Sunday, 16 May 2010


According to 'an intensifier is an adverb used to give force or emphasis, for example really in my feet are really cold.' However, many people wrongly use literally as an intensifier, as in the following examples taken from various websites:-

  1. I was literally blown away when I tested this device's noise reduction capabilities.(
  2.  Overall, Sony is better, but then this Acer notebook is literally a steal at that price. (
  3.  "Destiny literally came knocking at my door and I welcomed it," says Aditya. (From an interview with Aditya Raj Kapoor, in
  4.  Amitabhji has been a source of inspiration because he has literally opened the highway for mature actors to do meaningful work in India. (Same source as no. 3 above)
 In the first sentence, for instance, really would have been a good substitute for literally   since I am sure that the person who was testing the device did not get blown away by the gadget exploding (which is its literal meaning); he got blown away merely in a metaphorical sense.

Similarly, Destiny knocked at Aditya's door, metaphorically speaking and not literally.

Literally has been used correctly in the following news headline:-

It's raining fish in Lajamanu literally
Believe it or not but a Territory town in Australia has witnessed fish raining from the sky twice this week. Apparently hundreds and hundreds of small, white fish fell from the sky at Lajamanu, about 550 km southeast of Katherine.

 And it seems that this error is not restricted to Indians as evident from this blog dedicated entirely to the misuse of literally. 

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


The word post is increasingly being used in India as a synonym for after.  The problem is that it is being used as a preposition rather than as a prefix. Take a look at the following examples taken from Indian publications: -

1. Kunal Dasgupta, quoted in The Times of India (TOI): Zee TV had staged the Indian Cricket League which was a failure. Modi was attempting an IPL post that.

2. From an article in the TOI: Women who live in Faridabad but travel to Delhi for work say they would never venture out alone post 8 pm.

3. From India Today magazine: This month Jake Gyllenhaal proves the fact that nothing works better post a break up than an extremely sexy makeover. 

In all the examples given above, after should have been used instead of post.

Post should be used as a prefix, as in post-match press conference, post-partum depression, post-natal complications, postdated cheque etc.


This blog is meant for sharing my observations and opinions on the use and misuse of English in India, and about the English language in general. Comments and suggestions are welcome.