Published: 13th June 2020
Ready to be scienced? How to know more and then write about the Coronavirus
Without knowing anything about COVID-19 you are talking about the viral disease. First, get scienced and then write about the Coronavirus
A number of readers have sent in queries related to English usage and grammar. Here are responses to a few.
Can the word ‘science’ be used as a verb? ‘Science’ is basically a noun. It is not commonly used as a verb but some writers have verbed it. (Here the word ‘verb’ is used as a verb). As a verb, ‘science’ can mean ‘to cause to become skilled in science’ or ‘to use science to solve a problem’. The past tense of the word is ‘scienced’ and the present participle is ‘sciencing’. Examples:
Without knowing anything about COVID-19 you are talking about the viral disease. First, get scienced and then write about the Coronavirus.
Scientists are busy sciencing to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
What is the meaning of the expression ‘to face a backlash’? The word ‘backlash’ means a sudden, strong, negative reaction to something by a large number of people. If a person faces a backlash, they are strongly criticised by someone for what they have said or done.
Here are some of the collocations of ‘backlash’: to cause a backlash, to provoke a backlash, to expect backlash, to fear a backlash, to foresee a backlash. Look at this sentence:
JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, faces backlash for anti-gender remarks.
The Chief Minister’s announcement regarding the cancellation of Class 10 public exams will definitely provoke a backlash from some people.
The expression ‘to come under fire’ can also be used as a synonym of ‘to face a backlash’. Here are examples:
The politician came under fire for his anti-Dalit remarks.
Some police officers came under fire for using violence.
What does the expression ‘to pussyfoot around’ mean in the sentence “No pussyfooting around”? If we say that a person is pussyfooting around, we mean that the person behaves in a cautious manner and does not want to commit themself. The idiomatic expression has a negative connotation. It is normally used to criticise someone for behaving in such a way. Examples:
In any case, for India, the age of pussyfooting around Chinese intimidation strategies is over. (TH)
Stop pussyfooting around and be bold enough to face this.
What is the meaning of the word ‘mount’ in the sentence “As cases mount, India must focus on keeping mortality low”? As a verb, the word ‘mount’ has over ten meanings. In this context, it means ‘to increase in amount or number’.
COVID-19 cases in Delhi rise to 28,936; death toll mounts to 812 (ET)
Pressure mounts on Trump to project unity (CNN)
What does the expression ‘seize the silver lining’ mean? If we experience some gain or advantage that comes from a tough or unpleasant situation, we call it a silver lining. ‘Silver lining’ is a countable noun.