English Confusion

2
Spot the error in this advertisement on page B3 of the 6 April 2009 edition of Today.


Would you participate in a clinical trial for running nose? I don't know exactly what they would propose to do... run after your nose with a net? It they didn't even take the effort to proof-read or edit the advertisements, I doubt they would take the effort to take good care of your nose. Try it if you dare.



Many of us here in Singapore may have studied English as our first language in school but still struggle with the correct use of words and grammar at times. I know I don't get all my words and grammar right all the time but I do check whenever I have doubts. We were taught British English in school but the local television station imports mostly American programs. The way some words are used and pronounced are different. Nevermind the difference between the extra "u" in the British way of spelling words and the "s" replaced with "z" - e.g. favour vs favor and summarise vs summarize - we all understand that. I am referring to other words and phrases which I would like to highlight and explain here. I hope this will help us communicate better with one another.

Bi-weekly
Bi-weekly is a real word. It means twice per week. But many people, including Americans, use this word when they mean once every two weeks. The correct word should be fortnightly. In the business context, there's a huge difference between twice every week (bi-weekly) and once every two weeks (fortnightly)!


Irregardless
There is no such word as irregardless. Did you mean irrespective? Irrespective and regardless are real words and have the same meaning. When in doubt, it might help to recall the Singapore pledge: "... regardless of race, language or religion...".


Borrow and Lend
If I'm short of money, I need to borrow money - please lend me money. (No such thing as please borrow me some money.)


Eat Outside
To go to MacDonald's, food centre or restaurant to eat is to eat out, not eat outside. Eat outside means you go to the garden, balcony or corridor outside your house to eat.


Lay
Lay down. Lie down. Chickens lay eggs. People lie down. People get laid. Get it? In American TV show you hear the word "lay" being used instead of "lie", e.g. I want to go lay down... or did they mean I want to go get laid?


Send me home
If a guy walks me home or drives me home after a date, he's seeing me home, not sending me home. Sending someone somewhere means you're doing it harshly and perhaps as a form of punishment. No wonder Singaporeans guys have trouble dating Caucasian ladies...


So to summarise, let me write a short paragraph as an example:

I would like to make out with my boyfriend at least bi-weekly regardless of how busy we are. Fortnightly is not going to be sufficient. I don't want a boyfriend who tries to borrow money from me because I am not going to lend him any and I will dump him straightaway. If he has no money to eat out I guess we can eat at his parent's place. We can lay a mat at the corridor or balcony and eat outside. We might even lie down and hmmm... perhaps even get laid. It would be nice if he can see me home after our date.

2 comments:

yg said...

i thought 'running nose' is acceptable. the condition is also described as 'runny nose'.

i see that you also make an attempt to post something in your blog every day. i reckon it is not easy, especially since you are still working.
even, a retiree like me, who supposedly has a lot of time at hand, still finds it a challenge.
sometimes, when i have nothing to write, i throw in a quiz.

joseph said...

runny nose is the correct expression...running nose is colloquial.