Category Archives: vocabulary

#WOTD: 2021’s Word of The Year

How’s your 2022 so far? We hope that it’s your best year yet.

If you’re an Indonesian and have passed 6+ months since your second vaccination, be on the lookout for your third shot. It’s important to keep ourselves and everyone around us safe.

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Speaking of vaccine, it is chosen by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as Word of the Year for 2021.

Another version, ‘vax,’ is the Word of the Year picked by Oxford Dictionaries.

Dictionary.com, on the other hand, chose ‘allyship’ amongst other popular words such as ‘vaccine,’ ‘critical race theory,’ and ‘burnout.’
The picking of ‘allyship’ is the first time that a new word to the dictionary gets chosen as Word of the Year.

Note: According to Dictionary.com, to become an ally is to ‘advocate and actively work for the inclusion of a marginalized or politicized group in all areas of society, not as a member of that group but in solidarity with its struggle and point of view and under its leadership.’

The Cambridge Dictionary has chosen ‘perseverance,’ with the word being related to NASA’s Perseverance Rover landing on Mars.

The last but not least, the Collins Dictionary chose ‘NFT’ or non-fungible token, which means ‘the unique digital identifier that records ownership of a digital asset.’

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 15 January 2022.

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#EngKnowledge: History of English Dictionary
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#EngVocab #EngKnowledge: Various Christmas Greetings

Photo by Dana Tentis on Pexels.com

Most English-speaking people use ‘merry Christmas’ in their Christmas greetings. There are many options to choose from, as follows:

  1. “Season’s greetings from…”
    According to Dictionary.com, the exact origin of the phrase ‘season’s greetings’ is unknown, but it is predicted to have risen in popularity during the same time as ‘merry Christmas.’
    We normally use ‘season’s greetings’ in writing like cards, texts, or emails, to people who celebrate Christmas and other holidays around the end of the year, starting from Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and New Year.
    ‘Season’s greetings’ carries a neutral, non-religious tone, and it can be used interchangeably with ‘happy holidays.’
  2. “Have a very merry Christmas!”
    This Christmas greeting is also mostly used in writing. This sentence means to wish the receiver a joyous Christmas celebration.
  3. “Happy Christmas!”
    When the first Harry Potter movie came out, I was surprised by the use of ‘happy Christmas,’ as I had been more accustomed to ‘merry Christmas.’
    Later, I found out that ‘happy Christmas’ is still widely used in England.
  4. “Merry Christmas!”
    While ‘happy’ is considered an emotional state, ‘merry’ gives a more active or playful connotation. The phrase ‘merry Christmas’ is widely popular in greetings, carols, and Christmas songs.
  5. “Happy holidays!”
    There are several other holidays around Christmas, from Kwanzaa to Hanukkah to Boxing Day and New Year, so we use ‘happy holidays’ as to commemorate all the celebrations that are being observed.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Friday, 24 December 2021.

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#EngKnowledge: Autumn and Fall

It’s nearing the end of October already. Have you ever wondered why British English uses the word ‘autumn’ while American English uses ‘fall?’

Autumn or fall refers to the season between spring and winter in countries, continents, or regions that have four seasons. It usually begins on 22 or 23 September in the Northern Hemisphere (northern part of the equatorial line) and 20 or 21 March in the Southern Hemisphere. The season generally lasts for 3 months.

Autumn is indicated by the leaves that change colour to yellowish or brownish shade, the falling leaves, shorter days, birds migration to areas with warmer weather, the last harvest before winter and thus harvest festival, and damp weather.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the older of the two words is ‘autumn’. It has been existing since 1300s. It probably came from the Latin word ‘autumnus.’

Over time, autumn was getting more commonly associated with the ‘fall’ of the leaves. By 1600, the word ‘fall’ started to gain popularity to call this particular season.

As years went by, the English spoken in Britain and the English spoken in America diverged. Even though ‘autumn’ and ‘fall’ both came from Britain, ‘fall’ is considered more American and continued to flourish in American English. In fact, it is regarded as carrying an ‘American identity’ to distinguish the continent from its former British occupant.

In both British and American English, the word ‘autumn’ and ‘fall’ can be used interchangeably, although ‘autumn’ is more popular in countries that use British English and ‘fall’ is more popular in countries that use American English.

Source:
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/autumn-vs-fall

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 30 October 2021.

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#EngVocab: Many Uses of the Word ‘Like’

This article will discuss the many, many uses of the word ‘like.’

Generally we use the word ‘like’ as a verb, to state that we are fond of something or someone.
Example:
“I like the polka dot dress.”

We can also use it as a preposition to signify similarities.
Example:
“The baby’s face is like the mother’s.”

Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels.com

Let’s discuss other uses of ‘like.’

Noun
We use ‘like’ to refer to a thing or some things of the same kind.
E.g.:
“This is my first time coming across this flower. Have you ever seen the like?”
Lately, with social media being on the rise, ‘like’ also means the amount of positive reaction on a social media post.
E.g.: “Her YouTube channel rakes in/receives millions of views and hundreds of thousands of likes.”

Verb
There are ‘to like’ and ‘to dislike.’
To like = expressing fondness of something or someone.
E.g.:
“I like your dress. Very summertime vibe!”

To dislike = expressing distaste of something or someone.
E.g.:
“I dislike loud vehicles. They’re just too noisy.”

Conjunction
As a conjunction, ‘like’ can mean ‘as’ and ‘as though/as if.’
E.g.:
“They travel abroad monthly like (as) visiting their hometown.”
“She spends money like (as if) it grows on trees.

Adjective
For this use, we inflect/modify ‘like’ to ‘alike’ and ‘unlike.’

‘Alike’ = having similar qualities.
E.g.:
“Her face is so alike her mother’s.”

‘Unlike’ = having different qualities.
E.g.:
Unlike yesterday’s cloudy weather, today we had bright, blue sky.”

Adverb
We can inflect ‘like’ to ‘likely’ and ‘unlikely/not likely.’

Likely = expressing high probability.
E.g.:
“The match is likely to end with a draw.”

Unlikely/not likely = expressing low probability.
E.g.:
“The case is unlikely dropped, now that it gets public attention.”

Informal use
‘Like’ can be used as a filler and as a person’s reported reaction to something or someone.
E.g.
“I was so, like, hyped up and excited.”
“I was like, ‘Why are you so obsessed with me?'”

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 9 October 2021.

RELATED ARTICLE(S):
#EngTalk: ‘Like’ and ‘Literally,’ Two of the Most Overused Words
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#EngVocab: Ways of Expressing Dislike
#GrammarTrivia: Conditional Sentences Using ‘As If,’ ‘As Though,’ and ‘Like’

#EngVocab: Prefixes ‘un-‘ and ‘in-‘

Prefixes un- and in- are two similar prefixes which, if attached to a word, will create an opposite meaning.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Examples of words with prefix un-:
Undo, meaning the opposite of do
Unsaid, meaning not said
Unnecessary, meaning not necessary
Unwanted, meaning not wanted
And many more.

Examples of words with prefix in-:
Inactive, meaning not active
Incompetent, meaning not competent
Indirect, meaning not direct
Indefinite, meaning not definite
And so forth.

You can find many more examples in the dictionary. So, our main question will be when we use either prefix. Why do we say ‘unfinished’ instead of ‘infinished?’ Why do we use ‘incomplete’ instead of ‘uncomplete?’ Besides, those two words have similar meaning, too.

Many scholars argue that words that have English/Germanic root will go with prefix un- and words that have Latin root will go with prefix in-. To ensure which prefix we should use between the two, I think we will have to read often to increase our vocabulary.

Other prefixes that are the variations of prefix in- are prefixes im- (e.g., ‘impartial,’ meaning not partial), ir- (e.g., ‘irresistible’), and il- (e.g., ‘illegal’).

Now, can you give me more examples of words with prefixes un- and in-?

@Marco_20July: Uncertain, meaning not certain
Unsure, meaning not sure

Source: https://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-unv1.htm

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Friday, 24 September 2021.

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#EngVocab #EngKnowledge: Common Mental Health Vocabulary

TW/CW: mention of suicide and mental health issues.

Disclaimer: admin is by no means a mental health professional but is currently undergoing a treatment with both a psychiatrist and a psychologist. The content of this article is going to be cited from reliable sources, which are mentioned at the end of the article.

Today, 10 September is #WorldSuicidePreventionDay. On this occasion, we’d like to share some vocabularies related to mental health conditions.

Picture credit: International Association for Suicide Prevention (https://www.iasp.info/campaigns/world-suicide-prevention-day/)

We realise this is a very serious and sensitive topic, but we feel that it is only right to help start the conversation, especially during a pandemic that increases our stress level by multiple times. If you find the topic to be overwhelming, kindly take some time for yourself and skip this article.

To start, what classifies as a mental health condition?
It is a condition that affects someone’s thinking, mood, behaviour, and even personality, to the point of limiting someone’s capability to function on a day-to-day basis.

How did mental health condition start to develop?
There are a variety of possible causes, namely genetics, past traumatic events, a stressful environment, unhealthy coping mechanisms, or biological causes.

What is trauma?
Trauma is our emotional response, or as I would like to call it, a ‘psychological scar,’ that is caused by terrible events. For example, abuse, accidents, war, or natural disasters.

What is coping mechanism?
Coping mechanism is a strategy that we use to face difficulties or resurfacing trauma. Generally, there are healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Example of healthy coping mechanism:
– talking to an old friend
– spending time with loved ones
– going to therapy
– having a me time
– taking a break/removing ourselves from the stressful environment
– exercising
– eating healthy food
– finding a new hobby

Example of unhealthy coping mechanism:
– drinking or using mind-altering substances
– binge-eating
– splurging/overspending
– gambling
– avoiding our issues/running from our problems
– reckless behaviour with no regards to the consequences

What is the most common mental health condition?
There are two that one would say off the top of their head: anxiety and depression. These two conditions can also coexist with or be the symptoms of a deeper condition.

What is anxiety?
Anxiety (generalized anxiety disorder) is excessive worry, nervousness, and fear that interferes with someone’s life. It is more complex than feeling nervous on our first day of work, for example.

Occasional worry, anxiety, or nervousness is a part of our survival instinct. They alert us to a possible threat or danger and they help us to be more aware or prepared. However, those who live with anxiety disorder are too focused on the things that worry them.

This can manifest in avoiding a situation that can trigger them, excessive pounding of the heart, excessive sweating, avoiding social interaction, not wanting to leave one’s home, not wanting to go to work or school or fulfill one’s responsibility.

Consequently, anxiety can alter our sleeping pattern (overthinking at night), causing sleeping problems like insomnia, resulting in excessive fatigue or frequent headache, and affecting our mood. At this stage, we definitely need to meet a mental health professional lest the symptoms worsen. A panic attack is a sure sign that one is dealing with anxiety issues.

What is depression?
Depression (clinical depression/major depressive disorder) is a persistently depressed mood, generally accompanied by a loss of interest to things we normally like and a intense feeling of emptiness, helplessness, or hopelessness.

One can have a natural sadness; one can also have a depression. While we can take time and do something interesting to deal with sadness, people who live with depression cannot find excitement or joy in anything.

Oftentimes, they don’t have enough energy to even get out of bed, which is why depression is often mistaken as ‘laziness.’ More symptoms include withdrawing from social interaction, isolating oneself, lack of focus, no sleep or excessive sleep, irritability (easily angry), and suicidal thoughts.

Can mental health conditions be cured?
Therapy with mental health professionals, be it individual or group therapy combined with medications can help someone ‘get back on their feet.’ Healthy lifestyle and supportive environment also play a big role.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Admin receives this question a lot when I open up to other people about my mental health treatment.

A psychiatrist is a mental health professional who handles the medical aspect of a mental health issue, which may include physical and psychological assessment, diagnosis, and prescribing medications.

A psychologist handles the mental and emotional state of an individual. In some cases, a psychologist may issue a referral for us to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. A psychologist is also commonly known as a therapist.

Can we avoid taking medications?
Most people are concerned of the idea of taking medications because there is a stigma that we can be ‘addicted’ or that the medications will have side effects or cause harm to our internal organs. This is not the case, as long as we take the medication by the prescribed dose and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This is something we need to discuss with the mental health professional who is taking care of us, so communicate it openly.

Can someone have suicide ideation/ suicidal thoughts even though they don’t have mental health conditions?
It is possible. Therefore, I would implore you to regularly check on your loved ones and open up about whatever difficulties you are facing. We are not alone.

Some signs if someone may be having suicidal thoughts:
– recently experiencing an emotional shock or facing a big life problem, for example, losing a loved one, having a life-threatening illness, or losing a job
– drastic drop of mood and appetite
– constant mention of death or wanting to end their life
– self-isolation and withdrawing from society
– feeling useless and perceiving oneself as a burden to their loved ones
– oversensitivity (easily sad, angry, or annoyed)
– seeing no hope for the future
– engaging in self-destructive behaviours
– attempting self-harm

This is not an exhaustive list, but it could provide a good timing to start a conversation with a person who might be having suicidal thoughts.

The last but not least, there are several resources that we can use to reach out for help if we feel something is wrong with our mental and emotional well-being. The 119 emergency line is Indonesian first responder for health-related emergency, including suicide attempt.

A general practitioner is someone we can have a preliminary discussion with regarding our mental health conditions. They can give a reference to a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Lucky for us, we have the JKN (national health insurance), so make use of it.

Otherwise, we can try contacting NGOs or independent psychologists.
Into The Light Indonesia provides mental health education; ibunda.id provides online counseling.

Even though our conditions make us think so, remember that we are not alone.

Sources:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968
https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-causes-mental-illness
https://www.apa.org/topics/trauma#:~:text=Trauma%20is%20an%20emotional%20response,symptoms%20like%20headaches%20or%20nausea
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559031/
https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders/what-are-anxiety-disorders
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/suicide-prevention/feeling-suicidal/suicidal-warning-signs

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Friday, 10 September 2021.

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#WOTD #EngTips: How to Speak Eloquently

Sometimes, when I look at someone who speaks English, I admire how eloquent they are, and sometimes, it’s not a matter of whether they are using a perfect grammar or the right vocabulary. It’s the way they express what they want to say with such confidence.

This article is going to discuss the word ‘eloquent’ and how we can speak eloquently.

Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

‘Eloquent’ means having the ability to use language clearly and effectively. When the word ‘eloquent’ is used to describe a speech or a writing, it can also mean clearly expressing the feelings or meaning.

An eloquent person is good at speaking and persuading people. Words synonymous to eloquent are articulate, expressive, and fluent.

So, the next question we have is how to be eloquent.

From my experience, even though I was interested in learning English and I tried to study from as many textbooks as I could, I still lacked in one thing: practice.

When I was faced with the possibility of speaking English real time, especially to native speakers, I always felt shy and said, “No. Please let other people do it.”

That was the case until I joined a group of friends who encouraged me to speak English.

Learning from reading and writing is a good start, but to be able to speak English eloquently, we have to practice with other people. It’s important to be within a community or a group where everyone encourages us to learn even if we make mistakes.

So, always practice and don’t let our mistakes hold us back.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, 11 July 2021.

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#WOTD: Eloquent

#EngVocab: Thou, Thee, Thy, Thine

“Ask and thou shalt receive.”

This sentence has been my mantra for most of my adulthood. It always reminds me that to achieve something, I must be ready to fight for it.

This article is discussing the archaic (old, no longer used) form of ‘you,’ that is ‘thou,’ along with its variations, ‘thee,’ ‘thy,’ and ‘thine.’

Photo by Nothing Ahead on Pexels.com

As you might have guessed, the word ‘thou’ is a second person singular pronoun. It’s an old-fashioned, poetic, or religious version of ‘you.’ ‘Thou’ is the nominative/subjective case, meaning it’s a subject pronoun.

Example:
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

Meaning:
“You should not lie or spread rumours about your neighbours and the people around you.”

What do we do if we need to address more than one person?
We use ‘ye.’

Example:
“I forgot to introjuice him to ye.” – William Makepeace Thackeray in Vanity Fair (1837).

Our Indonesian followers might be familiar of the Dutch version of this word, ‘jij,’ as it has similar pronunciation.

So, what is ‘thee?’
‘Thee’ is the accusative and dative form of ‘thou,’ which means that it is the object pronoun, the receiving end of an action.

Example:
“I salute Thee, oh, Mother of the Universe.”

Meaning:
“I pay my respects to You, oh, Mother of the Universe.”

Possessive pronouns ‘thy’ and ‘thine’
If we want to refer to something that is owned by the second person, we use ‘thy,’ the possessive adjective pronoun of ‘thou.’ If the possession starts with a vowel, we use ‘thine.’

Example:
“Honour thy parents.”
“Thine eyes shall behold strange things in this land.”

Meaning:
“Honour your parents.”
“Your eyes will see strange things in this land.”

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, 13 June 2021.

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#EngClass: Fewer vs. Less

When using degree of comparison, we refer to something having larger quantity or greater quality as ‘more.’ This applies to countable and uncountable nouns, which are represented by ‘many’ and ‘much,’ respectively.

In other words, we can use ‘more’ for both countable and uncountable nouns. This is not always the case with comparing two things with one having inferior quantity than the other.

By linguistic prescription/prescriptive grammar, or traditional grammar rules, so to say, ‘fewer’ is used with countable nouns and ‘less’ is used with uncountable nouns.

Example:
“There are fewer people living in this area now.” (‘people’ is a countable noun)
“I try to minimise deep-fried food, that’s why I use less cooking oil now than I used to.” (‘cooking oil’ is an uncountable noun)

When the uncountable nouns are presented with measurement units, we can go with both ‘fewer’ and ‘less,’ although in some cases, using ‘less’ sounds more natural.

Example:
“I drank less than 6 cups of water today. No wonder I felt tired.” (‘6 cups of water’ is a measurement unit)

‘Water’ is an uncountable noun, but in the example, it came with a measurement unit, which is ‘6 cups.’ Using ‘fewer’ is still correct, but it sounds less natural.

‘Less’ is also more generally acceptable to use with nouns that are intangible or inexplicit.

Example:
Forrest Gump said, “One less thing.”
Ariana Grande also sang, “One less problem.”

This is because ‘thing’ and ‘problem’ are still intangible; we don’t have enough information about how many ‘things’ or ‘problems’ the speakers are talking about. What we know is only the quantity of ‘thing’ and ‘problem’ has decreased.

All right, that’s quite a deep dive into the usage of ‘fewer’ and ‘less.’ Hope it helps.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Tuesday, 18 May 2021.

RELATED ARTICLE(S):
#EngClass: Countable vs. Uncountable Noun
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#GrammarTrivia: Uncountable Noun

#EngClass: Analogy

This article will discuss something that is still related to writing: analogy.

What’s an analogy?
An analogy is a comparison between two similar things, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification.

In English, there are other purposes of making a comparison, but an analogy emphasises on giving an explanation.

Forming an analogy
To form an analogy, we need to make a comparison between two things, using ‘to be like’ or ‘as (adjective/adverb) as.’

Examples
Now, on to some examples. Here is my favourite analogy in case I need to explain a mental health condition to someone who’s not yet aware of it.

“Telling someone with mental health conditions to be grateful because ‘other people have it worse’ is like giving a candy to someone who just fell and hurt themselves. The candy is tasty, sure, but it doesn’t solve the main problem.”

By saying that sentence, I don’t necessarily mean to give a candy to someone who just fell. Instead, I’m explaining to my interlocutor that to treat mental health issues, we might need to go deeper than giving advices.

“Many people told me to go have fun or travel or treat myself with something nice whenever I’m depressed. I’m thankful for the advice, but it’s like telling me to have fun whilst my leg is broken.”

Another popular, albeit debatable, example of an analogy is this line by Forrest Gump:

“My momma always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.'”

Forrest Gump (1994). Image credit: on the picture

On one hand, the line was meant to say that when opening a box of chocolates, we never know what flavour we will get. This is just like life, when many things are unpredictable.

On the other hand, a box of chocolates contains chocolates, that surely taste similar, so a box of chocolates is not really comparable to the unpredictable life. Which is why some might say that the line could be an example of analogy, but it’s a weak one.

Does an analogy have to be long and detailed?
Not always. Sometimes, it can go just as simple as the following examples:
“My puppy’s coat is as white as snow, so I call it Snowy.”
“The ballerina looks like she’s as light as a feather.”

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 17 April 2021.

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#EngClass: ‘Very’ vs. ‘So’ (REVISIT)

This article is a revisit and rewritten version of #EngClass: “very” vs “so” (2012).

“The weather is very hot.”
“The weather is so hot.”
“The weather is so very hot.”

Is there any difference in using ‘very’ and ‘so’ in a sentence?

Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

1. Adverb of degree
As adverbs of degree/degree adverbs, also known as intensifier (adverbs that tell us the intensity of a state), both ‘very’ and ‘so’ can be used interchangeably. They are followed by adjectives or adverbs.

Example:
Followed by adjective
“The painting is very beautiful.”
“The painting is so beautiful.”

Followed by adverb
“The painting is very nicely done.”
“The painting is so nicely done.”

NOTE:
Some would argue that ‘so’ signifies more intensity than ‘very,’ whilst I personally think that ‘very’ is more intense. Regardless, both uses are correct. However, whilst ‘very’ can be followed by adjective + noun, rarely do we find such use for ‘so.’

Example:
“That is a very beautiful painting.” (common)
“That is a so beautiful painting.” (uncommon)

We can fix the second sentence by moving the article (a/an), but even so, replacing ‘so’ with ‘such’ is more common.

Example:
“That is so beautiful a painting.” (correct, but less common, unless followed by another clause. See point 2: cause and effect)
“That is such a beautiful painting.” (correct and common)

What about ‘so very?’ This form is used to further intensify the situation.
“I’m so very worried about you.”

2. Cause and effect
Even though ‘so… that’ is more commonly used to introduce cause and effect, we can also use ‘very,’ ‘such,’ and ‘too,’ to some extent.

Example:
“The painting was so beautiful that we couldn’t look away.”
“The painting was very beautiful that we couldn’t look away.”

I hope you feel confident now using ‘very’ and ‘so’. Remember that their roles as adverbs of degree or intensifier can be replaced with a more suitable adjective.

Example:
Very/so pretty = beautiful.
Very/so bad = terrible
Very/so cute = adorable, etc.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 10 April 2021.

RELATED ARTICLE(S):
#EngClass: “very” vs “so”
#EngClass: Intensifiers
#EngVocab: Substitutes of ‘Very’
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#GrammarTrivia: Expressing Cause and Effect with “Such… That” and “So… That”

#WOTD: Touché

“I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. We can never compare with her.”
“The grass is always greener because it’s synthetic. I’d rather be myself than be fake.”
“Touché!”

This article is going to discuss an interjection, ‘touché.’ In Indonesian language, the word is comparable to, “Iya, juga, ya!” or, “Benar juga, ya!”

Fencing, a sport where the word ‘touché’ is used a lot. Image: Wikipedia

“Is ‘touché’ an English word?”
It’s a good question. ‘Touché’ is a passive form of French verb ‘toucher,’ which means ‘to touch.’ It has been adopted by English-speaking people with a slight change in its meaning and use.

Origin
In English, ‘touché’ is an expression acknowledging a clever response in a discussion or debate. Essentially, it’s another way of saying ‘well said.’ Rarely will we hear French-speaking people use ‘touché’ in this context.

In French, ‘touché’ as an expression is more commonly used in fencing. It’s to acknowledge that a contender has been hit by the rival. In everyday French conversation, ‘touché’ is used in the same context as ‘being moved.’

The use of ‘touché’ as an expression is believed to have started becoming popular in 1897. It’s pronounced ‘tuːˈʃeɪ.’

Usage in English
How do we use ‘touché’ in English? Generally, we use it whenever we are unable to counter an argument or a valid point. In the speechlessness, we can only admit that we don’t have a response by saying ‘touché.’

Other examples:
“I don’t eat junk food.”
“Really? You always have carbonated drinks with your meal, though. What’s the difference?”
“…touché.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t talk right now. Can I call you back once I get home?”
“But you said your place doesn’t have good reception.”
“Touché! All right, what’s wrong?”

“This song breaks my heart.”
“Wait, you have a heart?”
“Touché.”

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 6 March 2021.

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#ENGCLASS: CODE-SWITCHING AND CODE-MIXING (REVISIT)

This article is a revisit and rewritten version of #EngClass: Code-switching vs. Code-mixing (2015).

“Hujan-hujan begini, I feel so lucky that I got to work from home. Semoga orang-orang yang literally have to be out there to make a living bisa survive.”

Have you ever said or typed something in this manner, fellas?

Indonesian younger generations (millennials and younger), especially those who live in capital cities and are heavily exposed to foreign languages, often do code-switching and code-mixing.

This could happen with many different languages at once, as Indonesia is immensely rich in culture. I often find myself code-switching and code-mixing with my Indonesian friends, using Javanese, Indonesian, Balinese, and English, all in one conversation.

What are code-switching and code-mixing and why do we do them? Are they bad or incorrect or wrong?

Some argue that code-switching and code-mixing can be used interchangeably. We tend to go with a more specific definition for each.

Code-switching is changing from one language to another during a speech, especially on a clause or a sentence level.
Example:
“Hujan terus. It’s very cold outside.”

Code-mixing is adding one or two words of another language into the speech, not enough to make a clause or a sentence.
Example:
“Mana my umbrella? Hujannya deras sekali.”

Here are the possible reasons why someone or a group of people code-switch or code-mix:

1. Talking about a secret
In a group dominated by English-speaking people who don’t speak Indonesian, we might speak in Indonesian if we want nobody to find out what we’re saying.

2. Failing to find the compatible words or terms/words or terms from the other language come first to our mind when we are required to make quick decisions or quick responses
On some occasions, we might struggle to find the suitable words or terms from the same language and we end up inserting one or two words from another language.

Example:
“Bisa tolong print ini, nggak?”
We know the Indonesian equivalent of the verb ‘to print’ is ‘cetak’, but in a rush, we might forget about it and blurt out ‘print’, even though the rest of the sentence is in Indonesian.

3. To soften or strengthen a request or a command
Some requests seem more earnest and some commands sound less bossy if we add the English word ‘please’ to the sentence.
Example:
“Tolong bantuin aku, ya, please…”
Please, jangan ribut, teman-teman!”

4. To emphasise what has previously been said in another language
Example:
“Ingat, besok jangan telat. Don’t be late.

5. To sound smart
Some people do think that using foreign languages during an argument will make them look smarter and will get the point across. We see this a lot during a Twitter-war amongst Indonesians. Some of us might switch to English in order to be taken seriously.

Are code-switching and code-mixing bad or wrong or incorrect, linguistically speaking?

We even have a joke about it now, ‘byelingual.’

Well, we Indonesians speak at least 3 different languages: our mother tongue (for each province or regency might use a different one), Indonesian, and English. Add other languages we learned over the course of our lives, we can collectively cry in multilingual.

Linguists might say that code-switching or code-mixing is a sign that we cannot be consistent with one language, but I would argue that at some point we will inevitably code-switch or code-mix, especially if we interact with people from many different backgrounds on a daily basis.

Besides, there are quite a few English words being adopted by Indonesians that using the Indonesian counterparts might confuse our audience. For example, we will be easily understood if we say ‘keyboard’ instead of ‘papan ketik.’

Considering the above points, I wouldn’t say either code-switching or code-mixing is wrong. I would still propose that for the sake of being on a mutual understanding, we stick with the language that will be understood better.

Using English in a Twitter debate with a fellow Indonesian might make us feel better as we can say what we want to say clearly, but if it ends up confusing our interlocutor even more, we won’t reach a middle ground anytime soon.

Share your thoughts on code-switching and code-mixing by mentioning us or write on the comment section below!

@unclee_eman: Keminggris. Sama 1 lgi minlish, kalo debat kudu di mix pake english biar dikira pinter dan berbobot bacotanya hehehe

Colloquially, yes. In Indonesian, English-Indonesian code-switching and code-mixing is known as Jaksel dialect, or bahasa daerah Jaksel, as people from southern Jakarta are considered by many to be the ones who popularised them @kaonashily: I thought it was bahasa Jaksel

@slvywn: code-mixing waktu kuliahnya biasanya dibarengin sama code-switching, pembahasan bagus ni

I know, right? I personally think it’s cool for us Indonesian to be able to use 3 different languages in one go. P.S.: The word ‘pisan’ that means ‘sangat’ or ‘sekali’ is also found in Balinese. @Inisinene: pada suatu hari “any idea? buntu pisan parah” me as sundanese proud but make it baker street lol

Exactly. @AM_Ihere: Lebih paham download daripada unduh.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Tuesday, 23 February 2021.

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#WOTD: PRODIGY

Did you know, fellas? Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart started composing when he was five. He was a musical prodigy.

On this article, we will discuss the word ‘prodigy.’

Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

A prodigy is a highly talented child, especially under the age of ten years old, who is capable of producing a meaningful output in a field which the child is interested in, in a level of an adult expert.

In the course of history, there are several different areas where a prodigy could be found: mathematics and science, arts, and sports, particularly chess.

Some researchers believe that prodigious talent tends to arise as a result of the innate talent of the child, and the energetic and emotional investment that the child ventures. Others believe that the environment plays the dominant role.

For example, a chess grandmaster might train their children starting at a very young age, resulting in an emotional investment of the children in the game. We also see how children of famous actors or performers tend to acquire the same talents as their parents’.

There could also be occasions where, even though the environment a child grows up in doesn’t necessarily provide support to the child’s development in specific areas, the child still becomes prodigious. Researches suggest that working memory and the cognitive function of the cerebellum are what makes a prodigal child. This theory is supported by brain imagery.

The term ‘prodigy’ itself initially only meant ‘an omen’ or ‘something extraordinary’ when it was first used in English around the 15th century. It came from the Latin word ‘prodigium.’ ‘Wunderkind’ is a German word (literally: wonder child) that is often used as a synonym to ‘prodigy.’

Aside of Mozart, prodigies we might be familiar with are Frédéric Chopin and Blaise Pascal.

“My mother said that I should finish high school and go to college first.” – Saul Kripke, an American philosopher and logician who is a prodigy, in a response to an invitation to apply for a teaching position at Harvard.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 22 February 2021.

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#ENGKNOWLEDGE: MANY, MANY TYPES OF CITRUS FRUITS

Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients to maintain our immune system, especially during rainy season. The first thing that comes into our mind when talking about vitamin C is probably an orange.

In Indonesian, oranges are often referred to as ‘jeruk,’ regardless of the species. There are jeruk purut, jeruk nipis, jeruk bali, jeruk keprok, jeruk mandarin, and many other types. However, these fruits go by different names in English. On this article, we will discuss the many, many types of citrus fruits, the genus which oranges are a part of.

1. Sweet orange (Citrus × sinensis)
This species is what we refer to as an orange. It is a hybrid of pomelo and mandarin orange. It is sweet, relatively easy to peel, and it has only a few seeds, if not seedless. It has a spherical shape.

Image source: Wikipedia

2. Mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata)
A mandarin orange is generally smaller than a sweet orange. It has a sweeter and stronger flavour and is often less sour. The rind is easy to peel and the fruit is often flat on the pole (oblate).

Image source: Wikipedia

3. Pomelo (Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis)
The largest citrus fruit of the family Rutaceae. It is 15-25 cm in diameter and is a natural (non-hybrid) type. It is considered as the ancestor of grapefruit and many other hybrids. Native to Southeast Asia, a pomelo has a thick rind, which probably requires a knife to peel, and white or pinkish flesh. The one with white flesh is usually sweeter than the one with pinkish flesh. Inside the rind, there is a membrane that is chewy and bitter. It is what’s known in Indonesian as ‘jeruk bali.’

Image credit: Wikipedia

4. Grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi)
Grapefruit is a hybrid of sweet orange and pomelo. The colour of the flesh varies from pale yellow to dark pink. It is generally smaller than a pomelo, with 10-15 cm in diameter, more sour or bitter. Native to the Barbados, it grows in grape-like clusters, which is probably why it is named grapefruit.

Image source: Wikipedia
A grapefruit cluster. Image source: Wikipedia

5. Tangerine (Citrus x tangerina)
A hybrid of mandarin with some pomelo contributions, a tangerine shares a lot of mandarin features that sometimes it is hard to differentiate them. It is sweeter, smaller, and less-rounded than a sweet orange. When it is ripe, it could be slightly soft.

6. Clementine (Citrus × clementina)
Another one that carries a lot of mandarin orange traits is clementine. The exterior is glossy and the rind is easy to peel. Juicy and sweet, it is less acidic than a sweet orange. A clementine is generally smaller than a tangerine, thus earning it the commercial name ‘cuties.’

Image source: Wikipedia

7. Blood orange (Citrus × sinensis)
A blood orange is considered a natural mutation of a sweet orange, which is probably why it goes by the same Latin name. The flesh of this fruit is blood red and the taste is a mix of an orange and a raspberry. As it originated from Europe, it is hard to come by in Southeast Asia.

Image source: Wikipedia

8. Tangelo (Citrus × tangelo)
This variant got its name from tangerine and pomelo. Also known as honeybells, the fruit is juicy and has a tart and tangy taste.

Image source: Wikipedia

9. Bitter orange/Seville orange/sour orange/bigarade orange/marmalade orange (Citrus × aurantium)
Having sour and bitter taste, this type of citrus is rarely eaten fresh and is more commonly used in cooking or liqueur (a type of liquor that requires additional flavours from fruits, herbs, or nuts).

Image source: Wikipedia


10. Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
Bergamot is a probable hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. It is the size of an orange with dark green to yellow exterior similar to a lime. The extract of bergamot is often used to add scent to food, perfume, and cosmetics.

Image source: Wikipedia

11. Yuzu/yuja (Citrus junos)
Yuzu (Japanese) or yuja (Korean) is native to East Asia. The fruit looks somewhat like a small grapefruit with an uneven skin, and can be either yellow or green depending on the degree of ripeness. It has various uses, from culinary to skincare. Have you ever heard of yuzu bath or yuja skincare?

12. Kumquat (Citrus japonica)
Kumquat closely resembles an orange in color and shape but is much smaller, being approximately the size of a large olive. The fruit is often eaten whole with its peel and sometimes is a part of a fruit salad.

Image source: Wikipedia

13. Citron (Citrus medica)
Citron is a large fragrant citrus fruit with a thick rind. It is one of three natural citrus fruits (the other two being mandarin and pomelo) from which all other citrus types developed through natural or artificial hybridisation. It has culinary and medical uses.

Image source: Wikipedia

14. Lemon (Citrus limon)
Lemon is native to South Asia, primarily Northeastern India. Lemon juice is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world. The distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in drinks and foods such as lemonade and lemon meringue pie.

15. Lime
There are several species of citrus trees that are called limes, including the Key lime (Citrus aurantiifolia), Persian lime, kaffir lime, and desert lime. Limes are sour and sometimes bitter, often used to accent the flavours of foods and beverages. In Indonesia, the most popular one is probably ‘jeruk sambal’ or ‘jeruk limau’ (Citrus amblycarpa), whose fruits and leaves are often used in condiments.

Source:
https://www.homestratosphere.com/types-of-citrus-fruits/
https://www.seriouseats.com/2018/01/know-your-citrus-a-field-guide-to-oranges-lemons-limes-and-beyond.html
Others are mentioned above.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 6 February 2021.

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#WOTD: RAMBUNCTIOUS

Our #WOTD for this article is ‘rambunctious.’ Having read it on various news portals, I found the word quite intriguing.

Firstly, I like how it sounds and how easy it is to remember. When I read the word for the first time, I thought it came from British English; it just sounded like it did.

As I looked into it further, the word is actually an informal American English word, which means exuberant, lively, cheerful, boisterous. Essentially, ‘rambunctious’ is used to describe someone or something that is overly-energetic and has a cheerful manner.

Photo by Emily Rose on Pexels.com

My guess about the word coming from British English was not entirely baseless, however, as there is another word that has similar meaning, ‘rumbustious,’ and the latter did come from British English.

According to Merriam-Webster, ‘rumbustious’ first appeared in Britain in 1700s. It was probably based on ‘robustious,’ which could mean both ‘robust’ and ‘boisterous.’

‘Rambunctious’ began gaining popularity in the United States by 1830. At that time, the States was a fast-growing nation that encouraged the coinage of some new words and terms that represent the nation’s optimism and exuberance.

Example of ‘rambunctious’ in a sentence:
“Bali beaches are packed with rambunctious people every weekend.”
“The rambunctious puppies apparently chewed on one of my shoes last night.”

On the same note, ‘rambunctious’ could also carry a meaning of being too full of energy that we become noisy and unruly.

Example:
“Rambunctious concert-goers caused injuries to their peers as they pushed each other to get closer to the stage.”

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, 4 February 2021.

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#WOTD: Gesticulative

#WOTD: GESTICULATIVE

Fellas, have you ever lost words in the middle of a sentence and decided to use your hands to deliver the message instead? Or have you ever met someone who moves their hands a lot while talking?

In English, we have a word to describe that type of person, ‘gesticulative.’

Photo by u795d u9e64u69d0 on Pexels.com

The word ‘gesticulative’ came from late Middle English ‘gesture,’ which came from medieval Latin ‘gestura,’ which we can trace back to Latin ‘gerere,’ that means ‘bear, wield, perform.’ Hence, ‘gesture’ means ‘the use of posture and bodily movements for effect in oratory.’

Most English speakers would opt for the verb ‘to gesticulate’ or the noun ‘gesticulation,’ which is probably why it is hard to find the definition of ‘gesticulative.’

Examples:
“He gesticulated a lot during the debate.”
“Her gesticulation is more effective than words.”

Another similar word, which is also an adjective, is ‘gesticulatory.’ Both ‘gesticulative’ and ‘gesticulatory’ mean ‘of or relating to a gesticulation.’

Example:
“He didn’t say much, not with words, at least. It was quite a gesticulative/gesticulatory conversation.”
“Pardon me for being gesticulative; I was too nervous during the speech.”

Now that we have the word ‘gesticulative’ as an addition to our vocabulary, try using it on our everyday conversation to get more familiar with it.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 25 January 2021.

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#ENGVOCAB: POPULAR INTERNET TERMS AS OF JANUARY 2021 T-Z

Hello, everyone! This article is to the last one of our series on popular internet terms as of January 2021. Here are the previous articles on the series in case you missed it: PART 1PART 2PART 3, PART 4

REMINDER: Most of these terms are slang and SHOULD ONLY be used in an informal interaction.

  1. That’s a you problem (phrase)
    Meaning: an informal way of saying ‘that’s your problem.’
    Example:
    “I’m telling the truth and I have witnesses. If you don’t believe me, I think that’s a you problem.”
  2. That’s just me (phrase)
    Meaning: an informal way of saying ‘that’s just my opinion.’
    Example:
    “I don’t think it’s right to meet up and hang out now, but that’s just me.”
  3. Thicc (adjective)
    Meaning: curvy, slightly overweight.
    Example:
    “I feel like I’d rather be thicc than being underweight.”
  4. This could have been an email (phrase)
    Meaning: of a professional gathering that seems to be a waste of time.
    Example:
    “This whole meeting could have been an email.”
  5. This isn’t even my final form (phrase)
    Meaning: ‘I can improve or do better than this.’ Originated from Songoku’s or any Saiyan’s transformation to a Super Saiyan in the Dragon Ball franchise.
    Example:
    “Wait, wait, wait, this isn’t even my final form. You will be shocked.”
Credit: Meme Generator

  1. Three much (adjective, adverb)
    Meaning: more exaggerated than ‘too much.’
    Example:
    “Girl, you are really three much! Stop making a fuss.”
  2. Throw someone under the bus (phrase)
    Meaning: to betray someone.
    It gained popularity because of the movie Mean Girls (2004) despite not being actually said on the movie and despite having been coined a long time before the movie was released.
    Example:
    “How do you expect to have loyal friends if you constantly throw them under the bus?”
  3. Tiny (adjective)
    Meaning: someone or something being small and cute.
    Example:
    “She’s adorable when she speaks in tiny voice.”
  4. Toxic (adjective)
    Meaning: of an environment or a person’s behaviour that could be detrimental to someone’s mental health.
    Example:
    A: “Why did you deactivate your Instagram account?”
    B: “No specific reason; I just think it’s become toxic.”
  5. Trigger (noun)
    Meaning: something that could potentially upset someone, especially someone with mental health issues.
    Triggering (adjective)
    Meaning: upsetting.
    Triggered (adjective)
    Meaning: getting upset or worked up by something.
    Example:
    “Don’t show her this; it could trigger her.”
  6. Unbothered (adjective)
    Meaning: of someone not being affected by something negative said about them.
    Example:
    “Despite the rumours, she remains unbothered.”
  7. Unpopular opinion (noun)
    Meaning: an opinion that is different to the opinion of the general public, sometimes controversial.
    Example:
    “Unpopular opinion: working overtime is not something we should glorify.”
  8. Uwu (expression)
    Meaning: a written version of this smiley (◡ ω ◡). Nowadays, it’s also said as a response to something adorable.
    Example:
    “I just found out that Benedict Cumberbatch didn’t know how to pronounce ‘penguin.’ I’m uwu-ing so hard right now.”
  9. We stan (phrase)
    Meaning: we support.
    Example:
    “Michelle Obama is so inspirational. We stan an intelligent woman.”
Credit: Pinterest.

  1. Weird flex, but ok (expression)
    Meaning: a reaction we give to other people who act over the top or outlandishly.
    Example:
    A: “Yes, I won 500 Candy Crush levels, all with three stars!”
    B: “Weird flex, but ok.”
  2. Whipped (adjective)
    Meaning: being obsessed or controlled, often used on someone dominated by their significant other.
    Example:
    “Getting home right after work instead of out drinking with your friends is not being whipped. It means you prioritise your family and health.”
  3. Who hurt you? (expression)
    Meaning: a question we ask to someone who seems to be unreasonably upset.
    Example:
    “Did you really fight with a shop assistant just because they ask you to wear a mask? Really, who hurt you?”
  4. Wholesome (adjective)
    Meaning: heartwarming or feel-good.
    Example:
    “During my lunch break, I often look at some wholesome memes. They always cheer me up.”
  5. Wifey (noun)
    Meaning: an affectionate term for a husband to refer to his wife.
    Example:
    “Wifey got mad at me for leaving the front door unlocked.”
  6. Wild (adjective)
    Meaning: exaggerated, extreme, over-the-top, unusual.
    Example:
    “This mukbang with living animals is so wild. I can’t watch it.”
  7. Yeah, right (expression)
    Meaning: a double positive words that somehow carries a negative, sarcastic tone.
    Example:
    “You said you didn’t study but you still got an A on the math quiz. Yeah, right.”
  8. Yee to one’s haw (noun)
    Meaning: something or someone that makes us feel complete.
    Example:
    “Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture is the yee to my haw. It’s a piece that can cheer me up anytime.”
  9. Yeet (expression, verb)
    Meaning: an expression that was initially used to show excitement, approval, or surprise, but is now also used as an informal version of ‘to throw something away.”
    Example:
    “He accidentally yeeted his phone out of the window on the second floor.”
  10. Zen (adjective)
    Meaning: a peaceful and relaxed feeling.
    Example:
    “My zen side was tested during the entire 2020.”

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 16 January 2021.

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