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English bloopers: 'I live backside of that building'
Pritesh Dagur, Lakshman Raju
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May 30, 2007

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of learning a language is changing tenses while staying grammatically correct.

Verbs take on new forms and meanings and sentence structure is completely altered. It can be difficult to keep track of all these variations. Thankfully, many of our readers catch these mistakes and want to help others learn the proper format. 

Today, we'll look at a few examples aof how changed verb tenses and inquisitive/ declarative statements are easily jumbled!

And stay tuned, as every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we'll post new editions of our English Bloopers. 

Ms Pritesh Dagur, a 26-year-old PhD student in Bangalore, sent in the following English errors:

1. '
I was wanting to learn piano for a long time.'
In the past-perfect tense, you use the past tense of the verb by itself.
In this case:
~ 'I wanted to learn piano for a long time.'

2. 'I must have done this long ago.'
'I should have made a mistake.'
'Should have' talks about an opportunity that has been missed. On the other hand, 'must have' talks about a past event that went without notice. They should be written as follows:
~ 'I should have done this long ago.'
~ 'I must have made a mistake.'

Lakshman Raju, based in Bangalore and working with an ad agency, sent several bloopers our way:

1. 'Do you know who is she?'
In this case, the verb and the subject must switch places.
~ 'Do you know who she is?'

 2. 'What nonsense you are talking?'
Though intended to be a question, the above is formed like a declaration. It should be:
~ 'Are you talking nonsense?'

 3. 'I live backside of that building.'
This is a very common mistake in India. The sequence of words 'live backside of' is grammatically incorrect. It should be:
~ 'I live behind that building.'


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 tenth in a series of articles featuring your responses.

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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