Sunday, December 28, 2014



I wish all those who visit this blog a more informative year. 

Monday, November 22, 2010


'Square feet' or 'Square foot'?

A: What is the average cost of construction nowadays?
B: It is Rs.1,500/- per sqaure feet.
A: So, a house of an area of 1,000 sft costs Rs.15 lakh, doesn't it?
B: Yes, of course.

Now, here, 'per square feet' means 'for each square feet'.
Each is singular, meaning one, in which case feet does not agree with per or each or one.
Now, mathematically, area means length multiplied by breadth. If length is 1 foot and breadth also is 1 foot, the area is 1 x 1 = 1 (one).

We may, therefore, say 'per square foot' or 'for one square foot'.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The antecedent is plural

Is the following sentence correct?
"This is one of the most interesting books that was published last year."
There is an error in this sentence and it is linked to the antecedent. The relative pronoun 'that' used in the sentence stands for a word that goes before it. Whether that word is 'one' or 'books' is the question. It is the latter. 'Books' being plural in number needs a plural verb. Accordingly the verbal 'was published' should have been 'were published'. Thus the correct version is : "This is one of the most interesting books that were published last year".

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Plural forms of hyphenated words

When a word has two or more constituents we often hyphenate them. A word so hyphenated is considered single for all general purposes; e.g. well-wisher, seven-year-old etc. These words appear as well-wishers and seven-year-olds in their plural forms. On the same analogy why can't we make the plural of any hyphenated word by adding an 's' to the ending component? For instance, the plural of 'brother-in-law' may be made 'brother-in-laws' rather than 'brothers-in-law'. Though, for semantic reasons, British English may not recognize such pluralizations as standard, a trend to use it that way is emerging. Is it acceptable? This is a logical question that deserves to be debated.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


The Order of Persons

Usually, the Second Person-the Third Person-the First Person (II-III-I) is the order we follow when we want to mention all the three Persons in a context.

eg. You, she and I should meet the manager now.

However, there may be occasions when we have to share the credit of the success we may achieve or to shoulder the burden for the failure we may suffer. While the II-III-I order can be used in the former case, the I-II-III (the First Person-the Second Person-the Third Person) order is preferred in the latter.

eg: I, You and John are responsible for the defeat in the match.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Subject - Verb Concord

Is this sentence correct?

"I suggest that he consult a doctor immediately."

Yes, it is. Though, apparently, the subordinate clause (he consult a doctor immediately) does not display the subject-verb concord, 'he consult' needs to be construed as 'he should consult'. The auxiliary verb 'should' in such cases can be unexpressed.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


A native speaker may frown upon this sentence !

I am working in this office since 1983.

Reason : When we want to refer to an activity that commenced at some definite time in the past and is still continuing, we need to use the present perfect progressive, and NOT the present progressive tense construction.

Relief : I have been working in this office since 1983.

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