10 Aug 2012

Conversational English

Conversational English

Many people, who can write as well as understand English perfectly, make some obvious mistakes while speaking the language. This not only takes away the sheen from their speech but also leads to a bad impression on the speaker. Although a lot of errors go unnoticed, it helps to work towards using the correct form of English.

The verb

One of the most frequent mistakes that non-native speakers of English make is to use the wrong form of the verb while speaking.

For instance,

Sir: Where is your notebook?
Student: Sir, I didn’t brought it.
In the above example,‘didn’t brought’ is erroneous and very amusing to a native speaker of English. The correct way of saying it should be, ‘I didn’t bring…’ OR ‘I brought the notebook.’ (In case of an affirmative answer)

Consider the following example:

He didn’t knew you were engaged.
Such mistakes generally occur when one is emphasizing a particular fact. However the correct way of saying this is ‘He didn’t know you were engaged.’ You can emphasize the word ‘know’ while speaking. Thus avoiding the wrong form of the verb.


Returning back the Free gifts
Ramesh: I’ve watched his latest film. The story ends when the hero kills her dead.
In the above example, ‘kills her dead’ is a repetition. The sentence can end with ‘the hero kills her.’ ‘Dead’ is used for emphasis. But it sounds funny. ‘Kill’ anyway indicates that she is dead.
Once I was passing through a shop. The banner read,
‘Buy one, get one free. And plus win a holiday trip to
In the above example, ‘and plus’ is a repetition. You can use either ‘And’ or ‘Plus’.
Both mean the same.
Similar to the above one is the following example.
‘The end result of the quarrel was a divorce.’
You can say ‘the quarrel resulted in a divorce.’ OR
‘The quarrel ended in a divorce.’ There is no such phrase as ‘end result’. Both the words mean the same.
By the way return means ‘go back’ and gifts are always free. Both are examples of repetition and hence avoidable.
Some rules that will help you converse correctly
Use specific prepositions to state different times of the day. If you use wrong prepositions, you might sound awkward. For instance,
He only appears in the midnight.
In the above example, ‘in’ is grammatically incorrect. The correct expression is,
He only appears at
Similarly, you can’t say, I love long walks at the evening at the sea side. (OR)
I met him at the morning in a café.
In this case, it should be,
I love long walks in the evening at the sea side.
I met him in the morning in a café.
Other than these, one often makes mistakes when one uses similar sounding words in one’s conversation. For example,
You look at it in a different ‘prospective.’
As you see, though we understand what the speaker intends to say, the statement sounds quite funny. ‘Prospective’ is an adjective which means potential. At the same time it sounds similar to the word ‘perspective’ that is intended by the speaker here.
A different perspective means a different viewpoint.
Will you advice me?
What are the criterias of the competition?
Advice is a noun. The correct verb is ‘advise’ in this case. Will you advise me?
Similarly, there is no word as criterias. The correct expression is ‘criteria of the competition’. The word ‘criteria’ indicates plurality.

To sum it up

There are a lot of do’s & don’ts in the English language and they keep changing (although rather slowly) as the language evolves. Certain strict rules are dropped and certain informal words become a part of the formal language. However, it helps to have certain basic tenets of English in place. They will not only help you learn the nuances of language better and faster, but also propel you into the group of people who are honoured and revered (and thus who grow faster) in every aspect of life- personal and professional.

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