Yehi Hai Right Choice Baby … Aha?

So I went to write my English Proficiency Test today, in order to qualify for entrance to the National Institute of Education where I will train to become a teacher. I wasn’t particularly worried. I mean, I wrote a qualifying test before entering university, I’ve been studying for the past 4 years here and I’m pursuing a minor in English Studies. An English test should be no biggie, right?

Right. Well, almost. The paper was mostly fine, but there were a few tricky ones here and there. Questions that made me stop and think for a while … the stuff that makes you doubt yourself. You know, like whether you should use “principal” or “principle” in a particular sentence or “discrete” or “discreet”. These things should be a piece of cake, but they’re the sort of words that suddenly crop up in the “I’m not so sure” list, even though deep down, you probably know the right answer.

But there was one question that had me stumped for a while. For you grammar aficionados out there (and wow, did not know that ‘aficionado’ had just one ‘f’ till just now … thank you, Firefox dictionary!), this was the question:

“Either you or I [is/am/are] to blame.” (Choose the right option.)

So there I was, trying to figure out just which one of these words was correct. I said the line in my head again and again, each time using a different option. You know how when you say something over and over again, a particular word/phrase/sentence starts to sound totally alien? Yeah, that happened. So I just went on to the other questions and came back to this one in the end, hoping that by some miracle, I would arrive at the answer if I looked at it with a fresh mind. No such luck. I must’ve looked like an idiot in the examination hall, because I screwed up my face in every possible way, hoping that using the right intonation in my head (which ended up showing on my face) would make it easier for me to hit upon the right answer. Again, no luck.

I was getting frustrated. Obviously, one of the options was the right answer, but none of them sounded correct to me. It didn’t fit. When I said the sentence with any of the options given, I didn’t feel that sense of satisfaction. I’ve almost always worked out grammar this way – if it doesn’t sound right in your head, it probably isn’t. I trust my instinct. And here I was, three options in front of me, none of them sounding even remotely like the correct answer. What was I supposed to do? What was the right choice? What do you do when your instinct doesn’t tell you anything, or worse, keeps insisting that none of the options are the right answer? Ultimately, I just picked one based on some weird logic that I can’t even remember now. All I know was that I wasn’t satisfied with it.

It got me thinking. What happens when a question pops up in life, and there are only a few valid choices you can make, but nothing feels correct? You know that the answer lies in the options you have in front of you, but you don’t feel like any of them is the ideal solution. None of them fit. You imagine your life with the solution fit in, and it doesn’t feel right. What then? How do you choose? What helps you make the “right” decision?

Or is that the beauty of life? That there are no right or wrong decisions, just decisions and what you make of them? I do hope so. πŸ™‚

(Hello, blogging world! *waves frantically*)


12 thoughts on “Yehi Hai Right Choice Baby … Aha?

  1. sowmya February 2, 2010 / 5:13 pm

    What's the right answer? This one's killing me!

  2. Narayan May 21, 2009 / 7:18 pm

    Tantaratantara taaan!!!!! Goodness, some extra things for me to do… Words always get me- that practice, practise thing, the number of s’s in necessary…. the worst thing is trying to keep an essay in the same tense- now that always get’s my goat- I still remember Mrs.Hodges, in her liverpudlian accent ” Narayan, keep it in the same tense… Blimey!” πŸ˜€ And good to see you posting- it’s something else I can do… Holidays do get boring, really….

  3. Gardener May 19, 2009 / 11:19 pm

    Lol…Good one. To b honest, I knew the answer.. ;)I’ve shifted my bases to blogspot and do chk out my latest post as soon as you can. Hope you like it.This is Akshaya btw!!

  4. ~anu~ May 18, 2009 / 3:11 pm

    Reminds me of an old joke:”Knock at the Pearly Gates. God: Who is it?Voice outside: It is I.God: Damn! Another darned english teacher!”:)

  5. Clueless May 14, 2009 / 12:35 pm

    #MG,I agree! It’s what we make of the decisions we take that ultimately matters. And ha, don’t even get me started on that word verification! ;)#Starbreez,Yup, you make sense on both counts!#Sanket,I thought so too, but the consensus seems to be that “am” is the right answer, because you’re supposed to consider the subject closest to it, which in this case is “I”.#Simplime,”Am” is the right answer, good job! And hee, I get philosophical about the oddest of things, don’t I? :P#Soleil,Hee, that’s a good enough answer!#Urv,I did! *waves*”Am” is the correct answer, by consensus. And haha, that’s how they correct university papers, at least for English lit papers. :P#Doodlebug,Nope, it’s “am”! πŸ™‚

  6. doodlebug May 7, 2009 / 6:16 pm


  7. Urv May 6, 2009 / 7:16 pm

    Aaila! You actually posted πŸ˜› *Frantic waving back*Is ‘is’ the correct answer? I too hope the same as you do. That there are no rights and wrongs. Maybe that’s how they should correct answer papers as well πŸ˜€

  8. soleil May 6, 2009 / 1:11 am

    Ah one of those mind-numbing questions that get us thinking and to which we never really chance upon or figure out an answer. My dear Clueless, all Soleil has to say is, c’est la vie cherie πŸ˜‰

  9. simplime May 5, 2009 / 9:46 am

    Heyy, lovely post! Something I can so relate to. I broke my head over the question. According to my logic, it shouldn’t be ‘are’. I feel ‘am’ sounds most correct. Do you know the right answer?And the way you have linked this thought to a thinky thought about life really makes me feel all the more strongly about posting something on my blog…will be doing soon…keep an eye out for it πŸ™‚

  10. Sanket May 4, 2009 / 10:57 pm

    I will not go in the deep philosophical stuff but can help you with the question.According to me, ‘is’ is the right answer. ‘are’ is completely ruled out because there is ‘either’ and ‘am’ doesn’t sound right to me…

  11. starbreez May 4, 2009 / 10:43 pm

    Sometimes it’s a ‘common usage’ thing — what people usually do, or agree to be the right thing, is widely considered to be the right thing — just maybe not for you. :)As for that grammatical quandary — where you have “or”, the verb would agree with the subject closest to it, in this case, “I” — so, “I am to blame” — I think!!

  12. Macho Girl May 4, 2009 / 10:29 pm

    Well well well! Look who decided to surface again! You’re like a submarine in the blogging world πŸ˜› I was also pretty stumped. Its amazing how we take a lot of things for granted in the english language. But as far as life goes, i don’t think its as simple as right or wrong or what you make of them… but most of the time, it is what you make of them… does that make sense to you? :)Word verification: lestypeo πŸ˜›

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