THE LANGUAGE LOVERS’ CORNER 36: JUST FOR KICKS
Notes for language teachers and advanced students of the English language
by Oriel E. Villagarcia at email@example.com
I. FURTHER MEANINGS OF FAMILIAR WORDS
Today’s word is EASY
Here are some meanings that your students may not be familiar with:
- If something is within easy reach, it is not difficult to get hold of it.
- In a sentence such as I won’t feel easy until you phone me, you are indicating that you will relax and feel all right only when you get the phone call.
- To feel uneasy about something is to worry about it. I feel uneasy about leaving the children all by themselves.
- If you have an easy day/week you have no difficulties to face.
- Money which is not difficult to get is called easy money.
- If something is easy on the eye(s) or on the ear, it is pleasant to look at or to listen to. Hence, easy music or easy listening.
- If you proceed at an easy pace, you take your time and do not hurry.
- Would you like to watch a thriller or a comedy? Whatever you choose. I’m easy.
- To go easy on somebody is to be tolerant, patient and not too demanding. Ex.: You can’t expect him to speak like a native. Go easy on him. He’s been here for only two months.
- If your doctor tells you to go easy on/with greasy food, he is asking you to eat less fatty food.
- To let someone down easy is to give unfavourable, unpleasant news in a rather gentle way. The boss wanted to find a way to let her down easy when he told her that she was fired.
- If you say that mastering phrasal verbs in English does not come easy, you are indicating that it is difficult to learn how to use them
- You talk about an easy going person to mean that they are relaxed and not difficult to get along with.
- To be (living) on easy street is to be rich.
- Easy does it is an expression to tell someone to slow down and be careful.
- If something is easy-peasy it is very easy. This is mostly a British Engl. usage. It is usually followed by words such as lemon squeezy, or Japanese.
II. OVER TO YOU
Fill in the blanks with the missing word(s). The missing words are related to the word easy.
1. Don’t worry, relax. …… it easy!
2. ………, easy go.
3. That’s easier said ……..
4. Doing that is (as) easy as ……
5. A piece of furniture soft and comfortable where you can relax is an……….
6. Eggs fried on one side, then turned and fried for a short time on the other side,
as in He ordered his eggs ………….. This is an American Engl. usage.
III. ARE THESE WORDS ENGLISH?
Decide whether the following words belong to the English lexicon or whether they have been anglicized by native speakers of Spanish.
1. susurrus 2. tenebrous 3. mordacious 4. irascible
5. comestible 6. aberrant 7. propitious 8. adulate
IV.MATCH THE TWO COLUMNS
Please note that the words on the right may not be necessarily synonyms but just clues to the understanding of the words on the left.
V. DECIDE WHETHER TRUE OR FALSE
1. A tyro is an extremely ugly woman.
2. To inveigh is to use other people’s money for your own benefit.
3. A haven is a shelter, a sanctuary.
4. A repartee is a social welfare program to help the needy.
5. To cower is to shrink back, as in fear or horror.
6. To wrangle is to argue angrily/noisily with someone.
VI. NAME THE VERB
In the following sentences, the verb is the same although the particles differ. Can you identify it?
1. Are you going to ……. around all day doing nothing?
2. I haven’t registered for your course, but could I just …….. in on it just for
3. Do you mind if I …….out this dance? I’m exhausted.
4. I can’t just ………by and let her waste this opportunity. I’ll have to do something.
5. Your teacher is away on a trip, so just for today I will be ………..in for her.
ANSWERS TO THE EXERCISES ABOVE
OVER TO YOU
1. Take it easy. 2. Easy come… 3. ...than done. 4. (as) easy as pie// falling off a log// a piece of cake // taking candy from a baby// ABC . 5. easy chair. 6. eggs over easy.
ARE THESE WORDS ENGLISH?
All of the words are part of the English lexicon except for mordacious, which should be mordant.
Susurrus (a whispering or rustling sound), adulate and tenebrous are low frequency words and are not listed in most EFL dictionaries, but they are used in present day literature. You may want to look them up in the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary online.
As you know, the idea behind this section of THE LANGUAGE LOVERS’ CORNER is to broaden your horizons.
MATCH THE TWO COLUMNS
umbrage--- offence glower-----scowl assuage---mollify
badinage--- banter agog--------excited desultory---purposeless
Please remember that the matches are not necessarily synonyms. They are clues to understanding part of the meaning of the words in question. If you take umbrage at something, you take offence. Both assuage and mollify are usually unknown by most foreign language learners. Assuage means to calm, soothe, relieve. Anger, fear, tension or even itching and hunger can be assuaged. Mollify is most often restricted to calming someone’s anger. No matter what I said to her, she was not mollified. He tried to mollify his critics with an apology (examples from Merriam-Webster online). The word agog usually collocates with excitement. She was agog with excitement when she found out she had won the lottery.
The word desultory emphasizes lack of planning and definite purpose, or leaving a task unfinished because you have started another, a desultory discussion (i.e. changing from one subject to another), desultory fashion, desultory manner. Perfunctory stresses lack of enthusiasm and doing something because it is expected of you rather than your own choice, a perfunctory smile, handshake, greeting.
Again, the Merriam-Webster defines perfunctory as characterized by routine or superficiality and points the reader to the word mechanical. Among the synonyms if offers are apathetic, complacent, disinterested, incurious, insouciant and procurante.
DECIDE WHETHER TRUE OR FALSE
1. False. A tyro is a beginner, somebody who is inexperienced.
2. False. To inveigh is to protest or complain bitterly about something—to inveigh
against the evils of capitalism. A formal word-
4. False. Repartee (uncountable) is clever conversation with funny and witty
remarks. Often used in the phrase quick at repartee to indicate someone who
is able to come back to their interlocutor with a funny response.
6. True. You wrangle with someone about or over something. They wrangled
about who should have custody of the children.
NAME THE VERB
The verb is sit.
TOOLS FOR TEACHERS AND TWO LANGUAGE WORKSHOPS
It may interest you to know that TOOLS FOR TEACHERS is offering the following language workshops:
1. PEOPLE AND THEIR WAYS: Calling people by their names
This workshop focuses on answering questions such as what do you call
somebody who accumulates all sorts of things and has difficulty letting go of them?
What do you call somebody who supposedly brings bad luck to others? We
examine about 100 language questions along those lines.
Saturday, June 30, 10:30-13:30, Coronel Diaz 1747, Buenos Aires
2. A FURTHER LOOK AT COLLOQUIAL ENGLISH
A further selection of words found in conversational colloquial English and often
heard in sitcoms.
Tuesday, 24 July, 11:00 to 14:00, Coronel Diaz 1747, Buenos Aires
Further details, fees and how to register in the TOOLS FOR TEACHERS workshop section elsewhere in this bulletin, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
TIME TO SAY GOODBYE
We hope you have enjoyed working through the exercises presented above, and we would like to take this opportunity to wish you well in all of your endeavours. Please feel free to contact us with your feedback. Just write to us at email@example.com
Oriel E. Villagarcía holds an M.A. in Linguistics for English Language Teaching from the University of Lancaster, and was on the Advisory Panel for the MACMILLAN ENGLISH DICTIONARY (MED), First Edition. He is a British Council and a Fulbright Scholar, and he did graduate work at the University of Texas. He is available for workshops on language
or methods throughout the country and abroad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org