As I casually flipped through the pages of an old magazine, I stumbled across a one-page-advertisement of the world’s largest chain of hamburger restaurants -Mc Donald’s. Wondering when this “hamburger giant” would open a new door for foodies in Guwahati, my eyes fell on its famous tagline –
I am loving it! Well, I couldn’t help but smile as a different train of thought crossed my mind – The notorious blunders of the English language spreading like a pan-India pandemic!
“I love it” is the correct form that should have been used, but then “I am loving it” sounds more active and attractive to the youngistans even if it is grammatically incorrect! In fact, this commercial tagline is so popular, so influential that it has managed to weave its way into our daily conversations. I am loving this dress, I am loving this movie, we are loving that speech, are quite common. You won’t be surprised if you witness a young couple sharing a delicious hamburger in Mc Donald’s and suddenly the boy gives a mischievous smile to his sweetheart, saying, “I am loving you!”
It seems that Indians do have the annoying talent of using ing at the end of almost everything. It is called gerund : a noun in the form of the present participle of a verb. Let’s take a quick look at the various examples having the wrong use of ing –
- This meat is smelling very good. (Correct: This meat smells very good.)
- I am hoping that she passes her exams. (Correct: I hope that she passes her exams)
- I am knowing him. (Correct: I know him)
- I am hating this soup. (Correct: I hate this soup)
I am definitely not loving the above sentences! Are you? Unnecessary gerund-ing!
The Indians’ grasp of English language is somewhat lose. Oh, Sorry! Did I say Lose? It should be loose. Yes, it’s one of the common blunders. Lose means to suffer a loss and loose means not fitting. Likewise, while writing, one should be careful with the homonyms like ideal or idle, hair or hare, etc.
Most of these blunders go unnoticed like a thief even by the professional writers. And these blunders have the amazing ability to create a double effect: Annoying as well as comic! So, it is adviced to pay little heed to the nuisances of this language as it may lead you into trouble if you are writing a job resume or an article or anything. Some of these mistakes are so common that people almost always make mistake despite knowing its correct usage. I say this because if you have paid a tidbit of attention to what I have just written then you may have frowned (or even smiled) at the word adviced. Oh yes! I used this word as a verb. So it should have been advise and not advice. Speaking clearly, advice is used as a noun and advise is used as a verb. Another example is prophecy (noun) and prophesy (verb).
There are countless instances of these flaws infecting the English like a virus does to its host. And excitingly many of them have become an integral part of the language. The use of the word “naa” at the end of many conversations is one of them:
You know naa?
Please tell me naa!
The weather is beautiful naa?
You love me naa?
“Naa” always remains at the tip of our tongue all set to launch itself out at the end of every line! Believe me it gives us an uncanny sense of completeness and satisfaction!
Other instances which should be avoided at any cost are:
I didn’t knew (Correct: Know)
He don’t realize it! (Correct: Doesn’t)
One of my friend is coming (Correct: Friends)
Having said all these let me return back to the gerund part. Oh! Again I will apologize. It should only be return and not return back. Likewise, it should not be merge together but only together.
Now, actually returning to the gerund (ing) let me throw light on one of the most annoyingly comic mistakes that we come across while glancing at the names of hotels, motels and restaurants. You already may have made a shrewd guess. Oh yes, it’s Fooding & Lodging. Really, this has become most used caption of almost every food hub! Mother of all mistakes! No one dares correct it. Whenever my eyes fall on it, I start shaking my head irritably.
Mark my words! This trade name could test your patience. It tested mine. One day, unable to contain myself any more, I intentionally strode into to a small, newly opened, local hotel (bearing Fooding & lodging). Of course, blatant asking would have sounded rude. So, out of courtesy I ordered a cup of tea and planned how I would say to the manager about the common blunder of fooding & lodging. Having finished, I went over to the counter to pay the bill.
Smiling broadly, I put the money on his table and said, “The tea was nice, dada”
The manager simply smiled.
I grabbed the chance, “Your hotel will surely flourish given the good quality and good location.”
He smiled even broadly, nodding his head.
Then screwing my face slightly to reflect a look of doubt, I ventured in to the criticizing part and said slowly, “But the name of your hotel has a little flaw, dada”
The smile upon the manager instantly vanished replaced by a questioning look, “How?” he barked.
Speaking tentatively, I said, “The caption fooding and lodging should be changed to food and lodging. It’s grammatically incorrect, you know.”
The manager rolled his eyes upwards and stared hard at me, as though I had gone mad! However, he rearranged his expression into an expressionless face (maybe he thought that talking rudely to a customer would hamper his newly opened business) and said, “Everyone does so! Fooding and lodging sounds more rhythmic than food and lodging!”
I immediately gave up and walked out of the hotel. It could not have been funnier. Once out of earshot, I burst out laughing heartily at the logic given by the hotel manager. I thanked the manger from the bottom of my heart as he taught me new concept of English that could not be found in any book, dictionary or anywhere: Rhythmic English! Wow! I am loving it!