Let’s admit it. Whether messing up the tenses or declaring war on the apostrophe, we have all made that grammatical gaffe every once in awhile.
But maybe it is time to acknowledge the most egregious, and yet common examples of typos and Indianisms, we see made in emails and other corporate communication at work everyday. Hell, we’ve seen top level IIM-grad CEOs churn these out regularly, leaving us mortified.
While mastering the English language and its fine nuances isn’t the requisite for winning business, it’s always good to avoid making these easy mistakes to begin with. Sometimes a well written, typo-free email vs one with all these goof-ups could be the difference between being taken seriously or being shown the door.
So, here’s us going grammar Nazi on corporate communication and point out the 12 most common typos and other grammatical transgressions people especially in the Indian context, make at work, why they’re wrong, and how to avoid them. ( The transgressions, not the people!)
1. “Be rest assured”
For every time we’ve heard this.
Here’s why it’s wrong – “be” is a verb, and so is “rest”. Saying them both together is like saying “be grow big”.
So you either be big or grow big. Not both.
Replace with “Be assured” or “rest assured”
2. “Please revert”
To revert is to “return to a previous state, practice, topic, etc.” Reverting back to someone would mean you have now become what they were.
“Please revert at the earliest.”
“Sure, I’ll set my biological clock to regress evolutionarily to my original primitive hydrocarbon state at 1 p.m. today.”-
Replace with “Reply”
3. “Reply back”
While less egregiously wrong, and more an Indian construct, the ubiquitous “reply back” is as redundant as saying having breakfast at 8am in the morning. When you reply to someone you already are getting back on something.
Replace with just “reply” or “get back”
4. “In one of my <email>”
One out of many. One boy out of many boys. One typo among many typos.
So, something is always one of something <plural>. There’s a reason why your mother thinks you’re one in a million, and not one in a one.
Replace with: “One of my emails” or quite simply in one email of mine.
5. “Work out of somewhere”
Funny as it sounds, (oh, the eccentricities of the language!) working out/based out of somewhere means working IN there. So, when your colleague told you she worked out of Bangalore, she had NOT meant to say she worked in the outskirts of Bangalore or outside of Bangalore.
6. “Have one work with you”
Less a typo, more a literal translation of Hindi. Used mostly in context of seeking help or meeting someone for work related issues.
Replace with “I need to talk to you (about something important)/ I need you to do something/ I need a favour”
7. “I need one help”
Help is countless. It’s a concept. You help someone. You help someone once. You don’t give them one help.
Replace with “Could you do me a favour/ I could do with some help/ Want a small favour”
8. “Very less”
Less is a degree of being little. Little > less > least.
You worked very
less little today. Or in case of numbers, replace little with few. I had less a few tasks to do today.
Replace with Little.
9. “Call out on”
During a team meeting, a manager proudly announced “I’d now like to call out on <x> for his achievement” Poor X didn’t know what hit him.
Calling out (on) someone is exposing someone’s misdoings and not a call of recognition. “I just called x out on his blackhat marketing tactics”
Replace with “call to attention/mention”
10. “Discuss about”
While on the topic of typos, I’d like to discuss
about this issue. See what I did there.
When you talk discuss something, you already talk about something. Discussing about something is like talking about about something.
Replace with “discuss”
11.”Didn’t saw it.”
You did it see it coming, didn’t you? Did is past tense. So is <insert past tense of verb>. Using both is redundant and wrong. If you continue to use the two together, you have more to worry about than just making your colleagues reach for that palm to hit the face.
Remember you don’t “didn’t did” something”. You “didn’t do” it.
Replace with: “Didn’t see it.”
12. “Kindly do the needful”
Again, while technically not wrong, this phrase is archaic and inelegant.
Usage in emails runs the risk of immediately establishing you as a fuddy duddy who probably wrote that email on a typewriter.
This needs to stop. Share with your friends and other offending people at work.
Let the movement for better emails begin.
Do you know of any other common typos/Indianisms that deserve the hammer? Tell us in comments.