Special Content

Volume-48, 24 February- 2 March, 2018

Words Make the Deepest Scar - Weigh Them Correctly

Shree Prakash Sharma

"Words have a magical power. They can either bring the greatest happiness or the deepest despair." -

Sigmund Freud

Words are the basic entities in the making of a language. All words have their own conspicuous meanings, rigid constitution, special context and sacrosanct rituals. They can make and, if not correctly chosen and used, also mar the language and its interpretation. Words heal magically, allure naturally and bind the people in an amazingly cohesive bond. They alleviate the pain and balm the agony of the people.

On the contrary, words also hurt beyond any repair. They also humiliate and embarrass. At the same time words also enrich the wisdom, enlighten the heart        and illuminate the spirit. However, there is no gainsaying the fact that incorrect and irrelevant use of words can wreak havoc upon a host of aspects of human life the repercussions of which may go beyond one's imagination.Jean Paul Sartre, the famous French philosopher and playwright, once had said, "Words are loaded pistols." So we need to be pretty much cautious about the correct use of words, especially in writing which gets permanently recorded in the print and which the intelligentsia across the nations use as references and cross-references.

First, a writer must mind avoiding the use of weak words and dead words in writing. Weak words are usually found in the form of weak verbs. Conventionally, a writer must always use strong verbs which convey actions correctly, emphatically, effectively and surgically.

Grammar says that verbs like 'be', 'has', and 'have' are spoilers and for effective writing a writer must do their best to avoid their uses. Let us take an example of how the use of weak and strong verbs makes differences while conveying action and imparting meanings:

Weak verb: The opposition parties were of the opinion that the proposed bill was likely to disturb the situation of communal harmony in the country and so they have planned to protest against it in the upcoming Parliament session.

Strong verb: The opposition parties have planned to protest against the proposed bill in the upcoming parliament session fearing that it may disturb the communal harmony in the country.

In addition, some verbs work as dead verbs or empty verbs which waste the paper and valuable time of the enlightened and erudite readers. So, the writers are essentially required to be very cautious about the proper use of words to make the meaning precise and expression very much clear.

Dead verb: Many of the students, who fail to score very good percent of marks in the examinations, often say that defective curriculum of the state board was the main reason of their problems.

Correct verb: Many of the students who fail to score very good percent of marks in the examinations pass the buck on the defective state curriculum.

Or, Many of the students who fail to score very good percent of marks in the examinations often blame it on the state curriculum.


Choose the closest meaning of the words given in the capital letters -


 (A) mischief

(B) worry

(C) romantic


(A). aggressive

(B) unreasonable

(C) difficult, hard to deal with


(A) duplicate

(B) false teeth

(C) scintillating


(A) spoil

(B) a quantity of something

(C) instigate


(A) to waste

(B) to volunteer

(C) to annoy


(A) social blunder

(B) dangerous

(C) poetic 

Answers: 1. A 2. C 3. B 4. B 5. A 6.A

Choose the word most nearly opposite to the words given in the capital letters


 (A)  to grow fast

(B) to respond

(C) to attack


(A) unaccustomed

(B) refined, sophisticated

(C) expert


(A) to cut

(B) to bloom, to grow

(C) to shrink

4.  NADIR  

(A) cruel

(B) zenith, apex

(C) torture 


(A) harsh

(B) explicit

(C) futile


(A)  affirm

(B) to clarify

(C) to muddle

Answers 1. A 2. B .3.B 4. B 5. B  6.B


TO PULL DOWN - to destroy, to demolish, to dismantle (The Mumbai municipality has started pulling down all buildings constructed on the encroached government land.)

TO PULL OUT - to start moving, to leave (The train pulled out in time despite dense fog in the city.)

TO PULL ONE'S SOCKS UP - to brave challenges or problems very courageously (The state government has decided to pull its socks up in the wake of drastic bad financial condition.)

TO SOB OUT - to tell a story or something while crying bitterly (The old woman, I came across yesterday in the market, sobbed out the whole story of her distressed life.)

TO SPEAK VOLUME ABOUT - to show or indicate the condition of something (The fast increasing annual fiscal deficit speaks volume about the mismanagement of resources by the present government at the centre.)


Be nuts about (something or someone) - to be very much excited and enthusiastic about something or someone (The children are nuts about the upcoming festive seasons and holidays.)

A hard nut to crack - a very difficult problem (If you are very consistent in your efforts then getting through civil services examinations is not a hard nut to crack.)

To rise to the occasion - to be able to do what is required in a situation (He has always been a timid student. But when he was elected to the president of the students' union he so splendidly rose to the occasion.)

To rest on one's oars - to rest after a very hard work (After the annual examination, all the students of the local coaching institutes are resting on their oars.)

To pour oil on troubled waters - to try to assuage, to calm a difficult situation (He  had had a scuffle with his neighbours last night, but at last, his parents tried hard to pour oil on troubled waters.)


The writing is on the wall (for)- used to indicate that something or someone will fail ( The writing is very much clear on the wall for the private sector industries which use coal as the raw material for producing their goods.)

Vicarious - the experience you get by watching someone doing it rather than doing it yourself (The parents usually get vicarious excitement and happiness form the meteoric successes of their own children.)

Touchstone issue - the subject or issue which tests the standard of something (Safeguarding the constitutional fundamental rights of the citizens is the touchstone of the succe-ssful running of the Indian democracy.)

The tip of the iceberg - a very small sign of the problem which is so enormous (The arrest of the hundreds of children traffickers in the city yesterday is just the tip of the iceberg.)

(The Author is Principal Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Dinthar Veng Mamit; e-mail:spsharma.rishu@gmail.com)