Published: 14th December 2019
Driving away the English Blues: Here's how you can learn the language easily
‘English Blues’ refers to the hardships one faces while trying to master the language. Here are ways for the learners to drive them away and learn easily
I am quite often asked this question: “What is the meaning of ‘blues’ in ‘English Blues’?” Instead of answering the question directly, I ask the person(s) who raise the question to guess the meaning of it. When the guess game starts, guessers come out with some interesting answers. Their intelligent guesses make me state that the meaning of unfamiliar words are guessable based on context. What does ‘blues’ mean? ‘Blues’ isn’t about the colour blue but about emotion. It means ‘low spirits’. A few of the synonyms of the word are: dejection, melancholy, gloom and sadness. The Blues also refers to type of music developed by African Americans. Though ‘English Blues’ refers to the hardships one faces while trying to master the language, the objective of the column is to drive away learners’ English blues and make learners believe that English is not a difficult language to learn.
It is good to understand the nuances of ‘blues’. It is plural in form but singular or plural in construction. It can be followed either by a singular or by a plural verb as in the examples below:
Try to understand my problems.
I do understand your problems. Your blues is just like mine.
We respond emotionally to colour. Everyone has a favourite colour as it is associated with some emotions and concepts. For example, according to a researcher on colour and colour theory, blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body and is believed to produce a calming effect. It also symbolises sincerity. There are many colour-related idiomatic expressions in English. Here are some interesting expressions with the word ‘blue’:
To feel blue
Be black and blue
When we say that someone feels blue, we mean that the person feels very depressed or feels down.
Whenever she feels blue she calls her mother and talks to her for hours.
Of late, he has been feeling blue quite often.
We say someone is black and blue if the person has suffered a physical injury. It also has a figurative meaning. If a person is emotionally upset or experiencing emotional pain, we say that he/she is black and blue.
I was shocked when I heard that a teacher beat a student black and blue.
The man was black and blue after his wife divorced him.
Who is a ‘blue blood’? The term refers to a person who is an aristocrat or who was in a noble position.
All blue bloods do not have noble qualities.
Though he says he is blue-blooded he doesn’t behave well.
The expression ‘blue pencil’ refers to the editing or censorship of the contents of a book or other work. If a person uses a blue pencil while going through a piece of writing, they edit it for clarity.
He is good at blue-pencilling.
Can you please get the report blue-pencilled by someone who knows English?