5 Common Blunders Made By Indian Writers


Written By: Nandini Muralidharan

The English language keeps evolving so rapidly that sometimes it’s hard to keep track of what’s acceptable and what’s not. While ‘Indianisms’ are becoming common, and even acceptable in certain contexts, it is important to remember that the audience you are writing for may not relate to your style at all. Here are some common blunders that we, as Indian writers, make quite often.


Effective writing doesn’t equate to flowery writing - Haven’t you put down a magazine or a book when you’ve barely read a few sentences, simply because there are too many big words strung together? In many Indian schools, English papers may be graded according to the extent of the student’s vocabulary, and his or her ability to write complex sentences. But, readers have neither the time nor the interest in figuring out what you’re trying to say.  The idea is to convey what you want to in simple yet crisp language. The next time you are tempted to show off your bombastic vocabulary, remember the KISS principle – Keep it Short and Simple.

Literal translations from native languages – This is very common in pieces by Indian writers. You may come across a sentence ending with a “no?” or some idiom thought of in a native language and translated literally into English. The result can vary from hilarious to disastrous. So, think twice before you say “don’t eat my head” or “don’t be angry on me”,  because your editor is going to be very angry with you. Another one that most of us are guilty of is “please revert to my email”. You can be sure your editor is never going to reply.

Redundant words just to fill up space – Want to increase the word count of your article? Come up with fresh ideas to write about. Do not use random words just because you don’t have anything new to say.  Stay away from sentences like “the store sells toffees, sweets, fruits, cakes, bread, etc.” because I’ve already skimmed over most of the words, and what’s more, I’m bored!

Grammar and spelling errors – This has to be the biggest faux pas in the writing world. Using “its” instead of “it’s” or using “loose” instead of “lose” immediately puts a reader off, and taints your credibility as a professional writer. Spend those few minutes to read your article and correct any errors. You also need to keep track of the tense you're writing in. After having said, “Ram walked across the road to the shop”, don’t say, “He is so lost in thought that he doesn’t see the bus.” Get the drift?

Not knowing the target audience – Your writing is not just about rattling off facts or information. Write so your readers will relate to what you’re trying to tell them. Use a tone that is appropriate to what you want to convey. Often Indian writers forget that they are writing for an American audience, and use British or Indian phrases.

About Nandini: Nandini is an engineer-turned-writer, possessive bibliophile and a travel junkie. She loves collecting random bits of information about any place she visits, and weaving a story out of it. You can find her favorite travel experiences at http://wayswetravel.com/She's an obsessive photographer who records any memory of a place from the beautiful Helsingor castle to the “Delizia icecream – keeps you tongue tied” signboard on the highway. 

9 comments:

  1. U could have clarified a little on the use of its and it's before taking up the example as both are valid in their own territory. Would have saved some confusion for the uninitiated.

    Just a gentle advice.

    ReplyDelete
  2. typo in 5th para- your instead of you're

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Spend those few minutes to read your article and correct any errors. You also need to keep track of the tense your writing in." So, pray tell me if there is anything wrong with the last sentence? Especially since it was pasted under the head 'Grammar & Spelling Errors'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Namrata,

      I believe it must be "Spend a few minutes to read your article and to correct any errors. You also need to keep track of the tense you are writing in."

      Correct me if I'm wrong. :)

      Also, the "those" should be changed to "a" because "those" does not have a previous noun reference.

      Delete
    2. you are. Or you're writing in.

      Delete
    3. is junkie a appropriate word can one write enthusiast instead, please check the last paragraph

      Delete
  4. Thanks for pointing that out, Namrata. You make for a good editor :).

    ReplyDelete
  5. hey could you tell me how much does a freelance blogger cost if he/she is given to understand a concept and then create an article of it to post it on various social sites and other relevant blogs. This person should also have experience in SEO and should have the skill to make the article draw attention

    ReplyDelete
  6. Narayanan KizhumundayurAugust 19, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    very nice description..

    ReplyDelete

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