Common Indianisms

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What are Indianisms?

It is a fact well known and acknowledged that while we Indians don’t exactly speak the Queen’s English, the educated Indian’s grasp of the language per se is reasonably strong.

Most Indians are bilingual (at the very least), speaking their mother tongue as well as English.

As a result, due to the brain-to-tongue translation process, some uniquely Indian phrases have been born

Indianism refers to a word or phrase which is a characteristic of Indian English. Indianism may also refer to the way a sentence has been structured as if it was literally translated from an Indian language to English

How do Indianisms affect our communication?

As you know the ability to deliver clear high-impact communication is among the top 3 skills required to become a successful business leader.  However, I believe there’s an ability which is even more fundamental to workplace success – the ability to use a correct expression, phrase and word in one’s day- to- day written and oral communication. Of we use words and phrases that are purely Indian, it can deliver an unclear and sometimes an incorrect message.

What are some common Indianisms?

‘’What’s your good name?’’  – this again is a translation from the sweet Hindi opener ‘aapka shubh naam kya hai?’’ ; the lift n shift from the Hindi to English doesn’t make sense,  especially in business communication.

‘Different different’ – a straight lift from the Hindi expression ‘alag-alag’ . Probably the most frequently used expression in India. A habit of thinking in Hindi makes us add the second ‘different’ to the sentence.

‘Passing out’

When you complete your studies at an educational institution, you graduate from that institution

You do not “pass out” from that institution.

To “pass out” refers to losing consciousness, like after you get too drunk, though I’m not sure how we managed to connect graduating and intoxication


“Let’s prepone the meeting from 11 a.m. to 10 a.m.”

Because the opposite of postpone just has to prepone, right… INCORRECT.. you “Bring the meeting forward”

There is an entire list on our website with corrections that you can go through and change..

Any other Indianisms apart from words and phrases?

Absolutely. Our grammar leaves a lot to be desired of. Especially the way we ask questions. The use of Na kya, or what.

We ask questions with the tone of our voice and not with proper grammar.

For example:

You are going for the meeting?

Should be:

Will you be at the meeting?

How do we fix this?

The first thing we need to do is correct our grammar. We as ind8ans love to use the continuous tense.. everything is “ing”.. going, coming, doing. English as a language has a tense for every situation and we MUST use them.

Next, learn to ask questions correctly and not with the tone of our voice.

Next, learn the correct terms and use them (look at the list on the site) especially in business communication.

Think in English. If we translate directly, everything goes wrong. You CANNOT translate from one language to another, the grammar is completely different.

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