Speak English with Me – Surabhi Pillai

Hi, there! It’s been nine weeks since you started learning English with me, nine weeks is a very short time to see any improvement, but if you have been following my suggestions then you must be noticing improvement in your English language skills.

You will have to be consistent (constant) in your learning. If you practice one day and skip the next five days, it won’t help. So if you have decided that English is a must then be consistent and practice every single day.

Swami Vivekananda said, ‘Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.’ Well! It is this philosophy of the great Swami that was adopted by many successful people, who with their single minded determination went on to become great themselves and made their country and the people of their country proud of them.

Recently, a girl came up to me and said, “Madam, I will never be able to speak good English. I have no money to buy books.” Almost in tears, she further added, “You keep urging us to read, how do I read?” This is what I said to her, having money is no guarantee to education. Why do you have to buy books? Take up a library membership, Ahmedabad has some very good libraries. Libraries are treasure chests of books, not just English; you can have an access to so many other subjects. So please stop wallowing (crying) in self- pity, it’ll get you nowhere, instead find a way.

This is how you can read books without spending too much money:

– Library membership

– Invest in old books from hawkers (roadside sellers)

– Borrow from friends, teachers, relatives or whoever

-Visit bookshops and make use of the coffee shops there, read while you have your coffee. (Although, the bookshop owners might not appreciate this idea of mine and you may have to pay for that mug of coffee as well. But you can linger (stay behind, hang on) on it for hours.

Alright, a few things about English:

You can capitalize ‘u’ in, ‘Uncle Rohit’, but you can’t capitalize ‘u’ in, ‘Rohit uncle’. Yes, the rule says that when you put the relationship of the person before his or her name, you capitalize the first letter of the relationship but not if you put the relationship after the name.

So it is, ‘Maasi Rashmi’ and ‘Rashmi maasi’

Sam, a reader, has asked me, “Why don’t we use ‘the’ before the names of the countries?”

Sam, ‘the’ is a definite article. It is not to be used before the proper nouns, unless, of course there’s an exception. Let’s check out, the rules and the exceptions that break these rules:

1.     Never before names (Kavita), surnames (Patel) and full names (Kavita Patel)

2.     Never before names of places (London, Delhi)

Ah! Here’s a rule breaker, which means an exception- If the name of the country includes, ‘States’ (the United States of America), ‘Kingdom’ (the United Kingdom), ‘Republic’ (the Czech Republic), use ‘the’. The ‘the’ is also to be used with ‘Netherlands’, so it’s ‘the Netherlands’.

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