Scribblings of a grammatically challenged soul - Part 1

  • “The pulse of the earth is in mathematics and without it, earth is just a big zero”.

    This is not an introductory statement of a math thesis, but is taken from a famous Malayalam action flick. I hail from Kerala, and this dialogue to an extent depicts the pedagogy being followed in most of our schools – i.e to give more importance to science/math subjects and ignore language skills (I am drawing from my experience one and a half decade ago and hopefully things would have changed for better now!).

    Language is a medium for communication and I took this definition very seriously. Back then, if I was able to communicate and comprehend, I considered my language skills were OK. I never realized that my grammar is pathetic until my CAT preparation days.

    For example,

    Part of the given sentence is underlined. Choose the answer choice which is the best version of the part given in bold.

    Discount coupons will be available from tomorrow, they can be collected during office hours.

     (A) , they can be collected during office hours.
    (B ) ; they can be collected during office hours.
    (C) , and they can be available for collection during office hours.
    (D) , these coupons will be collected during office hours.
    (E) ; but they can be collected during office hours.

    ( we will solve this as part of next part )

    I can COMPREHEND very clearly that I can collect the coupons during office hours tomorrow and all the given options COMMUNICATE the same idea to me. By definition, I can argue that I am good at English, but only one option is going to award me marks. I always thought it as unfair as what is important is to get the idea and execute it instead of checking the punctuation marks. I was mistaken and had to learn it the hard way.

    Once you reach a certain level in your career, you need to participate in meetings, write 100 emails per day and do Business Presentations to senior management and customers. Silly grammar mistakes are just not acceptable and it will make you look stupid. Also, things can go pretty bad if you have a Grammar Nazi boss!

    Considering all this, I thought it would be a good idea to start learning the basic tenets of Grammar and English usage, which could help me in daily chores. If I find something interesting and useful, will share with MBAtious readers :)

    It comes with an additional bonanza as the article itself can be used as a sentence correction assignment as it is bound to contain a lot of erros! ;)

    We will start right away

    Its vs It’s

    It's -- > means it is OR it has

    Its -- >   is the possessive form of it

    When to use what ?

    Trick: If you can replace it with his or her, there's no apostrophe.     

    We will see some examples

    It’s (it is) my birthday (if we use our trick here, his my birthday makes no sense so we need apostrophe)

    It's (it has) been raining for a week, and now it's (it is) starting to snow.

    I think the company wants to have its (we can replace with his/her, so correct) cake and eat it.

    The dog ate its food. (Correct as we can replace its with his/her)

    Lets vs Let’s

    Lets -- > to allow or permit (singular form)

    Let’s -- > Let us

    Example :

    Let’s go, Tigers!  (Let us)

    Let’s forget this ever happened. (Let us)

    She lets the dog out every morning (permits/allow)

    Some more exercise?

    1. Lets/let's see how it can be done. (should be Let's)
    2. Flubber let's/lets you jump high. (should be lets)
    3. Let's/lets go to the movie after dinner. (should be Let's)
    4. This trick lets/let's us pick the right word. (should be lets)
    Your vs You’re

    You're -- > you are

    Your -- > to show that it belongs to you

    The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. (Expands to you are)

    apostrophe is used to represent ownership also

    • If the thing is singular, it goes: word-apostrophe-s (eg: John's bikes)
    • If the thing is plural, it goes: word-s-apostrophe (eg: the bikes' wheels -- bikes are plural)

    Now as a parting shot for all MBAtious people out there.. a MBA or an MBA ? :)


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