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English Errors: 7 deadly writing mistakes

Last updated on: May 13, 2014 11:32 IST

English Errors: 7 deadly writing mistakes



Identify these smelly socks and get rid of them.

Do you know why written communication is so important?

Close your eyes for 45 seconds; think of an answer and then open your eyes. Pat yourself on the back if you get it right.

It’s because a single sentence written by you tells more about you than you can ever say face to face. Ten lines written by you will tell the reader everything that needs to be known about you.

Yes, ten lines on anything would suffice.

That’s why they ask you to write essays in MBA admission applications and stories during SSB to join the army.

The selectors, recruiters and interviewers everywhere are smart people. They know you will reveal more about yourself in 10 lines without even realising it.


So, you too should become smart. Here's how...

Deadly Sin 1: Cn u plz sugst sum tym 4 da intrvyu?

Sure why not? Let’s meet 20 years later when you’d have finished your high school.

SMS language is ugly, abominable and the sin of sins in any formal communication.

It tells the reader that you still wear diapers and drink Woodword’s gripe water. It tells him that you are not mature enough to be in college or in the office.

Deadly Sin 2: Can you please suggest some time for the innerview?

Actually No. You can’t have the inner view. I love my privacy. Thank you.

Miss-spelt words speak of your carelessness and tell the reader you are not reliable.

Do you want to take that risk?

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Vibhuti Gupta is an Academic Manager at provides English over Phone, a 100% practice based spoken English course over mobile to working professionals, college students and housewives all over India.

Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/


English Errors: 7 deadly writing mistakes

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Deadly Sin 3: Can please you suggest some interview time?

You don’t need the interview kid. You need a copy of Wren and Martin’s English Grammar.

There is a used books sale going on at Sharma Pustak Bhandar. Run before they close it.

Wrong grammar says you are not fit for higher roles.

It also says you did not learn enough at school and have been lazy after you grew up.

Deadly Sin 4: Will you give me a time for the interview?

What if I don’t? Will you come in and shoot me?

Inappropriate tone in written communication, at best, signals lack of professional sophistication and at worst, a rude temperament.

It’s tricky in English because it’s not our mother tongue and at times, we don’t even realise the connotations of our sentence structure. Thus, we could be being rude without realising or even intending so.

Read good professional reports, memos and emails to get the tone right. It’s not difficult -- ten pieces of good writing of each type will arm you enough to find your way.

Deadly Sin 5: Only evil people who throw stones at frogs do not buy our product.

Did the frogs tell you this or do you have an evil-meter?

Unsubstantiated tall claims DO NOT convince the reader and tell him about your laziness (that you didn’t bother backing it up), naivete (you thought I will believe it simply because you said so) and lack of trustworthiness.

Whenever you are making a tall claim, back it up with data and source.

Say it like this, “50 per cent of those who rejected our product confessed to being evil and clapping after throwing stones at frogs”.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/

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English Errors: 7 deadly writing mistakes

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Deadly Sin 6: Impossible is the word found in the dictionary of fools. Napoleon who?

Forget Napoleon. First tell me why shouldn’t you be booked for plagiarism?

Taking somebody else’s work and passing it as your own amounts to stealing. It is unacceptable and severely limits your growth.

Whenever you have to quote a data piece or a passage or a line originally written by someone else, always acknowledge in a footnote.

If no one in your office does that, it’s even better. You’ll immediately stand out as the guy who has the real chops in written communication.

Deadly Sin 7: I write like Basanti speaks

For example, “Please suggest a time for the interview. It’s my dream to work in your company so kindly give me a time when it would be possible for you to take my interview. I will be obliged if you indicate a suitable time for the interview.”

Am I mad? Your two-line email has already given me a headache, talking face to face won’t stop short of a heart attack!

Repeating the same thing over and over again tells the reader that you either didn’t bother organising your thoughts or you don’t know that thoughts need to be organised before you convey them.

It also tells him that you should be kept miles away from any task that requires writing anything more than your name.

Identify the demons before they devour you!

Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/

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