Monthly Archives: May 2010

Donation: Voluntary?

donationI was walking along the street on Wesak Day, and I found this message: “Donations are voluntary” written on a box (pic.), and that started me to think – are donations not meant to be “voluntary” i.e. given from the bottom of our hearts? 

I mean, since when has donation become compulsory? Perhaps we are confused with the word “tithe“. To Muslims, they have to pay tithes – a sum of money paid to help those in need. Even some Christian sects require their congregation to give a small sum of their annual income as tax to the church, and this amount will be used for charity or to fund certain religious events.


  • tithe is compulsory, and is given on a regular basis
  • donation is not compulsory, and any amount is acceptable

What if you see this: “Please donate a minimum amount of $5.” – I believe you have 😛


Report, report

Which verb comes before the word “report“? See the phrases below. Can you tell when each one is used?

  • make a report
  • write a report
  • present a report
  • give a report

You make a report when something happens and you want to inform others about that incident. For instance, in an accident, you’re required to make a report at the police station. The report can be either verbal or written – mostly verbal as the cops will do all the paper work.

You write a report to inform your fellow colleagues about some  incidents, events or the financial situation in the company you work. Reports are written at the request of the management. If your boss keeps quiet, so do you. In most cases, it is a monthly routine, so you have to do it. 😛

After writing a report, you may be required by the management to present a report in the next meeting. When you present the report, you have to orally summarise what you have reported in writing. Written reports are normally sent to every one after the meeting, so your fellow colleagues do not know what you’ve written until the meeting.

Give me your report!” – your boss commands. Presumably, you have already written it, and you’re required to personally hand it to him soon before your posterior gets  burnt.  So you give a report when you’re forced to do it – something like “write a report” but more urgent.

Sigh, so many reports to  make, write, give and present. 🙂

"with" or without

Someone has just sent me a message and wants to know if this sentence is correct: “I feed the cat with some milk.” One of her colleagues said the preposition “with” should be dropped. This friend of mine argued that having “with” in the sentence is acceptable.

Well, “with” could be used if it is followed by an eating utensil or food. That means, these examples are correct:

  • Foreigners find it strange that some Chinese in Malaysia eat with their fingers. (√)
  • The little boy fed the chick with a syringe. (√)
  • I had rice with curry and some meat. (√)

It is therefore incorrect to say:

  • They fed the boy with fried chicken. (X)
  • My neighbour feeds his chickens with corn each morning. (X)
  • Did you feed the baby with milk though you know he’s allergic to it? (X)

The general rules are as follows

  • [someone] feeds [person/animal] [food]
  • [someone] eats [food] with/and [food]
  •  [someone] eats [food] with [an eating tool/fingers]

I believe there are some exceptions. Care to add? 🙂