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Mar 20, 2012

Because many of you have responded positively to my new series 'Analysis time', we will continue with a particularly interesting one today taken from an article about 'break-through' scientific technology. If you haven't come across the phrase 'break-through', you might be able to imagine its meaning. It is literally the idea of breaking through a wall of ignorance, and arriving at new knowledge and new technology. A break-through is positive and exciting, and it can be used in many different areas: science, medicine, even psychology. Infact, you can even use it on a personal basis

Ex: I had a break-through with my counselor yesterday; I realize that I must forgive my parents.

So, there will be many more examples coming up. Let's here the article.

A plant that was frozen in Siberian permafrost for about 30,000 years has been revived by a team of Russian scientists - and borne (1)fruit, to boot(2). Bacteria and other simple organisms had been known to survive in the ice for thousands of years. But reviving a life as complex(3) as a plant is an entirely different matter(4), scientists said. For this study, the researchers managed to(5) grow a plant without even using a seed. Instead(6), they thawed, washed and disinfected the fruits and took out bits of nutrient-rich fruit flesh known as placental tissue(7). When bathed in the right broth(8) of chemicals, placental tissue acts like the plant version(9)of stem cells. The study is an encouraging sign that it may be possible to revive larger and more complex beings that were preserved in the frozen tundra.

1. Borne comes from the verb 'to bear fruit' . The sentence should have said 'and has borne fruit' to be clear. The plant has produced fruit. It is an irregular past participle that obviously looks nothing like the original verb 'to bear'. It is spelt the same as the predatory animal 'bear', is pronounced the same, but has nothing to do with it. It is also often used with other meanings, such as 'to accept' or 'to carry'. There are other meanings, but these are the most common.

Exs: a. He bore all the criticism, even though other people were guilty.

       b. I can't bear the pain anymore; I'll take a headache pill.

2. To boot is a funny little phrase that means 'also'. or 'besides'. It carries (or bears) more of a sense of surprise or significance than 'also'.

Exs: a.  He not only sailed the Atlantic, but he wrote a novel at the same time, to boot.

       b. I returned the dress to the shop and got my money back, and a gift certificate to boot.

3. Complex is a straight forward word meaning complicated or difficult. It is used in any arena.

Exs: a. She is a complex individual. Just when you think you know her, she says something very unexpected.

       b. The math that my son is doing in school is too complex for me!

4. 'An entirely different matter' is a very useful phrase that adds seriousness to a second idea.

Exs: a. Why they argued is one thing. The state of their marriage is an entirely different matter.

       b. Making austerity cuts might be necessary, but creating economic growth is an entirely different matter.

5. 'To manage to + verb' is a very useful and common phrase implying that some effort has been used to achieve an outcome.

Exs a. I managed to find my wedding ring; it had been missing for two months.

      b. I don't know how he did it, but he managed to pull himself out of the hospital bed and walk out of the building.

It is also used when asking questions in an accusatory way:

     c. How on earth did you manage to crash the car into the mailbox?

6. 'Instead' means 'as a substitute for' or 'as an alternative':

    a. I was going to call you, but I decided to walk to your house instead.

    b. I told him to study, but he played outside instead.

7. Tissue is the soft paper we use to wipe our noses. It is, however, also used as 'material' or 'substance' when talking about animal or plant life.

Exs: a. They took some brain tissue to do a biopsy.

       b. Some of the inside tissue of the leaf was studied.

8. Broth means a thin, watery soup that usually has meat or fish extract in it. It can be used, as in this case, in science when talking about a mixture.

Ex: To make the best chicken broth, boil the bones for at least half an hour, then add vegetables and seasoning.

9. The ... version of indicates that something is similar to something else in function or essence, but different in a fundamental way.

Exs: a. That boy is the young version of Elvis Presley!

       b. 'Lovesong' by Adele, is a slow jazz version of a song by The Cure.

       c. I met Mary's mother the other day. She is an older version of her daughter; they are so similar.

Let's here the excerpt one more time.

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