July 23, 2008

Tenses out of temporal context

Two tenses most frequently abused by writers and even editors are the present continuous and the present perfect continuous tense. Copies keep coming in, or even getting in print, with sentences such as 'the government is doing this for a month,' which needs to be in the present perfect continuous tense because of the period of time, and 'the agency has been doing the work,' which needs to be in the present continuous tense because of the absence of any period or point of time to go with the verb. A glance at reports published in Dhaka newspapers even in the past shows such mistakes have kept coming in print... for years.

July 15, 2008

Not all words do fit in all contexts

A copy on corruption said charges were framed against a few caretaker engineers. Governments can be caretakers, in Bangladesh, and buildings can have caretakers, too. But why on earth should there be caretaker engineers, as position on job, unless, of course, some engineers volunteer to take care of a building, or a place, or even a construction job? Baffling! Another reporter passing by said the writer meant 'superintending' by 'caretaker,' both of which can be used for the single Bengali word depending on the context. And the reporter might nonchalantly have missed the context as he was writing.