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What’s with the word ‘welcome’ anyway? I mean, it looks like such a common word, but somehow, people manage to use it in the strangest of ways. I have seen some classic bloopers using this word, but just when I had begun to think I had seen it all, I happened to be at this wedding where the event management guys took grammar and conjugation to another level. This month, I welcome you to the puzzling world of the word ‘welcome.’

We have, obviously, all seen the placard announcing ‘Wel-come,’ but I have also seen a couple of them suggesting that we are ‘Well-come’ or ‘Well come’ even. There also seems to be some confusion about what is the right conjugation when a couple (say Mr. and Mrs. Smith) or families (say the Pauls and the Smiths) are involved. Does one use ‘welcome’ or ‘welcomes?’

But when I saw this at a wedding ‘Sharma and Varma families Wel-come’s you’ (names changed to avoid embarrassment), I knew what I was going to write about in this month’s ‘Mind Your Language.’

The fact is that ‘welcome’ can be used as a noun (He received a warm welcome), verb (Sharma and Varma families welcome you to the wedding) or adjective (This was a welcome change). In no case is ‘welcome’ spelt any differently than the whole of it together, as ‘welcome.’

As for the conjugation when used as a verb, the conjugation is always ‘welcome,’ barring in the third person singular (he or she) when the conjugation is ‘welcomes.’

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Sandeep Nulkar - Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, BITS Private Limited Sandeep Nulkar started his career as a translator way back in 1993 and heads one of India’s largest translation and localisation companies – BITS Private Limited. 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 create an identity for the Indian translator within and outside India.