Singlish is an integral part of life in Singapore. However, accidentally using Singlish can undermine the credibility of your writing and even cost you dearly in an exam! Here are some more common Singlish expressions and how to convert them into proper English. This is part 3. Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here.

So squeezy 

The MRT is so squeezy at peak hour. (Singlish)
The MRT is so cramped at peak hour. (proper English)

Explanation:

‘Squeezy’ refers to something which is made from a material that is easy to squeeze. (E.g. ketchup in a squeezy bottle) To describe a place which is crowded and has little room, use the word ‘cramped’.

Elderlies

Our government needs to do more to help low income elderlies. (Singlish)
Our government needs to do more to help low income elderly people. (proper English) OR
Our government needs to do more to help the low income elderly. (proper English)

Explanation:

The word ‘elderly’ is an adjective and there is no plural. (I.e. You wouldn’t say ‘the olds’ right?)

Add lesser salt

For a healthier dish, add lesser salt. (Singlish)
For a healthier dish, add less salt. (proper English)

Explanation:

Use ‘less’ to refer to a smaller amount of something. For countable nouns (e.g. people), use ‘fewer’ to refer to a smaller number. ‘Lesser’ is only used to refer to quality (e.g. The lesser of two evils) and not quantity.

Come down here

You need to come down here to submit your documents. (Singlish)
You need to come over here to submit your documents. (proper English) OR
You need to come here to submit your documents. (proper English)

Explanation:

Same applies to ‘go down there’. Use ‘go over there’ or ‘go there’ instead.

Alot of friends / abit of time

I have alot of friends. (Singlish)
I have a lot of friends. (proper English)
I need abit more time. (Singlish)
I need a bit more time. (proper English)

Explanation:

The words ‘alot’ and ‘abit’ don’t exist, even when used as adverbs. (E.g. ‘He works out a lot.’) Remember to put a space in between!

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Written by Michelle Tan for The Annexe Project