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Please revert or please reply? New grammar book sheds light on common English language mistakes

The Straits Times | Yuen Sin | Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017

The Speak Good English Movement has published a free guidebook to help people with their grammar.

Photo: Speak Good English Movement

SINGAPORE - How many times have you been told to "please off the tap"?

The Grammar gods will have you know that happens because people are confused about subject-verb agreement.

Then there is the officious sounding "please revert to me". It really should be "please reply".

To avoid such gaffes, the Speak Good English Movement has published a free guidebook to help people with their grammar.

Grammar Rules is a pocket-sized book which covers topics in grammar, including tenses and the use of adverbs and conjunctions. The book also highlights common English language errors made by Singaporeans and provides the correct words and phrases.

The Speak Good English Movement will be distributing 10,000 copies of the book to the public.

Most of the material in the guidebook appeared in notebooks issued over the years.

"The popularity of the notebooks and the grammar tips they contained motivated the Movement to compile the material into one volume," said a spokesman. "Through Grammar Rules, the Speak Good English Movement hopes to draw attention to the importance of grammar so that Singaporeans may be encouraged to improve their standard of spoken and written English."

Those who want a copy of Grammar Rules may collect it from the Singapore Philatelic Museum and Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall during opening hours from Monday (March 20). It will be given out on a first come, first served basis and while stocks last.

Common mistakes

Singaporean blunder: Please off the tap

Standard English: Please turn off the tap

Singaporean blunder: With regards to the matter, I think...

Standard English: With regard to the matter, I think...

Singaporean blunder: Today is my off day

Standard English: Today is my day off

Singaporean blunder: Please give me lesser salt

Standard English: Please give me less salt

Singaporean blunder: I will fetch the kids to school

Standard English: I will take the kids to school

Singaporean blunder: I need to draw money from the ATM

Standard English: I need to withdraw money from the ATM

Singaporean blunder: We discussed about this during the meeting

Standard English: We discussed this during the meeting

Singaporean blunder: Please revert to me as soon as possible*

Standard English: Please reply as soon as possible

Pls note: "Revert" means to return to (a previous state, practice, topic, etc.). Very different from "Reply"


This article was first published on March 20, 2017.
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