# Help with English: "Maybe, perhaps, possibly, probably"

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• 03-22-12, 08:51 AM
Walter L. Wagner
[QUOTE=Saint;2917999][COLOR="Red"]
Why did American teacher teach students such things in classroom?
[/COLOR]

Parents are outraged after 139 fourth grade students in Georgia were given a math problem referencing slavery, WAGA-TV reports.
“A plantation owner had 100 slaves," the question read, according to the station. "If three-fifths of them are counted for representation, how many slaves will be counted?”
"Each tree had 56 oranges," the first question starts. "If 8 slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?"

[B]The next question went a step further, referencing violence.[/B]

"If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week?"

[COLOR="red"]
Do some teachers miss the time when the slave system was in place, before the civil war?
[/COLOR][/QUOTE]

He/she was apparently trying to kill two birds with one stone, i.e. teach about the history of slavery, while at the same time teaching mathematics. Bad choice.
• 03-22-12, 10:13 AM
Saint
No, that was a very stupid decision. :)
• 03-22-12, 11:24 AM
Saint
[QUOTE]Chinese manufacturing[B] slumped[/B] for a fifth month in March and the euro zone economy is showing new signs of [B]wilting[/B], according to surveys on Thursday that pointed to weakening global demand.

[/QUOTE]

slump = To fall or sink heavily; collapse

wilt = 1.To cause to droop or lose freshness. 2To deprive of energy or vigor; fatigue or exhaust.

[QUOTE]Only the United States is showing [B]signs of momentum [/B]among the world's top economies, underlined by data showing jobless claims fell to a fresh four-year low last week.
[/QUOTE]

signs of momentum = signs of improvement?

[QUOTE]Still, investors were [B]unnerved [/B]by the reports from Asia and Europe, selling riskier assets such as stocks.[/QUOTE]

unnerve = 1.To deprive of fortitude, strength, or firmness of purpose. 2.To make nervous or upset.

[QUOTE]Investors immediately [B]hedged exposure to trades betting on a rebound in global growth[/B]. Brent crude oil pared losses to 0.3 percent after the U.S. jobs data before falling again, to be down 1.3 percent to \$122.58 a barrel.[/QUOTE]

hedged exposure to trades betting on a rebound in global growth = means what?

hedge = To minimize or protect against the loss of by counterbalancing one transaction, such as a bet, against another.

hedge, [I]n[/I] = A row of closely planted shrubs or low-growing trees forming a fence or boundary.

[QUOTE]The survey added weight to a string of [B]downbeat anecdotes[/B] from major corporations on the world's No.2 economy. BHP Billiton , the world's biggest miner, said on Tuesday it was seeing signs of "flattening" iron ore demand from China.[/QUOTE]

• 03-22-12, 11:57 AM
Sarkus
[QUOTE=Saint;2917995]Let's say, if Anne's daughter Mary is married to John, what will be Mary's name after marriage?
Mary Graham John?[/QUOTE]
No - John is the guy's given name, so is not taken by the wife.

Let's assume the guy is called John Smith...
Before marriage Mary was probably called Mary Lotz, or possibly Mary Graham Lotz if the parents decided to give her the name Graham as a middle name, as a reminder of her heritage.
Then, when she gets married to John Smith she would likely be called Mary Smith, and if she had Graham as a middle name then she would retain this as well, and so her full name would be Mary Graham Smith, and she might be known as that professionally, or just known as Mary Smith.

That said, in Iceland, for example, they have very different naming conventions...
If a guy is called Magnus Arnsson and gave his son the name Mikel then the son would be known as Mikel Magnusson.
If Mikel has a son (called Jon) then Jon would be called Jon Mikelsson.
They might, however, choose to base the surname on the mother's name (hence you get surnames such as Helgurson) or even one of the parents' middle names - often to help avoid confusion if too many people are already called a certain name.
For daughters it is the same but they take the postfix -dottir instead of -son.

But I believe these are merely conventions rather than strict rules.

[quote]slump = To fall or sink heavily; collapse
wilt = 1.To cause to droop or lose freshness. 2To deprive of energy or vigor; fatigue or exhaust.[/quote]
Yes, on both these... Chinese manufacturing output sank heavily - i.e. they didn't produce nearly as much as previously measured... and the eurozone economy is showing signs of lacking energy... e.g. it is slowing down.

[quote]signs of momentum = signs of improvement?[/quote]In this context yes, but more than merely improvement but an ability to sustain that improvement.
Something with more momentum is harder to stop.
But momentum could also be with regard a deterioration... which is why context is important, although usually in economics it implies improvement.

[quote]unnerve = 1.To deprive of fortitude, strength, or firmness of purpose. 2.To make nervous or upset.[/quote]The second option - to make nervous.

[quote]hedged exposure to trades betting on a rebound in global growth = means what?

hedge = To minimize or protect against the loss of by counterbalancing one transaction, such as a bet, against another.

hedge, n = A row of closely planted shrubs or low-growing trees forming a fence or boundary.[/quote]The first meaning of hedge. :)
Investors were doing trades on one side, and to help minimise or protect against losses they also bet on a rebound in global growth.
It's where the phrase "to hedge one's bets" comes from... i.e. to mitigate the gamble by taking a bet that works in the opposite way.

[quote]downbeat anecdotes = bad news?[/quote]Basically, yes.
Downbeat more means gloomy, depressing, or anticipating bad news in the future, without actually being specifically bad itself... although clearly it depends on what one considers to be "bad" news.
• 03-22-12, 12:05 PM
Sarkus
[QUOTE=Walter L. Wagner;2918066]He/she was apparently trying to kill two birds with one stone, i.e. teach about the history of slavery, while at the same time teaching mathematics. Bad choice.[/QUOTE]Or they haven't bought any new textbooks since those days! ;)
• 03-22-12, 02:21 PM
Fraggle Rocker
[QUOTE=Sarkus;2917988]Others often hyphenate the family names, so in this case she might have considered her family name becoming Graham-Lotz, but this is usually only done if both husband and wife are prepared to do it. So my guess here is that the husband didn't, and so Anne merely kept the Graham, and added Lotz as a new family name.[/QUOTE]In my observation in the USA when a woman chooses a hyphenated surname, her husband usually does not.

There is a more important reason for carefully considering the choice of whether to hyphenate: When Susan Taylor marries John Jones and chooses the name Susan Taylor Jones, all of her computer records will be sorted under J. If she chooses the name Susan Taylor-Jones, they will be sorted under T. Women who are well-established in their careers often keep their maiden name so their business associates will be able to find them. In some cases they will choose the hyphenated version so that when people look for them, their new name will be in approximately the same section in the professional directories. Women who marry younger, before they are established, will choose the unhyphenated version and settle for being collated with their husbands.

My wife didn't bother saving her maiden name at all. She just took my surname.[QUOTE=Saint;2917995]Let's say, if Anne's daughter Mary is married to John, what will be Mary's name after marriage? Mary Graham John?[/QUOTE]I think you are unconsciously confused by the fact that in the West we put our surnames (family names) last, whereas in the East you put them first. Winston Churchill's father was also named Churchill; he was Winston to his friends and Mr. Churchill in a formal meeting. [I]Mao Zedong's[/I] father was also named [I]Mao;[/I] he was [I]Zedong[/I] to his friends (if he had any!) and [I]Mao Xiansheng[/I] ("Mister," literally "first-born") in a formal meeting.

The confusion is compounded by the fact that many American men give their sons the same name they have, sometimes with only the middle name differing. This does not make our customs clear to you. It also confuses us!

My father and I had the same name except for our middle names. He had already taken the nickname that goes with it, so in order for people to distinguish between us, I had to go by my full name, which was rather unusual in those days and made me seem like a strange little boy.[QUOTE]Why did American teacher teach students such things in classroom?[/quote]Please pay more attention to the rules I have taught you many times: Why did [B]the[/B] (or [B]an[/B]) American teacher teach [B]the[/B] (or [B]his[/B] or [B]her[/B]) students such things in [B]the[/B] (or [B]a[/B]) classroom. If you want to speak English you absolutely must use the definite and indefinite articles correctly. Otherwise you sound like a baby and no one will take you seriously.[quote]Do some teachers miss the time when the slave system was in place, before the civil war?[/QUOTE]Absolutely. There are many white people in the South who feel that way, and quite a few in the rest of the country. This is why our first black president was not elected until 150 years after the end of the Civil War. BTW, we call it "slavery," not "the slave system."

We also capitalize the Civil War, just like the Revolutionary War and World War Two.[QUOTe]downbeat anecdotes = bad news?[/QUOTE]The words "upbeat" and "downbeat" are originally from the language of music. The [B]downbeats[/B] are the primary beats in each measure that occur with strict mathematical regularity, and thereby identify the tempo and keep the music organized into a consistent pattern; otherwise it will have no rhythm and it will not be music. In popular music, the downbeats are usually marked by the bass drum, to give a compelling basic beat that is easy to follow regardless of the complexity of the other layers of rhythm.

Until about 100 years ago, almost all European and American music placed the accents on the downbeats. This gave the music a very steady, formal feeling which, today, does not seem to encourage having fun. Then [B]ragtime[/B] was invented, which was a precursor to [B]jazz,[/B] later [B]swing[/B] and finally [B]rock and roll.[/B] In each of these genres, the accents were placed on notes that did not carry the downbeat, so these accented notes were called [B]upbeats.[/B] This type of rhythm is called [B]syncopation[/B] and it took Americans quite some time to become accustomed to it. There was considerable backlash against ragtime, and of course this was made worse by the fact that it was developed by black musicians. When Americans finally became accustomed to syncopated upbeats, they found it to be a much more joyous kind of music which encouraged dancing. (And all kinds of other shenanigans which we won't go into here.:))

So "upbeat" came to be a metaphor for "happy, joyous, fast, gay, energetic," and "downbeat" came to mean "serious, slow, plodding" or even "sad and depressing."

[B]Upbeat[/B] news makes you want to celebrate, just like upbeat music. [B]Downbeat[/B] news makes you want to cry, just as downbeat music makes you want to sit in your chair quietly.

(This is an exaggeration of course. Virtually all "classical" music, including grand opera, is downbeat, and much of it is celebratory. Most ballets are choreographed to downbeat music and some of them are as crazy as rock'n'roll dancing.)
• 03-22-12, 10:22 PM
Saint
[QUOTE]
What's better than getting rich through hard work, talent, and sacrifice? Winning the lottery, of course. The Mega Millions jackpot is up to a [B]whopping [/B]\$290 million. Anticipation is running high ahead of Friday's drawing.

The Mega Millions lotto is played in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. There are six numbers in total. The first five run from 1 to 56. The sixth number runs from 1 to 46. You [B]gotta [/B]match all six.

The odds? Not good. One in more than 175 million.

[/QUOTE]

whopping = incredibly big?

gotta = got to? Who invented the word gotta, gonna?
• 03-23-12, 01:27 AM
Xotica
[QUOTE=Saint;2918358]whopping = incredibly big?[/QUOTE]
Yes. For example, the Burger King fast food chain has a hamburger which it calls The Whopper (which implies that it is extra-large / over-sized).
• 03-23-12, 06:38 AM
Saint
Can I say "the woman has a pair of whopping boobs" ?
• 03-23-12, 03:24 PM
Xotica
[QUOTE=Saint;2918435]Can I say "the woman has a pair of whopping boobs" ?[/QUOTE]
An American male would never put it that way. Here ya go...

Damn! She’s got a killer rack.

:D
• 03-23-12, 05:36 PM
Fraggle Rocker
[QUOTE=Saint;2918358]whopping = incredibly big?[/quote]To "whop" is to hit something or somebody really hard. Variants include "whomp," and it's similar to "thump." The original idiom was "whopping big": This is a whopping big sandwich, thanks! "Whopping" originally meant "very," and there's no good reason why that happened.

The next step was to eliminate "big" and just say "whopping" to mean "very large."[quote]gotta = got to? Who invented the word gotta, gonna?[/QUOTE]In Standard American English, we pronounce a D or a T between two vowels as a flap, the same sound as an R in Spanish, Japanese, and most languages. This is why "leader" and "liter" are homonyms in American English, we can only distinguish them from context.

This is [b]not[/b] true in British English; they pronounce the T and the D very clearly, and in fact in many parts of Britain they flap their R like the Spaniards and Japanese, although not in all positions.

When we say "got to" quickly in informal English, the "to" becomes "tuh" and the two words are run together as "gottuh." That becomes an intervocalic T, so we pronounce it as a flap. And it sounds like "gotta" or "godda."

I don't know how many Americans you speak with, but pay attention next time and you'll hear that when we say words like "litter," "beta," "saddle" and "coda," we're not saying T or D, but a flap. You probably meet a lot of Japanese people in Malaysia, so you may recognize the flap as their R.

"Gonna" has a similar origin. When we speak quickly the -ing ending that marks the gerund form of verbs becomes just -in. I'm runnin, not I'm running. So "going to" becomes "goin tuh." We run the words together and they become "gontuh." You'll find that we Americans often compress the NT combination in the middle of a word into just N. (County --> cowny, enter --> enner, panting --> panning, mantle --> mannel, Atlanta --> Atlanna.) So "gontuh" becomes "gonna."

We also say "wanna" for "want to," but for reasons I can't explain we almost never write it that way for fun like we do "gonna."[QUOTE=Saint;2918435]Can I say "the woman has a pair of whopping boobs" ?[/QUOTE]No, "a whopping pair of boobs." I can't explain why that is correct. But no language is as strict about the order of words as Chinese (if you switch two words you may change the meaning of the entire sentence to something completely different) so you can understand that we also have our rules about word order, even if breaking them isn't quite as disastrous as it would be in Chinese. "A pair of whopping boobs" sounds like she uses them for hitting nasty little boys who make fun of her. ;)
• 03-26-12, 10:59 AM
Saint
china = High-quality porcelain or ceramic ware

[COLOR="Red"]Why is it called china? [/COLOR]

shanghai = To kidnap (a man) for compulsory service aboard a ship, especially after drugging him.

[COLOR="red"]Why is it shanghai? Anything to do with the city Shanghai?[/COLOR]
• 03-27-12, 10:59 AM
Fraggle Rocker
[QUOTE=Saint;2919698]china = High-quality porcelain or ceramic ware. Why is it called china?[/quote]It's a shortening of "chinaware," which was originally "Cheney ware." That term is probably a borrowing from Hindi and ultimately Persian [I]chini,[/I] which means "Chinese."

The Chinese were famous for their high-quality porcelain so the name "chinaware" came naturally. It's possible that they invented the technology of porcelain ceramics. There are remains of Stone Age-technology pottery in Paleolithic archeological sites in China. Normally we expect to find pottery only in Neolithic sites because Paleolithic tribes, by definition, were nomadic and we assume that pottery is too fragile to be carried on long walks by people who had no roads, no wheels and no draft animals.[quote]shanghai = To kidnap (a man) for compulsory service aboard a ship, especially after drugging him. Why is it shanghai? Anything to do with the city Shanghai?[/QUOTE]Indeed. In the 19th century there was an explosion of trade between Western nations and the Orient (our name for your part of the world). Shanghai was one of the busiest ports, as it is today. It was not easy to get sailors to volunteer for such a long voyage in the days before fast-moving steamships.

So if a ship was going to "Shanghai," used generically for any Oriental port because it was the only one whose name was familiar to Europeans, the owners and officers resorted to unscrupulous methods to recruit sailors.
• 03-27-12, 08:46 PM
Saint
[QUOTE]Americans were more worried about inflation in March than at any time in the last 10 months and [B]consumer confidence waned[/B] in the wake of higher gasoline prices.
[/QUOTE]

waned = Could "dwindled" and "subsided" mean the same too?

[I][COLOR="Red"]My hope of going to top university waned when I saw my poor A-level results.[/COLOR][/I]

OK?
• 03-28-12, 08:48 AM
Fraggle Rocker
[QUOTE=Saint;2920253]waned = Could "dwindled" and "subsided" mean the same too? My hope of going to top university waned when I saw my poor A-level results. OK?[/QUOTE]The three words have approximately the same meaning. However, "subside" generally implies a benign process, one that causes no grief or danger. "The laughter subsided after a few moments and the lecture resumed."

"Wane" can imply something more challenging or unfortunate. "The influence of Great Britain waned after World War II, as the United States became the dominant world power." "The power of religion is waning in Europe and Australia, although it is still strong in the Western Hemisphere."

The meaning of "dwindle" is similar to these other words, but it's not one that we use very often. It has a slight air of humor because of its phonetics. Words that begin with TW-, DW- or THW- are rather rare in English so they're often used in jokes and children's stories. "Oliver Twist." "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves."

If you say, "My hopes are dwindling," people might respond with an involuntary giggle before they compose themselves and offer you sympathy.

If you say, "My hopes are subsiding," it carries the connotation that your hopes were a little unreasonable [B]and you knew it,[/B] so your expectations are now returning to normal.
• 03-28-12, 11:50 AM
Saint
[QUOTE]The American public's attitude toward the economy is broadly on the [B]upswing[/B], according to the latest CNBC All-America Economic Survey, but details show [B]deep-seated concerns[/B] that present problems for both political parties in the presidential election.
[/QUOTE]

upswing = optimistic, hopeful?
deep-seated concerns = anxious?
• 03-28-12, 02:32 PM
Fraggle Rocker
[QUOTE=Saint;2920598]upswing = optimistic, hopeful?[/quote]An upswing is an action, such as a baseball bat or a tennis racket being propelled upward by a moving arm. If something is "on the upswing," this means that it is [B]rising.[/B] If Americans' attitude toward the economy is on the upswing, that means that is [B]changing[/B] toward a more optimistic demeanor, but [B]may not be there yet.[/B][quote]deep-seated concerns = anxious?[/QUOTE]To [B]seat[/B] an object means to attach it firmly to a support or other fitting so that it can't move and therefore will operate correctly. For example, seating a camera on a tripod or seating a jet in a carburetor. For something to be [B]deep-seated[/B] means that its stabilizing support or fitting is exceptionally well-attached so it would take a major catastrophe to [B]unseat it.[/B]

So to say that our concerns about the economy are deep-seated is to say that they are based on very solid evidence, history, analysis, observation, etc. It will take more than a few ephemeral campaign promises to reassure us. We will need to wait and actually see these promises come true before we will believe them.

I think what the writer is trying to say is that we simply don't believe anybody who says he knows how to fix the economy, so that will not be a deciding issue in the election. The candidates need to concentrate on other topics in which they might be able to earn our trust

The environment? Terrorism? Yeah sure! We won't believe what they say about those things either, since it's not clear that anybody would be able to make significant changes.

One of the few things that a President would have considerable influence over is the protection and expansion of the rights of women, ethnic minorities, the LGBT population, etc. The parties have established very clear positions on that issue, and very opposite positions. So it may very well be the deciding factor in the election. Women alone comprise a slight majority of the voters!
• 03-29-12, 12:36 AM
rcscwc
In Jain judgment, maybe, perhaps, probably etc are used. Inference is not alway unique and an element of uncertainty is always present. Among Indian philosophy, Jain judgment is unique in this respect. Other philosophies rejected uncertain inference.

Doctrine of partial information: This is an important doctrine in Jain judgment. Jain philo. recognises that "complete" information about an object is not feasible. More information you gather, more difficult is get further information. Therefore, you must use the information that you feasibly gather. Thus even partial information can be better than no information.

If called upon, I can elaborate it further, but Fraggle will be used as case study.

There is a doctrine of Anekantavada ie pluralism: Various views are possible.

Jain judgment:
1. Maybe S is P. [maybe photon is a particle]

2. Maybe S is NOT P. [maybe a photon is NOT a particle]

3. Maybe S is or not P. [maybe a photon is or is not a particle]

4. Maybe S is indeterminate and is P.

5. Maybe, S is determinate and is or not P.

6. Maybe S is or is not determinate and is or is not P.

etc.

Now a photon is neither fully particle nor fully a wave. But given our experiment it may be either.

PS: A cunning Charvak [skeptic] Sanjay stated:
1. I refuse to affirm [that S is P]
2. I refuse to deny [that S is P]
3. I refuse to affirm or deny [that S is P]
• 03-30-12, 12:25 PM
Saint
[QUOTE]Step right up, ladies and gentlemen. The clock is ticking on the Mega Millions lottery, the fattest jackpot in American history.

[B]Just don't end up like Hurley from "Lost."[/B]
[/QUOTE]

Just don't end up like Hurley from "Lost" = means what?

[quote]

Spain's annual Christmas lottery, known as El Gordo (the Fat One), is the largest of them all. El Gordo's jackpot exceeded \$900 million last year, but the winnings were divided by an entire village.

And, keep in mind that a winning ticket isn't always what it's [b]cracked up to be[/b]. The curse of the lottery is that many winners have destroyed their lives with the sudden influx of cash.
[/quote]

cracked up to be = as good as what you think?
• 03-30-12, 05:43 PM
Fraggle Rocker
[QUOTE=Saint;2921560]Just don't end up like Hurley from "Lost" = means what?[/quote]"Lost" was one of the most popular U.S. TV shows of the new century. It was about a group of people whose airliner crashed on an island in the Pacific Ocean where a lot of supernatural events began to occur, and had apparently been occurring for more than 100 years. We learned all about their backgrounds. Hurley was a very fat Mexican-American young man who had won the lottery in California. (Yes I know "Hurley" is not a Spanish name.) Despite his good fortune his life turned out very sadly. (There were multiple timelines in the story and in another alternate universe he was quite happy and successful.) So this admonition means: If you win the lottery, don't let your life spin out of control like Hurley, so you end up worse off than you started.

"Lost" is like "I Love Lucy," or "Bonanza," or "Star Trek," or "Kung Fu," or "All in the Family": a TV show so well-known that references to it have become cliches that every American understands. Just recently I read an article in which the writer said, "Once my friend and I had a couple of glasses of wine, we were as happy and silly as Lucy and Ethel at a hat sale." That's a reference to "I Love Lucy." When people find themselves in hopeless, embarrassing situations, they often say, "Beam me up, Scotty." That's a reference to "Star Trek." When we're exasperated by the inability of someone to perform a simple task, we say "You have much to learn, Grasshopper." That's a reference to "Kung Fu."

TV is our literature, and we refer to it the way the English or the French refer to the works of their famous authors. They quote Shakespeare or Voltaire; we quote Captain Kirk.

No one can ever accuse my people of being pretentious and sophisticated. :)[quote]cracked up to be = as good as what you think?[/QUOTE]Not quite. It means "as good as people tell you it will be," or "as good as its reputation."

I went to see "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" because I loved the original movie. But it was not what it was cracked up to be. It was terrible, full of graphic animal cruelty. I walked out halfway through.

BTW, the slang phrase "crack up" means to crash a vehicle and destroy it, or to suffer a mental or emotional breakdown, or to break into uncontrollable laughter, or to cause someone else to break into uncontrollable laughter. I can't find an explanation of how "cracked up" came to mean "assumed or reputed," so for now that remains a mystery.

The original phrase was, "It's not all it's cracked up to be." The simplification to, "It's not what it's cracked up to be," is recent.
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