Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 27 February 2011





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

by R. S. Karunaratne

Use 'already' meaningfully

'Already' refers to things that have happened or will have happened at a given point in time. Very often, it is contrary to expectations. The word is usually used in mid or end position. In spoken English 'already' is used frequently in end position.

There are about five musicians here already.

I wonder whether the director has signed the letter already.

The board of directors has already decided to recruit a Liaison Officer.

Already many children are using mobile phones.

The chairman had already signed my appointment letter when I went to collect it.

If something is already happening or already true, it began to happen or be true before now.

Nethmi is only three and she is already reading and writing.

A: Should I tell mother?

B: She already knows.

The play has already started.

'Already' usually comes before the main verb, or between an auxiliary or modal verb.

The principal already knows about it.


Correct the wrong use of already in the following sentences. Check your answers with the key.

1. Next week Sam is going back to Japan.

He booked the tickets already.

2. Most of the students are tired already when they return home.

3. My parents had already two children and they didn't want any more.

4. The protest rally is not over already.

5. The new bookshop has not been opened already.



1. Next week Sam is going back to Japan. He has booked the tickets already.

2. Most of the students are already tired when they return home.

3. My parents already had two children and they didn't want any more.

4. The protest rally is not over yet.

5. The new bookshop has not been opened yet.


Current English usage

The usage of all living languages is constantly changing. English is no exception. Therefore, be in touch with modern usage.

1. emotional and emotive

Both words are connected with the noun 'emotion'. Emotional means 'referring to emotion' as in Kamala has emotional problems. We bade him an emotional farewell. Emotive means 'causing emotion'. Child abuse is an emotive subject. The word 'mother' has an emotive meaning.

2. empathy and sympathy

Empathy means 'the ability to imagine and share another's feelings.' As a disabled soldier he has an empathy with others who are wounded in the war. Sympathy means 'a feeling of compassion, pity or sorrow towards somebody.' We very often feel sympathy for blind people.

3. encyclopaedia and encyclopedia

In modern British English both are acceptable spellings. The former is the traditional spelling in British English while the latter is the traditional spelling in American English. Encyclopedia is more common in modern English than encyclopaedia.

4. endemic

The word means 'occurring in a particular area'. In the past malaria was endemic to the dry zone.

5. enervate

The word means 'to weaken.'

The workers were enervated by the hot climate.

6. enormity and enormousness

Enormity mean 'outrageousness or wickedness.' Everybody was shocked by the enormity of the dictator's crimes. Enormousness means 'the quality of being enormous or extremely large.'

The children were scared by the enormousness of the blue whale.

7. enquiry and inquiry

Although both words mean the same some English speakers see a distinction between the two words. They use enquiry for ordinary requests for information and inquiry for investigation.

The police are making inquiries.

8. enrol and enroll

Enrol means 'to become a member of a class or society. However, in American English enrol is spelt enroll. The noun in British English is enrolment. The past tense is enrolled and the present participle is enrolling.

9. enthral

Enthral means 'to capture the attention of'.

Her acting will enthral the critics.

The past tense is enthralled and the present participle is enthralling.

[Starters ]

Personal pronouns as subjects and objects

A personal pronoun can be used as the subject or the object of a sentence. The object means the person or thing that the subject does something to. When a pronoun is used as the subject of a sentence, it must be in the subjective form. When a pronoun is used as the object of a sentence it must be in the objective form.

Pronouns used in the subjective forms.

I am a student at Rahula Vidyalaya.

We come to school on foot.

You are my English teacher.

He learns English with absorbing interest.

She wants to be a journalist.

It wags its tail.

They are my friends.

Use of 'and' with 'I'

You and I are classmates.

Never say: I and you.

Nimal and I have fountain pens.

Never say: I and Nimal.

Rule: Put yourself last.

Use of 'and' with 'me'.

Betsy invited you and me to her birthday party.

Nisansala waved to Sam and me.

Never say; 'me and you' or 'me and Sam'.

Rule: Put yourself last.

Pronouns used in the objective form.

Kamala gave me a mango.

She treated us well.

I have seen you somewhere.

Give him something to eat.

The chief guest gave her a certificate.

Father brought a puppy home and gave it to me.

I play with them during the interval.


Underline the correct personal pronoun and check your answers with the key.

1. Nirmala telephoned I/me yesterday.

2. I lost my pen in the class. It/He was new.

3. Lucky, my friend, wants to speak to him/you.

4. Tamara will join we/us at Kegalle.

5. He is teaching they/them mathematics.

6. Janitha saw he/him at the carnival.

7. Please help I/me to do this sum.

8. John bought a parrot and gave it/him to me.

9. We visit our grandmother once a month. She/Her is in her eighties.

10. Jane sent I/me a birthday gift.

11. Larry and me/I want to learn French.

12. She showed me/I a secret door.

13. The teacher is ill. She/they needs a doctor.

14. Kamal and I/me are friends.

15. Please take I/me with you.



1. me, 2. It, 3. you, 4. us, 5. them, 6. him, 7. me, 8. it, 9. She, 10. me, 11. I, 12. me, 13. She, 14. I, 15. me.




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