Handbook of English Usage For Editors, Writers & Executives by Ramkumar and E.R. by Ramkumar and E.R. - Read Online
Handbook of English Usage For Editors, Writers & Executives
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This is a reference book on the correct use of the English language which will prove useful not only to those whose profession demands a command over the language (like journalists and writers) but also to those who use English as a medium of correspondence. The book will help them construct simple. Straightforward and grammatically flawless sentences, with the punctuation markes at the right place.
Published: Jaico Publishing House on
ISBN: 9788172243623
List price: $2.76
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Handbook of English Usage For Editors, Writers & Executives - Ramkumar

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THE general impression among English language newspaper readers is that the standard of the language used has fallen steeply. The older generation especially relishes recalling the time when the school-teacher used to make the students read the ‘leader’ in the day’s newspaper, jot down unfamiliar words and find their meanings in the dictionary, study the style and use of phrases and idioms, understand the structure of the sentences...

True, newspapers have come a long way — in presentation, layout, use of types and technology of production. Gone are the days when advertisements adorned the whole front page; multi-deck headings almost eliminated the need for body matter; and later top-to-bottom unbroken columns of matter was the style. Now, more attention is paid to present an attractively laid-out page with bold, eye-catching headings aesthetically placed, embellished with pictures, boxes and panels, and body matter set in different widths.

Yet, as every grandfather avers, the standard of the language used in presenting news and views has come down sharply. A newspaper today is like an attractively packed product the quality of which may be far from satisfactory. The reader does get a much wider coverage of news, inside information and investigative stories, but while reading them, he also stumbles on many grammatical and other errors which jar him.

Along with the technological progress made by the newspaper industry and the proliferation of newspapers and magazines, journalism colleges too have mushroomed. However good their teaching, the material from which they have to mould future journalists is poor, because the standard of English taught in schools and colleges is below par.

Newspapers are not the only victims of this general fall in the standard of English language teaching: the millions of letters written by government officials, businessmen, clerks, stenographers and professionals every day bear testimony to this pervasive malaise. Writing is a means to convey one’s ideas to others; it should be simple and unambiguous. The reader must comprehend the meaning readily and precisely. The writing need not be scholarly, but should definitely be direct so that the reader will not waste his time trying to unravel what should be plain even to the least intelligent.

There are many books on basic English, on improving word power, journalism, correspondence and essay writing. But a book, which will be a handy reference containing chapters on all the pitfalls a reporter comes across while filing a story to a newspaper, or a sub-editor railroads due to ignorance, or an executive falls into while corresponding with a business firm, is lacking. Handbook of English Usage for Editors, Writers and Executives is meant to help these people use the tool of their trade — the English language — in a simple and straightforward, yet effective, manner.

Acknowledgements are due to the news editors of The Times of India’ who have been meticulously doing a post-mortem of the day’s newspaper, the Oxford University Press books on the subject, and to my daughters Meera and Krishna who read the MS and the proofs.

I am grateful to Mr. R.H. Sharma and Daphne Chauhan of Jaico for doing a thoroughly professional job on the book.

E. R. R.


The use of the articles the, a and an can cause much confusion. Unless rightly used, they may hinder the reader, and at the worst even change the meaning of a sentence.

The choice between a and an is determined by the sound — whether a word starts with a vowel sound or a consonant sound. Thus, it should be noted that an does not automatically precede ewe, one, union, etc.

A. The article ‘a’ is used in the following cases:

1. Before words beginning with an aspirated ‘h’:

2. Where the stress is not on the first syllable:

3. Before a syllable beginning with a vowel but with the sound of ‘w’ or ‘y’:

4. Before MS

a MS (usually pronounced manuscript).

B. The article ‘an’ is used in the following instances:

1. Before a silent ‘h’ or ‘y’:

2. Before single letters and groups of letters pronounced as letters:


(The article is guided by pronunciation.)

C. The following words do not take an article:

Abstract nouns also do not take an article:

Example: (Experience has taught...)


‘It was an experience to trek the Himalayas.’

D. ‘Days’ do not take an article:

Black Day

Demands Day

Flag Day

National Day

Teachers Day

(Usually with the initial letters in capital.)


‘Weeks’ take the article:

the national training week

the courtesy week

(The railways will