The Bright Side In America # Improve Vocabulary

Source –TIME

Charity–humanity’s most benevolent impulse–is a timeless and borderless virtue, dating at least to the dawn of religious teaching. Philanthropy as we understand it today, however, is a distinctly American phenomenon, inseparable from the nation that shaped it. From colonial leaders to modern billionaires like Buffett, Gates and Zuckerberg, the tradition of giving is woven into our national DNA.

Like so many of our social structures, the formal practice of giving money to aid society traces its origin to a Founding Father. Benjamin Franklin, an icon of individual industry and frugality even in his own day, understood that with the privilege of doing well came the price of doing good. When he died in 1790, Franklin thought to future generations, leaving in trust two gifts of 1,000 lb. of sterling silver–one to the city of Boston, the other to Philadelphia. Per his instruction, a portion of the money and its dividends could not be used for 200 years.

While Franklin’s gifts lay in wait, the tradition he established evolved alongside the young nation. After the Civil War, rapid industrialization concentrated unfathomable wealth in the hands of a few, creating a period of unprecedented inequality. In response, the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie pioneered scientific philanthropy, which sought to address the underlying causes of social ills, rather than their symptoms. In his lifetime, Carnegie gave away more than $350 million, the equivalent of some $9 billion today. His 1889 essay “Wealth”–now better known as Carnegie’s “The Gospel of Wealth”–effectively launched modern philanthropy by creating a model that the wealthy continue to follow.

Two decades later, John D. Rockefeller endowed the Rockefeller Foundation, which soon became the largest such “benevolent trust” in the world. Prior to World War II, the Rockefeller Foundation provided more foreign aid than the entire federal government.

Other, often far less well-known men and women have played a critical role in philanthropy’s evolution. One of my personal heroes is Julius Rosenwald, who made his fortune building Sears, Roebuck and Co. With his giving, Rosenwald helped construct more than 5,300 schools across the segregated South and opened classroom doors to a generation of African-American students, including Maya Angelou and Congressman John Lewis.

America’s philanthropic instinct is not limited to the rich. The nation’s history is rife with people like Oseola McCarty, a Mississippi washerwoman who gave away her life savings of $150,000 in 1995 to fund college scholarships for low-income students with promise.

What accounts for this culture of generosity? The answer is not solely altruistic. Incentives in the tax code, for one, encourage the well-off to give. And philanthropy has long helped improve the public image of everyone from robber barons to the new tech elite.

More troubling, however, are the foundational problems that make philanthropy so necessary. Just before his death, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.”

Indeed, King illuminates a central contradiction: philanthropy is an offspring of the market, conceived and sustained by returns on capital, yet its most important responsibility is to help address the market’s imbalances and inadequacies.

Today institutional giving is undergoing a radical transformation. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg made headlines for committing $45 billion in Facebook stock through a limited liability corporation. They’re among a host of emerging donors who are experimenting with approaches to giving away their fortunes outside the boundaries of traditional foundations.

Only 26 years ago, the last of Franklin’s gifts were finally made available, having multiplied to $6.5 million. More than the sum, they represent a broader principle: We are custodians of a public trust, even if our capital was derived from private enterprise, and our most important obligation is ensuring that the system works more equally and more justly for more people. This belief is core to our national character. America’s greatest strength is not the fact of perfection, but rather the act of perfecting.

1. BenevolentWell-meaning and kindlyBenign, caring, compassionate, generous, humane, philanthropic
2. virtueMoral excellence; goodness; righteousnessAdvantage, character, ethic, excellence, faith, generosity, goodness, ideal, kindness, love, merit, morality, purity, quality, rectitude, righteousness, value
3. philanthropyAltruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.Charity, generosity, alms, alms-giving, altruism, assistance, benefaction, beneficence, contribution, dole, donation, endowment, fund, relief
4. frugalityThe quality of being frugal, or prudent in saving; the lack of wastefulnessModeration, prudence, thrift, avarice, carefulness, conservation, economy, miserliness, niggardliness, parsimoniousness, parsimony, penuriousness, providence, saving, stinginess
5. waitstay where one is or delay action until a particular time or event:Interval, down, halt, downtime, hold, interim, rest, stay
6. unfathomableNot able to fathom or completely understand; incomprehensibleBoundless, immeasurable, infinite
7. unprecedentedWithout previous instance; never known or experiencedBizzare, extraordinary, fantastic, miraculous, new, remarkable, singular, uncommon, unheard- of, unique, unparalleled, unrivaled, unusual
8. endowedTo provide with a permanent fund or source of incomeBlessed. Enriched, equipped, graced, suppilied
9. segregatedRestricting to one group, especially exclusively on the basis of racial or ethnic membershipIsolated, restricted, excluded, separated, discriminative
10. rifeOf common or frequent occurrence; prevalent; in widespread existence, activity or useAbundant, alive, plentiful, popular, prevalent, rampant, replete, abounding, common, current, epidemic, extensive, frequent
11. generosityReadiness or liberality in givingGoodness, hospitality, kindness, largesse, unselfishness, alms-giving, altruism, beneficence
12. altruisticUnselfishly concerned or devoted to the welfare of othersCharitable, humanitarian, magnanimous, philanthropic, all heart, benevolent, big, bleeding heart, considerate, good scout
13. incentivesSomething that incites or tends to incite to action or greater effort as a reward offered for increased productivityEncouragement, enticement, impetus, motivation, reason, stimulus, allurement, bait, carrot, catalyst, come- on, provocation, stimulant, insistence, exhortation
14. robberA person who robs (steals)Bandit, burglar, con artist, crook, looter, marauder, mugger, pickpocket, pirate, raider, rustler, shoplifter, swindler, thief, thug, brigand, buccaneer, cardsharper, cheat, chiseler, desperado, despoiler, fence, forager, fraud, hijacker, housebreaker, prowler, punk, safecracker, pillager, plunderer, operator
15. baronsA member of the lowest grade of nobilityAristocrat, lord, peer
16. contradictionA statement or proposition that contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruousConflict, difference, disagreement, discrepancy, dispute, inconsistency, confutation, contravention, defiance, denial, dissension, incongruity, negation, opposite, opposition
17. radicalOf or going to the root or origin; fundamentalProfound, basal, bottom, cardinal, constitutional, essential, native, natural, organic, original, primary, primitive, deep-seated, foundational, inherent, innate, intrinsic, meat-and-potatoes, primal
18. obligationSomething by which a person is bound or obliged to do certain things, and which arises out of a sense of duty or results from custom, law etc.Accountability, agreement bond, burden, commitment, constraint, contract, debt, duty, liability, necessity, need, promise, requirement, right, trust, understanding


Snacks # Speaking Sample Answer

Topic like snacks are more likely to be asked in the first section of the speaking test. Let us at some of the questions and their possible answers.

Do you likes snacks?

Sample A: No, not really. I eat less but often so I usually eat something that is healthy and more importantly fits well into my diet.

Sample B: I love snacks. I think they are the best way to escape that small hunger that creeps in every few hours. A light and healthy snack helps me feel refreshed.

Sample C: I would say, I stand in between. Neither do I hate eating snacks and neither are they very important for me. I would eat them if I have nothing else to eat or if I am in that mood. But, if I get something healthier I will go for it.

What kind of snacks are popular in your country?

Sample A: I guess people in my country usually like heavy snacks. So, one can find them eating samosa that is stuffed potato or stuffed chapatis. People also like having tea with either pakodas or biscuits.

Sample B: I suppose official people and corporates usually eat junk food because that is what they really get but the locals like to eat home made things for snacks like stuffed chapatis or papad.

Do you think eating snacks is healthy for your health?

Sample A: I think it all depends on what you are eating. So, if one is eating fruits in between the meals, I think it is fine. Also, some people don’t take full meals but rather prefer eating small meals more number of times. So, in that cases eating healthy snack is your way out.

Sample B: I suppose eating snacks is not the healthy way out. No matter what you are eating in snacks. Most of the times people find it as a way out to escape from work. So, when they are bored they go out and eat. It is both unnecessary and harmful.

How often do you eat snacks?

Sample A: My job requires me to sit form 9 till 8 in the evening. So, I go and have some snacks mostly at around 10 and then near 5 in the evening. I don’t prefer having snacks every hour and take them only when required.

Sample B: I love eating snacks. One can find me going in search of it every hour or so. My room is usually filled with lots of fruits and juices because I think they are really important if one needs to feel healthy in today’s era of rush.

How do you choose what snacks to eat?

Sample A: I like eating fruits and carry them with me or keep them in store for need. So, I would eat them raw or make a fruit chat out of them or juice, whichever seems easier and appropriate for the time.

Sample B: I am not very fussy about the snack that I eat. I usually go to the shop or the canteen and order randomly. The only thing that I am bothered about is the price. I just want cheap food that fills my appetite.

Did you ever eat snacks when you were a child?

Sample A: Yes, I did. But I remember back then it was my mother who used to prepare snacks so they used to be very healthy. Most of the time we used to get milk with fruits or any other juices.

Sample B: I never had time for snacks back then. We used to be so much engrossed in either studying or playing that food was a mere necessity which had to be fulfilled 3 or 4 times a day.

If you had a child, would you allow him/her to have snacks?

Sample A: I think definitely yes. Snacks are a good way to eat things you might avoid during full meals. Like fruits and other beverages. But, yes I will make sure that they eat only healthy stuff.

Sample B: I would prefer that they don’t eat too much of snacks but I don’t think I would be the strict parent forcing them. It would be their choice but from my side I would try my best that they eat only healthy food.

Have the snacks people eat changed over the last few decades?

Sample A: I think definitely yes. There has been a major shift in the economies of countries and with globalisation happening all around, what we eat has surely been influenced. Few decades before people preferred avoiding snacks but with changing times people started having home made stuff. But in recent times one can find people eating burgers and hot dogs and all the other fast food.

Do you think all snacks are junk food?

Sample A: Defineltely not. I think most of them are but then one can even eat fruits or juices for snacks and I think they are a perfect way to stay healthy.

Sample B: I think yes. Even if they are healthy foods like fruits eating too often is not the right way of eating, according to me. It not only distracts you from work but also creates a habbit of regularly eating.


IELTS Listening Sample Question # Inauguration Party

Obama Inauguration Party

The audio given below has been taken from BBC 6 minutes English. You can download it, from the given link –

Answer the following questions in NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS.

  1. In 1881, Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, went to the White House to find something for President James Garfield. What was it?
  2. Which phrasal verb is used to explain a sincere oath that a person takes?
  3. Which word is used to refer to the swearing in ceremony?
  4. Who organizes public events like films, concerts etc?
  5. What is a drink made of two or more drinks and alcohol called?
  6. Who are the people who have similar views or interest like you?

Inauguration Party

  1. bullet
  2. sworn in
  3. inauguration
  4. promoters
  5. cocktail
  6. like-minded people