An English Primer

Avoiding Common English Errors

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No Spaces Before Punctuation Marks

Incorrect:
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…will provide the following : …how does this interface with the other system ? …this solution is excellent ! …will provide the following: …how does this interface with the system? …this solution is excellent!

Correct:
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Its vs. It’s

Its is a possessive pronoun
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The system is scalable and flexible. Its features are: Your laptop may not work. Its battery is very, very low. It’s not possible to do this! The system is scalable and flexible. It’s designed that way.

It’s is a contraction of “it is”
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Whose vs. Who’s

Whose is a possessive pronoun
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Whose design is this? Whose problem is this? Do you know anyone who’s had the same problem? Who’s standing at the door?

Who’s is a contraction of ‘who is’ or ‘who has’
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Non-existent Word: Updation
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‘Updation’ is an imaginary word, not existing in any English language dictionary ‘Update’ is both a verb as well as a noun, and should be used instead Incorrect:
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Any additional updation is out of scope Data updation is performed automatically Any additional updates are out of scope Data update is performed automatically

Correct:
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Non-existent Word: Prepone

   

‘Prepone’ is a word invented by Indians. However, it is not used and not understood by the rest of the world. Unfortunately, most Indians don’t know this! See Wikipedia on Prepone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prepone It is ok to use it when communicating with Indians; not ok with others There is no equivalent alternative. You need to rephrase the sentence using other words:
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Bring the meeting forward Release date has been advanced to an earlier one
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Using Periods Consistently
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Either end all list items with a period, or omit the period from all list items Incorrect
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System will be scalable System will be flexible. System will be reliable

When one of the list items contains more than one sentence, period is required for all list items
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System will be scalable. System will be flexible. It will be modular. System will be reliable.
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Avoiding Acronym Redundancy
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ATM Machine = Automated Teller Machine Machine PIN Number = Personal Identification Number Number Incorrect:
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User will enter PIN Number ATM Machines will be installed User will enter PIN ATMs will be installed

Correct:
 

 

Same goes with CAT, SAT, GMAT – all are Tests Other: AC/DC current, ADSL line, LAN network, Mahendra Palsule GRE exam, LCD display

Avoiding Meaning Redundancy
        

‘real fact’ = ‘fact’ ‘more better’ = ‘better’ ‘and etc.’ = ‘etc.’ ‘close proximity’ = ‘proximity’ ‘end result’ = ‘result’ ‘reason is because’ = ‘reason is’ ‘sudden and unexpected surprise’ = ‘surprise’ ‘join together’ = ‘join’ ‘basic fundamentals’ = ‘fundamentals’

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Using Case Correctly

Uppercase

THIS IS UPPERCASE this is lowercase This Is Title Case.

Lowercase

Title Case

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Use the correct case, avoid mixed case and unnecessary capitalization Only exceptions are proper nouns, copyrights, trademarks, special emphasis, where capitalization is required
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Other Errors

Loose vs. lose
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Loose means not firm or not fitting: ‘the shirt is loose’ Lose means suffer defeat: ‘we don’t want to lose this match’ Correct: One of the files is not in CVS Correct: I have sent two photocopies of the proposal Correct: This road is known as “Law College Road” Correct: This road is called “Law College Road” Mahendra Palsule

One of the file is not in CVS

I have sent two xeroxes of the proposal

This road is called as “Law College Road”
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Some Fun: William Safire’s Rules

A Pulitzer-prize winning columnist illustrated these English rules by breaking each one in itself!
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Remember to never split an infinitive. The passive voice should never be used. Do not put statements in the negative form. Proofread carefully to see if you words out. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.) Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided. Don't overuse exclamation marks!!!
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