Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Commonly Misused Words and Phrases - End Part

Unique. A thing is neither unique or not unique. Do not say, "more unique," "most unique," or "less unique."

United States. The definite article the should always precede this proper noun, which is singular when it refers to the nation and plural when it  refers to the states.

Up. Do not use up after most simple verbs which are complete in meaning within themselves. Say close, open, settle, fold, and so on, rather than "close up," "open up," "settle up," "fold up," and the like. It is correct in some other cases, as, "His men brought up the rear," and "The Speaker summed up his remarks effectively."

Very, too. Do not use very and too in place of very much and too much.

Incorrect: The customer was very annoyed.

Correct: The customer was very much (or was much) annoyed.

Correct: The resort was too much (not too) advertised to remain exclusive.

Want to. Do not use in the sense of should or had better. "You should (NOT want to) take better care of yourself. 

Way. (1) Colloquialism for away, as in "He is going way off."

Better: He is going far away.

(2) When used after an intransitive verb, it should be introduced by a preposition, as "When he talks in that way (NOT talks that way), I want to punish him.

When, where. Not to be used for that. "It was at the director's meeting that (NOT when or where) he tendered his resignation." "I read in the papers last week that (NOT where) Mr. Agudo was responsible for opening the park to the public." 

Where . . .  at. A vulgarism for where

Incorrect: I don't know where I'm at.

Better: I don't know where I am.

Or: I am confused (or puzzled).

While. Too frequently used loosely or incorrectly. It means at the same time, as in the sentence: "He played the piano while the others read." It should not be used in place of conjunctions like whereas, but, and so forth. "You are interested, but (NOT while) I am not. " "He may leave if he wants to, whereas (NOT while) you had better remain and finish your work."

Who, which, that. Who refers to persons or to certain animals of distinction; which to animate or inanimate things or ideas; and that to people or things. Who and which are frequently preferred for non-restrictive clauses. That is occasionally preferred with restrictive clauses. "He is the man who led the party to victory." "War Admiral was a race horse who received international acclaim." "This rug, which is a 16th century Ispahan, is very rare and costly." ("Which is a 16th century Ispahan" is nonrestrictive). "The books that I have recommended may be found on the shelves of the school library." ("That I have recommended" is restrictive.)

Wire. Colloquial for telegraph.

Without. Do not use as a conjunction for except or unless. Without introduces a phrase; except and unless introduce clauses. "It is unlawful to operate an automobile unless (NOT without) you have a license," or "It is unlawful to operate an automobile without a license."

Would have. Frequently misused for had. "If he had (NOT would have) studied, he could have passed the examination." 

Yourself. An emphatic or reflexive pronoun. Do not use incorrectly in place of you.

You was. Never! Always you were, or were you, or weren't you, or you weren't.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Commonly Misused Words and Phrases - Part VII

Rarely, ever. Ever is superfluous. 

" He rarely rides in a plane."

Real. Do not use real for very. Real is an adjective; very is an adverb.

Incorrect: It is a real pretty picture.

Correct: It is a very pretty picture.

Remember of. Of is superfluous. 

"I remember (NOT remember of) talking with him."

Respectfully, respectably, respectively. Respectfully refers to that which is done in a manner full of respect for someone else; respectably refers to that which is done in a manner worthy of anyone's respect; while respectively refers to a series of objects taken in regular order.

Correct: It is desired that everyone receive a salary sufficient to enable him to live respectably.

Correct: I shall call on five members of the sales team respectively.

Correct: After the president read his annual report to the stockholders, he bowed respectfully and sat down.

Right nice, right smart. Dialect for very, unusually, and extremely

It was very kind (NOT right nice) of you.

Runs. Colloquial for direct, manage, operate, and similar words. 

"He manages (NOT runs) the paper.

Salesperson. A good word to use when referring to both sexes.

Same. Incorrectly used as a pronoun, except in legal documents.

Incorrect: I have read your letter and in answer to same (OR to the same) . . .

Correct: In answer to your letter of May 14 . . . . 

Says. A vulgarism when used in place of the past tense of the verb to say

I said (NOT says) to him, "Go home!"

Seldom ever. A colloquialism for seldom or rarely

We seldom (OR rarely) see him now.

Shan't. A colloquial contraction for shall not.

Correct: They shall not (NOT shan't) enter the building without their identification cards.

Show. (1) A colloquialism for theater, opera, concert, and the like.

Correct: We are going to the theater (NOT show).

(2) A colloquialism for chance or opportunity.

Correct: The judges wouldn't give the boy an opportunity (NOT show) to win the prize.

Sight, sight of. A needless and crude expression for much, many, a great many, a great deal.

Correct: The storm left a great many (NOT a sight of) fallen trees in its path.

So. (1) Incorrect when used vaguely and indiscriminately as an intensive in place of very or extremely.

Poor: The letter was so effective.

Better: The letter was very effective.

(2) Colloquial when used as a conjunction meaning with the result that or in order that.

Colloquial: They clung to the rail with both hands so they wouldn't fall.

Better: They clung to the rail with both hands so that they wouldn't fall.

Some. (1) Dialectal when used as an adverb.

Dialectal: He works some during the summer.

Better: He does some selling during the summer.

(2) Incorrect when used to intensify an adjective.

Incorrect: That's some suit you are wearing.

Correct: That's a very attractive (OR stylish) suit you are wearing.

Specie. Means metal coins (gold or silver). Do not confuse with species, meaning kind or variety, and having the same form in both the singular and plural.

Such. (1) Such must be followed by a result clause introduced by that and not by so that.

"It was such a storm that (NOT so that) I decided to remain indoors.

(2) When a relative clause follows, it must be introduced by as, rather than by that, who, or which.

Incorrect: I will conduct such programs that may be assigned to me.

Correct:  I will conduct such programs as may be assigned to me.

(3) Do not use such alone without a result clause.

Incorrect: It was such a lovely day.

Correct: It was a very lovely day.

Superior, inferior. These words should be followed by to and not than.

"The new car was superior in every respect to (NOT than) the model sold previously.

Sure. Slang for the adverb surely.

"Will you join us?" "Surely (OR certainly)."

Suspicion. Always a noun; never used as a verb.

"I suspect (NOT suspicion) that he was the culprit.

"I have a suspicion that he was the culprit.

Take and. Phraseology of this kind is superfluous.

Incorrect: Take and tie it up.

Correct: Tie it.

Tend, mind. Colloquialism for look after, take care of, or attend.

That. Incorrectly used as an adverb in place of so.

"I was so (NOT that) tired i could scarcely breathe."

That there, this here, those there, these here. Vulgarism for that, this, those and these.

Try and. The expression is often misused for try to.

Incorrect: We shall try and get the goods to you by the fifth.

Correct: We shall try to get the goods to you by the fifth.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Commonly Misused Words and Phrases - Part VI

Of. Do not use in place of have in such combination as could have, would have, should have, may have, and the like.

Avoid the redundant usage of the word of in such phrases as beside of, off of, taste of, feel of, and similar expressions.

Off. Never use of or with off.

Correct:  Take those boxes off the shelves.

Correct:  The letter must have been brushed off the desk.

Do not use off with buy.

Correct:  We bought it from Rustan's.

O.K. A colloquialism meaning to accept or to approve. It should not be used in formal writing, although it has been accepted in informal or colloquial expressions.

Correct:  The Manager approved (NOT O.K.'d) my proposal.

Onto. Say preferably on, upon, or to.

Correct:  He climbed upon the table.

Ought to of. Incorrect. Instead, say ought to have.

Over with. With is unnecessary. Simply say, "The game is over (concluded).

Pair, set. Singular in number; not to be used for the plural form pairs

Correct:  The girls found five pairs (NOT pair) of scissors and six sets (NOT set) of books during the treasure hunt.

Pants. A colloquialism for trousers.

Party, person. Party denotes one person who is a participant in a legal contract. Except in legal phrases, it denotes a group of persons. Individual denotes a specific object or human being. Person denotes any human being or corporation.

Correct:  He is the person (NOT party) who placed the order.

Correct:  The parties to the contract were present.

Incorrect: The party who called was a man.

Correct:  The person who called was a man.

Phenomena. A plural form. See Data.

Phone. A colloquialism for telephone.

Plenty. Do not uses as an adjective or adverb. It is correct only as a noun.

Incorrect: The magician had plenty tricks.

Correct:   The magician had plenty of tricks.

Incorrect: He was plenty tired after working all night.

Correct:  He was very tired after working all night.

Practicable, practical. Practicable means capable of being put into practise. Practical means valuable in actual practise (all the time). Use practical with persons or things. Use practicable with things only; never use practicable with man.

Correct:  Your plan for a sales campaign may be practicable (useful), but it is not practicable (capable of being put into practise) at this time.

Prefer. Should not be followed by than. Use rather than, to, or above after prefer.

Incorrect: I should prefer going to Manila than to Mandaluyong.

Correct:  I should prefer going to Manila rather than going to Mandaluyong.

Correct:  I prefer studying electronics to studying accounting.

Preventative. Preventive is considered preferable by many authorities. "Proper training and good environment are preventives (NOT preventatives) against crime."

Principal, principle. Principal is an adjective meaning chief or of first importance. It is used as a noun in the sense of a school principal, a principal in transaction, or a sum of money; a principle is a fundamental truth or law.

Correct:  The principal source of our raw material is Mindanao.

Correct:  Mr. Torres is the principal of the school.

Correct:  The bank pays very little interest on one's principal.

Correct:  A man of principle is one who acts with the fundamental laws of duty and morality.

Proposition. Do not use indiscriminately for plan, recommendation, idea, and the like. Proposition means a thing proposed of; it should not be used as a verb.

Proven. Use only as an adjective; the verb is proved.

Correct:  He has proved (NOT proven) the problem.

Provided, providing. Provided is a conjunction meaning if or on condition that; while providing is a transitive verb form which must be followed by an object.

Quite. This word means wholly, completely, or entirely. It may be used colloquially to mean very, rather, or somewhat.

Correct:  Your attitude in the matter is quite (entirely) correct.

Colloquial: Our terms are quite (very) liberal.

Colloquial: The order was quite (rather) large.

Quite a. This expression is used only colloquially to express the idea of considerable.

Colloquial: Quite a number of employees are out on disability.

More formal: A considerable (OR large) number of employees are out on disability.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Commonly Misused Words and Phrases - Part V

Kind, sort. Kind and sort are singular. 

Singular: This (or that) kind (or sort) of car is a Toyota.

Plural: These (or those) kinds (or sorts) of flowers are roses.

Kind of, sort of. Colloquialisms when used in place of such adverbs as somewhat, somehowrather, and the like.

Correct: I am somewhat (NOT kind of) tired this morning.

It is better to eliminate the article a or an after kind of or sort of.

Correct: He is the kind of (NOT kind of a) boy you want.

Lady, gentleman. These are words that refer to men and women of honor and good breeding. The words may be used as terms of politeness. They ought not to be used merely to identify men and women indiscriminately.

Incorrect: Some young lady has left her purse on the counter.

Correct: Some young woman has left her purse on the counter.

Incorrect: The gentleman who sent in this order forgot to sign his name.

Correct: The man who sent in this order forgot to sign his name.

Leave, let. Leave means to abandon; let means to allow.

Correct: Let him try it. Let the sale go through.

Correct:  Leave the window display as it is. Let the window display stand as it is.

Liable, likely. Liable suggests a disadvantageous probability. Likely, expresses a desirable probability. 

Correct: A vague statement is liable to be misunderstood.

Correct:  A well-planned sales campaign is likely to bring results.

Lie, lay; set, sit. The verb lie means "to recline"; it is an intransitive verb and does not require an object. The principal parts of the verb are lie, lay, lain. The verb lay means "to place"; it is a transitive verb and requires an object to complete its meaning. The principal parts are lay, laid, lain.

Wrong: I (OR he, she) was laying down.

Right: I (OR he, she) was lying down.

Wrong: He had laid down.

Right: He had lain down.

The verb set means "to place"; it is a transitive verb and requires an object to complete its meaning. The principal parts of the verb set are set, set, set. The verb sit means "to take a seat"; it is an intransitive verb that does not take an object. The principal parts are sit, sat, sat. 

Right: The machine that you set in the corner continues to sit there.

Loan, lend. Loan is a noun.  It is used colloquially as a verb. It is desirable in one's letter, however, to use lend as a verb. 

Colloquial: Loan me your pencil.

Preferable: Lend me your pencil.

Correct: The merchant obtained a loan at his bank.

Lot, lots, a whole lot. Colloquialisms. It is better to use such words as much, many, and a great deal.

May. See can.

Mean. (1) A colloquialism when used in the sense of ill-tempered, contemptible, or cruel.

Colloquial: The shipper was mean to hit the driver.

Correct: It was contemptible of the shipper to hit the driver.

(2) Slang when used to mean poor in health, low in spirits.

Slang: He was feeling mean that morning.

Correct: He felt bad, or He was dejected.

Met up with. A needless, inexcusable phraseology for met or became acquainted with

Correct: He met (OR became acquainted with) many interesting people.

Most. Not to be used for the adverb almost.

Correct: Almost (NOT most) all the men have left.

Motor. Correctly used as a noun or verb. As a verb it means to ride in, to drive, or to travel with an automobile.

Correct: The motor was noisy.

Correct: We motored to Laguna.

Much, Many. Much denotes quantity; many number.

Myself. Should not be used where I or me is meant. 

Correct: The sales manager and I discussed the matter.

Correct: He turned the matter to Bobby and me.

Correct:  I reserved a ticket for my wife and myself. You will hurt yourself. Myself (himself, herself, itself, yourself, themselves, and so forth) may be used as intensive words.

Correct: I myself do not approve of his plan.

Nice. Avoid this general term for a more specific word such as pleasant, sunny, delicious, comfortable, and the like.

Nowheres, anywheres, somewheres. No such words. See Any place.

Nowheres near. An inexcusable vulgarism for not nearly.

Correct: I am not nearly (NOT nowheres near) finished.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Commonly Misused Words and Phrases - Part IV

Feature. Feature means a prominent or distinctive quality or attribute. The word should not be used to refer to commonplace qualities.

Incorrect: Turret-top bodies, non-shatterable glass, and improved hydraulic brakes are features of our new car. (The so-called features are present in many makes of cars.)

Correct: Turret-top bodies, non-shatterable glass, and improved hydraulic brakes in our latest models deserve your consideration.

Fewer, Less. Fewer  refers to number: less, to amount or degree.

Correct: You shipped fewer lamps than we ordered.

Correct: Less capital is necessary for this project.

Formally, formerly. Formally means in a formal manner.

Correct: The governor was escorted formally throughout the plant.

Formerly means previously.

Correct: Formerly his residence was Binondo, Manila.

Gents. A vulgarism for gentlemen.

Got. Got is always preferred to gotten. Do not, however, use got with have or has to indicate mere possession.

Incorrect: Have you got the address in question? What has the address got to do with it?

Correct: Have you the address in question?  What has the address to do with it?

Got means secured; has got means has secured.

Correct: He got the order from Noel.

Correct:  Miss Aguilar has got the letter from the filing room.

Better: Miss Aguilar has received (OR has obtained) the letter from the filing room.

Wrong: I have got to go now.

Better: I must go now. Or: I ought to go now.

Permissible: Have you got what you called for?

Hardly, scarcely. Generally avoided with a negative.

Correct: The orders were coming in so fast we could (NOT couldn't) hardly fill them.

Correct: I could (NOT couldn't) scarcely tell where the bounderies were placed.

Healthy, healthful. Healthy refers to people, animals, or plants that are physically sound. Occasionally we speak of a business or the stock market as being in a healthy (sound) financial condition. Healthful refers to condition that will promote a healthy state.

Correct: The employees look healthy.

Correct: Milk is a healthy beverage.

Heighth. There is no such word. Use height.

Correct: The height (NOT heighth) of the building is three hundred feet.

Home. Do not use home when you mean house. It is better not to say, "He was not home when I called." Instead say, "He was not at home when I called."

Human, humans. Say human being.

Correct: Raw vegetables are beneficial to human beings.

Immigrant. See emigrant.

Immigrate. See emigrate.

In back of. Colloquial for behind.

Infer, imply. Infer means to deduce from, gather from, or conclude from the statement or remarks of another; as, "I infer from your statement that my bill still remains unpaid." Imply denotes something suggested, hinted, assured, or vaguely expressed, as "The teacher implied that the boy would not pass the course." Do not say, "I imply from your. . . " Instead say, "I infer from your . . ."

In regards to. Use in regard to, or regarding.

Inside of. Superfluous for inside.

Correct: He stood inside (NOT inside of) the doorway.

In, into. Use in to express location (the place where). Use into after words expressing motion. 

Correct: The office boy ran into the building.

Correct: He stayed in the house all evening.

Irregardless. Not a word. Say regardless or irrespective.

Correct: I shall go regardless of the weather.

Is when, is where. Both of these terms are colloquial. You cannot define a word by saying it is a when or a where. The copula is (OR was) should be followed by a predicate noun.

Incorrect: The most important day in the life of a boy is when he realizes he has made a success of his job.

Correct: The most important day in the life of a boy is the day he realizes he has made a success of his job.

It's, its. Do not confuse these two words. It's is the contraction for it is. Its is the possessive of it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Commonly Misused Words and Phrases - Part III

Data, memoranda, phenomena, strata, criteria, analyses. Foreign words such as these are plural. Notice particularly the spelling of each. Data is never used in the singular.

Correct: These (Not this) data are (Not is) reliable.

Correct: Distribute these three memoranda to the department managers.

Correct: Are the analyses ready on these stocks?

Date. A colloquialism for appointment or social engagement.

Colloquial: I have a date tonight.

Better: I have an appointment tonight.

Colloquial: Can I date you for the theater Saturday night?

Better: Will you go to the theater with me next Saturday night?

Correctly used as a verb or as a noun to designate a specified time.

Correct: How shall I date these letters?

Correct: What is the date of our next meeting?

Deal. Avoid this word when it is used as a vulgar substitute for agreement, arrangement, transaction.

Differ from, differ with. Differ used in the sense of exhibiting a difference is followed by from; in the sense of having a difference of opinion, it is followed by with

Correct: My sales campaign differs from (is unlike) yours in three ways.

Correct: I differ with you (disagree with you) as to the advisability of buying in quantities.

Different from. This is the correct form (Not different than). Different indicates that the distinction is one of a kind (from), never one of degree (than).

Disinterested, uninterested. Disinterested means impartial. Uninterested means not interested.

Correct: The personnel manager maintained a disinterested (impartial) position during the hearing of the employee who was alleged to have stolen the merchandise.

Correct: The manager reprimanded the worker for appearing uninterested (not interested) in the training program.

Don't, doesn't. Don't, a contraction of do not, must not be used with he or other words in the singular number, except I or you.

Incorrect: He don't (do not) respond to our letters.

Correct: He doesn't (does not) respond to our letters.

Use only the contraction doesn't in the third person singular. He, she, or it doesn't means he, she, or it does not. Never say: he don't or she don't or it don't.

Each other, one another. Each other is preferably used in referring to only two persons, and one another is used in referring to more than two, but they are generally used interchangeably.

Correct: The two men faced each other.

Correct: Nearly all the typists were familiar with one another.

Effect, See affect.

Either, neither. Preferably used to designate one of two persons or things; occasionally used to indicate one of three or more. Or should be used correlatively with either, and nor with neither. Both correlatives should be placed immediately before the words they are intended to modify.

Correct: Neither of the two men is here.

Correct: Either John or Mary has the records.

Emigrant, immigrant. Emigrant refers to one who departs from a country; immigrant refers to one who comes into a land not his own.

Emigrate, immigrate. Emigrate means to go out from a country. Immigrate means to come into a country.

Enthused. A colloquialism. Instead, it is preferable to use enthusiastic.

Incorrect: The new summer collections enthused the fashionistas.

Correct: The new summer collections appealed to the fashionistas.

Correct: The fashionistas was enthusiastic about the new summer collections.

Equally as. A needless phrase; omit either equally or as.

Correct: This year's cars are as (Not equally as) well built as last year's.

Correct: Both makes of tires are equally durable.

Etc. The Latin abbreviation for et cetera, meaning "and other (items of things)." Redundant when used with and.

Incorrect: Use the odd numbers 1, 3, 5, and etc.

Correct: Use the odd numbers 1, 3, 5, etc.

Except. See accept.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Commonly Misused Words and Phrases - Part II

Let us continue with our lesson on Commonly Misused Words and Phrases:

Balance, remainder. Balance in bookkeeping refers to the difference between the debit and credit sides of a ledger. It should not be misused for remainder, which means something left over.

Incorrect: We can do the balance of the work on two hours.

Correct: We can do the rest (OR remainder) of the work on two hours.

Besides. Means in addition to, furthermore, moreover.

Correct: Besides, the trip is too expensive.

Beside means by the side of.

Correct: We placed the filing cabinet beside the desk.

Between, among. (1) As a general rule, use between when referring to two objects; among always refer to more than two.

Correct: Mr. Cruz divided the territory between the two salesmen.

Correct: Mr. Santos divided the surplus profits among the three managers.

(2) Use between when expressing a relationship of a thing, person, or place to other things, persons, or places collectively and individually.

Correct: There is quite a difference between Manila and other cities of comparable size.

Between you and I. Never correct. Always say between you and me.

But that. This expression is often wrongly used for that.

Correct: We do not doubt that you sent the message.

But what. The phrase is often erroneously used for that, but that, and so forth.

Correct: We have no doubt that he will attend.

Correct: There is no salesman who does not make (NOT but what makes or but who makes) mistakes in judgment.

Correct: He included nothing but what (EQUIVALENT TO but that which) was important.

Cable. Correct as a verb, as in the sentence, "I will cable you when I reach Davao City." A colloquialism when used as a noun in place of cablegram: "I will send you a cable when I reach Davao City."

Can, may. Can denotes ability or power. May denotes permission. Never use can for may.

Cannot help. It is preferable to use a gerund rather than an infinitive with but.

Correct: I cannot help thinking (NOT but think) how capable our division manager is.

Complected.  Instead say complexioned: "He was dark-complexioned boy."

Considerable. Do not use for the adverb considerably.

Correct: He accomplished considerably (NOT considerable) more than previously.

Continuous, continual. Continuous means without interruption or cessation.

Correct: He worked continuously (without interruption) for ten hours.

Continual means occurring in close recurrence, or frequently repeated.

Correct: The bell tolled continually (intermittently) throughout the night.

Could of.  A vulgarism for could have, the result of careless, slovenly pronunciation.

Counsel, council, consul. Counsel is advise given or a legal adviser. "The state appointed a lawyer to serve as the defendants counsel." A council is a legislative or advisory body. "The council was composed of fifteen representatives." A consul is a government official residing in a foreign country. "The stranded Filipinos appealed their case to the Philippine consul.

Credible, credulous, creditable. Credible refers to that which is believable. "The story of the robbery did not seen credible." Credulous describes a person who readily believes, accepts, or taken for granted as true that which is stated. "The credulous customer believed the fairy tale." Creditable refers to that which is meritorious or praiseworthy. "His sales record was creditable."

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Commonly Misused Words and Phrases - Part I

Certain words are often incorrectly used because of confusion resulting from similarity with other words in spelling or in meaning. The following deserve careful attention:

A, am. Although a is regularly used before words beginning with a consonant and an before words beginning with a vowel, when certain words written with an initial vowel are pronounced as though beginning with a consonant, a, not an, is used. Also, an, is used before words beginning with a silent consonant.

Correct: a one-man business, a union card, a university

Correct: an honor, a historical novel

Above. Avoid the trite use of above as in the phrase, " in the above paragraphs." Better to write "the preceding paragraph," "the foregoing paragraph," or " the paragraph written above." 

Accept, except. To accept means to take willingly that which is offered, to approve or to assent to.

Correct: He accepted the offer. He accepted the invitation.

Correct: The tourist paid on all importations, personal belongings excepted.

Accidently. There is no such word; accidentally is correct.

Accordance, according. "In accordance with ( Not to ) your wishes. According to ( Not with ) your last letter.

Ad. A colloquialism for the word advertisement. Ad. and adv. are correct abbreviations.

Affect, effect. Affect means to exert an influence upon; it is used as a verb but not as a noun.

Correct: The loss of the account did not affect seriously our over-all volume.

Effect may be used as a noun or as a verb. As a noun, effect means result; as a verb, it means to cause.

Correct: We could not effect a change.

Almost, most. Do not confuse the noun most with the adverb almost. "Almost ( Not most ) all the employees have left" or "Most of the employees have left."

All right. Not alright. All right should be written as two words.

Allusion, delusion, illusion, elusion. An allusion is an indirect reference; a delusion is a misconception or a false belief; an illusion is a false or deceptive appearance; an elusion is an escape or an evasion.

Correct: Our president's allusion to higher taxes was well appreciated by the stockholders.

Correct: The convex mirror reflected queer illusions.

Correct: There are those who remain under the delusion that you can raise wages without raising prices.

Already, all ready. Already means by this time or beforehand.

Correct: Your order had already been filled before your letter arrived.

All ready means wholly or completely ready.

Correct: The company was all ready to leave at a moment's notice.

Compare similarly altogether and all together.

Amount. Not to be incorrectly used in place of number. "The number
( Not amount ) of orders was large."

Any place, every place, no place, some place. These words are frequently misused for the adverbs anywhere, everywhere, nowhere, and somewhere

Incorrect: I cannot find the file any place.

Correct: I cannot find the file anywhere.

Aren't I. American usage does not accept aren't with the first person singular. Say "aren't we" or aren't they", but "am I not."

As . . . as. Use in affirmative comparisons. So . . . as is used in negative statement or in questions implying a negative answer.

Correct: This window display is as attractive as the last one.

Correct: This window display is not so attractive as the last one.

Asset. The word asset is essentially a term used in bookkeeping and accounting, and means any item of value owned by a man or a company. It is better not to use the word asset vaguely to identify something of advantage.

Poor: The ruling of the Bureau of Customs was an asset to the importer.

Better: The ruling of the Bureau of Customs was of decided benefit
( Or advantage or value ) to the importer.

At about. Superfluous for about.

Correct: The director's meeting will conclude about ( Not at about ) four o'clock.

Auto. Colloquial for automobile. Abbreviations are not considered proper in formal writing.

1. The term colloquial is frequently misunderstood. It refers to language suitable to familiar conversations; that is, it represents informality. Informality is just as correct as formality when it is appropriate to the occasion. Therefore, to mark an expression as colloquial is not by any means to condemn it, but simply to indicate the type of situation in which it may be used. Indeed, in every situation, colloquial expressions ( or colloquialisms ) are often appropriate than formal ones.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Trite Words and Phrases - Part III

Kind favor, or kind order. Be wary of this word kind. It may be used successfully in some business letters, but not every letter or order is kind.

Line. Do not use in place of merchandise or line of goods.

Poor: Our salesman, Mr. Ocampo, will gladly show you our line.

Better: Our salesman, Mr. Ocampo, will gladly show you our merchandise (or line of goods).

Of the above date. Mention the date always.

Order has gone forward. Tell the customer how and when the order was shipped.

Our Miss Flores. Say, Our representative, Miss Flores, or just Miss Flores.

Poor: Our Miss Flores will call on you next Tuesday, May 5.

Better: Our representative, Miss Flores, will call on you Tuesday, May 5.

Our records show, or Our records do not show. These expressions are similar to According to our records, and all may well be avoided. It is better to say We find, or We do not find.

Permit me to say. It is unnecessary to ask permission to say something.

Please be advised that. Wholly unnecessary. A meaningless introduction to an informative statement. Begin directly.

Proximo. A Latin word meaning on the next. Better to give the exact name of the month unless you are speaking in terms of discount.

Poor: Your order will be shipped on the 5th prox. (or proximo).

Better: Your Order will be shipped April 2.

Correct: Our terms are 2/10 proximo, net 60.

Pursuant to yours of even date. A "worn-out" phrase. Not typical of present-day diction.

Recent date. Vague and unbusinesslike. Better to give the exact date.

Vague: Your letter of recent date.

Definite: Your letter of June 12.

Referring to. Referring to, replying to, regarding the or your, regarding same, wish to say, and similar trite and stereotyped participial opening should be avoided. it is better to begin your letter by answering immediately the question raised in the writer's letter.

"(In answer to your letter of January 10, wish to say that) we are pleased to open an account in your name in accordance with your recent request." The words in parenthesis are unnecessary. To begin with, "We are pleased . . . " gives far more directness to the introductory paragraph. 

Reply. Some authorities feel that this word suggest argument. With certain correspondence writers response or answer is preferable. Perhaps it is better to say "In answer" or "In response to your letter of January 28."

Same. A poor substitute for one of the pronouns it, they, or them.

Poor: Your order of the 3rd received. Will ship same on the 7th.

Better: Thank you for your order of March 3. We expect to be able to ship it to you by the 7th of this month.

State. Often too formal. Better to use say or tell.

Poor: We wish to state . . . 

Better: We are pleased to tell you  . . . 

Take pleasure. A trite expression. Better to say are pleased, or happy, or are glad.

Poor: We take pleasure in announcing our summer line of shoes.

Better: We are pleased to announce our summer shoes for women.

Thanking you in advance. Discourteous and implies that your request will be granted.

Poor: Kindly mail me any information you may have for removing crab-grass. Thanking you in advance for the favor, I remain . . . 

Better: I shall appreciate any information you may have for removing crab-grass.

This is to inform you; this letter is to advise you. Avoid these wordy introductions. Say immediately what you wish to tell the reader.

Trusting this will, or I trust that this will. Both of these phrases are rather trite as well as weak. Close you letters with more original and meaningful expression.

Ultimo. A Latin word meaning the preceding. No longer used in modern business correspondence.

Poor: Yours of the 8th ultimo (or ult.) received.

Better: We have received your letter of September 8.

Under separate cover. Rather meaningless. Better to be specific and give the method of shipping, or omit the phrase entirely.

Poor: We are sending you under separate cover a copy of our book.

Better: We are sending you by parcel post a copy of our book. Or: We are sending you a copy of our book.

Up to this writing. State immediately in your opening sentence what has taken place. For example: "Since we have not received a confirmation of the order you gave us over the telephone yesterday . . . "

Upon investigation. Unnecessary to talk about an investigation. Instead, say what your examination  has revealed.

Valued. Too effusive and suggestive of flattery. Better to omit.

Poor: We appreciate your valued order given to our salesman, Mr. Santos.

Better: We appreciate your order given to our salesman, Mr. Santos.

We take this opportunity. Do not write this meaningless expression. Instead, tell immediately what you intend to do with the opportunity.

Will appreciate; will be glad; will be pleased. In these expressions, will is incorrectly used for shall.

Wrong: I will appreciate your giving me an opportunity to display our merchandise.

Right: I shall appreciate your giving me an opportunity to display our merchandise.

Wrong: I will be glad to discuss this matter more fully with you.

Right: I shall be glad to discuss the terms of our contract more fully with you.

Wish to say; wish to state; would say. All are examples of needless, wordy phraseology. Simply omit.

Poor: Referring to you letter of the 10th, that we cannot fill your order before the first of July.

Better: In response to your letter of March 10, we regret we cannot fill your order before July 1.

Poor: In answer to your inquiry of June 2, would say that we are not permitted to quote prices to unauthorized dealers.

Better: In response to your inquiry of June 2, we regret our inability to quote prices to unauthorized dealers.

Your letter received. Obviously, or you wouldn't be answering. Instead, indicate your answer immediately.

Yours of recent date. Another needless, meaningless introduction. Begin your message immediately.

Poor: Yours of the 9th received and in answer would say . . . 

Better: Your request that all further shipments be sent via Railway Express has been called to the attention of our shipper. 

Poor: Your favor of the 9th has been received.

Better: The quotations submitted in your letter of July 9meet with the approval of our building committee.

Poor: Yours of the 10th received and contents duly noted.

Better: Your order received ____________ .

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Trite Words and Phrases - Part II

Awaiting your. This phrase lacks originality. It is better to say, "May we have an answer at once?"

Beg. Avoid such expressions as beg to state, beg to advise, beg to acknowledge, etc.

Poor: In answer to yours of the 10th inst., beg to state . . .

Better: In answer (or response; or reply) to your letter of May 10, we are pleased . . .

By return mail. This expression has become trite. Be more original and use immediately or at once, or mention a specific date.

Claim. Do not use in the sense of assert or maintain. "He asserted (Not claimed) that the political party had a deficit."

Complaint. Avoid the use of this word. It often irritates and antagonizes the customer.

Negative: Replying to your complaint of the 5th regarding your delayed order . . .

Better: Your letter of May 5 gives us the opportunity to explain the cause for the delay in shipping your last order.

Contents carefully noted. Contributes little to a business letter. It is better to refer directly to what the letter says.

Poor: Yours of the 5th received and contents carefully noted.

Better: The instruction outlined in your letter of june 5 have been followed in every detail.

Duly. Needless.

Poor: Your request has been duly forwarded to our executive offices.

Better: Your request has been forwarded to our executive offices.

Enclosed herewith. Herewith is unnecessary here. Enclosed is would be better.

Enclosed please find. Needless and faulty phraseology. The word please has little meaning in this instance, and the word find is improperly used.

Poor: Enclosed please find a sample of our #1903A black elastic ribbon.

Better: We are enclosing (or We enclose) a sample of our #1903A black elastic ribbon.

Esteemed. Too flowery and effusive.

Poor: We welcomed your esteemed favor of the 9th.

Better: Thank you for your letter of April 9.

Even date. It is much forceful to give the exact date, as Your letter of January 24 . . .

Favor. Do not use the word favor in the sense of letter, order, or check. "Thank you for your letter (Not favor) of October 4."

Handing you. Out of place in the correspondence today.

Poor: We are handing you herewith directions from our Mr. J. C. Cruz.

Better: We enclose a copy of directions prepared by our engineer,  Mr. J. C. Cruz.

Has come to hand. Obviously, the fact that you answer the letter indicates that you must have received it.

Have before me. A "worn-out" expression.

Poor: I have before me your complaint of the 10th.

Better: In answer (or response or reply) to your letter of November 10 . . .

Hereto. Often needless.

Poor: We are attaching hereto a copy of our contract covering prices on linoleum.

Better: We are attaching to this letter a copy of our contract covering prices on linoleum.

Herewith. Often redundant.

Poor: We enclose herewith a copy of our booklet.

Better: We are pleased to enclose a copy of our booklet.

Hoping to receive, hear, etc. Always avoid closing sentences which begin with a participle.

I have before me your letter. The reader is more interested in facts than where you have put the letter.

In due course, or in due time. These expressions are indefinite and weak.

In re. Avoid. Better state the subject immediately or directly.

Poor: In re our telephone conversation of this morning.

Better: In response to your telephone inquiry of yesterday, your order for six generator sets will be ready for shipment tomorrow.

In reply to.

Poor: In reply to yours of the 23rd together with your check for P925. would say --

Better: Thank you for your check of P925. Your order for 15 additional crocket sets will be shipped to you today.

In reply wish to say; in reply would state. These words are unnecessary. State immediately what you have on your mind.

In response to your favor. Trite and mechanical.

Inst. Avoid the abbreviation of the word instant, and the word instant itself.

Poor: Your favor of the 6th inst. (or instant) . . .

Better: Your letter of June 6 . . .

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