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English bloopers: 'The exams are preponed'
Vasantha Balsubramanian, Manas Joshi
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May 25, 2007

English errors are common at the office, home, school and even in the movies!

So, with everyone else making mistakes, why should you worry about it?

Well, speaking and writing proper English is one way to make you stand above the crowd. If a job opening comes down to you and another applicant, wouldn't you want your interview and resume free of mistakes?

On that note, let's begin another series of English Bloopers, provided by users. Today, we look at mistakes from both written and spoken English, all noticed by observant readers and e-mailed to the Get Ahead team.

Vasantha Balsubramanian, from Chennai, hears mistakes in the classroom everyday. She sent these gaffes along:

1. One of my student wanted a book.

Even though you are talking about an individual student, you are still mentioning them as part of a larger group. Therefore, it should be students instead of student.

~ One of my students wanted a book.

2. She do not know the answer.

This is one of those tricky parts of English, verb conjugations. The verb 'do' stays as 'do' for first-person singular/ plural, second-person singular/ plural and third-person plural. For third-person singular, however, it changes to 'does'. It should be:

~ She does not know the answer.

3. The examinations are preponed.

We've received countless e-mails identifying this mistake. Preponed is supposed to be the opposite of postponed, only there's a problem -- preponed isn't in the English dictionary! Instead, use advanced.

~ The examinations are advanced.
Manas Joshi, a 19 year old student from St Xavier's College, Mumbai, hears English mistakes all across the metropolis. Most of them are the result of a direct translations of Hindi/ Marthi to English.

1. Have you removed tickets?
This is an exact translation from the Hindi/ Marathi version: 'Ticket nikala kya?'/ 'Ticket kaadhle kaa?' It should be:

~ Have you bought the tickets?

2. You are a doctor, no?

This is another common mistake, probably arising as a result of a direct translation from Hindi. We always add 'na' on to the end of each sentenc.! It should be:

~ Aren't you a doctor? OR Are you a doctor?

3. He is very heighted.

There is no such word as 'heighted' in the English language. You could say, 'he has height' but this would be awkward. Instead, try:

~ He is very tall.

4. I went there, only.

Again, this is another common mistake. One hears it so frequently that it doesn't even sound like a mistake! It also arises from literal translations of Hindi. Most of the time, 'only' can be cut from your speech.

~ I went there.


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 eighth 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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