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Thread: Common Errors made while writing n speaking

  1. #21
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    AMPITHEATER/AMPHITHEATER

    The classy way to pronounce the first syllable of this word is "amf-,"
    but if you choose the more popular "amp-" remember that you still have
    to include the H after the P when spelling it. UK-standard writers
    spell it "amphitheatre," of course.

    AN HISTORIC/A HISTORIC

    You should use "an" before a word beginning with an "H" only if the "H"
    is not pronounced: "An honest effort"; it's properly "a historic event"
    though many sophisticated speakers somehow prefer the sound of "an
    historic," so that version is not likely to get you into any real
    trouble.

    ANCESTOR/DESCENDANT

    When Albus Dumbledore said that Lord Voldemort was "the last remaining
    ancestor of Salazar Slytherin," more than one person noted that he had
    made a serious verbal bumble; and in later printings of Harry Potter and
    the Chamber of Secrets author J. K. Rowling corrected that to "last
    remaining descendant." People surprisingly often confuse these two terms
    with each other. Your great-grandmother is your ancestor; you are her
    descendant.

    ANECDOTE/ANTIDOTE

    A humorist relates "anecdotes." The doctor prescribes "antidotes" for
    children who have swallowed poison. Laughter may be the best medicine,
    but that's no reason to confuse these two with each other.

    AND ALSO/AND, ALSO

    "And also" is redundant; say just "and" or "also."

    AND/OR

    The legal phrase "and/or," indicating that you can either choose between
    two alternatives or choose both of them, has proved irresistible in
    other contexts and is now widely acceptable though it irritates some
    readers as jargon. However, you can logically use it only when you are
    discussing choices which may or may not both be done: "Bring chips
    and/or beer." It's very much overused where simple "or" would do, and it
    would be wrong to say, "you can get to the campus for this morning's
    meeting on a bike and/or in a car." Choosing one eliminates the
    possibility of the other, so this isn't an and/or situation.

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    ANGEL/ANGLE

    People who want to write about winged beings from Heaven often miscall
    them "angles." A triangle has three angles. The Heavenly Host is made of
    angels. Just remember the adjectival form: "angelic." If you pronounce
    it aloud you'll be reminded that the E comes before the L.

    ANOTHER WORDS/IN OTHER WORDS

    When you reword a statement, you can preface it by saying "in other
    words." The phrase is not "another words."

    ANTIHERO

    In literature, theater, and film, an antihero is a central character who
    is not very admirable: weak, lazy, incompetent, or mean-spirited.
    However, antiheroes are rarely actually evil, and you should not use
    this word as a synonym for "villain" if you want to get a good grade on
    your English lit paper.

    ANXIOUS/EAGER

    Most people use "anxious" interchangeably with "eager," but its original
    meaning had to do with worrying, being full of anxiety. Perfectly
    correct phrases like, "anxious to please" obscure the nervous tension
    implicit in this word and lead people to say less correct things like
    "I'm anxious for Christmas morning to come so I can open my presents."
    Traditionalists frown on anxiety-free anxiousness. Say instead you are
    eager for or looking forward to a happy event.

    ANY

    Instead of saying "he was the worst of any of the dancers," say "he was
    the worst of the dancers."

    ANY WHERE/ANYWHERE

    "Anywhere," like "somewhere" and "nowhere," is always one word.

    ANYMORE/ANY MORE

    In the first place, the traditional (though now uncommon) spelling is as
    two words: "any more" as in "We do not sell bananas any more." In the
    second place, it should not be used at the beginning of a sentence as a
    synonym for "nowadays." In certain dialects of English it is common to
    utter phrases like "anymore you have to grow your own if you want really
    ripe tomatoes," but this is guaranteed to jolt listeners who aren't used
    to it. Even if they can't quite figure out what's wrong, they'll feel
    that your speech is vaguely clunky and awkward. "Any more" always needs
    to be used as part of an expression of negation except in questions like
    "Do you have any more bananas?" Now you won't make that mistake any
    more, will you?

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    ANYTIME/ANY TIME

    Though it is often compressed into a single word by analogy with
    "anywhere" and similar words, "any time" is traditionally a two-word
    phrase.

    ANYWAYS/ANYWAY

    "Anyways" at the beginning of a sentence usually indicates that the
    speaker has resumed a narrative thread: "Anyways, I told Matilda that
    guy was a lazy bum before she ever married him." It also occurs at the
    end of phrases and sentences, meaning "in any case": "He wasn't all that
    good-looking anyways." A slightly less rustic quality can be imparted to
    these sentences by substituting the more formal "anyway." Neither
    expression is a good idea in formal written English. The two-word phrase
    "any way" has many legitimate uses, however: "Is there any way to
    prevent the impending disaster?"

    APART/A PART

    Paradoxically, the one-word form implies separation while the two-word
    form implies union. Feuding roommates decide to live apart. Their time
    together may be a part of their life they will remember with some
    bitterness.

    APIECE/A PIECE

    When you mean "each" the expression is "apiece": these pizzas are really
    cheap--only ten dollars apiece." But when "piece" actually refers to a
    piece of something, the required two-word expression is "a piece ":
    "This pizza is really expensive--they sell it by the slice for ten
    dollars a piece."

    Despite misspellings in popular music, the expression is not "down the
    road apiece"; it's "down the road a piece."

    APPAULED/APPALLED

    Those of us named Paul are appalled at the misspelling of this word. No
    U, two L's please. And it's certainly not "uphauled"!

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    APOSTROPHES

    First let's all join in a hearty curse of the grammarians who inserted
    the wretched apostrophe into possessives in the first place. It was all
    a mistake. Our ancestors used to write "Johns hat" meaning "the hat of
    John" without the slightest ambiguity. However, some time in the
    Renaissance certain scholars decided that the simple "s" of possession
    must have been formed out of a contraction of the more "proper" "John
    his hat." Since in English we mark contractions with an apostrophe, they
    did so, and we were stuck with the stupid "John's hat." Their error can
    be a handy reminder though: if you're not sure whether a noun ending in
    "s" should be followed by an apostrophe, ask yourself whether you could
    plausibly substitute "his" or "her" for the S.

    The exception to this pattern involves personal pronouns indicating
    possession like "his," "hers," and "its." For more on this point, see
    "its/it's."

    Get this straight once and for all: when the S is added to a word simply
    to make it a plural, no apostrophe is used (except in expressions where
    letters or numerals are treated like words, like "mind your P's and Q's"
    and "learn your ABC's").

    Apostrophes are also used to indicate omitted letters in real
    contractions: "do not" becomes "don't."

    Why can't we all agree to do away with the wretched apostrophe? Because
    its two uses--contraction and possession--have people so thoroughly
    confused that they are always putting in apostrophes where they don't
    belong, in simple plurals ("cucumber's for sale") and family names when
    they are referred to collectively ("the Smith's" ).

    The practice of putting improper apostrophes in family names on signs in
    front yards is an endless source of confusion. "The Brown's" is just
    plain wrong. (If you wanted to suggest "the residence of the Browns" you
    would have to write "Browns'," with the apostrophe after the S, which is
    there to indicate a plural number, not as an indication of possession.)
    If you simply want to indicate that a family named Brown lives here, the
    sign out front should read simply "The Browns." When a name ends in an S
    you need to add an ES to make it plural: "the Adamses."

    No apostrophes for simple plural names or names ending in S OK? I get
    irritated when people address me as "Mr. Brian's." What about when
    plural names are used to indicate possession? "The Browns' cat" is
    standard (the second S is "understood"), though some prefer "the
    Browns's cat." The pattern is the same with names ending in S: "the
    Adamses' cat" or--theoretically--"the Adamses's cat," though that would be
    mighty awkward.

    Apostrophes are also misplaced in common plural nouns on signs:
    "Restrooms are for customer's use only." Who is this privileged customer
    to deserve a private bathroom? The sign should read "for customers'
    use."

    For ordinary nouns, the pattern for adding an apostrophe to express
    possession is straightforward. For singular nouns, add an apostrophe
    plus an S: "the duck's bill." If the singular noun happens to end in one
    S or even two, you still just add an apostrophe and an S: "the boss's
    desk."

    For plural nouns which end in S, however, add only the apostrophe: "the
    ducks' bills." But if a plural noun does not end in S, then you follow
    the same pattern as for singular nouns by adding an apostrophe and an S:
    "the children's menu."

    It is not uncommon to see the "S" wrongly apostrophized even in verbs,
    as in the mistaken "He complain's a lot."

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    APPRAISE/APPRISE

    When you estimate the value of something, you appraise it. When you
    inform people of a situation, you apprise them of it.

    APROPOS/APPROPRIATE

    "Apropos," (anglicized from the French phrase "a propos") means
    relevant, connected with what has gone before; it should not be used as
    an all-purpose substitute for "appropriate." It would be inappropriate,
    for example, to say "Your tuxedo was perfectly apropos for the opera
    gala." Even though it's not pronounced, be careful not to omit the final
    "S" in spelling "apropos."

    AROUND/ABOUT

    Lots of people think it's just nifty to say things like "We're having
    ongoing discussions around the proposed merger." This strikes some of us
    as irritating and pointless jargon. We feel it should be "discussions
    about" rather than "around."

    ARTHURITIS/ARTHRITIS

    If there were such a word as "arthuritis" it might mean the overwhelming
    desire to pull swords out of stones; but that ache in your joints is
    caused by "arthritis."

    ARTIC/ARCTIC

    Although some brand names have incorporated this popular error, remember
    that the Arctic Circle is an arc. By the way, Ralph Vaughan Williams
    called his suite drawn from the score of the film "Scott of the
    Antarctic," the "Sinfonia Antartica," but that's Italian, not English.

    ARTISANAL/ARTESIAN

    For the past half-century foodies have referred to foods and drinks made
    in small batches by hand using traditional methods as artisanal--made by
    artisans: workers in handicrafts. It has also been extended to a wide
    variety of other handmade products. Dictionaries agree that the word
    should be pronounced "ARR-tizz-uh-nul" with the accent on the first
    syllable and the second syllable rhyming with "fizz." Just say "artisan"
    and add "-ul."

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    Happy Dushera everyone.

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    Thank you PRIncess for your efforts to correct the common english errors.
    Its a good job done.

    Best Regards and All the Best...

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    AS BEST AS/AS BEST

    You can try to be as good as you can be, but it's not standard to say
    that you do something "as best as you can." You need to eliminate the
    second "as" when "good" changes to "best." You can try to do something
    as best you can. You can also do the best that you can (or even better,
    the best you can).

    Unlike asbestos removal, "as best as" removal is easy, and you don't
    have to wear a hazmat suit.

    AS FAR AS

    Originally people used to say things like "As far as music is concerned,
    I especially love Baroque opera." Recently they have begun to drop the
    "is concerned" part of the phrase. Perhaps this shift was influenced by
    confusion with a similar phrase, "as for." "As for money, I don't have
    any," is fine; "As far as money, I don't have any," is clumsy.

    AS FOLLOW/AS FOLLOWS

    "My birthday requests are as follows." This standard phrase doesn't
    change number when the items to follow grow from one to many. It's never
    correct to say "as follow."

    AS OF YET/YET

    "As of yet" is a windy and pretentious substitute for plain old English
    "yet" or "as yet," an unjustified extension of the pattern in sentences
    like "as of Friday the 27th of May."

    AS PER/IN ACCORDANCE WITH

    "Enclosed is the shipment of #2 toggle bolts as per your order of June
    14" writes the businessman, unaware that not only is the "as" redundant,
    he is sounding very old-fashioned and pretentious. The meaning is "in
    accordance with," or "in response to the request made;" but it is better
    to avoid these cumbersome substitutes altogether: "Enclosed is the
    shipment of bolts you ordered June 14."

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    AMONGST/AMONG

    Although in America "amongst" has not dated nearly as badly as "whilst,"
    it is still less common in standard speech than "among." The -st forms
    are still widely used in the UK.

    Hi Guys,
    The -st forms, are they correct or wrong?
    Princess or Anybody?

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    Quote Originally Posted by derek
    AMONGST/AMONG

    Although in America "amongst" has not dated nearly as badly as "whilst,"
    it is still less common in standard speech than "among." The -st forms
    are still widely used in the UK.

    Hi Guys,
    The -st forms, are they correct or wrong?
    Princess or Anybody?
    Hi Derek,
    I think that the -st forms are very very very olde English. Outdated, outmoded,old-fashioned and also obsolete. They aught not to be used in contemporary works of literature; though I don't know whether they are wrong.

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    Hey Derek, the -st forms are perfectly fine.. They are still used and will be used for a loooooooooong time to come...

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    AS SUCH

    The expression "as such" has to refer to some status mentioned earlier.
    "The CEO was a former drill sergeant, and as such expected everyone to
    obey his orders instantly." In this case "such" refers back to "former
    drill sergeant." But often people only imply that which is referred to,
    as in "The CEO had a high opinion of himself and as such expected
    everyone to obey his orders instantly." Here the "such" cannot logically
    refer back to "opinion." Replace "as such" with "therefore."

    ASCARED/SCARED

    The misspelling "ascared" is probably influenced by the spelling of the
    synonym "afraid, " but the standard English word is "scared."

    ASCRIBE/SUBSCRIBE

    If you agree with a theory or belief, you subscribe to it, just as you
    subscribe to a magazine.

    Ascribe is a very different word. If you ascribe a belief to someone,
    you are attributing the belief to that person, perhaps wrongly.

    ASOCIAL/ANTISOCIAL

    Someone who doesn't enjoy socializing at parties might be described as
    either "asocial" or "antisocial"; but "asocial" is too mild a term to
    describe someone who commits an antisocial act like planting a bomb.
    "Asocial" suggests indifference to or separation from society, whereas
    "anti-social" more often suggests active hostility toward society.

    ASPECT/RESPECT

    When used to refer to different elements of or perspectives on a thing
    or idea, these words are closely related, but not interchangeable. It's
    "in all respects," not "in all aspects." Similarly, one can say "in some
    respects" but not "in some aspects." One says "in this respect," not "in
    this aspect. " One looks at all "aspects" of an issue, not at all
    "respects."

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    ASSURE/ENSURE/INSURE

    To "assure" a person of something is to make him or her confident of it.
    According to Associated Press style, to "ensure" that something happens
    is to make certain that it does, and to "insure" is to issue an
    insurance policy. Other authorities, however, consider "ensure" and
    "insure" interchangeable. To please conservatives, make the distinction.
    However, it is worth noting that in older usage these spellings were not
    clearly distinguished.

    European "life assurance" companies take the position that all
    policy-holders are mortal and someone will definitely collect, thus
    assuring heirs of some income. American companies tend to go with
    "insurance" for coverage of life as well as of fire, theft, etc.

    ASTERICK/ASTERISK

    Some people not only spell this word without the second S, they say it
    that way too. It comes from Greek asteriskos: "little star." Tisk, tisk,
    remember the "-isk"; "asterick" is icky.

    In countries where the Asterix comics are popular, that spelling gets
    wrongly used for "asterisk" as well.

    ASTROLOGY/ASTRONOMY

    Modern astronomers consider astrology an outdated superstition. You'll
    embarrass yourself if you use the term "astrology" to label the
    scientific study of the cosmos. In writing about history, however, you
    may have occasion to note that ancient astrologers, whose main goal was
    to peer into the future, incidentally did some sound astronomy as they
    studied the positions and movements of celestial objects.

    ASWELL/AS WELL

    No matter how you use it, the expression "as well" is always two words,
    despite the fact that many people seem to think it should be spelled
    "aswell." Examples: "I don't like plastic trees as well as real ones for
    Christmas." "Now that we've opened our stockings, let's open our other
    presents as well."

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    AT ALL

    Some of us are irritated when a grocery checker asks "Do you want any
    help out with that at all?" "At all" is traditionally used in negative
    contexts: "Can't you give me any help at all?" The current pattern of
    using the phrase in positive offers of help unintentionally suggests aid
    reluctantly given or minimal in extent. As a way of making yourself
    sound less polite than you intend, it ranks right up there with "no
    problem" instead of "you're welcome."

    ATM machine/ATM

    "ATM" means "Automated Teller Machine," so if you say "ATM machine" you
    are really saying "Automated Teller Machine machine."

    ATHIEST/ATHEIST

    An atheist is the opposite of a theist. "Theos" is Greek for "god." Make
    sure the "TH" is followed immediately by an "E."

    ATHLETE

    Tired of people stereotyping you as a dummy just because you're a jock?
    One way to impress them is to pronounce "athlete" properly, with just
    two syllables, as "ATH-leet" instead of using the common
    mispronunciation "ATH-uh-leet."

    ATTAIN/OBTAIN

    "Attain" means "reach" and "obtain" means "get." You attain a
    mountaintop, but obtain a rare baseball card. "Attain" usually implies a
    required amount of labor or difficulty; nothing is necessarily implied
    about the difficulty of obtaining that card. Maybe you just found it in
    your brother's dresser drawer.

    Some things you obtain can also be attained. If you want to emphasize
    how hard you worked in college, you might say you attained your degree;
    but if you want to emphasize that you have a valid degree that qualifies
    you for a certain job, you might say you obtained it. If you just bought
    it from a diploma mill for fifty bucks, you definitely only obtained it.

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    ATTRIBUTE/CONTRIBUTE

    When trying to give credit to someone, say that you attribute your
    success to their help, not contribute. (Of course, a politician may
    attribute his success to those who contribute to his campaign fund, but
    probably only in private.)

    AUGUR/AUGER

    An augur was an ancient Roman prophet, and as a verb the word means
    "foretell"--"their love augurs well for a successful marriage." Don't
    mix this word up with "auger," a tool for boring holes. Some people
    mishear the phrase "augurs well" as "all goes well" and mistakenly use
    that instead.

    AURAL/ORAL

    "Aural" has to do with things you hear, "oral" with things you say, or
    relating to your mouth.

    AVAIDABLE/AVAILABLE

    Many people mispronounce and misspell "available" as "avaidable," whose
    peculiar spelling seems to be influenced by "avoidable," a word which
    has opposite connotations.

    "Avaidable" is avoidable; avoid it.

    AVENGE/REVENGE

    When you try to get vengeance for people who've been wronged, you want
    to avenge them. You can also avenge a wrong itself: "He avenged the
    murder by taking vengeance on the killer." Substituting "revenge" for
    "avenge" in such contexts is very common, but frowned on by some people.
    They feel that if you seek revenge in the pursuit of justice you want to
    avenge wrongs: not revenge them.

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    AVOCATION/VOCATION

    Your avocation is just your hobby; don't mix it up with your job: your
    vocation.

    AWAY/A WAY

    "Jessica commented on my haircut in a way that made me think maybe I
    shouldn't have let my little sister do it for me." In this sort of
    context, "a way" should always be two distinct words, though many people
    use the single word "away" instead. If you're uncertain, try
    substituting another word for "way": "in a manner that," "in a style
    that." If the result makes sense, you need the two-word phrase. Then you
    can tell Jessica to just go away.

    AWE, SHUCKS/AW, SHUCKS

    "Aw, shucks," is a traditional folksy expression of modesty. An
    "aw-shucks" kind of person declines to accept compliments. "Aw" is an
    interjection roughly synonymous with "oh." "Awe" is a noun which most
    often means "amazed admiration." So many people have begun to misspell
    the familiar phrase "awe, shucks," that some writers think they are
    being clever when they link it to the current expression "shock and
    awe." Instead, they reveal their confusion.

    AWHILE/A WHILE

    When "awhile" is spelled as a single word, it is an adverb meaning "for
    a time" ("stay awhile"); but when "while" is the object of a
    prepositional phrase, like "Lend me your monkey wrench for a while" the
    "while" must be separated from the "a." (But if the preposition "for"
    were lacking in this sentence, "awhile" could be used in this way: "Lend
    me your monkey wrench awhile.")

    AX/ASK

    The dialectical pronunciation of "ask" as "ax" is a sure marker of a
    substandard education. You should avoid it in formal speaking
    situations.

    AXEL/AXLE

    The center of a wheel is its axle. An axel is a tricky jump in figure
    skating named after Axel Paulsen.

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    BACK/FORWARD/UP IN TIME

    For most people you move an event forward by scheduling it to happen
    sooner, but other people imagine the event being moved forward into the
    future, postponed. This is what most--but not all--people mean by saying
    they want to move an event back--later. Usage is also split on whether
    moving an event up means making it happen sooner (most common) or later
    (less common). The result is widespread confusion. When using these
    expressions make clear your meaning by the context in which you use
    them. "We need to move the meeting forward" is ambiguous; "we need to
    move the meeting forward to an earlier date" is not.

    Just to confuse things further, when you move the clock ahead in the
    spring for daylight saving time, you make it later; but when you move a
    meeting ahead, you make it sooner. Isn't English wonderful?

    BACKSLASH/SLASH

    This is a slash: /. Because the top of it leans forward, it is sometimes
    called a "forward slash."

    This is a backslash: . Notice the way it leans back, distinguishing it
    from the regular slash.

    Slashes are often used to indicate directories and subdirectories in
    computer systems such as Unix and in World Wide Web addresses.
    Unfortunately, many people, assuming "backslash" is some sort of
    technical term for the regular slash, use the term incorrectly, which
    risks confusing those who know enough to distinguish between the two but
    not enough to realize that Web addresses rarely contain backslashes.

    BACKWARD/BACKWARDS

    As an adverb, either word will do: "put the shirt on backward" or "put
    the shirt on backwards." However, as an adjective, only "backward" will
    do: "a backward glance." When in doubt, use "backward."

  18. #38
    Virtuoso pranav_ravani's Avatar
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    hey guys, is there any difference between condole and console?
    are solace and soothe synonyms of these two?
    or any comment on the uses of these four words?
    please help me, i m confused with the uses of these four.
    thanks.

  19. #39
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    wat's the difference between the uses of mobile and movable?
    and between those of money and monies,
    complete and replete,
    barefoot and barefooted?
    edited by pranav_ravani on 10/24/2008

  20. #40
    Aficionado kishan235's Avatar
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    Post Common Errors made while writing n speaking

    Great job Princess.........we should encourage such posts and try to add a couple...

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