Wow! It seems gods have finally decided to give us some feel of winters this year; at least the mornings and late evenings are chilly. Terrific! Guys and gals (girls, women), you can now show off your woollens – all those lovely jackets and shawls can be put to proper use. Winters in North are mind bogglingly (unbelievably) freezing, it’s so cold that your fingers are almost numb (without sensation) and the layers of sweaters are just not enough, but despite the biting (sharp, piercing) chill it is an experience of its own – the traditional angithis have been replaced by blowers, but the charm still remains; it’s kind of terribly great!

Terribly – great! How odd, how can I put ‘terribly and great’ together? ‘Terribly’ means horribly or badly and ‘great’ means heroic and huge. What a weird (strange) combination!

What is terribly great? Well! It’s an oxymoron. Oxymoron is putting two opposite words together.

Example: fiery cold, screaming silence, pretty ugly, automatic control, good grief…

The mountains were fiery cold. The silence in the room was screaming. The painting was pretty ugly. He believes in automatically controlling his children. Good grief! You actually won the race!

Note: Moron without ‘oxy’ means ‘extremely stupid’.

Example: He is such a moron. The moron finds faults with everyone.

I am sure you remember something called ‘Figures of Speech’ from your school days. If you don’t, here’s the answer – Figure of speech is a distinctive (unique) way of saying something to create a special effect.



‘Brave as a lion’ is a simile, simile means comparing two different things, which have some common point.

‘The trees laughed with health’ is a personification where inanimate (still, lifeless) things are given human qualities.

There are a number of Figures of Speech; which help you beautify your language. To know more about them you can refer to any grammar book. I personally like: Thompson and Martinet’s A Practical English Grammar, Betty Schrampfer’s Understanding and Using English Grammar, Edmund Murphy’s English Grammar in Use, Michael Swan’s Practical English Usage, Michael Swan’s How English Works: A Grammar Practice Book

Let me discuss this letter:

 Hello Mam,
I am Amit Rangwani and *I daily read your classes mentioned in Ahmedabad Mirror of Times of India on monday, wednesday and friday.
^I have doubts regarding ^usage of “No sooner….”,

I want to know when to use “had” and “did” after No sooner.

I would be thankful to you if you could solve my doubt.

Amit, here are your answers: But first, I want to make a few corrections in your letter, I’m sure you won’t mind.

*I read your column in Ahmedabad Mirror, every alternate day, i.e., Monday, Wednesday and Friday. (Amit, capitalize the first letter of ‘days and months’)

^ put ‘the’ before usage. (Amit, your English is quite ok, save for a few mistakes. I think if you put in a little effort, you’d be pretty proficient (skillful) in a few weeks.)

Now for ‘no sooner….’ Observe these sentences:

No sooner had I completed my first assignment than I was given the second one.

No sooner did I complete my first assignment than I was given the second one.

Both the sentences mean the same thing, except that the first sentence is in perfect tense and the second is not. They show different time periods.

Read an article for today’s home-work.

Have a rocking week…

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