#EngTrivia: ‘Staring’ vs ‘Gazing’


Did you ever hear or see the line like this?

 Why are you staring at me?

I’m not staring. I’m gazing.

I saw this when I watched The Vampire Diaries, then suddenly I thought “Gazing? What is that?” because all I saw was Elena was staring, but she said ‘gazing’. So, tonight we will have a discussion about it. What is the difference between ‘staring’ and ‘gazing’?

If you ever checked the dictionary ‘stare’ is defined as to look fixedly or vacantly, while ‘gaze’ is defined as to look steadily and intently, at something or someone in a long time. They are similar. The difference is we use ‘stareto indicate any senses and feelings, such as curiosity, anger, boldness, admiration, bored, stupidity, etc; while ‘gazeto indicate sense of pleasure, like awe, admiration, fascination, and love.

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8 Reasons Why Intelligent People Have Poor Social Skills

Do you suspect that you’re more intelligent than most people, while others assume that you’re dumb or slow because of a lack of social skills?

It can be really frustrating when people think there’s something deficient about you because you’re not as glib and superficially quick-witted as they are. You’re not alone. Highly intelligent people can lack social skills more than others, and there are good reasons for it.

1. They overthink responses

Intelligent people tend to care what they say in conversation. They place more importance on their words than others, and this can mean theyoverthink their responses. A lot of casual conversation takes place spontaneously, on automatic pilot. Once you start thinking too much, it gets more difficult to speak without seeming awkward.

2. Ordinary topics might bore them

A major reason why intelligent people can have poor social skills is that they can’t summon up the enthusiasm to join in everyday conversations with people. Men may understand this feeling when listening to women discussing cosmetics, and women may understand it when listening to men analyze a football game. Some highly intelligent people feel this way about most of the conversation topics of both the sexes.

3. They can find it tough to find common ground with people

Most of the interests of a highly intelligent personwill be of limited interest to those of average intelligence. This can mean that subjects that would make the highly intelligent person engaging and enthusiastic in conversation are off bounds because the other person wouldn’t be able to relate. Two neuroscientists might be very animated when discussing neuroscience, for example, but totally unable to respond in a conversation about celebrity gossip.

4. They’re more self-conscious

One of the disadvantages of higher intelligence can be a higher degree of awareness of oneself and one’s behavior in social interactions. Highly intelligent people may be super conscious of themselves while socializing. Imagine if you always had critical eyes watching and judging you while you speak. You’d feel like you were on stage and you’d be unable to act naturally. For many highly intelligent people, that critic is in their own heads.

5. They’re more conscious of you too

Another character flaw that can afflict the highlyemotionally intelligent is that they can be extremely aware of other people’s responses in conversation.A person with a high emotional quotient can spot the micro-expressions and subtle body language cues in other people, which show when they’re impatient, bored, or not really listening. This can be crippling because people don’t really listen to others and aren’t genuinely interested in them at least half of the time! Once you’re aware of this, it can be almost impossible to continue a conversation with someone.

6. They’re naturally more anxious

Many correlations have been found in research between higher levels of intelligence and increased levels of generalized as well as social anxiety. Anxiety is a major cause of poor social skills. The reasons why this might occur are open to speculation. But it could be argued that ignorance is bliss and someone who is really conscious of what the world is realizes that it is a dangerous and unpleasant place. This naturally gives rise to feelings of fear and anxiety.

7. They’re uncomfortable with revealing personal info

The more intelligent a person is, the less comfortable they may be with revealing too much about themselves to people then don’t know well. This is the logical thing to do in many ways, as we all know that there are people around who might use personal information against a person. It’s reasonable to want to know a person enough to trust them with details about your life that could place you in a position of vulnerability. This has a cost in terms of social skills, though.

8. They hide their vulnerabilities

Following on from the previous point, intelligent people may be extremely cautious about revealing their vulnerabilities. This kind of self-protective behavior may be learnt rather than innate in intelligent people, but intelligent people are more likely to learn from mistakes and change their behavior in response to failures. The problem with this cautious attitude is that it robs them of essential social skills. People can’t warm to people who are unwilling to reveal their humanity to others. It prevents others sharing with them too.

9 ways to call someone a ‘liar’

Has someone been pulling the wool over your eyes? Have they been ‘economical with the truth’? Told you ‘terminological inexactitudes’? You can do better than just ‘liar’. Why don’t you try calling them out with this curated list of synonyms? After all, what stings more: ‘liar’ or ‘teller of untruths’? You decide – here is a quick collection of liar synonyms:

1. Teller of untruths

For the poetically inclined, teller of untruths had a nice sting to it. You might even consider expanding the accusation to ‘teller of untruths, your trousers have combusted!’ in reference to the likely apocryphal story of translating the phrase ‘liar, liar, pants on fire!’ into French and then back again.

2. Perjurer

Not only were they lying, they were also doing it under oath. It’s a crime! Perjure ultimately comes from the Latin word periūrāre, ‘to swear falsely, to break one’s oath’.

3. Fabricator

If false evidence is part of the problem, then fabricator should do the trick. Of course, fabricator may also refer to a person who ‘constructs or manufactures something’.

4. Equivocator

If they’re dancing around the truth, then equivocator might be just the word for you. The word refers to a person who ‘uses ambiguous language so as to conceal the truth or avoid committing themselves.

5. Prevaricator

Another word to nail down someone skirting around reality, prevaricator can be suitably applied to someone who ‘speaks or acts in an evasive way’. The word prevaricate goes back to the Latin word praevāricārī, ‘to plough crookedly or (of an advocate) to practice collusion’.

6. Spinner of yarns

Are they a teller of tall tales? Of far-fetched accounts of unlikely veracity? You might consider dropping ‘spinner of yarns’ into the discussion. With roots in nautical slang, consider it a bonus if your target is a sailing type.

7. Fabulist

Another storytelling option, you can touch on fabulist if the person is ‘a liar, especially a person who invents elaborate, dishonest stories’. That said, fabulist may also refer to a ‘person who composes or relates fables’, so the term is best avoided if your target is Aesop or Orwell.

8. Fibster

Does this person lie about trivial, random things? Then there’s no better way to belittle them than with the archaic fibster.

9. Pseudologist

Send ’em running to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) with this one. Pseudologist is a rare and humorous term referring to a ‘systematic liar’. You get to feel cultured also; the word goes back to the Greek term ψευδολόγος, which means ‘speaking falsely, lying’.

10 Toxic People You Should Avoid At All Costs

Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons.

As important as it is to learn how to deal with different kinds of people, truly toxic people will never be worth your time and energy—and they take a lot of each. Toxic people create unnecessary complexity, strife, and, worst of all, stress.

“People inspire you, or they drain you—pick them wisely.” – Hans F. Hansen
Recent research from Friedrich Schiller University in Germany shows just how serious toxic people are. They found that exposure to stimuli that cause strong negative emotions—the same kind of exposure you get when dealing with toxic people—caused subjects’ brains to have a massive stress response. Whether it’s negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, toxic people drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs.

Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurons in the hippocampus, an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to brain cells, and months of stress can permanently destroy them. Toxic people don’t just make you miserable—they’re really hard on your brain.

The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control. One of their greatest gifts is the ability to identify toxic people and keep them at bay.

It’s often said that you’re the product of the five people you spend the most time with. If you allow even one of those five people to be toxic, you’ll soon find out how capable he or she is of holding you back.

You can’t hope to distance yourself from toxic people until you first know who they are. The trick is to separate those who are annoying or simply difficult from those who are truly toxic. What follows are ten types of toxic drainers that you should stay away from at all costs so that you don’t become one yourself.

1. The Gossip

“Great minds discuss ideas, average ones discuss events, and small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Gossipers derive pleasure from other people’s misfortunes. It might be fun to peer into somebody else’s personal or professional faux pas at first, but over time, it gets tiring, makes you feel gross, and hurts other people. There are too many positives out there and too much to learn from interesting people to waste your time talking about the misfortune of others.

2. The Temperamental

Some people have absolutely no control over their emotions. They will lash out at you and project their feelings onto you, all the while thinking that you’re the one causing their malaise. Temperamental people are tough to dump from your life because their lack of control over their emotions makes you feel bad for them. When push comes to shove though, temperamental people will use you as their emotional toilet and should be avoided at all costs.

3. The Victim

Victims are tough to identify because you initially empathize with their problems. But as time passes, you begin to realize that their “time of need” is all the time. Victims actively push away any personal responsibility by making every speed bump they encounter into an uncrossable mountain. They don’t see tough times as opportunities to learn and grow from; instead, they see them as an out. There’s an old saying: “Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.” It perfectly captures the toxicity of the victim, who chooses to suffer every time.

4. The Self-Absorbed

Self-absorbed people bring you down through the impassionate distance they maintain from other people. You can usually tell when you’re hanging around self-absorbed people because you start to feel completely alone. This happens because as far as they’re concerned, there’s no point in having a real connection between them and anyone else. You’re merely a tool used to build their self-esteem.

5. The Envious

To envious people, the grass is always greener somewhere else. Even when something great happens to envious people, they don’t derive any satisfaction from it. This is because they measure their fortune against the world’s when they should be deriving their satisfaction from within. And let’s face it, there’salways someone out there who’s doing better if you look hard enough. Spending too much time around envious people is dangerous because they teach you to trivialize your own accomplishments.

6. The Manipulator

Manipulators suck time and energy out of your life under the façade of friendship. They can be tricky to deal with because they treat you like a friend. They know what you like, what makes you happy, and what you think is funny, but the difference is that they use this information as part of a hidden agenda. Manipulators always want something from you, and if you look back on your relationships with them, it’s all take, take, take, with little or no giving. They’ll do anything to win you over just so they can work you over.

7. The Dementor

In J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, Dementors are evil creatures that suck people’s souls out of their bodies, leaving them merely as shells of humans. Whenever a Dementor enters the room, it goes dark, people get cold, and they begin to recall their worst memories. Rowling said that she developed the concept for Dementors based on highly negative people—the kind of people who have the ability to walk into a room and instantly suck the life out of it.

Dementors suck the life out of the room by imposing their negativity and pessimism upon everyone they encounter. Their viewpoints are always glass half empty, and they can inject fear and concern into even the most benign situations. A Notre Dame University study found that students assigned to roommates who thought negatively were far more likely to develop negative thinking and even depression themselves.

8. The Twisted

There are certain toxic people who have bad intentions, deriving deep satisfaction from the pain and misery of others. They are either out to hurt you, to make you feel bad, or to get something from you; otherwise, they have no interest in you. The only good thing about this type is that you can spot their intentions quickly, which makes it that much faster to get them out of your life.

9. The Judgmental

Judgmental people are quick to tell you exactly what is and isn’t cool. They have a way of taking the thing you’re most passionate about and making you feel terrible about it. Instead of appreciating and learning from people who are different from them, judgmental people look down on others. Judgmental people stifle your desire to be a passionate, expressive person, so you’re best off cutting them out and being yourself.

10. The Arrogant

Arrogant people are a waste of your time because they see everything you do as a personal challenge. Arrogance is false confidence, and it always masks major insecurities. A University of Akron study found that arrogance is correlated with a slew of problems in the workplace. Arrogant people tend to be lower performers, more disagreeable, and have more cognitive problems than the average person.

How to Protect Yourself Once You Spot ’Em

Toxic people drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. Make no mistake about it—their behavior truly goes against reason, so why do you allow yourself to respond to them emotionally and get sucked into the mix?

The more irrational and off-base someone is, the easier it should be for you to remove yourself from their traps. Quit trying to beat them at their own game. Distance yourself from them emotionally, and approach your interactions with them like they’re a science project (or you’re their shrink if you prefer that analogy). You don’t need to respond to the emotional chaos—only the facts.

Maintaining an emotional distance requires awareness. You can’t stop someone from pushing your buttons if you don’t recognize when it’s happening. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in situations where you’ll need to regroup and choose the best way forward. This is fine, and you shouldn’t be afraid to buy yourself some time to do so.

Most people feel as though because they work or live with someone, they have no way to control the chaos. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Once you’ve identified a toxic person, you’ll begin to find their behavior more predictable and easier to understand. This will equip you to think rationally about when and where you have to put up with them and when and where you don’t. You can establish boundaries, but you’ll have to do so consciously and proactively. If you let things happen naturally, you’re bound to find yourself constantly embroiled in difficult conversations. If you set boundaries and decide when and where you’ll engage a difficult person, you can control much of the chaos. The only trick is to stick to your guns and keep boundaries in place when the person tries to cross them, which they will.

How to keep your students motivated

How do you keep students motivated? I like to compare it to keeping a healthy successful marriage. Like passion, motivation eventually fades away if you don’t feed it every day. It takes time, effort and energy – but it is worthwhile.

In my experience, what keeps students motivated is a motivated teacher. If you have a passion for teaching, your students are more likely to show a passion for learning. However, I’m afraid it also works the other way round: if you don’t care about teaching, your students won’t care about learning.

So, here are a few effective tips I have collected over the years:

Involve your students

You will not keep your students motivated if you do not involve them and let them take an active role in your classes. Long gone are the days when teachers talked for most of the lesson, with students taking a passive role. Classes need to be student-centred. The teacher should act as a coach and facilitator; to help, guide and direct the learning process.

Give students the chance to shine

It is also very important to give students the opportunity to be successful. Give them tasks where they can see the results of their efforts. That feeling of ‘yeah, I did it!’, that ‘a-ha’ feeling students get when they have done a difficult exercise, boosts their motivation. 

Make learning fun

Make your classes memorable. Use games and competitions. Everybody loves competitions, and it gives students a nice opportunity to interact with each other, have fun and learn at the same time.

Step away from the textbooks

Bring in authentic material that your students can connect with, and that matches their needs and interests. Create your own activities and show them that you are also prepared to put in a lot of effort and time to help them succeed.

Explain why you are doing things a certain way

There is nothing more boring than a teacher telling students to open their book on page 22, and asking them to do exercise five. You need to explain why it is important for them to do this exercise, and what they are going to accomplish by doing it.

Give very clear instructions

When setting a task, be clear and allow students time to prepare first and ask you any questions. There is nothing more frustrating for them than not being able to perform well, because they didn’t understand the task. This is very important to students. They need to have a very clear idea of what they are supposed to do.

Set clear, attainable goals for every lesson

You want your students to leave your class thinking it was worth their while. Start your lessons by writing down your lesson plan on the corner of the board, so that students know what they are going to learn. At the end of the class, point to the lesson plan and go over everything they have learned. It’s important for them to see where they are now, and where you are going to take them next.

Vary the social dynamics and include movement

Ask students to work in pairs or in groups. Get them out of their seats and moving. Ask them to change partners regularly. To keep your students’ attention, set a variety of engaging, meaningful activities, and create a friendly atmosphere where they feel they can talk freely and ask questions.

Use different materials

We all know that our students prefer looking at a screen than at a book, so use visuals, flashcards, infographics, quizzes, and make use of new technology. There are plenty of sites that offer online quizzes, games or videos. As teachers, it’s up to us to seek out new resources that may benefit our classes, and bringing technology into our lessons is a great way to motivate students. You cannot expect your students to be motivated if you spend half the class doing endless grammar and vocabulary exercises.

Don’t over-correct

Avoid over-correcting, especially when students are speaking in front of the class. Don’t undermine their confidence by interrupting every single time they make a mistake. Listen to them, and when they finish, thank them for their contribution and point out one or two important mistakes they might have made. You can then remind students that making mistakes is a natural part of learning and that everybody makes mistakes, even the teacher.


In capital letters. A ‘well done’ or a ‘thank you’ at the end of their contribution, even if their answer was not correct, will boost confidence a lot, especially for weaker students. There is always something positive to say. Start with the positive thing, and then tactfully move on to what needs to be improved.

So what is the best tip I can offer? The one I stick to after 26 years teaching, which probably best summarises all the tips I have shared here, is ‘teach as you would like to be taught’. It is as simple as that.

Former vs Latter

First thing’s first: Former and latter are both terms that denote an item’s place in a two-part sequence. They usually appear in the sentence immediately following the sequence. Former refers back to the first of a set, while latter refers to the last item. An easy way to remember the difference is to recall that both former and first begin with an F, while both latter and last start with an L. Former and latter shouldn’t appear after lists that contain more than two items.

Former and Latter in Sequence

Take this example from The Young Student’s Companion: “I have a grey horse and a black horse; take the former, and send the latter to my brother.” Here, the former item in the list is a grey horse, and the latter item is a black horse. By using the terms in this way, the speaker manages to indicate which horse the listener should take and which should be sent to their brother without having to repeat the full description of each horse.

Secondary Meanings

Both of these words have somewhat related secondary meanings.Former‘s secondary meaning is in reference to the past. For example, a new employee may be introduced as as “Jim, formerly of Very Big Corporation,” with the clear meaning that he’s no longer an employee there. Similarly, Jimmy Carter is a former president in that he stopped being president in 1981.

Latter‘s second meaning is also a reference to the vague location of an event in time, rather than in a sequence. The full name of the Mormon Church, for example, is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” Here, Latter-Day is a reference to a time period, and is almost synonymous with late.


Former and latter usually show up in formal or technical writing. It’s rare that either word appears in casual speech. This is partly because it sounds odd to modern listeners, but mostly because the audience can’t go back over the preceding sentence to double-check which item in a set is former and which is latter.