Robin* is my dear friend. I know he has only one wife! But, early this morning, when I saw his message on my mobile, I wondered if he had hidden his other wives from me and many of his friends!
He had messaged to me:
“Are there any Workshops planned for this month? One of my wife’s cousin is looking for Workshops.”
What Robin wanted to tell, I could easily understand:
“A cousin of my wife is looking for Workshops.” He could have conveyed it in other ways, too. Like: “My wife’s cousin is looking for Workshops,” or, “One of the cousins of my wife is looking for Workshops.”
Incidentally, there was another similar message in our Society WhatsApp group. A lady had enquired:
“Is anyone taking ABACUS classes in our society? Kindly inform me if you know.”
Another lady had replied:
“Me as well.”
The first lady had reverted quickly:
“What age kids you take ma’am?”
The second lady’s response was understandably interesting:
“Arre, I also need information about ABACUS for my son!”
Both these messages made me smile, this morning. My own list of goof-ups is endless… Someone like my wife and son alone will have the honesty and gumption to point them out to me and laugh. Thus, I am not writing about the message/English goof-ups, here in my Blog, to make others look small or silly… I am writing about them, here, to tell: “Hey, we all do such goof-ups, so often!”
I have stopped asking someone, “What is your ‘good’ name.” Name cannot be good or bad. So, it is now, “What’s your name.” Or, to sound more polite, “May I know your name.”
The ‘back side’ is where one’s buttocks are placed. So, it is the ‘rear side’…
From the ‘Return/Revert back’, the ‘back’ has been deleted… Only ‘Return/Revert’ do the job!
I don’t say anymore, “According to me.” It is “In my view,” or, “In my opinion,” or, simply, I consider,” or “To me.” ‘According to’ is reserved only when I refer to an authority or someone other than me… like, “According to Adam Smith,” or “According to our Principal.”
Meanwhile, I know why not to use, “I don’t say no more”… They are two negatives, you see!
‘Between’ for two and ‘Among’ for more than two. So, two sons divide the money between them and five sons divide the money among them…
My well-wishers keep drawing my attention to my mistakes – scores of them in my daily Blogs – But, they do it gently in my ears… yes, without making me feel embarrassed about them. Till the other day, I did not know, that it was ‘Many a time,’ and not ‘Many a times.’ ‘Many times ‘will do, but not ‘Many a times’!
‘Incident’ and ‘Incidence’ goof-up has now ended, thanks to the kindness of one of my well-wishers…
It is not going to be ‘a ten-years-old boy,”… It is going to be, ‘a ten-year-old boy.”
These are our language blind spots… We all have plenty of them!
What is wrong in this:
“No trespassing without permission.”
“Open seven days a week, and weekends too.”
Well, in the end, let me share these last three just for fun:
“Take one of our horse-driven city tours. We guarantee no miscarriages.”
“The manager has personally passed all the water served here.”
“Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.”
Zabaan sambhalke… Yes, mind your language!