Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 22 March 2015





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

How to use ‘because’ and ‘so’

As a conjunction ‘because’ means “for the reason that.”

A: Why did you do it?
B: Because my boss told me to.

We can’t buy that house because we have no money.
Just because I am lending you Rs 1,000 it doesn’t mean you can borrow money from me whenever you want.
I can’t come because my mother is ill.
Bring a jersey because it’s cold here.
Because you’ve been so helpful, I’d like to give you a gift.
Because Amanda was tired, she went to bed.
Amanda went to bed because she was tired.
Because I had a good teacher, I passed the examination.
I passed the examination because I had a good teacher.
I changed my hotel because the toilets were not clean.
I missed the train because the taxi came late.
She walked out of the theatre because she didn’t like the play.

‘Because of’ is a preposition meaning “as a result of.”
The flight was cancelled because of bad weather.


As an adverb, ‘so’ means “very” or “extremely.”
Jayani, you’re so beautiful.
Thank you for being so kind.
I can only do so much to help.
My grandmother is so kind and nice.
I’m not so desperate to work for such a low salary.
This word is so rare that I don’t know its meaning.

‘So’ means “in the same way.”

A: I have got a lot of work to do today.
B: So have I.
A: I’m allergic to penicillin.
B: So is my sister.

‘So’ is used to avoid repeating a phrase mentioned earlier.

A: Do you think she is good for this job?
B: I don’t think so.
A: Is it true that they’re not giving us a salary increase?
B: I’m afraid so.
A: The chairman and the director don’t get on well.
B: Is that so?

In informal written English or in spoken English, ‘so’ is used to link two ideas in one sentence.

John is ill so he won’t be able to work today.
The principal is in a bad mood, so there is no point in asking him if I can take a day’s leave.

Match words and meanings

Here’s an exciting way to enrich your vocabulary. Match the words in column “A” with their meanings in column “B” and check your answers with the key. The first has been done for you.

[Column A]

Y 1. draughtsman
... 2. draw
... 3. drawback
... 4. dread
... 5. dreadful
... 6. dreamlike
... 7. dreary
... 8. dredge
... 9. dregs
.. 10. drench
.. 11. dress code
.. 12. dressed
.. 13. dressing-down
.. 14. dressing room
.. 15. dressmaker
.. 16. dress rehearsal
.. 17. dress sense
.. 18. dribble
.. 19. drift
.. 20. drifter
.. 21. driftwood
.. 22. drinkable
.. 23. drink-driving
.. 24. drinker
.. 25. drinking problem

[Column B]

A. to make a picture of something with a pencil or pen
B. an accepted way of dressing for a particular occasion
C. a room in a theatre in which actors put on clothes
D. the last time a play is practised before the real performance with the clothes, stage and lighting
E. the ability to dress well
F. a disadvantage
G. wearing clothes
H. someone who makes women’s clothes
I. very bad
J. boring
K. to make somebody extremely wet
L. to cause a liquid to flow very slowly in small amounts
M. as if in a dream and therefore not real
N. to feel extremely worried
O. the small solid pieces that sink to the bottom of some liquids
P. an act of speaking angrily to somebody because they have done something wrong
Q. the wood which is floating on the sea
R. clean and safe to drink
S. someone who drinks alcohol
T. the regular drinking of too much alcohol
U. driving a vehicle after drinking too much alcohol
V. somebody who moves from one job to another without any purpose
W. to move slowly
X. to remove unwanted things from the bottom of a river
Y. someone who does detailed drawings of machines or new buildings


2. A 3. F 4. N 5. I 6. M 7. J 8. X 9. O 10. K 11. B 12. G 13. P 14. C 15. H 16. D 17. E 18. L 19. W 20. V 21. Q 22. R 23. U 24. S 25. T


Prepositions Part 4:

How to use ‘for’

The preposition ‘for’ means “intended to be given to.”
There is a call for you.
You have to pay a heavy price for this house.

‘For’ is used to mean “having the purpose.”
There's a sign saying ‘Cars for hire.’
This pool is only for ladies.
Sorry, this computer is not for sale.
I've been invited for dinner.
Everybody in office contributed for the alms-giving.
Can you give me an ointment for my skin rash?
She put all the clothes in a basket for washing.

‘For’ is used to mean “because of.”
He was in prison for 10 years for theft.
She doesn't drink milk for various reasons.
People do many things for money.
He'll do anything for you.
Dumbara is famous for mats.
Martin Wickramasinghe is best remembered for his novels.
She didn't say anything to the principal for fear of offending him.
‘For’ is used for time or distance.
Father used to walk for two kilometres in the morning.
I'll be away for a few days.
She slept only for two hours.
I've been writing to newspapers for many years.

‘For’ is used to mean “on the occasion of.”
What are you going to buy for the New Year?
We're having a party for his birthday.

‘For’ is used for comparisons.
He is mature for his age.
It was a difficult decision especially for a mother.

‘For’ is used to mean “in support of.”
Did you vote for the Greens?
The majority of members voted for the motion.
Who's for cricket? (Who wants to play cricket?)

‘For’ is used to mean “in relation to.”
My feelings for her have changed.
I have a lot of admiration for him.
He is a bit short for her.
The shirt looks a bit big for you.
Luckily for me, I had another avenue of income.
For all her qualifications, she is useless as a journalist.

‘For’ is used to indicate payment.
How much did you pay for this refrigerator?
I bought it for a song.
The mechanic said he would repair my car for Rs 15,000.

‘For’ is used to mean “in the direction of.”
The train was heading for Nuwara Eliya.
He left for the United States last night.

‘For’ is used to show meaning.
A: What do the letters BBC stand for?
B: British Broadcasting Corporation.

‘For’ is used to mean “to get or achieve.”
I'm waiting for the GCE Ordinary Level examination results.
He is running for the train.
She has applied for a new job.

Quiz on idioms

An idiom is a special kind of phrase. It is a group of words which have a different meaning when used together from the one it would have if the meaning of each word were taken individually. Tick the meaning of the following idioms and check your answers with the key.

1. If someone is playing ducks and drakes with people ...
(a) they are treating the people badly
(b) they are treating the people well
(c) they are entertaining the people

2. If someone is dull as dishwater ...
(a) they are not trustworthy
(b) they are very entertaining
(c) they are very boring

3. If you are down in the dumps ...
(a) you feel happy
(b) you feel depressed
(c) you feel lazy

4. If someone has bitten the dust ...
(a) they have died
(b) they have migrated to another country
(c) they have been ill-treated

5. If the dust has settled in a situation ...
(a) the situation has changed
(b) the situation has become tense
(c) the situation has become calm

6. If you get a dusty answer ...
(a) you get an unpleasant answer
(b) you get a quick answer
(c) you get a pleasant answer

7. If someone is keeping an eagle eye on you ...
(a) they are cheating you
(b) they are not interested in you
(c) they are watching you carefully

8. If someone is bending your ear ...
(a) they keep talking to you in an annoying way
(b) they are trying to be nice to you
(c) they are listening to you eagerly

9. If something goes in one ear and out the other ...
(a) someone pays much attention to it
(b) someone pays no attention to it
(c) someone does not hear what you say

10. If someone is grinning from ear to ear ...
(a) they look very happy
(b) they look very unhappy
(c) they look very innocent


1. (a) 2. (c) 3. (b) 4. (a) 5. (c) 6. (a) 7. (c) 8. (a) 9. (b) 10. (a)


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