In this fast-paced, technology-driven world, it is not wrong to say that verbal communication is extremely important for people to rise upward in term of social mobility and their profession. Language is the medium for communicating not only to express our feelings, thoughts and opinions, but also to create an impression upon others.
The relevance of communications can be understood in social and professional context, be it boardroom meetings or casual marketplace encounters. Though incorrect use of language may convey the basic meaning, but it always reflects in a poor manner on the user. For instance, imagine an interview for a job you really wanted, an accidental meeting with a family friend at the cinema hall or a situation where you are invited for dinner and you meet new people who are professionally senior to you in your field.
The list of common mistakes that people commit in such social and professional situations is endless. However, some common ones include incorrectly introducing oneself as 'myself Saumya' when the right form is 'I am Saumya' or 'my name is Saumya.' This is one of the commonest mistakes that highlights the speaker's linguistic incompetence.
Another common error is not inverting the subject-auxiliary in questions as in 'why you are not coming?' when it should be 'why are you not coming?' Many working professionals, even in high posts, are guilty of committing this mistake. Confusing prepositions is another malady especially the use of 'at', 'in' or 'on' in sentences.
Errors in the use of articles or tenses is yet another issue such as putting an article when it is not required as in 'The Dehradun is very pretty' or using 'double past tense marker' as in 'I didn't knew about this' when it should be 'Dehradun is...' and 'didn't know' respectively.
Mistakes are not just limited to grammar, but also include vocabulary. For most people, vocabulary is limited to the use of antonyms and synonyms taught in schools, but it is in fact a vast area that includes knowledge of single and multi-word units.
One of the commonest errors is confusing two words and then using them wrongly, for instance, not knowing the difference between 'affect' (to influence someone) and 'effect' (result of something) or incorrectly using a word because one is not aware of its meaning, such as 'indulge.' Often the word is used to denote habitual action when its meaning is the exact opposite - to spend on something once in a while, like splurge occasionally.
Another problematic area is collocation - which words are to be paired together. For example, it is not 'aged parents' but 'elderly parents' or someone doesn't have a 'big accident', they have a 'serious accident'.
Not just single words, but even phrasal verbs are a problem since one easily gets confused with putting the right particle after the verb 'sign in/sign out' or sometimes putting a particle when it is not required like 'discuss about.' Simply, the word 'discuss' would suffice.
People also make errors at workplace, for instance writing emails. Excessive use of applications such as Whatsapp and texting has caused many to write abbreviated sentences known as SMS language that reflects poorly on the language user creating a shoddy impression.
There are many such mistakes that people make while using English. The demand to learn the language is natural since English is a global language, a link language and a language of career advancement. Yet, what we need to realise is that for effective communication, we need to master the basic concepts that will be helpful in speaking and in writing namely, grammar, vocabulary that consists of single words and phrases and punctuation.
In other words, both knowledge and fluency are essential for a person. Learning a language is challenging, but it can be mastered with diligent efforts. Some practical tips include reading newspapers, especially the editorial section, and magazines on current affairs and finance. Such texts are useful in improving vocabulary, especially phrasal verbs and collocation of words.
Knowledge of common errors related to grammar and vocabulary is crucial and so is practice under someone's supervision particularly regarding the correct use of articles, tenses and prepositions.
Another important area to work upon is key expression. Checking the meaning and pronunciation of a new word or a vaguely familiar word on the Internet or in the dictionary is one way of building one's vocabulary.
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