Monthly Archives: March 2010

"of course" vs. "off course"

I was reading an online newspaper this morning when I came across an error which could easily pass as a non-error:

  • And off course i follow one of the guys who created this micro blogging Jack Dorsey.

In the sentence above, the phrase “off course” is wrong.

  • of course – without any doubt, certainly
  • off course – away from the intended direction


  1. Of course (certainly) you can go out and play,” mom told us.
  2. The concert begins at eight but you can’t enter without a ticket, of course.
  3. Due to the stormy weather, the plane went off course and crashed into the ocean.
  4. He was a young, bright student, but he went off course and joined a triad later in his early twenties.

Businessmen succeed because they’re persistent, and of course, once they become greedy, they will probably go off course and get themselves into trouble.


Oxymoron (edited)

The word “oxymoron” has nothing to do with stupid people that use Oxy-5 to get rid of their acne. No offense intended. Oxymoron is a figure of speech, and which could be an inadvertent error, too. 🙂

Look at this sentence:

  1. To apply for this job, you need the original copy of your exam transcripts.
  2. You don’t have to bring the unnecessary essentials to the workshop.

Can you spot the error?


  1. To apply for this job, you need the original exam transcripts. (√)
    To apply for this job, you need a copy of your exam transcripts. (√)
  2. You don’t have to bring the unnecessary to the workshop. (√)

Therefore, oxymorons are contradictory words or terms. How could a copy of a document be original, for instance? 😀

If you’d like to know more about oxymorons, click here.

Oxymorons are allowed in literary works. So, it’s perfectly alright to say:

  • sweet sorrows
  • deafening silence

p/s:  Thanks to a blogger for pointing out some issues in the first version.

"Wonder" vs. "wander"

I wonder why your mind wanders when there’s so much to be done. Despite the minimal difference in spelling, the meaning is very different.

  • wonder (v.) – a question that you ask because you wish to know something
  • wander (v.) – to walk around without a purpose

(a) wonder

If you ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I ready?
    Will I be a responsible husband?
    Can I earn enough to support my family?

… it shows that you’re wondering if you could make a good husband to provide for your family.


  1. Have you ever wondered why it hurts to be divorced?
  2. I wonder if I’d ever change to be a better person.
  3. Every one is wondering about the events that led to our marital problems.

(b) wander

When you wander, you don’t think; you just walk aimlessly and without knowing where you’re going. If your mind wanders, it means your mind is not thinking of anything specific or important. When you daydream, your mind wanders.


  1. My mind was wandering at the meeting just now; it was just too boring.
  2. Kids who wander without their parents are likely to be victims of kidnappers.
  3. When I’m alone, my mind wanders and I start recalling the past.

Here’s a song and the lyrics for the word “wander“, and a link to the music.  If you’ve been camping when you were a kid, you might be familiar with the song.  Enjoy! 🙂

The Happy Wanderer (Click here for the music)

I love to go a-wandering,
Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back.

My knapsack on my back.

I love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun,
So joyously it calls to me,
“Come! Join my happy song!”

I wave my hat to all I meet,
And they wave back to me,
And blackbirds call so loud and sweet
From ev’ry green wood tree.

High overhead, the skylarks wing,
They never rest at home
But just like me, they love to sing,
As o’er the world we roam.

Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die!
Oh, may I always laugh and sing,
Beneath God’s clear blue sky!

What English is this?

A while ago, as I was browsing the Net, I came across an advertisement for Home Tutors. On the front page, a list of tutors recently registered with the tuition service is shown. I randomly clicked on a name, and I saw this description:

I have finished my degree in Accounting and will further my MBA in UPM.I have teaching experience for primary students during my uni life time. Furthermore, I am a full scholarship holder in my university and responsible to teach the weak students in their studies for 3 years. My education background as below ….. Do you want your children/yourself Study Smart? Just Follow Me, I will lead them/u with caring. I understand the life of being a student, let me share my studies experience with the children. Let them understand: ‘Try the Best, No Regret”.

You know what? This tutor offers English, Math and Malay Language tuition to primary school kids. Now we know why the standard of English amongst our students is deteriorating.  Sad huh?

Let Me Have It

A couple of minutes ago, a student asked me:

  • “Teacher, can I have a chair?”

Err…what? She wanted to borrow the visitor’s chair that was in front of me. I said “Yes, sure.”

Of course, I knew what she wanted, but it is inappropriate to substitute  “borrow” or “lend” with “have“.

Have” in the sentence that the student made means “eat“. 😀

Therefore, she’s actually saying:

  • “Teacher, can I eat a chair?” (X) instead of,
  • “Teacher, could I borrow a chair?”

Let’s see these examples:

  • “I’d like to have some rice today.”
  • “Can I have you for dinner today?” 😛

What do you think?