Good morning! I overheard these two sentences last evening. Both need to be corrected:

I am going for hair cutting.

You must have been quite a catch.

You can’t go for ‘hair cutting’. The right phrase is ‘hair cut’. So you should say, ‘I am going for a haircut’ (don’t forget to add the article ‘a’ before the ‘haircut’).

To say, ‘You must be quite a catch’ is a very derogatory way of appreciating someone (yes, it sounds like an oxymoron). You should never say that to anyone, unless you are deliberately trying to be condescending (insulting). When using phrases and expressions in English be very careful (especially if they are meant to be personal), for you may end up offending the person concerned.

In fact, you should avoid making any personal comments and if you have to, then do yourself a favour. Make an effort to understand the meanings and connotations of the various expressions; don’t use them just because you had heard them somewhere.

Here are a few statements that will completely put off people — in the brackets after the sentences I have given you alternative statements which will save you from getting beaten up and at the same time ease that pain in your stomach (which usually occurs when you want to say something):

You’ve become so fat. (AVOID like a plague. It’s none of your business; quickly stuff something in your mouth so that you don’t utter those words.)

Hey! Have you been ill? You look like a scarecrow (thin human figures, used on the farms to frighten birds away). (Replace with: ‘Hey! You look smart and slim.’) If you’re really concerned about the health, make do with, ‘All well?’

You look terrible. (Replace with: ‘Are you fine?’ or just keep your opinion to yourself.)

This hairstyle just doesn’t suit you. (AVOID)

You’ve got something sticking in your teeth. (Unless you happen to be a close associate, let the thing be there — in the teeth. You keep quiet.)

Hey! I am sure, you guys remember ‘oxymoron’. I had taken up this figure of speech long back. But just to refresh your memories, ‘an oxymoron’ means to use two opposite terms to explain something.

Example: The sight is pretty ugly, isn’t it?

How about doing some work this weekend? Examinations are round the corner, write a small paragraph on ‘Exam should be/ should not be conducted’ and mail it to me. In school, I had once participated in a debate on this topic and I had obviously said that there should be no exam. The repartee (to make fun of) that I had received from the class teacher of the student who was ‘for the exam’ left me smarting (stinging, burning) for a long time. But, you all can write what you wish to, without any reservations.

Bye for now!

…and, hey, keep smiling…

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