Questions related to the English language as spoken and written in India.

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100
votes
7answers
12k views

Can “doubt” sometimes mean “question”?

I often see questions on Stack Exchange sites which I presume are written by non-native English speakers who use the word "doubt" in place of the word "question". Is this a case of misunderstanding ...
30
votes
8answers
9k views

What is wrong in “Please don't pluck the flowers” and other phrases used in the Indian subcontinent?

In the Indian subcontinent, especially India, there are many English words or phrases which are not a part of dictionary or not used in other parts of the world. The first one is "Please don't pluck ...
30
votes
7answers
46k views

Can 'revert' be used as a synonym of 'reply'?

I am a native speaker of American English, and I have only ever heard this usage of the word revert from one person. This person is not a native English speaker (he is from India), so he may just be ...
22
votes
11answers
6k views

Why doesn't the English language have distinct words to use when talking to elders? [closed]

In many of the languages that I've studied there are separate distinctions in the words to use when talking to elders and when talking to someone of your age or younger. For e.g. in Hindi, if I ...
22
votes
4answers
11k views

Is “prepone” being used outside India?

Prepone is a great word - it's the opposite of postpone. When you prepone a meeting, you change its scheduled time so that it occurs sooner than originally planned. Has his usage spread beyond India? ...
21
votes
5answers
2k views

What Indian words appear in cricket's vocabulary?

One of the things I find surprising is that India seems to have had little influence on the vocabulary of cricket. Notwithstanding India being arguably the world's greatest cricketing nation, I can't ...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

Why has the word “thrice” fallen out of common usage?

I'm an American living in America, but my workplace has a lot of immigrants from India here. They all use "thrice" very commonly, which is wonderful to my ears! Thrice is such a delightful word. ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Is the lowercase pronoun “i” a feature of Indian English?

The Rule The personal pronoun “I” is always capitalized in English, regardless of its position in a sentence. This is an orthographic convention that every native speaker should know. Whenever I ...
16
votes
3answers
13k views

Saying “today morning” to mean “this morning”

As an American, I use the term this morning, but I’ve noticed some Asian Indian coworkers who always say today morning to mean what I mean by this morning. Is this an Indian English “dialectism”? Is ...
14
votes
7answers
6k views

Indian-English usage of “Kindly”

I have noticed that the word "Kindly" is used a lot by some Indians speaking English as a second language. Does anyone know the origin of this?
13
votes
7answers
16k views

Difference between “canteen” and “cafeteria”

Are there any differences between canteen and cafeteria? In India, usually an eating place attached to an office, factory or school is called a canteen. Of course, in some new offices it is called ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

'Questions' vs. 'Concerns' vs. 'Doubts'

This is a region-specific question--Indian English I have noticed when working with colleagues from India that they use the word 'doubts' where the typical American would use the word 'questions' or ...
12
votes
3answers
599 views

How did Persian words arrive in English?

Some Indian words which have entered modern English, such as 'bazaar' and 'cummerbund', are of Persian origin. So it seems they have completed a journey from Persia to Western India to present-day ...
11
votes
9answers
12k views

Is “non-vegetarian” a correct word?

I've heard that the words "non-veg" and "non-vegetarian" are not legal English words (i.e aren't in the dictionary). Is this true? If so, what is the right way to say that something contains ...
9
votes
2answers
12k views

Understand Rudyard Kipling's poem If

I came across Rudyard Kipling's poem If, quoted below: If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Indian English use of “only”

I am from Bangalore and people here tend use the word only to emphasise something in a sentence. For example: We are getting that only printed. What is the proper way to put it?
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Where does the word “snogging” come from?

Where does the word snogging come from, in the sense of canoodling? I’m looking for it etymology, not for its connotation or phonoaesthetic properties, as the answer of the other question provides. ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

When to use nah or right in a sentence

When I was chatting with my friend, as a part of our conversation I used a phrase. "You have laptop nah." He replied, first try to change your English, it sounds ridiculous, using words nah, right. ...
8
votes
4answers
14k views

“May I know your good name?” [closed]

"May I know your good name” is a typically Indian way of honouring another person by asking their name using an adjective like sweet, good, beautiful, et cetera. Of course there won’t ever be any bad ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Cultural connotation of American English — some examples?

I am from India and we speak English there as well, albeit not as culturally refined as I see in the US. In India, and perhaps in the UK, English is spoken in a straight and 'as it is' manner. For ...
7
votes
5answers
771 views

Word for “invisible god-like voice”

I am Asian and in Asian mythology like epics like Mahabharatha, when some person is going to do something bad then a voice from nowhere comes from background, after a thunder or something, to stop him ...
7
votes
3answers
560 views

Is 'Single Sitting' a proper phrase?

Being an Indian, I don't like the way we Indians use the English. Of course I also make mistakes, but I will try to learn from time to time. I see and hear some phrases like, Please do the needful, ...
7
votes
3answers
22k views

Is the term “would-be” just an Indian usage or universal?

I've noticed that Indians use the term would-be in place of fiancé/fiancée. Usages like "Meet my would-be" and "This is my would-be" are common in introductions. I used to wonder if this is just an ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Using the word 'Only'

I am confused about using the word only. I often hear it being used in many contexts that sound wrong to me - but I'm not sure if it's me or them. Let me give some examples: A: Where were you ...
7
votes
1answer
479 views

Does “tapall” or “tappies” mean “mail” in English?

I had been wondering about a non-native word in Tamil: Thabal, meaning post. This word has origins from elsewhere, and I had not been able to figure out the etymology. Searches in Internet had also ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Do people from India consider English their primary language?

I was watching an rerun episode of the Big Bang Theory the other night. And, a character who is from India (Rajesh) is losing an argument, and says: You know if this argument were in my native ...
7
votes
3answers
17k views

Meaning of the phrase “put down one's papers”

In India, the phrase "put down one's papers" means to submit one's resignation at a workplace. Is this usage universal? I suspect this is Indian.
7
votes
1answer
329 views

“[wh-word] X [verb] Y?” in Indian English

In Indian English, you will often hear constructions like the following: Why Lord Ayyappa isn't a avatar of Lord Mahavishnu? Why each day of the week is dedicated to a particular god? Why lord ...
6
votes
7answers
13k views

Does “pants” more commonly mean “trousers” or “underpants”?

In the UK, I've heard pants being used as slang for underpants (or was it in Bridget Jones' Diary?), whereas in India it almost exclusively means "trousers". Describing the meaning of "put your pants ...
6
votes
2answers
752 views

Indian legal documents

I am a resident of India. I have never been able to understand the language used in the legal documents here. Below is an example from an agreement to sell an apartment. Herein after referred to ...
6
votes
3answers
392 views

Is “If I would have X” an Indian shibboleth?

As I was reading a deleted question that asks whether If I would have sweet dreams, they would be about you. If my dreams ever come true, it will be with you. is correct, I noticed that the ...
6
votes
2answers
70k views

Can “casted” be the past tense of “cast”?

'The Hindu,' an Indian daily, reports: Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely casted his vote at Chimanbhai Patel Institute opposite Karnavati club. Does the verb cast has a form as ...
6
votes
3answers
254 views

Is using “wish” like this exclusive to India?

I'm talking about wish the verb in the following sense only: 1.1 [WITH TWO OBJECTS] Express a hope that (someone) enjoys (happiness or success): they wish her every success As we can see, ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the term “isn't it?” so predominant in Indian English?

I apologize in advance if I am ignorantly and incorrectly assigning this to Indian English. When I was in medical school, I had a number of professors who were native to India. Being a school ...
5
votes
8answers
2k views

Usage and meaning of the word “Ragging” in India

This is my first post here on an unwelcome situation in India, described by a word, "Ragging". Wikipedia article states that: "Ragging is a practice similar to hazing in educational institutions. ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

She was carrying twins and a bulky bag in her hands [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Using verbs with multiple meanings I am not sure if this is Indian English but the verb carry is often used in India to speak of a pregnant woman and often without an ...
5
votes
1answer
9k views

Is “weightage” an English word?

Is weightage an English word? We use it a lot in India, but I couldn't find it in my Oxford Dictionary.
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Use of “the” in Indian English

The word "the" in Indian English seems to have a different function than in American English, and I'd like to understand it better. The first sentence of this article demonstrates what I mean: ...
4
votes
3answers
184 views

What is wrong with the usage “We will hold the slot for the next 5 minutes”

Following sentence is from an email template that goes out to our customers. "We will hold the slot for the next 5 minutes" One of the customers said that the sentence should be: "We will ...
4
votes
2answers
301 views

SAT grammar question: Why is this “them” incorrect?

SAT grammar question: There are (more than) 300 million English speakers (in) India, most of (them) acquired English (as) a second language. (No error) The parentheses designate areas where the ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a word “issual”?

I have used and come across the phrase "issual of tickets" but when recently writing something my Word dictionary tells me that "issual" is not an actual word. Is that the case?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the origin of 'cash'?

What is the etymology of 'cash'? According to the OED when it is used in 'cash-box' it descends from the French 'casse', and presumably Italian 'cassa'. However the word meaning 'loose change' is from ...
4
votes
2answers
810 views

Is “stepmother treatment” Indian English?

When I googled stepmother treatment, I found that it was mainly used in India to refer to neglect, disregard or inattention. Most of the other non-Indian links talked about the literal treatment by ...
4
votes
2answers
58 views

Is the word “dear” used as a word to show affection or for official use in India?

Quite a few times now, from my working with Indians, I've had most of them refer to me as "Dear". A common occurrence is when I am chatting on social media or speaking on the phone. Though where I ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

“Wednesday week”

I know that the English will say "Wednesday week" to mean a week from Wednesday. Is there a name for this sort of construction? Also, I have a friend from India who will say "today morning". Is ...
4
votes
1answer
825 views

What is the proper pronunciation for Kipling's character-name “Mowgli”?

Does the first syllable rhyme with “glow” or with “how”? It is no use appealing to the Hindi for “Little Frog” or anything else, since Kipling confessed to making ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the origin of gully and googly in cricket?

The OED supplies no clue to the origin of either gully or googly. It does not in fact mention etymology of the cricket sense of gully, which has led me to infer that it is from the ordinary meaning of ...
4
votes
2answers
8k views

Is the usage “can able to” wrong? I believe it's wrong. But where can I find some reference on the same?

I hear a lot of people use 'can able to' in their daily talk. I believe it's entirely wrong. Both 'can' and 'able to' hold the same meaning. Where do I get more information on the same and also the ...
4
votes
1answer
579 views

Best Dictionary for Indian English

English (India) has evolved over the years. It's being given a separate place of its own since the no. of English-speakers are growing rapidly. An example would be the addition of the option English ...
4
votes
1answer
228 views

Parenthetical commas and foreign English

I advise a friend on her writing, despite not quite knowing an adverb from a proverb (kidding (kinda)). Invariably, parenthetical commas such as the following: Jane, my assistant, opened the ...