Thursday, 28 April 2016

Send your form to the below address

The prepositions below and above are often used as adjectives, like in the following examples:
  • If you would prefer to make a cash or check donation, please send your gift to the below address. 
  • Please send your documents to the below address
  • From the below information, calculate the final balance to be carried forward
  • Please read the below details to know more. 
It is debatable whether this usage is grammatically correct or not, but it certainly sounds more natural with below placed after the noun. 

For instance, ... please send your gift to the address mentioned (or written / shown / stated / given) below. Or simply ... to the address below.

Alternatively, you can replace it with following, as in the following examples:

  • Please send your documents to the following address.
  • Please read the following details to know more. 
The same applies to the preposition above. And an alternative could be preceding, as in Please send your documents to the preceding address

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Please stand clear off the doors

The Delhi Metro is a very popular means of public transport in Delhi and the coaches are often crowded. Recorded messages are frequently played on the public address system inside the trains urging passengers to maintain cleanliness and to please stand clear off the doors.

 There's a small mistake there. The correct instruction should be: please stand clear of the doors.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The fact that vs The possibility that

The fact that is a common expression that we use when we talk about, quite obviously, facts, as in Copernicus first established the fact that the earth revolves round the sun. 

However, sometimes people erroneously use it when they make non-factual statements. Consider the following examples:

Was Woodrow Wilson oblivious of the fact that German nationalism might rise and create dire consequences...

How can I come to terms with the fact that I might never be in a romantic relationship?

The fact that if the price of milk, butter or cab rides increases, people might switch to soy milk, margarine, or the bus...

Now I am 23 and it is difficult to let go of the fact that maybe I'm wasting my potential as a good athlete.  

All these statements express possibilities or probabilities, as is apparent by the use of might and maybe; a fact is something about which there is no doubt. So, in these cases it would have been more accurate to say the possibility that or the probability that instead of the fact that.