Let Us Write and Speak Correct English

let us write and spoeak corrent english

INCORRECT (INC): The magistrate issued order for his arrest.
CORRECT (COR): The magistrate issued orders for his arrest.
Explanation: Order in this sense should always be used in the Plural, e.g., Orders for expulsion, orders for execution, orders for promotion, orders for dismissal, etc.

INC: My father is leaving for Multan by the 8:30 o’clock bus.
COR: My father is leaving for Multan by the 8:30 bus.
Explanation: Don’t use ‘o’clock’ when minutes are also mentioned, e.g. ‘by the 9:45 train’, but ‘by the 9 o’clock train’.

INC: He has built a new  home for himself.
COR: He has built a new house for himself.
Explanation: Whereas a house is any building meant for residence, a home is a place of residence with long associations.  A ‘home’ may also mean ‘one’s country’.

INC: His family members are coming by this train.
COR: The members of his family are coming by this train.
Explanation: The correct usage is a member of the family, not ‘a family member’.

INC: Good night, Sana; where have you been all these days?
COR: Good evening, Sana; where have you been all these days?
Explanation: ‘good night’ is a parting salutation, ‘good evening’ is the proper salutation to be used when two people meet for the first time in the evening. One cannot make any further conversation after saying ‘good night’.

INC: He has already cheated me twice or thrice.
COR: He has already cheated me two or three times.
Explanation: Though twice means ‘two times’ and thrice ‘three times’, they are formal and literary expressions and are not in everyday use .

INC: A king’s life is different from a Prime Minister.
COR: A king’s life is different from a Prime Minister’s.
Explanation: In a comparative statement of this kind, if the first noun is in the possessive case, the second noun too must be in the possessive case.

INC: I gave him a one and a half rupee.
COR: I gave him one and a half rupees.
Explanation: Anything greater than one, even by a fraction, takes the plural form.

INC: Has your brother bought a new dress?
COR: Has your brother bought a new suit?
Explanation: A common error. Remember that whereas men and boys wear ‘suits’, only women and girls wear ‘dresses’ ; though ‘evening dress’ is the general word for both sexes.

INC: When I entered the compartment, there was no place for me.
COR: When I entered the compartment, there was no room for me.
Explanation: In this sense the proper word is room which means an unoccupied seat or berth.

INC: When I entered the bedroom, I saw a snake crawling on the ground.
COR: When I entered the bedroom, I saw a snake crawling on the floor.
Explanation: The ground is part of the house, whereas the floor constitutes a part of the room.

INC: I get a monthly allowance of hundred rupees.
COR: I get a monthly allowance of a hundred rupees.
Explanation: The word ‘hundred’ must always be preceded by the indefinite article ‘a’.

INC: Summarise the two first chapters of this book.
COR: Summarise the first two chapters of this book.
Explanation: Obviously there cannot be two first chapters, just as there cannot be two last chapters.

INC: He sold three dozens mangoes.
COR: He sold three dozen mangoes.
Explanation: If ‘dozen’ is preceded by a numeral (say, three, four, five, etc.) or by ‘a’, use the singular form. The plural form is used in such sentences as ‘we saw dozens of elephants, and hundreds of pigeons’.

INC: I have just taken my meals.
COR: I have just had my food (or lunch, dinner).
Explanation: Since we never have more than one meal at a time, why use the plural form? Besides, use the verb ‘have’, not ‘take’ .

INC: I have finished three-fourth of this book.
COR: I have finished three-fourths of this book.
Explanation: ‘Three-fourths’ implies three parts out of four parts; therefore use the plural form.

INC: He bought a radio for Rs. 250 and sold the same at a handsome profit.
COR: He bought a radio for Rs. 250 and sold it at a handsome profit.
Explanation: There is a common tendency to use this superfluous expression, ‘the same’, where the pronoun ‘it’ would be more suitable. Avoid writing ‘I enclose a cheque for Rs. 175, please acknowledge receipt of the same’.

INC: My sister and myself are pleased to accept your invitation to dinner.
COR: My sister and I are pleased to accept your invitation to dinner.
Explanation: Where no particular emphasis is intended, use the simple pronouns ‘he, you, I.

INC: The visitors enjoyed during their brief stay in Murree.
COR: The visitors enjoyed themselves during their brief stay in Murree.
Explanation: ‘Enjoy’ is a transitive verb. It must therefore be accompanied by an object, which may be a noun or a reflexive pronoun.

INC: I shall avail of this opportunity to meet you there.
COR: I shall avail myself of this opportunity to meet you there.
Explanation: The verb ‘avail’ must here be followed by a reflexive pronoun.

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