Friday, 10 April 2015

Indianisms in English

English has grown by borrowing heavily from other languages. However, there are some usages which are considered wrong and only used by Indian writers and speakers. Let me list a few of them.

1)      Pass Out
Wrong usage: She passed out from Government College of Engineering.
Correct usage: She graduated from Government college of Engineering.

Once you complete your course from an institution, you graduate from there, not pass out. Pass out means to lose consciousness.

2)      Propose
Wrong usage: I proposed to take her out on a coffee.
Correct usage: I asked her out on a coffee date.
When you propose to a girl, you propose marriage, not ice cream or coffee date.

3)      Kindly Revert
Wrong usage: Kindly revert to my email as soon as possible.
Correct usage: Kindly reply to my mail as soon as possible.

4)      Years back
Wrong usage: Three years back, I owned a hotel.
Correct usage: Three year ago, I owned a hotel.

The Correct usage  is years ago.

5)      Doing the needful
Wrong usage: Please do the needful.
Correct usage usage: Please do the necessary thing or please take the necessary action.

6)      Discuss about
Wrong usage: Let us discuss about politics.
Correct usage: Let us discuss politics.

7)      Order for:
Wrong usage: Let us order for a donut.
Correct usage: Let us order a donut.

8)      Do one thing
Wrong usage: Do one thing, first open the folder concerned, find the filed named …
Correct usage: Do this, first open the folder concerned, find the file named…
If you say do one thing, mention only one thing, not an entire list of things to be done.

9)      Out of station
Wrong usage: I will be out of station for the next few weeks.
Correct usage: I will be out of Delhi (or the place you stay) for the next few weeks.

10)   Sleep is coming
Wrong usage: Okay then goodnight, sleep is coming.
Correct usage: Okay then goodnight, I am feeling sleepy.

11)   Prepone
Wrong: Let us prepone the 10:00am meeting to 9: 00 am.
Correct: Let us reschedule the 10:00 am meeting to 9:00 am.
This usage is so popular that recently it has been accepted into many dictionaries.

12)   ATM machine
Automated Teller Machine is ATM. So no need to add Machine to it again.

13)   8 am in the morning
8 am is always morning. Redundant usage.

14)   Repeated twice
Again redundant usage.

15)   What is your good name?
There is no good name. This is merely word-by-word translation of Hindi question “Aapka shubh nam kya hai?”

16)   Backside
Wrong usage : Backside entrance
Correct usage: Rear Entrance

17)   Danced on
Wrong usage: Let us dance on ‘Truly, madly ….”
Correct usage: Let us dance to ‘Truly, madly ....”

18)   Reply back
Reply is enough.

19)   Revert back
Revert back is wrong usage. Revert is enough.

20)   Cooling glasses 
Cooling glasses is south Indian name for glasses or shades.

21)   Co-brothers:
Two unrelated men married to sisters.

22)   Time pass: It means to while away time. Again Indianism.
23)   Only
Wrong usage: She is here only.
Correct: She is here.

24)   Mind it
A usage that is often associated with comedians in movies threatening to beware of their wrath.

25)   Xerox
Wrong usage: Take a Xerox of this document.
Correct usage: Take a copy of this document.

Note: Xerox is the brand name of a photocopier machine.

This post is a part of the APRIL A-Z Challenge  


  1. This is exactly why I pay to have a good editor.

    Stephen Tremp
    A to Z Co-host
    Twitter: @StephenTremp

    1. Exactly. We need an editor who is aware of the common errors that creep in. Thank you for reading Stephen Tremp.

  2. He he I am guilty of using these phrases sometimes. What to do? We are like this only :)

    1. He he he ... I consciously try to avoid these now. :p

  3. Interesting. New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge, and I look forward to visiting again!


  4. Damned good list! :) I would like to add one more
    Wrong usage: Explain me
    Correct usage: Explain to me
    You are welcome to check my A-Z blog posts here:

  5. Indianism adding spice to English, why worry language evolves and the fun in language is to see how each one uses it.

  6. Indianisms indeed! I'm guilty of a few. The second had me really perplexed once long ago, until my sister took pity on me and enlightened me about the difference in the usual meaning of the word and the Indian version of it!

  7. It might be incorrect, but I find "please do the needful" to be a charming turn of phrase, and I intend to adopt it immediately. And now my husband wants his breakfast, so I must go do the needful :-)


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