The proof of the pudding is in the eating

This is an expression that has been around for several centuries. When you tell someone that the `proof of the pudding is in the eating’, what you mean is that in order to determine the value of something, one needs to test or try it. You are telling the individual not to pass judgment on something without examining the facts or evidence. You will come to know if the pudding is good or bad, only after tasting it. The expression is often reduced to `the proof of the pudding’, and it has the same meaning as `don’t judge a book by its cover’.

On paper, your suggestions look great. But you know what they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 26, 2008

Difference between `work for someone’ and `work with someone’

When you `work for’ someone, you are his employee; you have been hired by him to do a job. This doesn’t necessarily mean that this individual knows you personally; and chances are you may not be working along with him. Lots of people work for the Prime Minister; it doesn’t mean that Dr. Manmohan Singh knows everyone personally.

How would you like to work for Ambani?

When you `work with’ someone, you work along with the person. He may or may not be your boss. In this case, since the two of you work side by side, you see him on a regular basis and know him personally.

For my PhD, I would like to work with Prof. Nagalakshmi.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 26, 2008

Difference between `alumni’, and `alumnae’

The `alumni’ of a university are the students who have graduated from it; the word is used to refer to both male and female students. `Alumnae’ are the female graduates of a university or college. The final `ae’ in `alumnae’ is pronounced like the `ee’ in `fees’, `bees’, and `trees’.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 26, 2008

How is the word ‘aficionado’ pronounced?

The ‘a’ in the first syllable and the ‘o’ in the third are like the ‘a’ in ‘china’; the ‘i’ in the second syllable sounds like the ‘i’ in ‘sit’, ‘pit’, and ‘hit’. The ‘c’ is like the ‘s’ in ‘sip’, ‘set’, and ‘sat’ and the ‘i’ is pronounced like the ‘y’ in ‘yes’ and ‘yell’. The ‘a’ in the fourth syllable is like the ‘a’ in ‘bath’ and ‘path’, while the final ‘o’ is like the ‘o’ in ‘so’, ‘no’, and ‘go’. The word is pronounced ‘afisyenaado’, with the stress on the fourth syllable ‘na’. This is one way of pronouncing the word.

When you say that someone is an aficionado of something, what you mean is that the person is a great fan of it; he is very interested in a particular subject, and knows a great deal about it.

Example, My boss says that his wife is an aficionado of Thai food.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 19, 2008

What is the response to ‘How do you do?’

It depends on which side of the Atlantic you are from. In British English, the standard response to ‘How do you do?’ is ‘How do you do?’ In India, when someone says ‘namaste’, we respond by saying ‘namaste’. The same is the case with ‘How do you do?’ This is an expression that is normally used when you are introduced to someone; once you have been introduced, you never use the expression with that individual again. The British make a distinction between ‘How do you do?’ and ‘How are you?’ The Americans, on the other hand, do not always maintain this distinction. It is common for Americans to say, ‘Fine, thank you’ in response to ‘How do you do?’ In India, you will be better off doing what the British do.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 19, 2008

Difference between ‘misogynist’ and ‘misogamist’

Pronunciation:

The first syllable in both words is pronounced like the word ‘miss’. The following ‘o’ sounds like the ‘o’ in ‘hot’, ‘pot’, and ‘got’, and the ‘g’ is like the ‘j’ in ‘jam’ and ‘juice’. The ‘y’ in ‘misogynist’ is like the ‘i’ in ‘pit’ and ‘hit’, while the ‘a’ in ‘misogamist’ is like the ‘a’ in ‘china’. The final syllable in both words rhymes with ‘list’ and ‘gist’, and the main stress is on the second syllable ‘so’.

A misogynist is a man who hates women. This individual feels that men are superior to women. A ‘misogamist’, on the other hand, is someone who hates marriage. This word is not found in all dictionaries.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 19, 2008

‘More sinned against than sinning’

This is an expression made popular by Shakespeare. In movies, we sometimes find the hero taking the law into his own hands when the legal system fails him. The villain kills his family members, but the police and the court fail to put the man behind bars. The hero then decides to take matters into his own hands, and goes around killing all those close to the villain. By doing this, he is committing a wrong, but he feels that he has the right to do what he is doing because a greater wrong has been done to him. He feels that he is the victim. When you say that someone is more sinned against than sinning, what you mean is that the individual is less guilty than those who have wronged him.

Example: It’s true she shot the politician in cold blood. But when you hear the entire story, you’ll feel she was more sinned against than sinning.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 19, 2008