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6 (more) sentences that are... erm... wrong!

December 24, 2014 09:26 IST
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As part of our ongoing series we tell you just what's wrong with the way (most) Indians speak English.

Last week we listed out six sentences most commonly used in English that are incorrect.

Today, we bring you six more that you, our readers, pointed out:

1. This is more better!

Quite simply put, the comparative degree of a word like 'beautiful' is 'more beautiful' and its superlative is 'most beautiful' and not 'beautifuller' and 'beautifullest' because there are no such words in the dictionary :-)

Similarly, the comparative degree of 'good' is 'better' and its superlative is 'best'.

The idea of a double comparative isn't just grammatically incorrect but can also confuse the listener.

Wherever English words change in form/nature, while illustrating comparison, they need to be used by themselves.

For example: easy, easier, easiest or good, better, best.

However in cases where this does not occur/such possibilities do not exist, one can use 'more' and 'most' as modifying words, to show comparison.

For example: beautiful, more beautiful and most beautiful.

Instead say: This is better!


Thank you Bikash Biswas for pointing out this #Indianism

2. You are kindly requested to board the aircraft immediately.

Indians tend to be polite to a fault.

Much of this is reflected in the way we speak.

A request presumes politeness.

Often we feel adding 'kindly' to the sentence makes it sound even overtly polite.

As Rediff reader Veera Narsiman points out, this 'double humility' can be easily done away with.

Instead say: You are requested to board the aircraft immediately.

3. I was struck in traffic.

Struck is the simple past tense of strike.

Stuck is the simple past tense of stick.

When you say you're struck, it means you've been hit by someone or something.

For example:

The thug struck me with a baton.

The car was struck by lightning.

So when Rediff reader Suman Ghosh would read messages from colleagues running late to work because they were struck in traffic, he would be justifiably worried.

We can imagine how relieved (and confused) he may have been though when the said colleague walked into the office unscathed! :-)

Instead say: I was stuck in traffic.

4. Light is gone!

This would be correct if we were, let's say, referring to someone's passing away.

Jawaharlal Nehru, announcing the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi famously said: "The light has gone out of our lives."

If however you are referring merely to a power failure, say it as it is!

Consider saying: There's been a power failure!

Thank you, Varun Cheemra for pointing it out to us! :-)

5. Remove my photo!

We often tend to translate from a local language to English. The above sentence is a classic example of that.

'Remove my photo!' is a literal translation of 'Mera photo nikaliye!'

Instead say: "Could you click my photograph, please?"

6. He is like that only.

Yet another example of what happens when you translate word to word from a local language (in this case, Hindi)!

Think of how you'd say it in Hindi: "Yeh ladka aisa hi hai!"

When you really just want to say: This is just how he is!

Photograph: Ralph D Freso/Reuters

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