Alliance divided – The Hindu (Feb 19 2018)

Alliance divided – The Hindu (Feb 19 2018)

Sri Lanka is in the throes of a political crisis after the two main parties in the ruling coalition suffered a dramatic defeat in the recent local government elections. For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

This preview is provided here with permission.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Word List-1 (To Improve English Vocabulary)

  1. throes (plural noun) – agony, pain, suffering/torment.
  2. fissure (noun) – a state of incompatibility; opening, gap/crack.
  3. fragile (adjective) – shaky, weak, infirm.
  4. beset (verb) – surround, harass, enclose/fence in.
  5. resoundingly (adverb) – unmistakable, emphatic manner, totally/completely.
  6. backing (noun) – support, help, assistance.
  7. to the fore (phrase) –  most important, foremost, top/principal.
  8. disenchantment (noun) – disappointment, dissatisfaction, discontent.
  9. distress (noun) – hardship, adversity, difficulty.
  10. drought (noun) – dry spell/period, lack of rain, shortage of water.
  11. mammoth (adjective) – something which is huge, giant, colossal.
  12. foresee (verb) – anticipate, predict, forecast/expect.
  13. stay on (phrasal verb) – continue to (work).
  14. amidst (preposition) – amid, in the middle of; during.
  15. reshuffle (noun) – reorganization, rearrangement, restructuring/change.
  16. imperative (noun) – very important, crucial/critical, essential.
  17. disillusionment (noun) – a feeling of disappointment.
  18. unrest (noun) – disruption, disturbance/disorder, agitation.
  19. authoritarian (adjective) – arrogant, commanding, dominating.
  20. partisan (adjective) – biased, prejudiced, one-sided.
  21. sink (verb) – ignore, disregard/forget, set/put aside.
  22. pursue (verb) – engage in, follow, conduct.
  23. reconciliation (noun) – reunion, appeasement, settlement/compromise.


  1. Click each one of the words above for their definition, more synonyms, pronunciation, example sentences, phrases, derivatives, origin and etc from
  2. Definitions (elementary level) & Synonyms provided for the words above are my personal work and not that of Oxford University Press. Tentative definitions/meanings are provided for study purpose only and they may vary in different context. Use it with the corresponding article published on the source (website) via the link provided. 
  3. This word list is for personal use only. Reproduction in any format and/or Commercial use of it is/are strictly prohibited.
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Everyday Grammar: Starting Sentences With Conjunctions – VOA Learning English (Feb 18, 2018)

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Know Your English: Here’s a delicious piece of news – The Hindu (Feb 17, 2018)

Know Your English: Here’s a delicious piece of news – The Hindu (Feb 17, 2018)

“You’re late! You should have been here half an hour ago. What happened?”

“Sorry about that! I ran into an old friend of mine at the supermarket. Manjunath.”…….

For further reading, visit “The Hindu”.

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Courtesy: The Hindu

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Words and Their Stories: ‘When Life Gives You Lemons …’ – VOA Learning English (Feb 17, 2018)

Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.

There are several kinds of citrus fruit. The most common are limes, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and lemons.

Out of all of them, it is the lemon that has found its way into a number of English language expressions.

While eating an orange or grapefruit can be pleasant, we don’t usually eat plain lemons. Lemons are really sour. The acid in them makes it really hard to eat them raw. Lemons are so acidic they can actually take the protective enamel off your teeth.

So, biting into a lemon does not bring a smile to your face. In fact, when someone is unhappy she may have a puckered look on her face. In this case we can say she looks as if she just sucked on a lemon. We can also call this person a sourpuss. This is a person who always complains and always looks unhappy.

With its really sour taste, sucking on a lemon is unpleasant. So, telling someone to “Go suck a lemon!” is a way of showing your anger. It’s not really nice and sounds childish. But there are worse things you could say!

While we don’t usually eat lemons raw, they can add taste and vitamin C to food and drinks. But in everyday speech, the word “lemon” usually represents something poor, bad or broken.

For example, if you hand someone a lemon, you have given them something that is broken or doesn’t work. This expression means that you have cheated them. A “lemon” can also mean an unsatisfactory answer.

As we said, a lemon can be something you bought that does not work. It is defective. Americans often use the word lemon to describe a newly-bought, but defective vehicle.

Let’s say you go to an automotive dealership and buy what you think is a good car. On the streets around the dealership, it runs perfectly. But on the drive home, everything goes wrong. The gas pedal sticks. The engine starts smoking. Then it just stops running in the middle of the road!

You have bought a lemon.

As you watch the tow truck take away the car for repairs, you call the dealership and demand your money back. The salesman says with a laugh, “No way! All sales are final!”

Now, many people would get angry. Not only do you not have a car, but you have lost a lot of money. But you don’t get upset. You find a way to make this situation work for you.

After all, you are a person who looks on the bright side. Your life’s belief is: When life give you lemons, you make lemonade!

Here, the term “lemon” means a problem or difficulty in life. Lemonade is a cool refreshing drink. You could say it is the prize you get by overcoming difficulty with your good attitude.

So, we use this expression to describe a situation where something goes wrong but the person in the situation chooses to turn it into a positive experience. People who turn lemons into lemonade we call optimistic. They have a can-do attitude!

This is a common phrase and we use in many different situations. Sometimes we don’t even need to say the whole thing. If you simply say, “When life gives you lemons …” people will know what you mean.

So, back to our broken car story. You take the lemon of a car you bought at the dealership and you make lemonade.

First, you learn about your rights as a buyer under a measure known as the lemon law. In the United States, this requires an automobile manufacturer or dealer to replace, repair, or refund the cost of an automobile that proves to be defective after purchase.

Under the lemon law, you will get your money back. But don’t stop there. Why make a glass of lemonade when you can make a whole pitcher!

You warn friends and neighbors about that car dealership. You write an article for the local newspaper about lemon laws. The newspaper receives many emails and letters from people who had similar experiences. Knowing their rights, they also demand their money back for the lemons that were sold to them. The newspaper is so happy with the amount of responses that it offers you a part-time job writing stories about consumer issues.

You’ve turned a bad experience into something good and you’ve helped others. Life gave you lemons and you made lemonade.

And that’s the end of this week’s Words and Their Stories.

I’m Anna Matteo.

Have you ever had to make lemonade from the lemons life gave you? Or do you have a similar expression in your language? Let us know in the Comments Section.

“Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet. But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat. Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet. But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.”

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. Peter, Paul and Mary sing the song “Lemon Tree” at the end of the piece.


Words in This Story

citrus – n. a juicy fruit (such as an orange, grapefruit, or lemon) that has a thick skin and that comes from a tree or shrub that grows in warm areas — often used before another noun

sour – adj. having an acid taste that is like the taste of a lemon

acid – n. chemistry : a chemical with a sour taste that forms a salt when mixed with a base / acidic – adj. containing acid : having a very sour or sharp taste

pucker – v. to pull the sides of (something, such as skin or cloth) together so that folds or wrinkles are formed : puckered – adj.

defective – adj. having a problem or fault that prevents something from working correctly : having a defect or flaw

optimistic – adj. having or showing hope for the future : expecting good things to happen : hopeful

positive – adj. good or useful

can-do – adj. having or showing an ability to do difficult things

attitude – n. the way you think and feel about someone or something

refund – n. to give back money that someone paid for something (such as a product that was returned or a service that was not acceptable)

consumer – n. a person who buys goods and services

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Courtesy: Voice of America

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English in a Minute: Cold Shoulder – VOA Learning English (Feb 17, 2018)

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