Common Mistakes – Part 1

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If you speak English or have people around you who speak English, chances are that you are a victim of Indianism. Indianism is English that we speak by adding a little flavour of our mother tongue. Because we are non- native speakers, it becomes difficult for us to identify and correct such errors. This post covers the top 2 Indianism errors and has the answer to how to speak English fluently.

We will continue to discuss more such errors in the next blog post. Pay close attention to these because they also have the ability to enhance your workplace conversations. 

1. Revert to me if you have any questions

‘Revert to somebody’ means to come into possession of the same person again. For example: My house will revert to my brother after my death.

Incorrect: Revert to me if you have any questions.

Correct: Let me know if you have any questions. 

2. She couldn’t be able to help you

Could is a modal verb. After could, we always use the first form of the verb. Could has two uses.

  1. Used as a past form of can- We could (not) see the park from our room. 
  2. General ability- My grandmother could not speak English when she was young.

‘Not be able to’ is a phrase used only with will/would to suggest a situation in the future which is not possible. For example: I will not be able to send this to you. 

Both ‘could’ and ‘not be able to’ can’t be used together.

Incorrect: She couldn’t be able to help you.

Correct: She couldn’t help you yesterday or she will not be able to help you (tomorrow).

Why these errors?

There can be multiple reasons why these errors take place. In addition to the one mentioned above, it is also limited exposure to language. We usually tend to use English only when we appear for interviews, or at work. 

Another reason is fluency. Sometimes, we know what the right thing to say is. But, we end up using the incorrect phrase/ sentence because we can’t seem to remember the correct one. 

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