I've come across some articles published by Indian publishers, and there was a sentence that said,

Tiwari recalled that during the first meeting with Kalam, Swamiji asked him, “Though you have contributed many technological innovations to the country, what have you done for making Indians good human beings.”

Here is the article itself: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/tome-on-kalams-experience-with-spirituality/article7691258.ece

Normally, I would say,"What have you done to make Indians good human beings." instead of using "for making".

I've looked at various websites and found that many Indian articles and Indian journalists use this way of speech, where "to do" is replaced by "for doing", which is not common in American, British, and other Anglophone newspapers around the world.

Is this expression specific to Indian English?

1 Answer 1


What you've observed is a specific characteristic of English in India. Briefly, the progressive aspect is overused. A summary analysis is this:

One of the most indicative signs of Indian English grammar is the use of the progressive aspect with habitual actions, completed actions, and stative verbs. This produces sentences such as "I am doing it often" rather than "I do it often"; "Where are you coming from?" instead of "Where have you come from?"; "and "She was having many sarees" rather than "She had many sarees" (Trudgill & Hannah, p. 132).

(From "LANGUAGE IN INDIA: Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow", Volume 2 : 4 June-July 2002)

For a more complete analysis, including an investigation into possible root causes and the development of the characteristic progressive aspect use, see '"Are you wanting a cup of coffee?": Overuse of the progressive aspect in Indian English', and especially Section 6, which is introduced by these summary hypotheses:

Most linguistic changes have multiple causes (Thomason 2001: 62). It is likely that the Indian overuse of the progressive cannot be traced back to one single source; instead, several factors might work together. The following section will review three major hypotheses. Following Hansen et al. (1996: 221) and Platt et al. (1984), the overuse of the progressive can thus can be attributed to

  1. processes at work in any language contact situation, i.e. transfer and/or universal processes of simplification and overgeneralization (a debate lead in the field of language contact studies and second language acquisition) or
  2. certain methods and techniques in language instruction (resulting in "overteaching" of grammatical structures) or
  3. a particular linguistic input that was typical in colonial situations, i.e. the influence of certain dialects and non-standard varieties of British English in the early stages of acquisition of English on the Indian subcontinent.

The analysis in Section 6 runs to 23 double-spaced pages.

  • 3
    +1 As a native speaker of Indian English, I am thinking this is a great and well-researched answer.
    – Tragicomic
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 8:08

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