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."

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