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(plural: ‘parishioners‘)

all the parishioners of a parish

a member of a parish,

(a ‘parish’ = a local church community)

some parishioners of a parish


All the parishioners are asked to contribute not only their money but also their time in rebuilding the church.

The padre listens to the confessions of the parishioners of his parish and advise them what they should do and what they should not do.

a parish clerk, Val Walsom, West Bergholt Parish

{Note: ‘Parish clerk’ is a church official in a parish is a clergy man who performs various duties in/for the church.}

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(plural: ‘mammies‘; male: ‘pappy’; pronunciation: for different pronunciations of this word, please click here and to compare the pronunciation of ‘mummy’, please click here)

a mammy with a white baby

a mammy with a white baby

(in Ireland and America) an affectionate word for ‘mother’  mostly used by children;

a mommy;

(an informal word, so not to be used in formal situations) an Afro-American (Black) woman whose job was to care for the white (Caucasian) children in the southern USA in the past,

a typical mammy attending to her white charge

a typical mammy dressing her white charge


It’s fun to hear a little toddler call its mother ‘mammy’ to mean ‘mummy’.

As is clear from several article written by Caucasian American writers as well as Afro-American writers, the life of a mammy, the African woman who looked after the white children in the slave era, had a better life than an ordinary woman slave.

There are different opinions among Americans as to how to treat mammies in the present scenario — one group says it’s racist to still talk about mammies and the other group counter argues that it’s history and there is nothing wrong in calling a spade a spade.

For an article about the truth and myth about mammies in the past, please click here, for an article about ‘mammy archetype’, please click here and for an article that shows us how come across this word in the present, please click here. For an illustrated article and some viewer comments about ‘mammy dolls’, please click here & for an article about mammy caricatures and their popularity, please click here.



(plural: ‘incumbents‘; pronunciation: the letter ‘i’ rhymes with the letter ‘i’ in “ink”, the ‘c’ with a ‘k’ sound as in “king”, and the letter ‘u’ rhymes with the letter ‘u’ in “but”)

Incumbent (L) with the Bishop (R) of the Church

(in British English) a priest in the Church of England;

(in general) any person who holds a position or office, especially an important political office, such as a mayor, a party president, etc. ;
a keeper of some important thing; custodian,

incumbent president, Obama (L) & his challenger, Romney (R) getting ready for 2012 election


Though an incumbent in the English Church enjoys some distinct powers, he is not authorised to sell or lease out any land that belongs to Church and only the Diocese Authority or Diocesan Trust can hold such authority.

In an election, a fresh candidate has more chances of winning over the incumbent because there are bound to be some failures of an incumbent in his/her current tenure/term and the fresh candidate can expose those failures with proof to the public and win over their hearts.

Most incumbents are known to influence the public with their official power and in most cases, plead with the people who have already benefited by their policies and approvals.

For an excellent article that explains what an incumbent is, please click here, for a news article that shows us how we come across this word in our daily browsing, please click here, for an interesting news article about an old incumbent in the elections, please click here, for a news article that shows us how this word is used to refer to officers in charge of certain responsibilities in education department, too, please click here and for a news item that shows us how this word is used to refer to priests in the British Church, please click here.
‘Incumbent’ is more commonly used as an adjective, usually with the preposition ‘on’ or ‘upon’, to refer to something or someone that is under some obligation or duty, and, especially of things, that leans or resting on something, e.g. It was incumbent on all the haves to help the have-nots. For a blog post that shows us how this word is used as an adjective, please click here.



(plural: ‘caddies‘/’caddies‘; pronunciation: the letter ‘c’ is said with a ‘k’ sound as in “king”)

a young man or boy (these days also a young woman) whose job is to carry golf clubs for a golf player who is playing;

(in Scottish) a young boy who does simple odd jobs,


It is interesting to know that most of the present ace golf players were once caddies, carrying golf clubs for the ace players of that time.

Most of the professional caddies are those golf fans who like to be on the golf courses with the golf heroes and learn the art of golf at the same time.

For an interesting article on Tiger Woods’ caddie, please click here, and please click here.

‘Caddie’ is also used for a trolley, a deep tray with wheels, in which things are kept  and pushed around easily instead of carrying them.

Fish–Figures of Speech

fish — Figures of Speech

fish (noun)  =  a person, especially a person lacking in (not having enough) something, such as emotions, intelligence; or a person who is easily attracted to something (bait), usually something dangerous or harmful


to fish (verb)  =  to try to get something indirectly and/or by some cunning way


a wet fish  =  a feeble, worn-out person


a cold fish  =  a person who deals with others in an impersonal (uninterested) way, without any feelings


a queer fish  =  a person who is very difficult to deal with; an eccentric person


(a)  big fish

(b)  a big fish in a little pond [said of an important and influential person in a small group, organisation, community, etc.]


fish face [an expression used as an abuse or insult, or sometimes used in a friendly way]


fishy [said of something that causes the feelings of doubt or suspicion]


fish-eyed [said of someone cold (= serious and thoughtful, not showing any friendliness) and calculating]


(a)  a fish out of water

(b)  (feel) like a fish out of water [said of a person who feels uncomfortable or at a loss in new or strange places, situations or people]


to drink like a fish  =  to drink alcoholic drinks too much or in large quantities


to swim like a fish  =  to swim very well


(a)  as dumb as a fish

(b)  as mute as a fish


(A)  a pretty/fine/different kettle of fish [said of a situation that is difficult or awkward, or different from what is expected; a great mix-up]

(B)  a different kettle of fish [said of a totally different person or thing, particularly from the one mentioned earlier]


to have bigger/other fish to fry [said of when a person has more important or interesting work than the usual one to do]


to fish (for something)  =  to try to obtain or get something, (phrasal verb) such as information, favour, etc. by indirect methods


to fish in troubled waters [said of when someone tries to gain some benefit, or profit out of other people’s troubles or from a disturbed situation, such as selling things on black market during wartime, demanding money to help the flood victims]


all fish are not caught with flies [said to mean that different people need different methods or incentives to do something]


in a fish bowl [said of a situation where a person has no privacy, some time or place where he/she can do something personal without others looking on or interfering with]


(a)  there are plenty of other fish in the sea

(b)  there are plenty of more good fish in the sea [said to mean that there are many other people or things that are as good as the one that someone has failed to get or own]



in grammar


The word ‘sentence’, in general sense, has these dictionary meanings: ‘the punishment given to a person by a court of law’, ‘to say officially in a court of law that a person is to get a particular punishment’, but in English grammar:

“A sentence is a group of words which has a subject (one or more) and a predicate (one or more), and gives complete sense.”

When we write a sentence, we must begin it with a Capital Letter and end it with either a full stop [.] or a question mark [?] or an exclamation mark [!]

depending on the context.

For example,

Stop. [= You stop.]

He is a boy.

She goes to school and (she) studies very hard.

I returned home early because I was tired.

Do you like this book?

What a beautiful garden it is!

The six groups of words given above are six complete sentences.

A sentence must have a Subject part and a Predicate part: a subject part must have a noun or pronoun; a predicate part must have a main verb.

e.g.      Our children are playing in the park.

subject part           predicate part

children – noun            are playing – main verb

Kinds of Sentences

according to construction according to expression

1. Simple Sentence                                         1. Statement or Declarative

2. Compound Sentence                                   2. Interrogative or question

3.  Complex Sentence                                     3. Imperative

4. Compound-complex sentence                    4. Exclamatory

‘according to construction’ = depending on the number of subject parts and predicate parts  used in the sentence

‘according to expression’ = depending on whether some information given; a question  asked; an order given, or a surprise , wonderment or fright expressed in the sentence

noteAny given sentence must belong to any one of the kinds according to the construction, and any one of the kinds according to the expression.


Are all the boys singing and (are) all the girls dancing?

This sentence is:

a Compound Sentence according to construction

an Interrogative Sentence according to expression.



Before going any further into the KINDS OF SENTENCES in detail, it is essential for us to know about ‘phrases’ and ‘clauses’ which play an important role in sentence building.

A Phrase is a group of words which has no subject and no predicate of its own but gives some meaning on its own and forms a part of a large group of words which is either a clause or a sentence.

e.g.      Jane is standing at the table near the window.

‘at the table’ = a phrase        ‘near the window’ = a phrase

In this sentence ‘at the table’ is a phrase: it gives us some idea where Jane is standing, but on its own it cannot give us complete sense, in other words, without the other group of words “Jane is standing…”, we cannot understand what this group of words stands for.

There are several different kinds of PHARSES – categorical and functional.

We, at this basic level, limit ourselves to some of the most important ones that help us in understanding the Sentence building.

The common kinds of Phrases are (categorical):

noun phrase

prepositional phrase

appositive phrase

absolute phrase

infinite phrase

gerundial phrase

participle phrase

Different grammarians use different names for the same kind or the function of a group of words; therefore, we are advised not be confused over the names given to it, but to pay attention to the actual function and the purpose it serves.

We will understand those differences better when we have learnt the following simple rules and important points.

The common kinds we discuss now are (functional):

Noun phrase

Adjective phrase

adverb phrase

The Noun Phrase: does the work of a noun…

e.g.  We never expected defeat.


We never expected to lose the match.

noun phrase – with ‘to-infinitive’

The Adjective Phrase: does the work of an adjective…

e.g.  She is a famous woman.


She is a woman of great fame.

adjective phrase – prepositional phrase

The Participle phrase: does the work of a participle…

[go-went-gone-going = ‘gone’ is the Past Participle form and ‘going’ is the Present Participle form of the verb word “go”]


The thief jumped over the wall.  He ran away.

main verb – simple past tense

Jumping over the wall, the thief ran away.

present participle phrase

The noise frightened the baby.   It started to cry.

main verb – simple past tense  (frighten – frightened – frightened)

Frightened by the noise, the baby started to cry.

(frighten – frightened – frightened)

past participle phrase

For more on position of ‘Participle Phrases’, refer to SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT.

Adverb phrase: does the work of an adverb…


He drove away quickly.


He drove away with great speed.

adverb phrase – prepositional phrase