BITS and Pieces

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Ms Julie

Films, back in the 70s and the 80s, had these stereotypical secretaries whose names defied the religious diversity of India. I have rarely seen their names go beyond an unimaginative Pinky, Lily, Julie or the like.

What was funnier was that no matter how lecherously she was eyed, the character artist always made it a point to address her as Ms Lily or Ms Julie, in a forced attempt to display some respect.

One would think, what’s this got to do with Indian English, right? Quite a bit actually; even today as you read this article, someone, somewhere in India, is being called Ms Lily or Mr Sandeep. This practice of using a Ms or Mr followed by the name, and not the surname, itself is a very Indian practice.

Correct usage entails that Ms, Mr, Miss or Mrs is followed by the surname or the full name of the person. ‘Mr Sandeep’ is wrong usage. ‘Mr Sandeep Nulkar’ or ‘Mr Nulkar’ is correct usage.

And yes, the seemingly missing full stop after Ms or Mr is not an oversight 🙂 The correct way to write contractions is without the full stop. Contractions are a type of abbreviation in which letters from the middle of the word are omitted. Mister becomes Mr for example. You do not need to use a full stop at the end of contractions, because the last letter of the original word is still present.

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Sandeep Nulkar - Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, BITS Private Limited Sandeep Nulkar heads one of India’s largest translation and localisation companies. He is a linguist by passion, businessman by choice and author by circumstances. Over the past decade, he has been working closely with the corporate world and with students and the academia to bring credibility and recognition to the Indian translator within and outside India.