Using ‘Detrimental’

I’ve recently noticed that the word ‘detrimental’ is highly overused in the Indian media. To see how overused it is, you can just search the words ‘Detrimental’ and ‘India’ in Google News. Recent articles from known daily newspapers of India will pop-up as the search result.

The true definition of the word ‘detrimental’ according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “obviously harmful : damaging’ (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/detrimental).

Dear Indian media, if there is a news article to report, it’s mostly not ‘obvious’, if it was obvious, it wouldn’t be news-worthy. Therefore, please use the words ‘harmful’ or ‘unfavourable’ where required, instead of a stronger word like ‘detrimental’.

Historians, Literature and Film (An example from The New Yorker).

Historians, Literature and Film (An example from The New Yorker).

Michael Schulman recently stated in the New Yorker – ‘Accepting the Oscar for Best Picture on Sunday—technically, it might have been Monday at that point—Steve McQueen took a moment to thank “this amazing historian Sue Eakin,” who “gave her life’s work to preserving Solomon’s book.” It was an unusual shout-out: we’re used to seeing Harvey Weinstein or God get thanked, not historians from Louisiana.’ (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2014/03/the-historian-who-unearthed-twelve-years-a-slave.html).

 

Vowel sounds.

Vowel sounds.

I’ve been noticing in a lot of marketing documents and websites of mutual fund companies in India that they wrongly use indefinite articles – ‘a’ or ‘an’.

An example of this is the picture above. I’ve pointed out the error in a screenshot of the homepage of Canara Robeco (http://www.canararobeco.com/default.aspx).

It’s simple middle school grammar. Discussing indefinite articles, Gareth Rees mentions in BBC Learning English (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/askaboutenglish/2010/06/100622_aae_indefinite_articles_pron.shtml) to ‘use “a” before a word that begins with a consonant sound, and “an” before a word that begins with a vowel sound. This means that the important thing is not how we spell and write the word, but how we say the word.’

Therefore, the correct usage is ‘an’ SIP.

As a concerned customer of mutual fund companies, I hope fund managers are not recruited through a process similar to the one they use to recruit content-writers/copywriters.