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English Errors: This you have to see to believe!

By Megha Banerjee, Sriraman, N Narayan
Last updated on: August 02, 2007 11:48 IST
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In India, we have over a dozen official languages and countless local dialects. So how does a farmer from Bihar speak with a fisherman from Goa [Images]? The answer, for now, is 'not easily'.

One day, however, all Indians will use English as a first, second or third language. This will allow them to communicate effectively not only with other Indians, but also the rest of the world.

Of course, getting to that point won't be easy. For most of us, English is still a challenge. With all its irregularities, exceptions and rules, English is a very difficult language to master.

With that in mind, presents our English Bloopers series. Here, we publish written and spoken mistakes spotted and sent to us by observant Get Ahead readers. It's a great way to review the basics, clarify a few issues and share a laugh or two! 

So, stop by each Monday, Wednesday and Friday for another fresh batch of English Bloopers.

Megha Banerjee
, a 20 year old student in Calcutta, sent the following commonly misspelled words from her e-mail inbox:

Wrong: Please seperate the lesson into two sections.
Wrong: You are intelligant.
Wrong: It's my favourite passtime.
Wrong: So, we're meeting in the libarry?
Wrong: Please refer to the calender
Wrong: Always get a reseat from the store.
Wrong: That was a risky manoover.

Correct: Please separate the lesson into two sections. (Remember, the two vowels in the middle are 'a')
Correct: You are intelligent.   (Use an 'e' instead of an 'a' for the last vowel)
Correct: It's my favourite pastime.  ('time-pass' is fine, but 'pastime' only has one 's')
Correct: So, we're meeting in the library?  (Don't forget to put the 'r' after the 'b'
Correct: Please refer to the calendar.  (Use an 'a' instead of an 'e' for the last vowel)
Correct: Always get a receipt from the store.  (This is a tricky one -- it's spelled receipt)
Correct: That was a risky manoeuvre.  (It's originally French)

Sriraman, a tech professional from Pune, sent these office-related bloopers:

Wrong: From our prospective, this is how it ought to be done.
Correct: From our perspective, this is how it ought to be done.

The correct word here is 'perspective', which means point of view.

Wrong: We will taste the code before implementing it.
Correct: We will test the code before implementing it.

The words 'test' and 'taste' may sound similar, but they have very different meanings.

Wrong: First we did two hours of work, than we had the meeting.
Correct: First we did two hours of work, then we had the meeting.

'Than' and 'then' are often confused. 'Then' should be used when showing a progression of time.

Wrong: We need more informations.
Correct: We need more information.

Information is already plural. The 's' is not needed.

Wrong: Where does he sits?
Correct: Where does he sit?

This is another exception in English. While you say 'He sits in that seat,' you must ask the question 'Where does he sit?'

N Narayan sent this photo snapped by his friend. No explanation is needed!


MORE English bloopers

If you'd like to share common bloopers you come across when people speak/ write in English, do mail your list, along with their correct alternatives 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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Megha Banerjee, Sriraman, N Narayan