Thursday January 5, 2012
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED by FADZILAH AMIN
THE expression “until today” is very common among Malaysians. I think the phrase is often wrongly used and does not describe what a speaker is really trying to convey.
When you say “until today”, doesn’t it mean the situation or the process stops today and will not continue after today? For example, the statement “He was a bachelor until today” means “He gets married today”; it does not mean “He is still a bachelor today.”
Therefore, we cannot say “Malaysia is a multiracial country until today” when we know that Malaysia will still be a multiracial country tomorrow. Shouldn’t we say “Malaysia is a multiracial country even today” instead? – Nasir
You are right. “Until” means “up to the point in time or event mentioned” (online Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary). So, we should NOT say “Malaysia is a multiracial country until today.”, BUT “Malaysia is still a multiracial country today.”, where “still” means “continuing until a particular point in time and not finishing.” (OALD)
Your suggested sentence, “Malaysia is a multiracial country even today.” can be used when we want to emphasise how surprising it is that Malaysia is still a multiracial country today! “Even” as an adverb is “used to emphasise something unexpected or surprising” (OALD).
Please help me with these sentences.
1. The Finance Manager had to liquefy the company’s fixed deposits to make the payment immediately.
The current Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines “liquefy” as “to become liquid or to make something liquid”. I can’t make sense of its use in the sentence above. Is it being used figuratively? What about “liquidate”?
2. The company can ride on the famous brand to fast-track its presence in other markets quickly where the brand is already popular.
Is the adverb “quickly” necessary in the sentence? Since it conveys a similar sense as “fast-track”, I feel that its use in the sentence is repetitive and should be dropped. – Kee
1. The sentence you quote here uses “liquefy” to mean the conversion of a company’s fixed deposits into money in order to make a payment. I looked up the word in several dictionaries including some business ones, and none of them gives that definition of the word. All the dictionaries give only a physical definition, like the one you quote from the OALD.
The alternative word you suggest, i.e. “liquidate” may be more accurate here. Although “liquidate” has other meanings, the online Cambridge Business English Dictionary lists one of its meanings as “to sell something in order to get cash” and uses the following sentence to illustrate this meaning: “She liquidated the stock and pulled about $10,000 from savings to pay off her debt.” The word “encash” can also be used. This word is defined by the same dictionary as “to exchange a cheque or a financial product such as a bond for money”. (dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/business-english/)
So the sentence should read: “The Finance Manager had to liquidate/encash the company’s fixed deposits to make the payment immediately.
However, a fixed deposit may be considered a liquid asset, which is defined by the same dictionary as “cash, or an investment or something valuable that can be easily sold”. If that is so, we cannot even speak of liquidating fixed deposits, and the sentence you quote should use “encash”.
2. I agree with you about the redundancy of the word “quickly” in the sentence you quote. The online Macmillan Dictionary definition of “fast-track” as a verb is “to make something happen, develop, or progress more quickly than usual”. (macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/fast-track_10)
So, the sentence should read: “The company can ride on the famous brand to fast-track its presence in other markets where the brand is already popular”.
1. Do we need the quotation marks in these sentences:
a. Renewal of “Lesen Perniagaan/Perusahaan Dan Iklan” (subject heading in a letter)
b. Please arrange payment of RM1,000 to “Kiwi Co” for the above-mentioned.
2. When do we use single and double quotation marks?
3. Do the first letters of “renewal notice” need to be capitalised: Attached herewith is the Renewal Notice from Kiwi Co.
4. How do you translate “Sorry for the inconvenience caused.” into Bahasa Malaysia?
5. Is “is” the correct verb in this sentence? Any inconvenience caused is most regretted. – MOE Chinese reader
1. a) No, we don’t put quotation marks around words that are in a different language from the rest of the letter. We usually use italics. Hence your letter heading should be written:
Renewal of Lesen Perniagaan/Perusahaan Dan Iklan
But why do you need to write the letter heading in two languages? If the rest of the letter is in English, the whole of the heading should be in English.
1. b) No, you don’t put quotation marks around the name of a company. Capital letters will do.
2. Whether you use double quotation marks (“ ”) or single ones (‘ ’) often depends on what an organisation or a publisher prefers. It is part of its in-house style. We use quotation marks mainly to enclose what someone actually said or wrote, like “I want to go home!” she said or Shakespeare wrote: “To be, or not to be” ; around titles of poems or short stories, e.g. “The Listeners” or “The Necklace” ; and to indicate that a word or phrase does not really mean what it seems to mean. For example, if you have a good friend that you regard as a sister, you can write about her as my ‘sister’ Joan (for this purpose, single quotation marks are usually used).
3. You don’t need to use capital letters for the phrase “renewal notice” unless it is in the heading of the letter.
4. “Sorry for the inconvenience caused.” can be translated as “Maaf atas segala kesulitan.”
5. “Is” is the correct verb there. “Any inconvenience caused is most regretted.” is a more formal version of your sentence in 4. It can be translated as “Segala kesulitan amat dikesali.”