Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Complete Word Usage Fundae

Hi All,

Just wanted one consolidated post on all the 'word usage' fundae that I have put in the blog till now. I think this will help people who have come in late or for all those who want to do a quick revision before CAT.

Its It's or Its
You will or Shall you?
Would you use Should, or should you use would
Which or That

Hope this helps. This post will also come along the right hand side of the homepage and all the word usage posts from now on will be have links put in here.

Its "It's" or "Its"

The use of aphostophy in any word brings the meaning "of", i.e., when I say Gyanee's Cat fundae it means 'CAT fundae of Gyanee'. But the usage is very different when it used with the word 'it' and many people dont realise this. So here comes a simple explanation to the word usage

"Its" means 'of it'. Hence the sentence "I took bought a cat online. Its colour is white" is right.

"It's" does not mean "of it". It is a short form of "it is" or "it has". E.g., "It's a very good novel" , "It's been a long time since I took a mock CAT"

Monday, October 22, 2007

You 'Will' or 'Shall' you?

Here comes a small write up on the word usage of 'shall' and 'will'. Many people would be using them with ease, but this is just to the benifit of the larger crowd. Also, as you prepare for English, read a lot and nothing is going to help you better in CAT, than reading more novels. And when I say novels, it is not the likes of Sydney Sheldo, the Potter series and other thrillers. Of course I love them myself, but if you have to improve English, you have to read Salman Rushdies, Nordine Gordimer and the likes

Word usage - Shall/Will
1. There is no semantic difference between 'will' and 'shall' when they are used in simple future tense and hence can be used interchangeably in suchh circumstances. E.g., "I shall not do this again" or "I will not do this again"
2. 'Shall' is used in questions. E.g., "Shall I bring him home?"
3. 'Will' is used when you want to drive a strong intention of doing something, specially when used in first person E.g., "I will never be able to crack CAT".

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Would you use Should, or should you use would

I have seen many people using should and would interchangeably. Sometimes people use it very confidently to make sure that it does not get noticed :).
But when it comes to the English section in CAT, things may not be so forgiving. So here is a take on the word usage of should and would

1. Used in conditional sentences: If it weren't so dark, I would have seen the house
2. When converting "will" in a direct sentence to an indirect sentence: He said he would never do it again
3. To say what used to happen: Everyday he would cry remembering her

1. Most often it is used to mean "ought to": You should not invest in the stock market now
2. Used after 'if' to express hypothetical situations: If it should rain, the match will be cancelled
3. Used after 'that' in expressing suggestions: I suggested that he should leave

Hope it helps. If you have any confusion in using them in any sentence, drop a comment and I shall get back.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Which or That

Here is some help for RC in CAT. Many people find it difficult to understand the subtle differences of word usage. So here is a series starting today that will try and explain the difference in usage of the commonly used words

The first in the series will be 'which' or 'that'
1. Many times they can be used interchangeably

2. 'that' is usually used in a less formal sense

3. Most importantly, 'that' can be used only for restrictive relative clauses, while 'which can be used for both restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses.
Restrictive clauses put a restriction on the noun that they are talking about and make that noun specific. E.g., "The ball, which is red, is broken". In this sentence, 'which' can be replaced by 'that'
Non-restrictive clauses just give additional info about the noun. This additional information can be even dropped without affecting the sentence. E.g., "The one horned rhino, which lives in the forests of India, is becoming extinct". In this sentence 'which' cannot be replaced by 'that'. Note that this is a non-restrictive clause because we are not referring to a particular rhino and hence it is non-restrictive.

Any queries on the usage of which and that, put them in the comments. There will be more to come tomorrow.

Answers - Verbal Prep II

Here are the words and the meanings. Also note the usage of the words which is critical. Also dig online dictionaries for broader explaination of the words

1. Prepone - There is no English word like that and it is just a wrong usage for the antonym of postpone. The antonym for postpone is 'advance'. Postpone is just one word and not to be split as post-pone since pone has no meaning

2. Madeira - An alcohol made in the islands of Madeira. On the sidelines, you would also know that Champaigne is a sparkling wine made only in the French state of Champaigne. Even if the exact formula is used elsewhere, it cannot be called Champainge, else it will be a copyright infringement

3. Affectation - Pretense. important point to note is that it is used as a noun

4. Straiten - To restrict or make narrow. E.g., His poverty straitened his activities. This word is usually used in financial sense, though not necessarily. Also note the difference in spelling from straighten

5. Temerity - reckless bravery, audaucity. Usually not used in a positive sense.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Verbal Prep II

Here are the next five words that will help you prepare for the CAT verbal. Vocabulary is the place where you can get easy scores and also save time. The time you spend in the preparation is worth it. The advantage of preparing for vocab is that you can do it anywhere, anytime.

In the coming days, I will be writing about some subtle mistakes people make in word usage. Hope that will be helpful in scoring in RC better.

So here comes the list of words
1. Prepone
2. Madeira
3. Affectation
4. Straiten
5. Temerity

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Answers - Verbal Prep I

It has been a long gap and some people would have been disappointed at the lack of flow. I have been doing too many things recently and have not been able to find time for thinking. Of course, I dont want to put in things here that you could get elsewhere. I am sure people are using lot of CAT course materials, attending coaching classes and doing whatever else they can.

So I would rather go slow and whenever something comes up here, I promise that it will be worth your time.

Here are the answers for the last time's verbal questions. I would also suggest that you look up the net to get more on usage of the words.

1. Speakeasy - Restaurants that serve alcohol clandestinely during the prohibition period.
There is a nice history to the origin of the word. Read the article in NY times-
You can use the username/password of catfundae/catfundae

2. Aperitif - An alcoholic drink taken as appetizer before a meal.
As opposed to a digestif, which is an alcoholic drink taken after a meal to help in digestion. Both these are usually taken on the rocks and in small quantities and have a fruity flavour.

3. Tempest - A very strong windstorm.

4. Canyon - A very large chasm with steep sides. A valley with steep sides that you usually see in the wild-west movies.

5. Holler - to shout out loud. Probably originated from holla or hello.