Stop using these 15 commonly misused words and phrases. Now! | more lifestyle | Hindustan Times
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Stop using these 15 commonly misused words and phrases. Now!

Indians have moulded English in a way that is easier for us to use in our everyday lives. Here are some words and phrases that we have ‘kindly adjusted’ into the English language and need to stop using.

more lifestyle Updated: Mar 05, 2017 10:04 IST
Arnima Singh
commonly misused words

When native English speakers hear some of our phrases, they don’t know what to say.

Indians have a knack for taking things from the West and making them their own. And English is no exception. We act like it is our very own language and have moulded it in a way that is easier for us to use in our everyday lives.

Indianism is the term used to define these words and phrases that Indians have ‘kindly adjusted’ (as they say in the Metro) into the English language. But when native English speakers hear some of our phrases, they don’t know what hit ‘em.

Let’s hear them out and stop using them:

1. Only

Most popular Indianism of all, ‘only’ is used at the end of every sentence and there is no point in asking us to stop using this word. We all reply with the same, “We are like this, only”.

2. Pass out of college

If pass out ‘in’ college, you would be rushed to the hospital or brought back to your senses by sprinkling water on your face - a la Indian soap opera style. It’s just that you don’t pass out of college, you graduate.

3. Backside

Another funny Indianism that shows up on hundreds of buildings is “Exit is from the backside”. Upon reading this, the only question that comes to the mind is “whose?” “Exit is from the back” will suffice.

4. First-Class

The fad for this word is slowly ‘passing away’. But to those who still use the phrase every time someone asks for their opinion, stop already. Unless you are, of course, making a pun on your time at the flight, then it’s fine. But please make sure that you were actually travelling first class.

5. What is your ‘good’ name

This sentence is directly translated from Hindi - “Aap ka shubh naam kya hai?”. Simply ask “What is your name?”. And no, it doesn’t sound impolite. What actually is impolite is you asking their “good” name. What if they don’t like their name and hence have no “good name”?

6. Prepone

Instead of saying that the “meeting is preponed,” try “meeting has been brought forward”. Even though Oxford Dictionary has included it as a word, it’s just inelegant.

7. Cousin sister/brother

Cousin will just do fine. This term is a noun and not an adjective and thereby you cannot describe the gender of the cousin. No matter how adequate it is in Indian settings, where we have large families and Shashi could be our aunt or our uncle.

8. Literally

It appears as if literally everyone is using this term nowadays. Please stop cause it is used to denote facts, and shouldn’t be used figuratively or metaphorically. You can’t just literally love a book, that might be a big problem.

9. Please revert back

Instead of using this phrase, you can use ‘please get back to me’. Revert, although quite similar to the word return, actually means returning to the previous state. And if you are asking for a reply for a job application, you don’t want them ‘revert’ back to you.

10. Discuss about

We need to stop using this phrase and there is nothing to “discuss about” this. The word discuss itself means ‘to talk about’ and when we add another ‘about’ in it, it becomes ‘to talk about about’. And there is nothing to talk about ‘about’. Leave ‘about’ out of it.

11. Veg and non-veg

Instead of using veg and non-veg, try using vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The food could be veg and non-veg, but people cannot. Unless you are man-eating lions.

12. Mugging

Every teacher’s favourite word, it’s the American equivalent of cramming. Mugging, outside India, means an act of assaulting or robbing. So the teachers are requested not to go about accusing students of mugging, especially in front of foreigners. And if you do, good luck explaining that away.

13. Proposing

In India, the word propose usually means to ask someone out on a date. The word actually means ‘to make an offer’. Hence, you can propose to marry but in this case, just ask, “Can we go out?”.

14. Marriage vs wedding

Many of us tend to use the words wedding and marriage interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. The wedding is the act of getting married, the actual ceremony, whereas marriage is the state of being married.

15. Taking lunch

What is up with this phrase? Where would you take the lunch? To a date? At the movies? To a long walk by the beach? The proper phrase would be having lunch.

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