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New in the Glossary: Clearing out the Queue

dictionary and thesaurus
dictionary and thesaurus
As our Glossary of Confusing Words winds down for the summer, I want to take care of all the words and phrases that are still waiting in the queue. So if your word hasn't been addressed yet, it will be in this hodgepodge, omnibus (two good words!) post.

1) What's the correct preposition?
...graduated secondary school vs ...graduated FROM secondary school

It is technically correct to use the preposition and say that someone "graduated from" their school. "I graduated from college in 2008."

In the U.S. you may hear people drop the preposition to say, "I graduated college in 2008." Those people are not using a slang expression - they would probably accept that sentence as equally grammatically correct. It even appears in some professional and academic writing.

One thing you would be unlikely to hear someone in the U.S. say, though, is "secondary school." The three basic levels of schooling for American children are elementary school, middle school (or junior high school) and high school.
Thank you of or Thank you for?

Thank you for.

"Thank you for the gift. It was exactly what I wanted!"

2) Word Pairs
Assessment vs Evaluation

In some fields, such as education, medicine or finance, there can be a technical difference between assessment and evaluation. For example, if your house were damaged, your insurance company would assess the damages, meaning they would provide a monetary estimate of the damages. In everyday speech, though, the words are pretty much synonyms.
See vs Watch

To see is to perceive with your eyes. To watch is to observe or to fix your attention on, usually over a length of time.

"Do you see that man? Watch him to make sure he doesn't move."

"I have been watching that house and I haven't seen anything suspicious."

"I was watching TV and saw that commercial you like."

3) More Definitions

"Should" implies obligation or desirability. It is typically used to describe something you have to do but have not yet done, or to give advice (or lament not taking advice).

"You should try that restaurant. It's good."

"I should go. I'm already late."

"I should have listened to my mother."

It can also express an expectation that something has happened, will happen or was supposed to have happened but did not.

"I should be at work by 9:00. Call me then."

"The plane should have landed by now. It must be delayed."

When something is scarce, there is not much of it or not enough of it.

"There was a scarcity of food, so the children had to go hungry."

Okay, that's a lot of words, and that officially clears out our queue of Glossary submissions. Feel free to keep submitting words - we will bring the Glossary whenever our bloggers are on vacation. And if you submit a word specifically related to studying in the U.S., we'll define it anytime. Submit your words in the comments or using the form below.


See all News Updates of the Day

Violent clashes over quota system in government jobs leave scores injured in Bangladesh

Anti-quota protesters and students backing the ruling Awami League party clash on Dhaka University campus in Dhaka on July 15, 2024.
Anti-quota protesters and students backing the ruling Awami League party clash on Dhaka University campus in Dhaka on July 15, 2024.

Police fired tear gas and charged with batons during violent clashes between a pro-government student body and student protesters overnight, leaving dozens injured at a public university outside Bangladesh’s capital, police and students said Tuesday.

The violence spread early Tuesday at Jahangir Nagar University in Savar, outside Dhaka, where the protesters were demanding an end to a government job quota for family members of heroes who fought in Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971.

The quota system also reserves government jobs for women, disabled people and ethnic minority groups. The system was suspended in 2018, which brought similar protests to a halt at the time. But in a decision last month, Bangladesh's High Court asked for the 30% quota for veterans' descendants to be restored.

That triggered fresh protests, with demonstrators supporting the 6% quota for disabled people and ethnic groups but not for the descendants of the independence war heroes.

The Supreme Court last week halted the High Court’s order for four weeks and the chief justice asked the protesters to return to their classes. The Supreme Court said it would decide on the issue after four weeks, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the issue is in the hands of the Supreme Court now.

But the protests have continued daily, halting traffic in Dhaka.

More than 50 people were treated overnight at Enam Medical College Hospital near Jahangir Nagar University as the violence continued for hours, said Ali Bin Solaiman, a medical officer of the hospital. He said at least 30 of them suffered pellet wounds.

The protesters accused the Bangladesh Chhatra League, a student wing of the ruling Awami League party of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, of attacking their peaceful protests early Tuesday. The protesters had taken positions in front of the official residence of the vice chancellor of the university early Tuesday, and media reports said later violence spread while police and the ruling party-backed student wing attacked them.

Abdullahil Kafi, a senior police official, told the country’s leading English-language newspaper Daily Star that they fired tear gas and “blank rounds” as the protesters attacked the police. He said up to 15 police officers were injured.

The overnight violence followed Monday’s violence in Dhaka University, the country’s leading public university, as clashes gripped the campus in Dhaka. More than 100 students were injured in the clashes in Dhaka on Monday, police said.

The protesters in Dhaka said they would demonstrate on Tuesday too.

Hasina maintained power in an election in January that was again boycotted by the country’s main opposition party and its allies due to Hasina’s refusal to step down and hand over power to a caretaker government to oversee the election.

Her party favors keeping the quota for the families of the 1971 war heroes after her Awami League party, under the leadership of her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, led the independence war with the help of India.

In 1971, the Jamaat-e-Islami party, which shared power with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party led by Hasina’s archrival, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, openly opposed the independence war and formed groups that helped the Pakistani military fight pro-independence forces. All the major political parties in Bangladesh have student wings that are active across the South Asian nation

Police open hazing investigation after Dartmouth student found dead

FILE - A student walks on the campus of Dartmouth College, Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Hanover, N.H.
FILE - A student walks on the campus of Dartmouth College, Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Hanover, N.H.

Police have opened a hazing investigation after a Dartmouth College student was found dead in a river in early July.

Police received a tip that hazing was involved, and there was evidence that alcohol might have been involved in the death, USA Today reported. (July 2024)

Americans' confidence in higher education falls, poll shows

FILE - A passer-by walks through a gate to the Harvard University campus, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Jan. 2, 2024.
FILE - A passer-by walks through a gate to the Harvard University campus, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Jan. 2, 2024.

Confidence in higher education among Americans is declining, according to a recent poll that found 36% of adults expressed a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in higher education, down from 57% in 2015.

The Gallup and the Lumina Foundation poll also revealed that more than two-thirds (68%) of adults feel the U.S. higher education system is heading in the “wrong direction” vs. 31% of those respondents saying it is going in the “right direction.”

The poll, conducted June 3-23, surveyed 1,005 Americans aged 18 and older.

Declining enrollment mirrors concerns voiced by some Americans about colleges focusing on political agendas, neglecting relevant skills and being overly expensive.

Nathan Wyand, a software engineer in Charlottesville, Virginia, told VOA News he chose not to attend college due to high costs and the challenging curriculum.

“The mode of learning was very stressful. Every month and a half, I would break down in tears,” Wyand said, adding, “I didn’t want to deal with the debt and lack of freedom in choosing what to learn.”

Post-high school, Wyand said he explored different jobs before pursuing software development through a 10-month data science bootcamp at Flatiron School in New York.

“I took online courses at Flatiron, learning about software development. In my current role, I have practical experience, though less theoretical knowledge than peers with computer science degrees,” Wyand noted.

Wyand valued freedom in learning over being told what to learn in a structured classroom.

“I didn't want other people to tell me what I was going to learn, I was tired of that and ready to take charge of my education,” he said.

While costs influenced Wyand’s decision against college, he advises against dismissing it solely due to expenses.

“Don’t avoid college because you’re lazy or because it’s expensive. Avoid college if you feel that there is something better or more interesting to you that you can pursue instead. It’s important to have an objective,” he said.

The survey conducted last month reaffirms that 36% of adults maintain strong confidence in higher education, unchanged from the previous year.

“At a time where the U.S. needs more skilled Americans to fulfill our labor market needs of today and tomorrow it is concerning to see that they are losing confidence that higher education can deliver what they need,” Courtney Brown, vice president at Lumina, an education nonprofit, told VOA News.

Researchers are concerned by fewer Americans expressing “some” confidence and more reporting of “very little” or “none.”

“This year’s findings show a notable increase in those with little to no confidence, now at 32%, compared to 10% in 2015. This trend is alarming and must be reversed,” Brown said.

Brown stressed the need to address concerns about perceived political influences and lack of relevant skills in higher education.

“Society must tackle college costs directly. Many find college unaffordable, leading to crippling debt. I do believe higher ed can transform and ensure it meets the needs of students, but to do so we must pay attention to these data and address these concerns head on – the stakes of not doing so are far too great for individuals, communities and our nation,” Brown added.

John Pollock, a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago, told VOA he agrees with the poll’s findings.

“College is a business, not a guarantee for jobs or debt repayment. Many our age see multiple paths to success,” Pollock said. He added that networking opportunities are one value that colleges offer.

Of the roughly one-third of Americans who expressed a “great deal/quite a lot” of confidence in higher education, 27% said it is important for individuals and society to be educated.

Of the roughly one-third of Americans who said their confidence in higher education was “very little/none,” 41% cited colleges as being “too liberal,” or trying to “indoctrinate” or “brainwash” students as reasons for their replies.

Overall, 68% of respondents believe higher education is on the wrong track, contrasting with 31% who see it heading in the right direction.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press.

Report: US could have 2.8M international students in 10 years

FILE - Students walk on the campus of Boston College, April 29, 2024, in Boston.
FILE - Students walk on the campus of Boston College, April 29, 2024, in Boston.

The United States, which currently has 1,057,188 students from 210 countries, could have 2.8 million students by 2034, according to a report in India’s Free Press Journal.

The report says India is likely to make a significant contribution to the increase, along with China, Vietnam, Nigeria and Bangladesh. (June 2024)

Small group of colleges educates 20% of undergrads 

FILE - A cyclist crosses an intersection on the campus of Arizona State University on Sept. 1, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz.
FILE - A cyclist crosses an intersection on the campus of Arizona State University on Sept. 1, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz.

A group of just 102 public and private, four-year U.S. colleges and universities has an enrollment of 3.3 million students – about 1 in 5 of the nation’s undergraduates.

The Chronicle of Higher Education took a look at the institutions, their locations and their students. (June 2024)

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