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English bloopers: 'Every Sunday, I take headbath'
Karan Shah, Srihari BN
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May 18, 2007

English is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn. After all, you have to keep in mind all the exceptions, rules, irregular tenses and other oddities.

Don't abandon hope if you're having trouble. Keep reading our reader-driven, English bloopers series, and before long you'll be an expert!

Today, we look at contributions from Karan Shah and Shihari BN.

Karan, a 21-year-old English student in New Delhi, says that many people make mistakes with irregular nouns, especially when changing them into plural form. He provided the following list:

~ I bought new furnitures for the bedroom.

~ Please bring along the film equipments!

~ Display the datas in a graph.

~ Did you see the deers in the forest?

~ There were many pretty womans at the party!

~ What were the different criterias for joining?

~ I'm interested in misunderstood phenomenas.

The common problem linking these bloopers is using the incorrect plural form of the noun. All of them have 's' added on to the end when it is unnecessary. The correct version would be:

~ I bought new furniture for the bedroom. (Furniture is plural as well as singular.)

~ Please bring along the film equipment! (Equipment is plural as well as singular.)

~ Display the data in a graph. (Datum is singular; data is plural.)

~ Did you see the deer in the forest?  (Deer is singular and plural.)

~ There were many pretty women at the party!  (Woman is singular; women is plural.)

~ What were the different criteria for joining?  (Criterion is singular; criteria is plural.)

~ I'm interested in misunderstood phenomena. (Phenomenon is singular; phenomena is plural.)

Srihari, a 36-year-old from Bangalore working in IT enabled services, sent a few bloopers he commonly hears in office.

Blooper no 1:

~ Every Sunday, I take headbath.

The correct version should be:

~ Every Sunday, I wash my hair.

Blooper no 2:

~ I sended that parcel.

This is common mistake. English has many irregular verbs in the past tense. Sent is the past form of send.

~ I sent that parcel.

Blooper no 3:

~ I will call you today night.

Just dissecting the word, to-day, shows the origin. It means during the day. Therefore, you should use to-night.

~ I will call you tonight

Blooper no 4:

~ Can I have your name?

~ Can I go to the toilet?

~ Can I hold your hand?

This is one of the most common misuses of a word in the English language. Of course you *can* have someone's name, just as easily as you *can* go the toilet or hold someone's hand. Can means whether or not you are able to do it. May means whether or not you have permission to do it.

~ May I have your name?

~ May I go to the toilet?

~ May I hold your hand?


We thank our readers for the witty emails detailing common English bloopers they've come across! Keep them coming in, and we'll keep publishing. This is the sixth in a series of articles featuring your response.

If you'd like to share common bloopers you come across when people speak/ write in English, do mail your list of common bloopers, along with their correct alternative to -- we'll highlight them right here as a helpful guide to those trying to improve their English. Also make sure you include your FULL NAME, AGE, OCCUPATION and the CITY you are based in.

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