English Bloopers

Presented here are a few
English Bloopers sent in by our readers. They are good lesson in the English language!

The girl next door is as cute as a button, but when she opens her mouth. Her English is bad enough to get her sent back to kindergarten! Well, it's a common enough problem today. Almost everyone is mourning the lack of fluency in English among our school and college-going generation as well as in the new entrants into the work force.

Let's start off with a few common blunders that reader
Sunita R Kamath of India comes across frequently.

1. ~ It was a blunder mistake.

Correction, people! The word
blunder means mistake, so you could say:

~ It was a blunder.


~ It was a big mistake.

2. ~ It would have been more better.

The word better itself implies that the option in question is superior. The use of the word more in the sentence is, therefore both inappropriate and unnecessary. Thus the correct sentence would go as follows.

~ It would have been better.

3. ~ Why don't he get married?

The term
don't applies when discussing a plural subject. For instance, why don't they get married? The right way to phrase that sentence would be.

~ Why doesn't he get married?

4. ~ I want two Xeroxes of this card.

The term Xerox is used in North American English as a verb. Actually, Xerox'is the name of a company that supplies photocopiers! The correct thing to say, therefore, would be:

~ I want two photocopies of this card.

5. ~ Your hairs are looking silky today.

This is one of the most common Indian bloopers! The
plural of hair is hair. Thus:

~ Your hair is looking silky today.

Nasreen Haque of Sri Lanka says, “We must realize that English is not the native language of many people around the world. Having said that, we should tell ourselves, 'Yeah, I could go wrong and I could make innumerable mistakes, but of course there is always room for improvement.'"

Here are a few
English Bloopers Nasreen has come across often:

6. ~ Loose vs. lose

Many people make this mistake. They inevitably interchange the words loose and lose while writing. Lose means to suffer a loss or defeat.

Thus, you would write:

~ I don't want to lose you.

Don’t want to loose you --- is a wrong expression.

Loose on the other hand, means not firm or not fitting. In this context, you would write.

~ “My shirt is loose," not "My shirt is lose."

7. ~ One of my friend lives in Colombo.

This is one of the most common Indian English bloopers ever! The correct way of putting that is:

One of my friends lives in Colombo.

Why? Because the sentence implies that you have many friends who live in Kolkata, but you are referring to only one of these friends.

8. ~ Tension-inducing tenses.

People often use the wrong tense in their sentences. For instance, someone might say:

~ I didn't cried when I saw the movie.

Unfortunately, the word didn't is never followed by a past tense verb, in this case cried.

The correct way of putting it would be:

~ I didn't cry when I saw the movie.

If your English is a little faulty and you are looking to polish your language skills, we have just the solution for you. Our readers have sent in all sorts of grammatical grievances they come across regularly and you can avoid them simply by reading those presented below.

Let us start off with one of common
English Bloopers that drives Get Ahead reader Mr. Saif R Naik of Singapore up the wall:

9. ~ I am going to give an examination.

You do not give an examination. You take one.

So what you really should be saying is:

~ I am going to take an examination.

Radhika Augustus of New York wrote in that one of her girlfriends made few English Bloopers while in conversation with her recently.

Here's what she said:

10. ~ The city bus service is highly erotic.

Well. The word she was looking for was erratic which means lacking in consistency and regularity and not erotic which we all know means sexually arousing.

So what she should have said was:

~ The city bus service is highly erratic.

Megha Malviya of London brought a common English Blooper many folks make to our notice:

11. ~ I will revert back to you shortly.

The word
revert itself means to return to a previous subject or condition. So the insertion of the word back in the sentence is incorrect.

The correct thing to say is:

~ I will revert to you shortly.

Get Ahead reader Sivashankar says, "A common error I hear people making is when they say the word
anyways instead of anyway. There is no such word as anyways and the additional s is not at all required." He further adds that many folk also tend to pluralize words that are already in plural, such as: datas instead of data and criterias instead of criteria.

And to say on
English Bloopers, here is a hilarious promotional email reader Mike received and forwarded to us:


Dear Sir,

We are glad to tell you that we are manufacture of disappearing ink pen attached please check our disappearing ink pen catalogue with price pictures and other details. Any interested items please kindly inform us.

A grammatically correct copy of that mail is presented below:

Dear Sir,

We are glad to inform you that we are now manufacturing disappearing ink pens. Attached please find our catalogue with prices, pictures and other details furnished. If you are interested in any of the items, kindly inform us.

Mrs. Sheila Archaya of Malaysia sent several English Bloopers she encounters frequently.

13. ~ Please return my book
~ Could you repeat that last line

In both cases, the final word is redundant. When you return a book, you give it back to the owner. When you repeat a line, you're saying it again. They should read:

~ Please return my book.
~ Could you repeat that last line?

Sheila also noted the following common English Bloopers.

~ I, my sister and Deepa went to the mall

'I' and 'me' are always placed at the end of a list of names/ pronouns. The correct usage is:

~ My sister, Deepa and I went to the mall.

Mr. Hussein from Andhra Pradesh – India notes the prevalence of other redundancies:

15. ~ The
fish aquarium is very large.
~ The
dance ballet was lovely.

In both cases, the descriptive word is unnecessary. An aquarium houses fish and a ballet is always a dance! The correct usage is simply:

~ The aquarium is very large.
~ The ballet was lovely.

Another mistake Hussein hears frequently:

~ I could not able to do it, sir.

In this case, either able should be removed or could should be replaced with was. Here are the two correct possibilities:

~ I could not do it, sir.
~ I was not able to do it, sir.

We invite readers to share common
English Bloopers with us. This is the first in a series of articles featuring your response.

Letter of Invitation| Letter of Condolence| Business Letters

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