Vocabulary Building Activities

Vocabulary Building Activities

These exercises are fun & effective at the same time. It will definitely help you in improving Your Vocabulary.

Try it.

Punctuation Practice

All of the capital letters, periods and commas have been removed from the text blow. Use your red correction pen to write the capital letters, periods and commas where they belong. The answer bank at the end of the text shows how many capital letters, periods and commas have been removed from the text.

the ant and the grasshopper

in a field one summer’s day a grasshopper was hopping about chirping and singing to its heart’s content an ant passed by bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest

“why not come and chat with me” said the grasshopper “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”

“i am helping to lay up food for the winter” said the ant “and recommend you to do the same”

“why bother about winter?” said the grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present” but the ant went on its way and continued its toil when the winter came the grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer then the grasshopper knew: it is best to prepare for the days of necessity

7 (.) 20 (ABC) 7 (,)

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In ordinary writing in which numbers do not occur frequently, spell all amounts from one to one hundred inclusive, and also round numbers.
1. There are eighty-three people in our employ.
2. The paper contained one hundred signatures.
Note, however, that in writing numbers of five or more digits in the thousands it is preferable to use figures whenever it would be awkward to spell them. For example,you should express twenty-one thousand in words, but 21,512 in figures.
The following special rules will be found helpful:
1. Spell numbers or signs beginning a sentence or immediately following a colon. In such cases, if you prefer, you may change the arrangement of the sentence.
1. Seventy-five dollars is too much.
2. Plus and minus sometimes occur together in algebra. (Not 4- and — .)
3. Fifty or sixty orders were received. (Not Fifty or 60 orders were received.”)
2. When two numbers occur together, express one of them in words — thus :
1. Ten 5-room cottages.
2. Seven 8-inch guns.
3. 150 Fifth Avenue.
3. Express in words the time of day. In time-tables, however, figures are used.
1. Eight-thirty.
2. Ten o’clock.
If associated with several other sums, use figures.
Fifty rupees was the admission fee.
5. Express ages in words.
The secretary was fifty years of age.

In writing that involves the frequent enumeration of weights, measures, distances, sums of monty, dates, degrees, percentages, proportions, stocks and bonds, etc., figures are much more freely used.

This applies especially to adjustment letters, collection letters, order letters, contracts, and to statistics of any kind. The following special rules should prove helpful:
1. Express dates in figures, but spell the month.
June 25, 1921. (Not 6/25/21)
2. Express in figures street numbers and house numbers.
1014 N. 10 Street.

4. Express per cents, degrees, and ratios in figures.
1.7 per cent interest.
2. Longitude 70° 05′ 08” E.
3. The ratio is 3 to 5.

5. Express in figures a list of articles such as may occur in inquiries or statements about them.
Please send 3 doz. not. 36 shirts.

As I said, do not get overwhelmed with this grammar part. But if you are already confident about it, then be sure to read other articles in this series.

Rajesh Gurule

Shall AND Will – Two of the most confused words while speaking in English

Shall AND Will – Two of the most confused words while speaking in English

In the course, I have given the MOST simplistic way to use shall and will. But still I get emails or letters from course users, who ask about using these 2 words correctly.

For all of you, here is the explanation. But I’ll still stick to what I said in our Marathi 2 English SPeaking Home Study Course.

A careful examination  reveals the fact that shall and will are used not only with great frequency but in
nearly every case correctly.

In oral speech perhaps even the most careful business men do not always distinguish between shall and will, but they are careful to do so in written speech. No good business person would desire to employ a stenographer who does not know how to use shall and will correctly.

There is nothing in the practical usage of these words which you cannot easily learn. In this article you will find the explanations and illustrations made very easy.

When you wish merely to express future time, use shall with I and we. The word is correctly used in the following sentences:
1. We shall welcome future orders from you.
2. We shall be glad to hear from you in a few days that our terms are satisfactory.
3. I shall he pleased to meet your representative and talk the matter over with him.
4. I shall he delighted to see you.

If you wish to express a promise or to show that you are determined to do something, use will with / and we.

Thus ” I will ” is the natural and correct way to say, “ I  am willing.’ ” I promise,” or ” I have made up my mind.”

Note the correct use of will in these sentences:
1. Send the bookcase back, and we will refund your money.
2. We will extend your credit from thirty to sixty days.
3. If shipment has not already been made, we will see that the cabinet goes forward just as soon as possible.
4. The goods reached us in damaged condition, and unless you replace them we will place no more orders with your house.
5. I will send a tracer at once.

Do not say, ” I will he pleased to call at your office for a personal interview ” or “I will he glad to meet your cousin.”
In such sentences you are not making a promise or even expressing determination, for certainly nobody
would promise or express a determination to be pleased or to be glad.

Remember that the correct expressions are these: ” I shall he pleased ” and ” I shall he glad.”

In questions always use shall with I and we. Remember to say, ”Shall I? ” or ”Shall we?”
Note the following illustrations –
1. Shall I answer the telegram from the Company?
2. Shall we address the letters to the company or to you personally?

You have already learned that you should use shall with- I and we to express future time. With all other subjects, however, you should use will to express future time. The term ” all other subjects ” includes you, he, she, it, Manisha, people, etc.
Note carefully the use of will in the following sentences:
1. You will be pleased with these tires.
2. It will require three months to finish the course in business English.
3. The enclosed card when properly filled out will bring you our catalog.

If you wish to express determination that someone else shall do a thing, you should use shall instead of will with all subjects but I and we. A promise is expressed in the same way.

The meaning is usually very clear. Note carefully the following illustrations:
1. They shall not pass. (Determination.)
2. You shall have your orders in the future. (Promise.)
3. If he will return the wheel, he shall have an exact duplicate*. (Promise.)

In questions, when any subject other than I or we is used, choose the word that would occur in the answer.
In this case you would have to pause a moment to think what the answer would be; then the difficulty quickly disappears.

Note carefully the following illustrations:
1. Will you file these letters? I will. (Promise in the answer.)
2. Shall you welcome future orders from them? We shall welcome them.
3. If you do not finish your work, what excuse shall you give? I shall give none.

Should and would are, in general, used like shall and will, being the past tense forms of these verbs.

Would may also be used to express habitual action — as, ” The secretary would sit for hours at his desk.” Both should and would are frequently used by business men and others in so-called softened statements — as, ” I should advise an early settlement ” or “I should like to suggest a better plan of adjustment.”

Finally, should is often used to express duty or obligation — as, ” We believe that you should make a small payment at least each month.”

In clauses introduced by that, expressed or understood, when the subject is different from that in the principal statement, the same auxihary should be used that would be employed if the clause were made a separate sentence — for example,

” Harish says that I will find my new work interesting.”

Here will is the correct word, because if the clause were made an independent sentence, it would
be stated as follows: ” Harish said,” You will find your new work interesting.”

So now you know when to use shall and when to use will. Now go & speak with somebody in English.

As I said, do not get overwhelmed with this grammar part. But if you are already confident about it, then be sure to read other articles in this series.

Rajesh Gurule

How To Use Prepositions in English

How To Use Prepositions in English Correctly

As prepositions have different shades of meaning, they should be selected with care. The following suggestions should help you to use them correctly:
1. Ordinarily such prepositions as in, on, at, and hy denote rest; such prepositions as to, into, unto, toward, from, and a few others, denote motion.
1. The telegram is lying on the table.
2. The messenger walked to the station. in denotes position or presence within; into, entrance.
1. All employees of the Crossett Lumber Company live in the village.

2. A stranger came into the office to inquire for work.

3. Between should be used with reference to two persons or things; among, with reference to three or more.
1. The unsuccessful man divided his time between gambling and speculation.
2. The company distributed the money as a bonus among its employees.

4. Beside means by the side of; besides, in addition to.
1. The plaintiff sat beside his attorney.
2. Besides ambition, the salesman should have patience.

5. In should be used when reference is made to the interior of any place. It is used before the names of countries or districts and of large cities. At should be used generally in speaking of a place regarded as a mere local point, such as a village.
1. The president of the company arrived in New York on Friday.
2. Our agent stopped at Lake Village, a small town in Arkansas.

6. On and upon should be considered as absolute synonyms, but upon is more emphatic. Upon is also the proper
word to use with depend—as, ”Your ability in any line will depend upon dozens of important character quahties.”
Some crude errors in the use of prepositions are due almost wholly to carelessness. These consist chiefly of the omission of a necessary preposition or the addition of an unnecessary one. Do not omit a preposition whenever it is necessary to the grammatical completeness of the statement or adds clearness or emphasis. For example, it is incorrect to say, ^’Any size envelope will be satisfactory.”
Say, “An envelope of any size will be satisfactory.” It is also very poor usage to say, “It is no use,” “It is no availl.’
“It is no consequence,” etc. Note the gain in effectiveness when stated thus: ” It is of no use,” ” It is of no avail,” ” It is of no consequence,” etc.

Do not say, ” Where is the  telegram at?” or “Why did you do it for?” In both cases much is gained by the omission of at and for.
Another incorrect expression, limited almost wholly to oral speech, is off of— as, ” The copy of the contract fell off of the table.” Here the word of should be omitted.
Also in such sentences as ” I do not remember of his mailing the letter,” the word of is not permissible. It is correct to say, “I do not remember his mailing the letter.”
The use of the word of to take the place of have in such expressions as could of, would of, should of, might of, may I had of, and must of is inexcusably bad. The correct expressions are, of course, could have, would have, should have, might have, may have, had, and must have.

The preposition to be used after a word sometimes depends upon the sense in which the word is used. For example:

Accommodate with a desirable or needed thing.
My banker accommodated me with a loan.
Accommodate to, to adapt.
They accommodated themselves to their surroundings.

Accused of crime or offense.
The treasurer has been accused of embezzlement.

Accused by a person.
The young man was accused by his employer.

Adapted for something by nature.
The rich delta land was adapted for cotton.

Adapt from an author.
The paragraph was adapted from Read’s “Salesmanship.”

Adapt to a thing.
Our customers became adapted to the new high-price level.

Agree to a plan, a proposal, or an opinion.
Edison sometimes agreed to the plans of his friends.

Agree with a person.
Mr. Perkins agreed with me that an investment in oil is unsafe.

Agree upon a decision.
The officers of the company agreed upon an advertising campaign.

Angry at a thing.
The customer became angry at my sarcastic remarks.
Angry with a person.
You cannot afford to become angry with a customer.

Attend to business.
The manager of a small concern frequently attends to all the business of his office.

Attend upon a person.
The gentleman’s secretary attended upon him throughout his visit to South America.
Attended by a person.
The capitalist was attended by his faithful servant. ‘

Attended with consequences.
The rainy season was attended with heavy losses to cotton.

Beset by evils.
Before banks became numerous many business men were beset by highwaymen.
Beset with arguments.
The crafty salesman beset his customer with many arguments.

Communicate to a person, to give information to.
Through extensive advertising we have communicated to the public the facts about the merits of our goods.
Communicate with a person, to speak or write to.
Should you need additional cars, communicate with any one of our salesmen.
Compare to unHke things.
The personality of a salesman may be compared to magnetism.

Compare with like things or similar qualities.
Our rubber goods compare favorably with those of any other company.
Consist in, to have the substance, foundation, or character.
Tact in salesmanship consists in the ability to do the right thing at the right time.

Consist of, to be made of or composed of.
Our stock of goods consists of dniigs and stationery.

Confide in, to trust in.
The people would gladly confide in men like Mr. Straus.

Confide to, to trust to.
The manager confided to his stenographer several important papers.
Die of disease (not from disease).
In 1918-19 so many people died of influenza that the Iowa
Bankers’ Life Company suspended payment of dividends.

Differ from a person or thing in likeness.
Our new Steel Filing equipment difers greatly from the wooden one we have been using.
Differ with, in opinion.
None of our competitors has dared to difer with us concerning the merits of the Chalmers Sedan.
Different from (not diferent than or to).
Your work in the office is different from mine. Do not say “Your work in the office is diferent than mine.”
Part from a person.
It was hard to part from my old partner, Mr. Brown.

Part with a thing.
A salesman must make his article of merchandise so attractive that the customer will be ready to part with his money.
Remonstrate against a thing.
The managers of the large department stores remonstrated against the closing order issued by the Board of Health.
Remonstrate with a person.
The foreman stopped to remonstrate with some striking workmen.

Taste for literature, music, art, etc.
Working people should endeavor to cultivate a taste for good literature.
Taste of food.
The taste oj pie was unknown to the employees at the lumber camps.
Omit of when taste is used as a verb — as,I Taste the pie.”

As I said, do not get overwhelmed with this grammar part. But if you are already confident about it, then be sure to read other articles in this series.

Rajesh Gurule

How to use English plurals

How to use English plurals while speaking in English in business situations

This article shall help you in understanding how to use English plurals in business situations while speaking in English.
A careful examination of a bundle of discarded  communications letters revealed a number of flagrant errors in the formation of plurals. Fortunately, these mistakes were of only a few kinds.

By far the greatest number was found in the use of certain words that every successful stenographer
or bookkeeper should know. In this article, then, you will be required to study only those forms that will likely be useful in your future work.

In general, nouns form their plurals by the addition of s or es to the singular.

Nouns ending in y preceded by a consonant change y to i and add es. The word lady, belonging to this class, seems to cause more trouble than almost any other. You may rightly say a lady’s hat, or even a lady’s hats, if you are thinking of but one person; but if you are thinking of more than one, you should write ladies’ hats.

Most nouns ending in i or f change f to v and add es — as, knife, knives; shelf, shelves. There are, however, a few belonging to this class that add merely s.

As they are very frequently used, you should make an effort to remember them. The chief ones are brief, chief, gulf, proof, and scarf.

Nouns ending in o cause much trouble. Perhaps this simple rule will help a great deal: If a consonant precedes the o, add es — as, cargo, cargoes; potato, potatoes. There are of course some exceptions which must be carefully committed to memory. These include the following: solos, albinos, banjos, dynamos, pianos, porticos, provisos, tobaccos, twos, zeros.

Compound nouns cause little difficulty, and need cause none if you remember that each consists of two parts — a principal word and a word or words that describe the principal word. All that is required, therefore, is that you make the principal word plural — as, car-loads, brothers-in-law.
In compounds written solid — that is, without a hyphen —make the ending plural — as, bucketfuls, cupfuls, handfuls, spoonfuls. If, however, you desire to say that there is more than one bucket or cup, you should write the expressions thus: buckets full, cups full, etc.

Occasionally you will want to use the plural of a letter, figure, or sign. In this case merely add the apostrophe and s — as, bs, 5’s, $’s.

In correspondence you will doubtless be puzzled at times to know how to form the plural when titles are involved.
To form the plural of military titles you should generally add s at the last — as, major generals. In the case of civil titles, however, you should generally add s to the first part — as, attorneys general.
The words goods, assets, and proceeds are used frequently in business. They always require plural verbs.

The names of certain sciences —physics, ethics, and mathematics — end in s, but they are nevertheless singular.

Business ethics was studied by every member of the firm.

The expressions two dozen, three score  are very often used. Remember that dozen, score  and
a few other words of this kind do not require the addition of s when preceded by a numeral.

In order letters the word pair is sometimes used instead of pairs. This is incorrect. The word pairs should always be used — as, three pairs of socks.

So that is what you need to know about using plurals while speaking in English. Refer other articles also to improve your confidence about this.

As I said, do not get overwhelmed with this grammar part. But if you are already confident about it, then be sure to read other articles in this series.

Rajesh Gurule