dislike.”

“In my case, I nibble when I eat something that I don’t really like. When I eat something that I enjoy, I just gobble it up.”

“I know! I have seen the way you eat samosas and bajjis. Anyway, here is an example. Shanthi sat there nibbling at her cheese sandwich.”

“Ram was definitely worried about something. He sat on the sofa nibbling on a carrot.”

“Ram really hates carrots. He must have read something on Twitter that upset him.”

“Do you have a Twitter account?”

“I do. But unlike most of my friends, I don’t spend a lot of time on it. I am not what you might call a Twitterholic.”

“Twitterholic? Sounds like ‘alcoholic’ and ‘workaholic’. So, is a ‘Twitterholic’ someone who loves to spend a lot of time on Twitter?”

“Yes, the person is addicted to Twitter. He tries to spend as much time on it as he can.”

“I know someone who is a Twitterholic. Donald Trump! He is constantly tweeting.”

“That is true! I am told Bala is a Twitterholic as well.”

“With the kind of money he has, he doesn’t need to work. He can spend all the time he wants on Twitter.”

********************************

On Twitter, we get excited when someone follows us. In real life, we get really scared and run away. Unknown

The author teaches at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad upendrankye@gmail.com

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 12:47:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/dont-be-a-twitterholic/article26289390.ece

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