20 Common Desi English Mistakes Indians Make

20 Common Desi English Mistakes Indians Make

To many people, it may be surprising to know that India with 125 million English speakers has the world’s second-highest number of English speakers. However, only 226,449 speak English as a first language. For the vast majority, it is second or in many cases, English is the third language. Having spent more than a decade in learning & training people from all walks of life, I have noticed a lot of errors creep into the vocabulary of an average English-speaking Indian. This article will teach you 20 common Desi English mistakes an average English-speaking Indian makes.

if you are a visual learner you can watch the video to learn 10 common English mistakes that you could be making right now.


You may hear some desi folks saying- Can you suggest me a good dictionary?

You cannot ‘suggest somebody something’:Can you suggest me a good dictionary?

Well, the correct expression is- Can you suggest a good dictionary?

Similar Error –

Many a times


It’s quite a common mistake to make. In fact, I see upper-intermediate learners goofing up with this.

Either say many a time or many times.

I have told you many a time to not ride a bike on the pavement. Or, I have told you many times not ride a bike on the pavement.


You cannot say ‘discuss about something’:I discussed about my problem with my parents.

Discuss means, to talk about something with somebody.

Have you discussed the problem with anyone?

discuss something– I’m not prepared to discuss this on the phone.

discuss (somebody/something) doing something -We briefly discussed buying a second car.


I have seen advanced level learners getting this wrong & saying years back. Well, we don’t say it for the same reason we wouldn’t say “Years forward”.

We say I will meet him in three years time. Back and forward refer to movements. Thus, you can say “I want to go back in time”. “I want to go forward in time”.

We take an exam

A large number of students are taking the IIT exam.

In Hindi, it’s known as “exam Dena” which translate to “give an exam”

emphasize something

 His speech emphasized the importance of attracting industry to the town.

emphasize how, what, etc…

He emphasized how little was known about the disease.

She has become more confident and has developed better dress sense.

He is known for his slightly unusual dress sense and his love for what he describes as eye-catching headwear.

Well, you know how good we can be when it comes to giving assurance. Aren’t we naturally good at it?

Don’t say be rest assured. This is one of the popular Indianisms. Click here to learn more about Indianisms.

It’s easy to make a mistake.

Don’t worry, we all make mistakes.

I did get to my apartment on time and, even better, I didn’t have to pay for the parking.

a debate on abortion

The quiz will be a team event organized by the local school.

I had a vivid dream about my old school.

We used to live in London.

Both her children still live at home.

order (something) I ordered a beer and a sandwich.

Mr. & Mrs. John Legend celebrated their 4th wedding anniversary.

Try not to revert to your old eating habits.

After her divorce, she reverted to her maiden name.

She only replied with a smile.

You don’t need to come to work on Sunday unless there is a client visit.

Listed above are 20 common English mistakes that an average English speaking Indians tend to make.

you can also check 20 mispronounced words to improve your pronunciation.

Keep checking this space for more tips to improve your vocabulary.