Category Archives: Grammar

Naming and shaming

Ratna Raman RULES exist in order to set and mark boundaries. The rule book sets the perimeters of civic life. Yet, of late, “white collar crimes” (non-violent crimes committed by respectable people) have revealed abuse of office or authority by … Continue reading

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Up, up with the crows

Ratna Raman ROOSTERS crow (verb) each morning but crows only caw. “Eating crow” is idiomatic acknowledgement of humiliation but “crowing over” announces victory. Apostle Peter denies knowledge of Christ, long before the rooster finished crowing. Popular portrayal of crows and … Continue reading

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Hear the whistle blow

Ratna Raman Whistle-blower is a ‘compound’ (anything with more than one element in it) word, made up of two nouns. The noun whistle (from Old English and Germanic; hwistle) is a shrill sound, made by living species, such as birds … Continue reading

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Birds of a feather…

Ratna Raman DELIGHTFUL sites can be accessed on Facebook by people fascinated by birdlife. As a member of a ‘birding group’ (birdwatchers), one has the privilege of viewing birds with colourful plumage, extraordinary tail feathers, or unusual shades of blue … Continue reading

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Through the cracks

Ratna Raman WHEN we were little and heard one language at home, another on the streets and an altogether different language at school, we plunged headlong into entirely different worlds, with help from different sounding words. Take the word ‘cracker’, … Continue reading

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Giving wolves a bad name

Ratna Raman A BIBLICAL parable speaks of the mean wolf that devoured a lamb drinking water downstream after accusing it of polluting his water source upstream. The expression: ‘A wolf in lamb’s clothing’ indicates a dangerous person, who has camouflaged … Continue reading

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Our daily breads

Ratna Raman A FRIEND brought me some delicious Scottish shortbread from England. Shortbread is a dense, vanilla-flavoured biscuit, made with butter and rather like a dessert. Being eggless, shortbread makes for great Navratri snacking and India could be a potential … Continue reading

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