flesl.net paired stories: grammar & meaning notes: Satyendra Dubey

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• grammar and vocabulary notes for ‘Satyendra Dubey’

one- Satyendra Dubey was born in 1973

“was born” is a passive verb phrase. The word “born” is a special past participle of the verb “bear” which is used only when the meaning is “give birth to.” “Bear” is an irregular verb; its past tense is “bore” and its normal past participle is “borne.”
• The basic meaning of “bear” is similar to the meaning of “carry.” The word is now seldom used in that way, literally at least; although the people who carry loads on their backs or heads on an expedition are still called “bearers,” and the people who carry the coffin at a funeral are “pall-bearers.” “Bear” is much more commonly used to speak of metaphorical “carrying” as in: “Jill’s sister Jessica was crippled by polio when she was a child but she has always borne her handicap bravely.” It is also used in another metaphorical sense to mean “tolerate” as in “Jill bore all Harry’s insults very patiently.” This use is very common with the modal auxiliary “can,” as in “I can’t bear that noise one minute longer.”
• At some point in the past the verb “bear” came to be used to refer to giving birth to children (which are “carried” for a long time before they are born). It was possible then to use active voice sentences such as “Mary bore six children before she was forty.” That use became archaic long ago, however and only the passive use, with the special past participle (“born” instead of “borne”) remains possible. Now, if English speakers want to make a sentence about a baby being born in which the baby’s mother is referred to by the sentence’s subject, they will use the multi-word verb “give birth to” as in “Mary gave birth to six children before she was forty” or, much more commonly, simply use “have” as in “By the time she was forty, Mary had had six children.”
• Here, from Hamlet by William Shakespeare (1564-1616), is an example of the archaic, active voice use of “bear” meaning to give birth to: “I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me.

one- in a sugar mill

• A sugar mill is a building or group of buildings where sugar cane plants are “ground” into small pieces and processed in other ways in order to make “granular” sugar, i.e. sugar made up of small hard pieces (or “grains”) for use in cooking etc. The person who operates a mill of this kind is known as a “miller.” The word “mill” is also used to refer to small machines, such as “pepper mills” that are used for grinding work in kitchens. More generally, the word is used for buildings such as “lumber mills” and “steel mills” where manufacturing processes that do not involve grinding take place. (Lumber mills are also referred to by the one-word compound “sawmill” and this word can be compared to the similarly formed compound, “windmill.”)
• “Mill” can also be used as a verb, but it is common now only in the phrasal verbs “mill around” and “mill about,” used to refer, metaphorically, to the unorganized movements of a group of people, as in “Jack and Jill walked quickly through the large crowd that was milling around at the entrance to the restaurant.“

two- he was admitted to the Indian Institute of Technology

• The verb phrase, was admitted to is a passive form of the ditransitive prepositional verb, “admit [someone] to [a place],” meaning “to allow someone to enter some place.” This verb is usually used in the passive voice; in sentences like the one in the story, the passive is preferable because there is no need to mention exactly who did the admitting. An example of an active use of this verb would be “The administrators admitted Satyendra to the Institute of Technology.”
• This verb must not be confused with the transitive verb “admit,” which means, roughly, “to agree that you have done something wrong” and which usually takes as its direct object a that- clause or a to- clause. (For example: “Harry admitted that he had lied to Tom” or “Harry admitted to lying.”)
• The noun form “admittance” takes its meaning from the ditransitive version of “admit.” For example, “Admittance restricted to persons of 18 years of age.” The ditransitive with the preposition and the prepositional object omitted also often appears on tickets to entertainment events, marked: “Admit One”

two- the first person from Shapur ever to do this.

• “to do this” is a to-infinitive adjective clause. It is more natural in this sort of context than a standard adjective clause as in, “He was the first person from Shapur who ever did this.” Compare with the sentence in the story “Eric Weihenmayer”—“He was the first blind person to do this.”