Rant No. 2: Why do we say, "Send me a mail", when we mean, "Send me an email"?
Rant No. 3: Why do we say, "I am tensed" or "I am tensed up" when we mean, "I am tense"?
Rant No. 4: Why do we say "one of my friend...", when we should say "one of my friends..."?
Rant No. 5: Why do we say "12 noon" and "12 midnight" when "noon" and "midnight" will suffice? (A Bangalore Mirror news report referred to "12 midnight".)
- For comments and explanations (Rants 1-5), go here.
Rant No. 6: Why do we write "miniscule" when the correct word is "minuscule"? (Strangely, the best-edited magazine in town, Time Out Bengaluru, used "miniscule" in its Nov. 12-25 issue, Page 25 — "The number of Indians checking into geo-social networks is currently miniscule...".)
Rant No. 7: Sandeep Mishra (Sunday ToI) interviews a sexagenarian slum-dweller in Bhubaneswar and quotes her as saying, "They (her daughter and family) occasionally visit me and extend some pecuniary help." Extend some pecuniary help? Who talks like this? Not me and certainly not a sexagenarian slum-dweller in Bhubaneswar. I stopped reading the interview at that point. Mr Mishra: Please read Indlish, by Jyoti Sanyal.
Rant No. 8: Santosh Kumar RB writes in DNA (Nov. 15, Page 5): "The police SAID that Gowda REPORTEDLY told them that she was suffering from depression and was getting treated FOR THE SAME" (EMPHASIS mine to highlight the BAD ENGLISH). Mr Santosh Kumar: Please read Indlish, by Jyoti Sanyal.
- For comments and explanations (Rants 6-8), go here.
Rant No. 9: When are we going to realise that "ofcourse, atleast, inspite, infact, incase" are TWO words? ToI of Nov. 18, 2010, had "infact" in the lead story in the business section.
Rant No. 10: What's with "wee hours"? In two related stories on Page 1 of DNA today (Nov. 19), H.M. Chaithanya Swamy writes about an accident that happened "in the wee hours of Wednesday". Mr Swamy, please read Indlish, by Jyoti Sanyal — scroll down this post to learn why you should not use words and expressions from pre-Victorian literature in a news report.
- For comments and explanations (Rants 9-10), go here.
Rant No. 11: Strapline in Bangalore Mirror: "After clinching India's second gold, Bajarang Lal hopes that government will now come to the aide of rowers". Do BM subs not know the difference between "aide" and "aid"? And do they not know the difference between "prostrate" and "prostate"? A story about prostate enlargement problems referred to the gland as the "prostrate" in the headline, photo caption, text.
Rant No. 12: Why do we say "bored of (something)" when we should say "bored with (something)"?
Rant No. 13: Why do we write "(sound) byte" when it should be "(sound) bite"?
UNACCEPTABLE: "Basu makes literary reporting easy — when you meet him, he converses in convenient bytes." Interview/review, Page 58, Tehelka, Nov. 20
ACCEPTABLE: "It might take decades before mankind's overactive output of text has been converted into bytes." Article on e-book readers, Page 50, Tehelka, Nov. 20
Rant No. 14: Why do we write "upliftment (of society)" when it should be "uplift (of society)"?
Rant No. 15: Why don't we know the difference between alternate/alternately and alternative/alternatively? Here is a DNA announcement from the After Hrs. section: "Foodscape and Barcode will now appear alternatively every Thursday". Shouldn't that be "alternately"?
- For comments and explanations (Rants 11-15), go here.
Rant No. 16: Why do we say "first-come-first-serve" when we should say "first-come-first-served"?
Rant No. 17: I am a big admirer of Mint and Mint Lounge but in the magazine-format Lounge of Nov. 27, a standfirst refers to "alumni Sidin Vadukut" and the article itself refers to Mallika Sarabhai as an "alumni" of IIM-A. In the first case it should be "alumnus"; in the second case it should be "alumna". Also, on Page 49, Vadukut spells "in spite" as one word in his tech review. I am aghast.
Rant No. 18: Why don't we know the difference between"lose" and "loose"? We "lose" weight, we wear "loose" clothing — not the other way around.
Rant No. 19: Why don't we know the difference between "literally" and "figuratively"? When we’re angry do we "literally" hit the roof? Even Shobhaa De, writing in the Sunday ToI, has a problem with "literally": "Sure, power is an aphrodisiac and some vain journos have taken the aphrodisiac part literally to err... screw their detractors!" One, this is in bad taste. Two, power is not a literal aphrodisiac.
Rant No. 20: Why don't we know the difference between "few" and "a few"? When we say, for instance, "I have few friends", we mean "I have hardly any friends"; when we say "I have a few friends", we mean "I have some friends".
- For comments and explanations (Rants 16-20), go here.
Rant No. 21: Why don't we know that non-essential clauses placed in the midst of a sentence should be set off from the rest of the sentence by commas?
UNACCEPTABLE: "Ashok Row Kavi, the Father of gay activism in India said, 'What I like....' " (Bangalore Mirror, Dec. 5)
ACCEPTABLE: "Ashok Row Kavi, the father of gay activism in India, said, 'What I like....' "
Rant No. 22: In my time, headline errors were unforgivable. ToI has goofed up twice today (Dec. 7) — what do you make of that?
1. Page 18, lead story: "Champion of free speech become its worst gag"
2. Page 19: "Miner offers $3.5B for Riversdale in which Tata hold biggest stake"
Rant No. 23: Why does ToI insist on using the lower case "i" for the first person singular on the Edit Page?
Page 16, Dec. 5: "When i was checking in..."; "But for all my trying, i could not match the shared pain i saw...."
Page 16, Dec. 8: Headline — 'I played a baddie in Aayi milan ki... But i got all the seetis'; "When i came out of hospital, i looked like a peeled tomato".
Rant No. 24: Why don't we know how to spell "calendar"? Caption in Mint (Dec. 4): "... Toyota expects to sell 70,000 units of the two cars by the end of the next CALENDER year." [emphasis added]
Rant No. 25: Why do so many of us spell (and pronounce) "pronunciation" as "pronounciation"?
- For comments and explanations (Rants 21-25), go here.
Rant No. 26: Why do we write "for e.g." when "e.g." means "for example (exempli gratia)"?
Rant No. 27: Why do we continue to use ":—" as a punctuation mark? Don't we know it's a dodo? Depending on the context, we should use either the colon or the dash; never both.
Rant No. 28: Why don't we know it's "P.T.O.", not "P.T.O"; "U.S.A.", not "U.S.A"; "M.A.", not "M.A". Have I made my point?
Rant No. 29 (This one is dedicated to Divya Lobo, Class of 2010, who taught me a few things in class, including the correct way to pronounce "sword". Thanks, Lobo): Why don't we know how and when to use hyphens when describing someone's age?
UNACCEPTABLE: "I was gay when I was 12-years-old." (Bangalore Mirror, Dec. 5)
ACCEPTABLE: "I was gay when I was 12 years old. I just didn't know it then."
Rant No. 30 (This one is dedicated to Padmini Nandy Mazumder — Class of 2011. She knows why.):
Why are we so fond of using the circumlocutions "first and foremost", "each and every", "until and unless"? Why don't we stick to either "first" OR "foremost"; "each" OR "every"; "until" OR "unless" depending on the context?
- For comments and explanations (Rants 26-30), go here.
Rant No. 31: Why don't we know how to distinguish a declarative sentence from an interrogative one? DNA published a story today (Jan. 5) with this headline: "Why keeping New Year resolutions is difficult?" That question mark at the end reduced the headline to "babu" English and ruined the story for me.
Rant No. 32: A "dais" is a raised platform, as at the front of a room, for a lectern, throne, seats of honour, etc. Why do so many of us say or write "dias" when we mean "dais"?
Rant No. 33: Why is it necessary to use the word "dusty" to describe libraries or encyclopaedias?
UNACCEPTABLE: "Wikipedia [has] replaced libraries stocked with heavy, dusty encyclopaedias." — Mint, Dec. 31
For one, it is a cliché. Second, I have never seen a dusty library or encyclopaedia. Have you?
Rant No. 34: India Today (Jan. 10) has no problems with the F-word, spelling it out in full in one article. But in another piece in the same issue it uses asterisks to camouflage a Hindi obscenity (ch*****). What gives?
Rant No. 35: What is this "ya" one finds so often in Facebook status updates? Here's one: "He's a friend ya...." And here's another: "i ll come tomo ya... m ok hw u?" I understand all the shorthand used on FB but for "ya". Is it supposed to be "yeah"? Or "yaar"? Or is it just another crutch word like "basically"?
- For comments and explanations (Rants 31-35), go here.
Rant No. 36: When did "post" become the preferred substitute for "after" (when not used as a prefix)?
UNACCEPTABLE: "I'm filing something tonight, which I just got to know of post our meeting."
ACCEPTABLE: "Post-recession, Europe is a little more open"
Rant No. 37: Why do we say "cope up with (something") when it should be "cope with" (something)?
Rant No. 38: Why don't we know the difference between "maybe" and "may be"? The opening line of Sunil Gavaskar's column in Sunday Times (Jan. 16) reads: "The Tests maybe over in Australia and South Africa, but...." That should be "may be".
If he wanted to use "maybe", he could have written "Maybe the Tests are over in Australia and South Africa, but...."
Rant No. 39: Why don't we know that the @ symbol in email addresses is pronounced "at" and not "at the rate of"?
Rant No. 40: Why don't we know how to make simple plurals?
UNACCEPTABLE: "Daily Bread is looking for franchisee's." (Ad in Bangalore Mirror, Dec. 5)
ACCEPTABLE: "Daily Bread is looking for franchisees."
UNACCEPTABLE: "Here are some email ID's."
ACCEPTABLE: "Here are some email IDs."
- For comments and explanations (Rants 36-40), go here.
Rant No. 41: Why are some (many?) of our newspapers so fond of using the non-specific and often inappropriate word "miscreant" in crime stories when there are perfectly serviceable equivalents, which are not only specific but also appropriate?
UNACCEPTABLE: "[A city corporator] was shot dead by unidentified miscreants ... on Sunday afternoon." (Bangalore Mirror, Jan. 17)
BETTER: "[A city corporator] ... was shot dead by a group of seven assailants ... on Sunday." (ToI, Jan. 17)
BETTER: "[A city corporator] ... was shot [dead] by a seven member gang in broad daylight on Sunday...." (DNA, Jan. 17)
Read veteran journalist Jyoti Sanyal's views on the subject: "Who's this 'miscreant'?"
Mini-rant: In the DNA report, it should be "a seven-member gang" — the sub has left out the hyphen. Also, "broad daylight" is one of the oldest of cliches. Wouldn't "Sunday afternoon" have sufficed?
Rant No. 42: Why do our newspapers begin hard news reports with "In a bizarre incident... / In an audacious incident..."? Readers can surely infer for themselves if the incident is bizarre or audacious by getting quickly to the heart of the story, which is not going to happen if you persist in delaying the main point by beginning with a pointless comment or subordinate clause.
Rant No. 43: Banner headline on sports page of ToI today (Jan. 24): "SA survive Pathan pyrotechnic". That should be "pyrotechnics", because it is a noun in this context. (ToI Sports Desk: Ignorance is NOT bliss.)
Rant No. 44: It's not "an" university. It's not "a" orange.
And it's not "an" Eurostar train, as has been published in ToI on Jan. 25 (Page 2, caption).
Rant No. 45: Why don't we know the difference between the modifier "everyday" and the phrase "every day"?
Headline in DNA's After Hrs. supplement yesterday (Jan. 26): "I am a proud Indian everyday". Wrong. That should read: "I am a proud Indian every day".
CORRECT: I go to college every day.
CORRECT: Going to college is an everyday affair.
- For comments and explanations (Rants 41-45), go here.
Rant No. 46: Why do so many of us insist on spelling "definitely" as "definately"?
Rant No. 47: Why do so many of us insist on spelling "interested" as "intrested" and "interesting" as "intresting"?
Rant No. 48: It's "hold on to (something)", NOT "hold onto (something). It's "he is up to (something)", NOT "he is upto (something).
Rant No. 49: Why do some (many?) of us use two spaces after a punctuation mark when only one space is necessary? (Thank you for the tip-off, Atri Mukerjee.)
Rant No. 50: Why do we insist on spelling "privilege" as "priviledge"? (This one is dedicated to Shanika Bhowmick. She knows why.)
- For comments and explanations (Rants 46-50), go here.