Speak Good English Movement Part 3

When it comes to proficiency in English, it seems everyone thinks he or she is an expert on the subject like soccer fans who dish out free advice to soccer coaches and players on how to be a world-beater in the game.

So, it comes as no surprise to me that Singaporeans, particularly the young ones, think there’s no pressing need for them to improve in their proficiency of the language. Clearly, they think the pass grade they obtained at the O or N levels bestows on them an unsurpassed command of the English language.

However, reading their blogs, comments on Facebook and forums everyday persuades me otherwise.

If younger Singaporeans think that there’s no more need to further improve their English, they are deluding themselves.

Whether it’s a language, a sport, an acitivity or a skill, we should keep on improving.

(Language game: There’s an error in the language in this post. Can you spot it?)

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11 Responses to “Speak Good English Movement Part 3”

  1. Not sure whether ‘in’ in ‘improve in their proficiency’ is redundant. What do you think, Roger?

  2. Since we can say “improve in outlook/mood” perhaps “improve in their proficiency” is okay? But I say “improve their English”. Prepositions like in, on, at can befuddle many. I’m not an expert but I seek to improve all the time. An editor might change the sentence in question to “to improve their language proficiency”. What do you think icemoon? (Hope you can tell me your name. Rather odd, if not impudent, to call you icemoon.)

  3. i thought the mistake was in the word ‘everyday’. when written as one word, it becomes an adjective.

  4. i am posting something quite related to this topic today. it will appear after 4.00 p.m.

  5. Let’s see who else will wade into the discussion.

    OK, I’ll read your post after 4 then.

  6. Good grief, I thought it was the keyboard not working. 😛 Not fair leh, the topic is on speaking good English and you have an error virtually undiscoverable by repeating the passage out loud, haha.

    Roger, you can call me Char Lee. I’m of the opinion good writing should be concise so I agree with your editor correction. I have yet to read The Elements of Style.

  7. Thanks Char Lee for your views. Your point is a valid one. As the language is evolving all the time, I’ve learned not to be dogmatic. I leave that to the purists and linguists. Yes, The Elements of Style should yield some good advice on correct English.

  8. This is quite a challenge. I may be wrong but please allow me to try anyway….

    “soccer fans who dish out free advice to soccer coaches and players on how to be a world-beater in the game.”
    I think world-beaters should be plural because we are referring to coaches and players.

    “there’s no pressing need for them to improve in their proficiency of the language.”
    I think “in” is redundant.

    “they think the pass grade they obtained at the O or N levels bestows on them an unsurpassed command of the English language.”
    I think grades should be plural because there are more than 1 pass grade and “they” is plural. Level should be singular, unless you say O “and” N levels instead of “or”.
    I don’t think this is the point but I disagree with the usage of the word bestow; it is not the grade that gives the person a command of the language. I would say “…is proof of an unsurpassed command…” or “bestows on them the right to…”

    “Singaporeans think that there’s no more need to further improve their English…”
    I think “more” is redundant.

    “Whether it’s a language, a sport, an acitivity or a skill, we should keep on improving. ”
    acitivity is misspelt accidentally i guess.
    I believe there should be an “it” at the end of the sentence.

    I get more and more confused as I get older because I get influenced by people who don’t speak and write good English. My blogs are not 100% grammatically correct because if I needed them to be, I would probably end up not publishing anything!

  9. You are a purist really. Your blog is “100% grammatically correct”?Good for you. My point is that peope need to keep on improving. That I need to improve, judging from your comments, is clear.

  10. The error, as spotted by some, is the word “everyday” which in this context should be “every day”. However, we speak of “everyday affair” for instance. Some went over the post with a fine-toothed comb, and managed to ferret out more errors! Thanks to all contributors.

  11. Language evolves and changes? Unless it’s Latin? Not too sure. So do we leave English to the English? What about Estuary English? Wah, very susah!


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