Archive for the 'English, as we know it' Category

“By Return”

It kind of bugs me when I see people write “please reply by return” in e-mails.  Do people actually think about whether what they write makes sense?  Or do they just write things which they think are official sounding? I suspect many use this phrase because they may have seen similar language on business letters […]

Received another e-mail from Miss Engrish today.  In it she said, “on the other side, due to the huge number involved, I suggest doing the cancellation in patches.  Kindly advice if you have any other arrangements”. Whoa.  What an cheem statement!  Are we taking sides now?  What patches are we talking about?  Nicotine patch?  Software […]


English has been the official language in Singapore for the past 3-4 decades. It is also the primary language used in schools. It thus puzzles me when Singaporeans around my age cannot seem to handle the language. An underwriter I’ve been dealing with recently has made the most atrocious mistakes ever!! Here’re some examples of […]

Someone told me her English is good and that she used to always write reports to challenge credit committees and her legal counsel in her previous company.  I realised, however, that she is unable to differentiate simple vocabulary like “access” from “assess”, and today, she’s confused by how “you” versus “we” works in a letter.  […]

Look into the Same

Received this e-mail reply from a client today. Dear UptownGal We will look into the same and revert soonest. Thanks & Regards Based on my repeated receipt of such poor grammar, I am able to deduce that the sender means that she will check on the issue raised in my e-mail to her and reply […]

My boss is looking to hire another person to help out in my area of work and so he asked me what sort of conditions / criteria will I set for the new staff.  I said I want someone who writes good English and has a good attitude (i.e. willing to learn, not arrogant, etc).  […]


I’ve always known the word "oversight" to refer to an error that arose due to carelessness.  I have however, repeatedly come across the word "oversight" used as the noun of "oversee”.  I checked for the meaning of the word and this is what it says: o·ver·sight –noun 1.  an omission or error due to […]

Had some internal training this morning via teleconference with our colleagues in HK and USA.  During the Q&A, a director from our Corporate Team posed this question: "How long are the data stored in the system?" Sigh.  Are the data?  How embarrassing to have the only person asking a question from Singapore exhibiting such bad […]

Healthy vs Healthful

This was something that I learnt in school but still struggle with because the wrong usage is so pervasive in what I read on a day to day basis.  I often read articles saying, "this is a healthy diet" when it should be "this is a healthful diet". The words healthy and healthful are closely […]

Got this from the website: Donors to the Presidential Inaugural Committee. “In keeping with President-elect Obama’s commitment to changing the way business is done in Washington, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) is taking unprecedented steps to insure transparency in the public reporting of donors to a Presidential Inaugural Committee. This chart will allow you to […]

April 2024