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A Cheat Sheet of Common Violations of English Words and English Expressions


Here are the most common wrong uses and preferred uses of the English language. Study the wrong uses, and the right uses (if any) of the following words and expressions. Pay special attention to the examples. Most of all, learn the proper substitutes. The only way to improve your writing is to know the proper substitutes. Although writers tend to use many slang expressions (especially when writing online), you should familiarize yourself with the proper substitutes and decide for yourself if using the slang expression or the proper expression is appropriate for what you are writing. In most forms of formal writing, the proper expression is preferred.

A

Able should not be used with a passive infinitive; say capable of. Wrong: "The stone was unable to be moved." Corrected: "I was incapable of moving the stone;—I was unable to move the stone;—the stone was immovable."

Affect, effect, are often confused. Affect is always a verb, and means either pretend or influence. Right: "The music affected his emotions;—the climate affected our health." Effect, as a verb, means accomplish. Right: "The burglar effected an entrance;-—the two generals tried to effect a junction of their armies before meeting the enemy." Effect, as a noun, means result. Right: "The climate had an negative effect on our health."

Apt, likely, liable, are often confused. Apt means habitually likely. Right: "Reckless people are apt to make mistakes." Liable refers to a likelihood that is unpleasant or undesirable. Right: "He is likely to win the race;—this knot is likely to slip;— this knot is liable to slip;—trespassers will be liable to a fine or imprisonment."

Aren't, couldn't, didn't, he's, I'd, they're, we'll, you're, etc. All contractions of this kind are colloquial, that is, they should be avoided except in informal conversation or intimate letters.

As . . . as. In negative statements, and in questions expecting a negative answer, so ... as is preferable to as ... as. Right: "You are not so tall as I;—would you be so unwise as to do that?"

Audience is often confused with spectators. An audience comes to hear; spectators come to see. It is proper to speak of an audience in a theater. Bystanders, a crowd, an assemblage, come to see, or to hear, or to do both.

Auto is a colloquial abbreviation for automobile. Avoid all such abbreviations, as exam., gym., etc.

Awful means awe-inspiring. Awe means a feeling of fear and reverence. Right: "Niagara Falls filled me with awe, with a sense of my own littleness in the presence of the mighty works of the Creator;—the awful grandeur of the mountains;—the awful presence of the emperor." Help preserve the meaning of this useful word by avoiding it in the slangy sense of extremely bad, and by avoiding awfully in the slangy sense of extremely. Wrong: "The weather was awful all during August;—you are awfully careless."

B

Back. Avoid at the back part of for in the back part of. Wrong: "There was a fireplace at the back part of the room." Avoid back of, in back of, for behind; in front of is correct. Wrong: "The garage was in back of the house." Avoid back down for yield. Wrong: "He is too obstinate to back down." Avoid back out for withdraw. Wrong: "You cannot back out of your agreement." Avoid go back on for desert, turn unfaithful to. Wrong: "He went back on his friends;—he went back on his promises."

Balance should not be used for rest, remainder. Wrong: "After six or seven rioters had been arrested, the balance of the mob dispersed." Balance is correctly used to mean an excess on either side of an account. Right: "I have a balance at the bank; there is a balance of twenty dollars against him at the bank."

Barely, hardly, scarcely, but, are often incorrectly coupled with a negative. Wrong: "I can't barely hear you;—I couldn't hardly see him;—I hadn't scarcely enough money to buy it;—he wasn't but a year older than I." Corrected: "I can barely hear you;—I could hardly see him;—I had scarcely enough money to buy it;—he was but a year older than I."

Beautiful means full of beauty. It should not be used without an exact regard for its meaning. Wrong: "We had a beautiful time at the party." In such cases prefer some more accurate word; as: "We had a pleasant (or delightful, agreeable, interesting, jolly, amusing, diverting, etc.) time at the party."

Big is often misused for great. Big means large; great means important. Wrong: "The Fourth of July is a big day for the small boy."

Bunch is slang for set, circle, clique, group. Right: "He was not invited because he does not belong to our set (or circle);—our class is ruined by a small clique, who try to get all the offices for themselves;—a group (or a number) of small boys were walking on the railroad track;—each lesson is followed by a group (or a set) of exercises." Right: "A bunch of grapes."

But, in combination with a negative: see barely.

C

Can't seem should not be used for seem unable. Wrong: "I couldn't seem to make him understand." Corrected: "I seemed unable to make him understand."

Claim should be used only with the distinct idea of claiming something as one's own right or for one's own advantage. Right: "After his victory he claimed the prize;—he claimed to be the missing heir." Claim should not be used loosely for assert, maintain. Wrong: "He claims that the immigration laws are too strict." Corrected: "He asserts (or maintains) that the immigration laws are too strict."

Contemptible, contemptuous, are often confused. Contemptible means worthy of contempt. Right: "He won the game by a contemptible trick." Contemptuous means showing contempt. Right: "Napoleon, when he planned to invade England, spoke contemptuously of the British Channel as merely a wet ditch that could easily be crossed."

Continual, continuous, are often confused. Continual means very frequent; continuous means uninterrupted. "It rained continually all Friday," means that one shower followed another all through the day. "It rained continuously all Friday," means that it never stopped for a single moment.

Cool off should not be used for cool, grow cool. Wrong: "His enthusiasm began to cool off;—I was too angry to cool off all at once;—they cooled off their hands in the brook." Corrected: "His enthusiasm began to cool;—I was too angry to grow cool all at once;—they cooled their hands in the brook."

Couple should not be used for several, a few. Wrong: "Rest your arm for a couple of minutes." Corrected: "Rest your arm for a few minutes." Right: "The door was guarded by a couple of soldiers;—there were twenty-two couples at the dance.

Crook is slang for swindler, sharper, thief, forger, cheat, liar, etc.

Crowd means multitude, throng. It should not be used for friends, acquaintances, set, circle, party, guests. Wrong: "He was not invited because he does not belong to our crowd;—the crowd adjourned to the dining-room for refreshments." Right: "The crowd applauded the fireman's bravery."

D

Demand (verb) should not be followed by an infinitive with a subject. Wrong: "I demanded him to give me back my money." Corrected: "I demanded back my money from him;—I demanded to be given back my money;—I demanded that he give me back my money."

Different than should not be used for different from.

Dope is slang for drug (verb and noun), information, judge, guess. Dopey is slang for drowsy, dull. Wrong: "I took some dope for my headache;—he was doped and robbed in a little restaurant near the docks;—he was betting on the game as if he possessed some important dope;—it was evident that he had carefully doped out the probable result of the race;—the poorly ventilated room made me dopey."

Down on. To be down on should not be used for to have a grudge against, to be prejudiced against. Wrong: "He has been down on me ever since he heard me making fun of him;—the whole world seems to be down on an ex-convict."

Dreadful means inspiring with dread. Right: "He watched the dreadful preparations for his torture." Help preserve the meaning of this useful word by avoiding it in the slangy sense of extremely bad, and by avoiding dreadfully in the slangy sense of extremely. Wrong: "The weather was dreadful all during August;—you are dreadfully careless."

Dumb means unable to speak, unwilling to speak. It should not be used for stupid.

E

Effect: see affect.

Elegant means characterized by elegance. Elegance means refinement, culture, finish, good taste, good breeding. Right: "Elegant society;—elegant manners;—elegant decorations;—elegant language." It should not be used without an exact regard for its meaning. Wrong: "We had an elegant time at the party." In such cases prefer some more accurate word; as: "We had a pleasant (or delightful, agreeable, interesting, jolly, amusing, diverting, etc.) time at the party."

Everywheres, nowheres, somewheres, should not be used for everywhere, nowhere, somewhere.

Except is sometimes confused with accept. Accept means receive favorably; except means leave out. Right: "I accepted his invitation;—he invited everybody, no one being excepted."

Expect should not be used for suppose. Wrong: "I expect you are poking fun at me." Right: "I expected to see him;— I was expected to arrive sooner;—I expect you will be surprised when I tell you."

F

Fake (verb, adjective, noun) is slang for sham, counterfeit. Study the following examples carefully. Right: "Dishonest reporters often concoct news for their papers;—he does not mean what he says but is only shamming;—counterfeit money— the football game was won by a sham kick (but fake kick is fast becoming a technical term in football);—the catcher made a feint at throwing the ball to second base;—the advertisement is a fraud."

Faker is slang for street vender. Look up fakir in the dictionary.

Fearful means terrified or terrifying. Right: "I was fearful of the result;—the lightning was fearful." Help preserve the meaning of this useful word by avoiding it in the slangy sense of extremely bad, and by avoiding fearfully in the slangy sense of extremely. Wrong: "The weather was fearful all during August;—you are fearfully careless."

Fellow means associate, colleague, companion. Right: "All his life he was respected by his fellows;—he ably supported his fellow in the debating team;—the fellows in his class were all of much the same age." It also means ill-bred person. Right: "Worth makes the man, the want of it the fellow." It is colloquial when used loosely for person, student, boy. Wrong: "In America every fellow has a chance;—the football team counts on the support of every fellow in school."

Find out means detect, discover; the idea of careful investigation is always implied. Right: "Sherlock Holmes found out the criminal;—we could not find out his secret." It should not be used for find. Wrong: "I glanced through the window and found out that the rain had begun."

Fine means not coarse. Right: "Fine sand;—fine thread;—fine linen;—fine print;—fine edge;—fine features." It also means delicate, sensitive. Right: "She has a fine touch on the piano; —he is a man of really fine feelings." It also means noble, of very great merit. Right: "His heroism will always be a fine example to us;—the poem contains a number of fine passages; —he is a fine musician;—his house was large and expensively furnished, but there was nothing elegant or fine about it." Fine should not be used without an exact regard for its meaning. Wrong: "We had a fine time at the party." In such cases prefer some more accurate word; as: "We had a pleasant (or delightful, agreeable, interesting, jolly, amusing, diverting, etc.) time at the party."

Firstly is avoided by careful writers; say first. Secondly, thirdly, etc., and lastly, are correct.

Fit should not be used for well, in good health. Wrong: "I am feeling unusually fit to-day."

Fix means fasten, settle. Right: "He fixed his eye on the book;—a bracket was fixed to the wall;—we fixed on Wednesday as the best day for the picnic." It should not be used for mend or predicament. Wrong: "He fixed the broken lock;—he put his wife in an embarrassing fix by unexpectedly inviting four friends to dinner." Fluke is slang for stroke of luck. Wrong: "The game was won by a fluke."

Frightful means terrifying. Right: "A frightful precipice." Help preserve the meaning of this useful word by avoiding it in the slangy sense of extremely bad, and by avoiding frightfully in the slangy sense of extremely. Wrong: "The weather was frightful all during August;—you are frightfully careless."

Funny means comical, not peculiar. Wrong: "It is funny that both her sons should have died on the same day."

G

Get means, primarily, obtain, procure. Right: "He decided to get a new automobile." The word has, in addition, many correct idiomatic uses. It is, however, much overused by immature writers. The following uses should be avoided. Get for receive; as: "I got a handsome Christmas present from my uncle." Get for grow, become; as: "The sky got very dark." Get to for reach; as: "He will not get to New York before Friday." Have got for have; as: "Have you got a penknife to lend me?" Have got to for must; as: "You have got to go whether you wish or not." Get dressed, get married, for dressed, married; as: "I got dressed as quickly as possible;—they got married last June." Get through for finish, be done; as: "I shall tire of this work before I get through." Get on or along, for do, succeed; as: "How are you getting on with your work?" Get there for succeed; as: "I have failed so far, but I shall get there yet." Get up for organize; as: "The ladies got up an entertainment to raise money for charity."

Give in, give up, should not be used intransitively for lose heart, consent, yield. Wrong: "He searched for the treasure a long time, but at last gave up;—he begged and begged until I finally gave in;—the commander of the fort replied that he would die rather than give in." These uses are defended in Webster's Dictionary, but are avoided by many careful writers in strictly literary work, and it would be safer to avoid them in papers destined for college entrance examiners.

Go, pep, punch, push, snap, etc., are unnecessary slang words for energy, vigor, life, spirit, force, briskness, etc. Study the following examples carefully. Right: "He always works with great energy;—I always like a vigorous story of adventure;— the second baseman was lifeless all through the game;—put some spirit into what you do;—his speech was slangy but had plenty of force;—both teams played a brisk game."

Good-looking should not be used for handsome, beautiful, pretty.

Gorgeous means magnificent in color. Right: "A gorgeous sunset; —the queen in her gorgeous robes of state." It should not be used without an exact regard for its meaning. Wrong: "We had a gorgeous time at the party." In such cases prefer some more accurate word; as: "We had a pleasant (or delightful, agreeable, interesting, jolly, amusing, diverting, etc.) time at the party."

Grab is correct, but inelegant, for seize.

Grand means vast, majestic. Right: "The business is being reorganized on a grand scale;—the snow-capped mountains were grand in the moonlight." It should not be used without an exact regard for its meaning. Wrong: "We had a grand time at the party." In such cases prefer some more accurate word; as: "We had a pleasant (or delightful, agreeable, interesting, jolly, amusing, diverting, etc.) time at the party."

Great means considerable, large, important. Right: "He stepped with great caution;—great columns supported the roof;—the discovery of America was one of the greatest events in history." It should not be used without an exact regard for its meaning. Wrong: "We had a great time at the party." In such cases prefer some more accurate word; as: "We had a pleasant (or delightful, agreeable, interesting, jolly, amusing, diverting, etc.) time at the party."

Grouch is slang for fit of ill-temper, ill-tempered person, etc.

Grouchy is slang for ill-tempered, irritable, sullen, etc.

Guess implies the idea of marked uncertainty. Right: "I simply guessed the answer to the problem;—though you have told me nothing, I can guess that you are feeling better." It is wrong for suppose, believe, make up one's mind. Wrong: "I guess you are poking fun at me;—I guess I am mistaken;—I guess I shall go to bed." Corrected: "I suppose you are poking fun at me;—I believe I am mistaken;—I am going to bed."

H

Hardly: see barely.

Healthful, healthy, are distinguished by careful writers. Healthful means health-producing. Right: "A healthful climate;—healthful food;—the old-fashioned home had a healthful influence on the morals of our nation." Healthy means in good health. Right: "A healthy mind in a healthy body."

Home should not be used for at home.

Horrible means inspiring with horror. Right: "The horrible massacre in Wyoming Valley." Help preserve the meaning of this useful word by avoiding it in the slangy sense of extremely bad, and by avoiding horribly in the slangy sense of extremely. Wrong: "The weather was horrible all during August;—you are horribly careless."

Hot air is unnecessary slang for which there are many substitutes in pure English; such as twaddle, babble, gabble, rant, boast, and palaver (verbs and nouns); and moonshine, balderdash, flimflam, flummery, and wind (nouns).

Hunch is gamblers' slang (from the superstition that it brings luck at cards to touch the hump of a hunchback) for feeling, premonition, presentiment. Presentiment and premonition imply that the event expected will be unpleasant. Right: "I have a feeling that I am going to win;—it is superstitious to believe in premonitions;—the hooting of the owl filled me with a presentiment of approaching danger."

Hung is avoided by careful writers when referring to the death penalty; prefer hanged.

Hustle is colloquial for work hard.

I

In should generally not be used for into. Into implies motion beginning outside. Wrong: "He went in the house;—he ran down the pier and jumped in the water."

Incident is sometimes confused with instance. Incident means occurrence. Right: "The duel on the stairs is the most exciting incident in the novel." Instance means example. Right: "His rescue of his master is a good instance of his loyalty."

In condition should not be used for in good condition. Wrong: "The first game of the season showed that the team was already in condition."

Individual refers to a particular person as distinguished from the class to which he belongs. Right: "He could preach a good sermon to the whole congregation, but he preferred private interviews, in which he could help individuals by discussing with them their individual needs." It should not be used loosely for person. Wrong: "He is the most disagreeable individual I have ever met."

J

Job means piece of work (performed in the course of regular business). Right: "The electrician charged too much for the job." It should not be used for work, business, employment, undertaking. Wrong: "How do you like your job?—an electrician has an interesting job;—he lost his job;—it was a hard job to launch the canoe."

J

Kick should not be used for objection, protest, object to, protest against. Wrong: "The umpire paid no attention to the kick they made;—they kicked strongly against the umpire's decision." These uses are defended in Webster's Dictionary, but are avoided by many careful writers in strictly literary work, and it would be safer to avoid them in papers destined for college entrance examiners.

Kind of, sort of, should not be used for somewhat, rather. Wrong: "I am sort of tired." Kind of a, sort of a, should not be used for kind of, sort of. Wrong: "He is an odd kind of a man.'7 Corrected: "He is an odd kind of man." Lay for is a gross vulgarism for lie in wait for, lie in ambush for, set a trap for. Right: "The highwaymen were lying in ambush for the mail-coach;—Professor Blank is always setting traps for me."

L

Lay out is slang for knock down, prostrate. Right: "He knocked down (or knocked out if it was the winning blow) his opponent in the tenth round;—I was completely prostrated by the warm weather." Lay one's self out is colloquial for exert oneself. Right: "I exerted myself to please him."

Leave is often misused for let. Leave means depart from, let remain. Right: "He left the house in a rage;—leave the pictures on the wall." Let means permit. Right: "Let me do it for you." Leave go is grossly vulgar for let go.

Liable: see apt.

Loan is a noun; the verb is lend.

Lot, lots, should not be used for a good deal, a good many.

Lovely means lovable; it implies that the heart is stirred to love or affectionate admiration. Right: "He has a lovely disposition; —the music of the flute was soft and lovely." It should not be used without an exact regard for its meaning. Wrong: "We had a lovely time at the party." In such cases prefer some more accurate word; as: "We had a pleasant (or delightful, agreeable, interesting, jolly, amusing, diverting, etc.) time at the party."

M

Mad means insane, not angry.

Magnificent means characterized by magnificence. Magnificence means grandeur, majestic beauty, splendor. Right: "The scenery in the Canadian Rockies is magnificent;—the temple, with its slender turrets, vast domes, exquisite carvings, pure gold, precious gems, ivory, and alabaster, was a building of the utmost magnificence." This word should not be used without an exact regard for its meaning. Wrong: "We had a magnificent time at the party." In such cases prefer some more accurate word; as: "We had a pleasant (or delightful, agreeable, interesting, jolly, amusing, diverting, etc.) time at the party."

Mean means low (in rank or importance), base-minded, stingy. Right: "Many great men have been born in the meanest rank of life;—the coward, in his mean fear of death, prefers life to honor;—the landlord was too mean with his money to repair his own nouses." It should not be used for disobliging, unkind. Wrong: "It was mean of me to make fun of him."

Mighty should not be used for very. Wrong: "He looks mighty well."

Most should not be used for almost. Wrong: "I have most finished reading the book."

N

Near by is colloquial for near at hand, close at hand, neighboring. It is particularly objectionable when used as an adjective directly modifying a noun. Wrong: "The injured man was carried into a near by drug store." Corrected: "The injured man was carried into a neighboring drug store (or, into a drug store near at hand)."

Nice means discriminating, requiring discrimination, exact, particular. Right: "To settle this difficult question requires nice judgment;—some words mean so nearly the same thing that the difference between them is very nice indeed;—the mechanism of a watch has to be adjusted with the utmost nicety;—he is very nice in the kind of clothes he wears." There is no word in the English language which quite takes the place of nice; and yet its meaning is rapidly being destroyed by those who use it in a general slang sense of good. Wrong: "We had a nice time at the party." In such cases prefer some more accurate word; as: "We had a pleasant (or delightful, agreeable, interesting, jolly, amusing, diverting, etc.) time at the party."

No good should not be used for worthless. Wrong: "The lanternslides were interesting, but the lecture itself was no good." Right: "Misdirected charities do no good."

No use should not be used for useless, of no use. Wrong: "It is no use to resist." Corrected: "It is useless to resist;—it is of no use to resist;—there is no use in resisting."

Nowheres: see everywheres.

O

Off of is vulgar for off. Wrong: "Please keep off of the grass."

Onto is considered a colloquialism by some college examiners and by others who are scrupulous in the purity of their English; but its use is defended by Webster's Dictionary. Substitutes are on, upon, down on.

Out is unnecessary and inelegant after lose and win. Wrong: "They won out in the tenth inning by a home run."

Outside, outside of, should not be used for besides, aside from. Wrong: "Outside the engineer and fireman, no one on the train was hurt;—outside of the expense there is no objection to the proposed plan." Outside of should not be used for outside. Wrong: "The children were forbidden to go outside of the yard."

P

Party should not be used loosely for person. Wrong: "I was stopped in the street by a gray-haired old party." Right: "I was invited to the party;—the Republican party;—he was a party to the crime though he was not the actual murderer;— there must always be two parties to an agreement."

Peeved is slang for peevish or piqued. Right: "He has a peevish disposition;—he was piqued by your sarcasm."

Pep: see go.

Plenty is a noun. It should not be used as an adjective; say plentiful. Wrong: "Strawberries will not be plenty this season." Plenty should not be used as an adverb; say fully. Wrong: "This was plenty good enough for him."

Posted should not be used for informed. Wrong: "He is posted on current politics."

Prefer than should not be used for prefer to. Right: "I prefer running risks to being thought a coward."

Proposition means proposal. Right: "He declined my proposition to help him with the work." It should not be used for undertaking, affair, etc. Wrong: "The digging of the canal was an expensive proposition;—Four-fingered Pete was the most dangerous proposition the detectives ever had to deal with." Corrected: "The digging of the canal was an expensive undertaking;—Four-fingered Pete was the most dangerous criminal the detectives ever had to deal with."

Pull should not be used for personal influence, favoritism. Right: "He got the appointment through his personal influence with the Governor;—there is too much favoritism in the political appointments made by Congress."

Punch: see go.

Push: see go.

Q

Quite means entirely, absolutely. Right: "I have not quite finished the book;—you are quite mistaken." It should not be used for rather, very. Wrong: "Fortunately a doctor's office was quite near;—he is quite rich."

Quite a good deal, quite a good many, quite a few, quite a lot, quite a number, etc., should not be used for a good deal, a good many.

R

Raise should not be used for an increase in wages.

Rarely ever should not be used for rarely or rarely if ever.

Real should not be used for very. Wrong: "The first part of the novel was real interesting."

Right away, right off, should not be used for immediately, at once.

Rock means mass of stone, cliff, etc. Right: "The piers of the bridge were built on rock thirty feet below the river-bottom;— the rock of Gibraltar." It should not be used for stone (i.e., small piece of stone). Wrong: "The strikers contented themselves with throwing rocks at the factory windows."

Rotten means decayed. It should be used only when the idea of decay is intended. Right: "A rotten apple;—the whole city government is rotten to the core." This word is too strong to be used for extremely bad, very disagreeable. Wrong: "The weather was rotten all during August;—we had a rotten time at the party."

Rough-house is a slang word for which there is no very satisfactory substitute in pure English. Possible substitutes are racket, uproar, riot.

Run should not be used for carry on, conduct, manage, operate. Right: "He carries on a large business in wholesale groceries; —he conducts a summer hotel;—the quarterback managed the team during the game;—he operated his factory night and day."

Run down should not be used for speak ill of, speak slightingly of.

S

Same should not be used as a pronoun. Wrong: "We have received your order for one hundred spades, size number eight, and will ship same as soon as possible." Corrected: "We have received your order for one hundred spades, size number eight, and will ship them as soon as possible."

Say should not be used for share, voice. Right: "In a true republic everybody has a voice in the settlement of national questions."

Say should not be followed by an infinitive expressing a command. Wrong: "He said for us to leave the room;—he said to leave the room." Corrected: "He said that we should leave the room (or) he told us to leave the room." Right: "He is said to have contributed a hundred dollars."

Scarcely: see barely.

Scared of should not be used for afraid of. Wrong: "She was seared of the lightning." . Scared by is correct.

Show should not be used for chance, play. Wrong: "He had no show of winning;—I prefer a regular drama to a musical show."

Show up should not be used for appear, arrive. Wrong: "He failed to show up at the appointed hour."

Slick is slang for smooth, sleek, excellent, shrewd. Slick up is slang for put in order. Right: "His hair was brushed sleek;— this is an excellent novel;—he is a shrewd business man;— the room was put in order."

Slump (verb and noun) is slang for decline, fall off, falling off. Right: "There was a sudden decline in wholesale prices;— business has begun to fall off this summer earlier than usual."

Snap, in the sense of energy: see go.

So, in the sense of therefore, is much overused by untrained writers. Example: "I was tired; so I went to bed." Its overuse may be avoided in the following ways: "Because I was tiredj I went to bed;—feeling tired, I went to bed;—on account of my fatigue I went to bed."

Some should not be used for to some extent, somewhat. Wrong: "You have grown some in height since I last saw you;—he is well enough to work some every day."

Splendid means bright, shining, brilliant. Right: "The Sultan's turban was splendid with jewels;—his heroism will always be a splendid example to us;—the Panama Canal is a splendid achievement of modern engineering." It should not be used without an exact regard for its meaning. Wrong: "We had a splendid time at the party." In such cases prefer some more accurate word; as: "We had a pleasant (or delightful, agreeable, interesting, jolly, amusing, diverting, etc.) time at the party."

Start should not be used for begin. Wrong: "It started to snow in the early evening." Right: "He started the motor;—the sudden noise made me start;—he started for Europe last week." Start out should not be used for start or set out. Wrong: "He started out for Europe last week;—he started out on a walking tour."

T

Tell on should not be used for inform against. Wrong: "The police would never have found his hiding place if his neighbors had not told on him."

Terrible means terrifying. Right: "Their utter inability to stop it from spreading made the plague much more terrible." Help preserve the meaning of this useful word by avoiding it in the slangy sense of extremely bad, and by avoiding terribly in the slangy sense of extremely. Wrong: "The weather was terrible all during August;—you are terribly careless."

That, this, should not be used as adverbs. Wrong: "I had no idea your house was that near;—I agree with you this far;—he was that embarrassed he could hardly speak." Corrected: "I had no idea your house was as near as that;—I agree with you thus far;—he was so embarrassed he could hardly speak."

Thing is much overused by untrained writers. A more definite word should be preferred when possible. Needlessly vague: "Put on your things and take a walk;—another thing against the proposed plan is the expense." Improved: "Put on your hat and coat, and take a walk;—another argument against the proposed plan is the expense."

This: see that.

Through. To be through, to get through, should not be used for to finish, to be done. Wrong: "Never stop till you get through; —I am through reading the book." Corrected: "Never stop till you are done;—I have finished reading the book."

Tremendous, tremendously, imply the idea of terror, vast size, or vast importance. Help preserve the strength of these valuable words by not using them when great, greatly, will serve your purpose. Right: "Pompeii was destroyed by a tremendous eruption of Mount Vesuvius;—the French Revolution brought about the most tremendous consequences;—he was greatly excited over the news."

Try and is wrong for try to. Wrong: "An effort should be made to try and discover the cause of the explosion."

Turn down is slang for refuse, reject. Wrong: "The demands of the labor unions were turned down by the factory owners;— he was proposed for membership in the club, but was turned down."

U

Ugly means hideous, repulsive. Right: "An ugly face;—an ugly crime." It should not be used for ill-tempered.

Wrong: "Some horses have an ugly disposition."

Up is unnecessary after divide, end, finish, open, polish, rest, scratch, settle, etc. Omit the up.

Wrong: "The furniture was badly scratched up in the moving."

V

Very should not be used to modify a past participle; say very much.

Wrong: "He was very enraged by the insult;—he looks very exhausted."

W

Way is an improper abbreviation of away. Wrong: "The powder house was situated way up the river."

Wise is slang for aware. Wrong: "I was wise to all his tricks." Corrected: "I was aware of all his tricks."

Wonderful means marvelous, astonishing. Right: "Wireless telegraphy is a wonderful achievement of science." It should not be used without an exact regard for its meaning. Wrong: "We had a wonderful time at the party." In such cases prefer some more accurate word; as: "We had a pleasant (or delightful, agreeable, interesting, jolly, amusing, diverting, etc.) time at the party."

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