By Edith Cox,2014-06-12 16:34
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    Unit Seven: To Err is human To err is human, to forgive is divine but Lord I am only human 1. be prone to error


    2.Truth is antagonistic to error . 真理与谬误不相容。

    3.Every man is liable to error.


    4.Are all men liable to error?


    5.But we are all liable to error.


    6.not liable to error in judgment or action. 在判断或者行动中不容易犯错误。

    7.quickly wake up to one's error


    8.To correct an error


    9.The loss was due to human error. 这次任务的失败是认为的错误导致。

    10.obstinately refuse to admit one's error I. Teaching aim:

    1. eleven key words: sheer blindest stuck obscure, vague, ambiguous equivalent

    endowment stipulate computerkind stun 2. seventeen key expressions: appeal for; appeal to sb. for sth./to do sth.; get stuck;

    after all; improve on/upon; knack of doing sth.; by the book; screw up;

    faculty of/for doing sth; endow sb. with sth; at one’s best; fling off;

    within/beyond one’s grasp/ the grasp of sb.; go about sth./ doing sth.; on a

    planetary scale; at random; in the clear II. Questions for previewing:


    1. According to the article,(para.2) if a computer makes a mistake, who is to blame:

    the computer or the person who uses the computer? Why? (Para.1) 2. On what bases does the author suggest that computer can make “human

    errors"?( Para. 3)

    3. Does the author think that computers have consciousness and unconsciousness

    ( Paras. 4-5)? How do you know?

    4. What sentence in Para. 6 explain the title “ To Err is Human”?

    5. In Para 6, the author says, “ Mistakes are at the very base of human thought,

    embedded there” In Para.11 there is a clause with similar meaning. Can you find

    the clause?

    6. What is the difference between the lower animals and the higher animals

    according to the author? ( Para.13) Why does he mention the lower animals? 7. What does “this” ( 1st line, last Para.) and “this”

    8. (14th line, last Para.) refer to?

    9. We learn, as we say, by trial and error. Why do we always say that? Why

    not trial and rightnessor trial and triumph?

    III. Language points:

    1. Bank balance are suddenly reported to have jumped …..and over to people with

    crazy-sounding names at your address.: Your bank statement suddenly informed

    you that your balance has been increased from $379 to several millions. And mails

    for other people with funny-sounding names asking for monetary donation are

    sent to your address again and again.

    appeal for: un urgent request fro sth. important such as money or help, esp. to help

    someone in a bad situation.

    appeal to sb. for sth./to do sth.

    The lay-offs appeal for a pay-raise.

    At Christmas and New Year, people appeal to us to help the poor. 2. Utility companies: in American English, utility companies refer to those

    companies who provide a service such as gas, water or electricity for people. 3. These are supposed to be the sheerest, blindest accidents: These can be regarded


    as the most common and unintentional accidents.

    sheer: plain, absolute

    What you said is sheer nonsense.

    What he has done is sheer waste of time and effort.

     blindest: not done intentionally

    4. getting stuck: being fixed in a position so as to stop movement

    stuck: not able to move or continue doing sth.

    We were stuck in the traffic jam for an hour.

    5. at its normal best: when performing well, as it usually does. 6. After all, the whole point of computers is that they represent an extension…..but

    nonetheless human, superhuman maybe,: It must be remembered that the nature of

    computers is that they extend the power of the human brain, more powerful than

    human brains in some aspects, but never a human in the real sense. Superhuman

    might be a proper name for computers.

    after all: anyway

    He should have offered to pay-he has plenty of money, anyway.

     improve on/upon:

     This achievement has never been improved on.

     I am unable to improve on his suggestion.(我提不出比他更好的建议)

    7. obscure, vague, ambiguous

     obscure 指事物的意思?因未明确地表达出来?或因缺乏理解所需的知识?而


     vague 指不确定?意义或言辞太笼统?或未能明白及完全地猜透

     ambiguous 指表达方法使之含有模棱两可的两重意义

    8. …and the turning of the spoons gives them the look of….chocking with

    information.: …the spinning spools are like wild animals’ big eyes when they try

    to think of the answers to some very difficult problems, involving huge amounts

    of information. Here them refers to computers; the look of wild creatures means

    that the computers seem to come alive and resemble wild living beings. 8. On the other hand, the evidences of something like….are all around, in every mail.:


    on the other hand there are signs that computers have a sort of mental life similar

    to that of human beings.

     equivalent: sth. that has the same use or function as sth else.

     A good quilt can be an equivalent of 3 blankets.

     equivalent to sth.: equal in value, amount, meaning and importance

     Nodding your head is equivalent to saying yes.

    9. As extensions of human brain, … and rich in possibilities: Functioning as our

    extended brain, computers are born with mistakes of our human beings, so natural

    and helpless and highly possible.

    10. Mistakes are at the very base of human thought…: the human brain is structured

    in such a way that it is bound to make mistakes..

    11. embed sth. in sth.: fix firmly and deeply

     The arrow embed itself in the wall.

    12. knack of doing sth.: the ability or skill of doing sth.;( often annoying) habit of

    doing sth.

     I used to be able to skate well, but I’ve lost the knock now.

     Driving a car is easy once you’ve got the knack of it.

    13.We get along in life this way: We manage to live in this way. Get along means

    continue, often in spite of difficulty.

    14. We are built to make mistakes: Mistakes are part of our human nature. 15. The old phrase put it that way because that is, in real life, the way it is done.: The

    old saying expresses it in that way because in reality it proves true.

     way: a method or manner of doing sth.

     Do it this way

    16. by the book: exactly according to rules or instructions

    17. … the wrong buffer, something in one of the blanks, ….or just a misreading of the

    day’s protocol.: …someone stores the information in the wrong place in the

    computer, something cannot be found. A wrong decimal is put in the sums or what

    was to be done today comes out wrong.

    18.screw up: If you screw sth. up, you make it fail or get it badly wrong and cause


    disorder; a very informal expression

     The car broke down, which screwed up our holiday.

    19….it opens the way.: it ( the misreading) starts the process which enables someone

    to make a decision.

    20. If the investigator can bring himself to say,…is ready for snatching.: if the

    investigator can come to the point of recognizing: “ even if there is some mistake,

    there is something new or different that might be thought-provoking” then the new

    finding, whatever it is, is ready for taking.

    21….are about to be accomplished.: are at the point of being reached.

     Be about to do something: be at the point of

    22. faculty of/for doing sth.: power, ability

     He has a faculty of learning languages.

    23. mountains of information: huge amounts of information

    24. endowment ( usu pl.)

     1) natural talent

     Not everybody is born with such endowments like you.

     2) money given to a hospital or school

     This college has a large endowment.

     endow sb. with sth.( usu passive) provide sb. Naturally with any good quality or


    25. stipulate: state clearly and firmly ( subjunctive mood)

     It is stipulated that the goods should be delivered within three days.


    26. at one’s best: in one’s best state or form

    27. …lift us onto totally new ground: …enable us to look at things from an entirely

    new and higher position

    28. …that provide for being flung off into blind alleys,…: ( the mixed and confused

    clusters of neurons) that readily cause us to be thrown into dead ends.

     fling off: cast off; remove a piece of clothing quickly

     She ran into the bedroom, where she flung off her dress and took out a clean one.


     A dead end: point at which one can make no further progress in work, an enquiry,


     A dead- job ( 晋升无望的工作)

    29. …but they get this way by trying to mimic their masters.: …that dogs sometimes

    make small mistakes is the result of their imitating their human masters. 30. Give the computers their head, I say; let them go their way.: I suggest we human

    let the computers do whatever they want for us in their way.

     I say ( Br. English) : used for calling someone’s attention 引起某人的注意,“


    31. If we can learn to do this, turning our heads to one side……and computerkind, are

    limitless.: If we can allow ourselves to turn to computers for lots of work,

    stepping back from whatever computers will do, then both the computers and

    we human beings can, by taking advantage of computers, reach our full


     computerkind: this is a nonce word after the word mankind, meaning the whole

    group of computers

    32. within/beyond one’s grasp/ the grasp of sb.: under/ out of control

     They went abroad, and beyond the grasp of police

    33. go about organizing ourselves: start to organize ourselves

     go about sth./ doing sth.

    1) to perform or to do

    It is high time they went about their own business.

    2) set about, being working at

    How do you go about repairing this clock?

    34. on a planetary scale: on a worldwide esize

    On a large/grand scale: in large numbers

    35. a single community: owing to the development of science and technology, it is

    believed that our world has become a “global village” or “ a single community”.

    36. What we need, for moving ahead,…mistaken course that any of us can think up

    right now.: What we need, then, for making progress, is a long list of wrong


    choices, which is more attractive than the short list of mistaken courses which any

    of us can come up with.

    37. at random: aimlessly

     Random, haphazard 指某事的完成?发生或来临乃属偶然所致?并非有计划者。



     例?His random guess at the number of beans in the jar won the prize.

     Because of her haphazard way of buying clothes, she never looks well dressed. 38. stun: shock or daze

     My brother was stunned by your charm

     She was standing stunned and in tears.

    39. In the clear: no longer in danger or suspected of sth. She was very ill for a few days but doctors say she is now in the clear. IV Homework

    earn to Be Writing : Write a composition of about 150 words on the topic L



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