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Thread: Common Errors made while writing n speaking

  1. #101
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    BULLY PULPIT

    We occasionally still use the old positive meaning of the word "bully"
    when congratulating somebody (sincerely or sarcastically) by saying
    "Bully for you!" A century ago "bully" meant "good," "great."

    That's why Theodore Roosevelt called the American presidency a "bully
    pulpit," meaning that it provided him an outstanding platform from which
    to preach his ideas. The expression is often misused by writers who
    mistakenly think it has something to do with preaching at people in a
    bullying way.

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    BUMRUSH/BUM'S RUSH

    A 1987 recording by the rap group Public Enemy popularized the slang
    term "bumrush" as a verb meaning "to crash into a show hoping to see it
    for free," evidently by analogy with an earlier usage in which it meant
    "a police raid." In the hip-hop world to be "bumrushed" (also spelled
    as two words) has evolved a secondary meaning, "to get beaten up by a
    group of lowlifes, or "bums." However, older people are likely to take
    all of these as mistakes for the traditional expression "bum's rush," as
    in "Give that guy the bum's rush," i.e. throw him out unceremoniously,
    treating him like an unwanted bum. It was traditionally the bum being
    rushed, whereas in the newer expressions the bums are doing the rushing.
    It's good to be aware of your audience when you use slang expressions
    like this, to avoid baffling listeners.

    Side note: Britons laughed themselves silly when they saw Americans
    wandering around in sportswear with "B.U.M." plastered in huge letters
    across their chests. "Bum" means "rear end" in the UK

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    Thanks Princess. It was easier making people understand the proper usage of 'to'. Thanks :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vibhs View Post
    Thanks Princess. It was easier making people understand the proper usage of 'to'. Thanks :-)
    U're always welcome Vibhs

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    BUTTLOAD/BOAT LOAD

    The original expression (meaning "a lot"), both more polite and more
    logical, is "boatload."

    BUTT NAKED/BUCK NAKED

    The standard expression is "buck naked," and the contemporary "butt
    naked" is an error that will get you laughed at in some circles.
    However, it might be just as well if the new form were to triumph.
    Originally a "buck" was a dandy, a pretentious, overdressed show-off of
    a man. Condescendingly applied in the US to Native Americans and black
    slaves, it quickly acquired negative connotations. To the historically
    aware speaker, "buck naked" conjures up stereotypical images of naked
    "savages" or--worse--slaves laboring naked on plantations. Consider
    using the alternative expression "stark naked."

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    @Princess[gr8 job...]

    -- Can we have a new thread where v can solve RCs, SCs a day/2 days once... That ll be useful practice....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shree_OnTheGo View Post
    @Princess[gr8 job...]

    -- Can we have a new thread where v can solve RCs, SCs a day/2 days once... That ll be useful practice....
    hi princess i think you should seriously look into this will help us a lot
    B-School Joiners,Please Click
    Moi Blog: (Taken a break) Dissociation
    Quant Thread RC ThreadVerbal Thread Leisure
    PGP Batch IIM Indore 2012

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    BUTTOX/BUTTOCKS

    The popular phonetic spelling "buttox" ignores the fact that "buttocks"
    (the traditional spelling) is a plural: one buttock, two buttocks.

    BY/'BYE/BUY

    These are probably confused with each other more often through haste
    than through actual ignorance, but "by" is the common preposition in
    phrases like "you should know by now." It can also serve a number of
    other functions, but the main point here is not to confuse "by" with the
    other two spellings: "'bye" is an abbreviated form of "goodbye"
    (preferably with an apostrophe before it to indicate the missing
    syllable), and "buy" is the verb meaning "purchase." "Buy" can also be a
    noun, as in "that was a great buy." The term for the position of a
    competitor who advances to the next level of a tournament without
    playing is a "bye." All others are "by."

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    BY FAR AND AWAY/BY FAR, FAR AND AWAY

    You could say that Halloween is by far your favorite holiday, or you can
    say that it's far and away your favorite holiday; but if you combine the
    two expressions and say "by far and away" you'll annoy some people and
    puzzle others who can't figure out why it doesn't sound quite right.

    CACHE/CACHET

    "Cache" comes from the French verb "cacher," meaning "to hide," and in
    English is pronounced exactly like the word "cash." But reporters
    speaking of a cache (hidden hoard) of weapons or drugs often
    mispronounce it to sound like cachet--"ca-SHAY"--a word with a very
    different meaning: originally a seal affixed to a document, now a
    quality attributed to anything with authority or prestige. Rolex watches
    have cachet.

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    CALL THE QUESTION

    This is more a matter of parliamentary procedure than of correct
    English, but people are generally confused about what "calling the
    question" means. They often suppose that it means simply "let's vote!"
    and some even imagine that it is necessary to call for the question
    before a vote may be taken. You even see deferential meeting chairs
    pleading, "Would someone like to call for the question?"

    But "calling the question" when done properly should be a rare
    occurrence. If debate has dragged on longer than you feel is really
    warranted, you can "call the question," at which time the chair has to
    immediately ask those assembled to vote to determine whether or not
    debate should be cut off or continue. The motion to call the question is
    itself not debatable. If two-thirds of those voting agree that the
    discussion should have died some time ago, they will support the call.
    Then, and only then, will the vote be taken on the question itself.

    Potentially this parliamentary maneuver would be a great way to shut
    down windy speakers who insist on prolonging a discussion when a clear
    consensus has already been arrived at; but since so few people
    understand what it means, it rarely works as intended.

    Chairs: when someone "calls the question," explain what the phrase means
    and ask if that is what's intended. Other folks: you'll get further most
    of the time just saying "Let's vote!"

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    CADDY-CORNER/CATTY-CORNER, CATER-CORNER, KITTY-CORNER

    This expression, meaning "diagonally opposite," was formed from a
    misspelling in English of the French word quatre ("four") prefixed to
    "corner." Although the word has nothing to do with cats or kittens, in
    various dialects all three spellings are acceptable: "catty," "cater" or
    "kitty."

    But unless you have somebody holding your golf clubs permanently
    stationed in the corner of your room, you shouldn't use the spelling
    "caddy corner."

    CALLOUS/CALLUSED

    Calling someone callous is a way of metaphorically suggesting a lack of
    feeling similar to that caused by calluses on the skin; but if you are
    speaking literally of the tough build-up on a person's hand or feet, the
    word you need is "callused."

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    CALLS FOR/PREDICTS

    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man; But will they come when you
    do call for them?

    Shakespeare: Henry IV, Part 1

    News-people constantly joke that the weather service is to blame for the
    weather, so we shouldn't be surprised when they tell us that the
    forecast "calls for rain" when what they mean is that it "predicts"
    rain. Remember, wherever you live, the weather is uncalled for.

    CALM, COOL, AND COLLECTIVE/CALM, COOL, AND COLLECTED

    Unless you're living in an unusually tranquil commune, you wouldn't be
    "calm, cool, and collective." The last word in this traditional phrase
    is "collected," in the sense of such phrases as "let me sit down a
    minute and collect my thoughts." If you leave out "cool" the last word
    still has to be "collected."

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    Thanks princess. I usually get confused about the usage of 'bearin the brunt' and being the butt of all jokes'. U made it simpler

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    CALVARY/CAVALRY

    "Calvary," always capitalized, is the hill on which Jesus was crucified.
    It means "hill of skulls." Soldiers mounted on horseback are cavalry.

    CAN GOODS/CANNED GOODS

    Is there a sign at your grocery store that says "can goods"? It should
    say "canned goods."

    CANADIAN GEESE/CANADA GEESE

    "Canadian geese" would be any old geese that happen to be in Canada.
    What people usually mean to refer to when they use this phrase is the
    specific species properly called "Canada geese."

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    CANON/CANNON

    "Canon" used to be such a rare word that there was no temptation to
    confuse it with "cannon": a large piece of artillery. The debate over
    the literary canon (a list of officially-approved works) and the
    popularity of Pachelbel's Canon (an imitative musical form related to
    the common "round") have changed all that--confusion is rampant. Just
    remember that the big gun is a "cannon." All the rest are "canons." Note
    that there are metaphorical uses of "cannon" for objects shaped like
    large guns, such as a horse's "cannon bone."

    CANNOT/CAN NOT

    These two spellings are largely interchangeable, but by far the most
    common is "cannot"; and you should probably use it except when you want
    to be emphatic: "No, you can not wash the dog in the Maytag."

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    CANVAS/CANVASS

    Heavy cloth, whether in the frame of a painting or on the floor of a
    boxing ring, is canvas, with one S.

    To survey ballots or voters is to canvass them, with two S's.

    CAPITAL/CAPITOL

    A "capitol" is almost always a building. Cities which serve as seats of
    government are capitals spelled with an A in the last syllable, as
    are most other uses of the word as a common noun. The only exceptions
    are place names alluding to capitol buildings in some way or other, like
    "Capitol Hill" in DC, Denver, or Seattle (the latter named either after
    the hill in Denver or in hopes of attracting the Washington State
    capitol building). Would it help to remember that Congress with an O
    meets in the Capitol with another O?

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    CAPITALIZATION

    Proper nouns (names of people and places: "Frederick," "Paris") and
    proper adjectives ("French," "Biblical") must be capitalized. Many
    people used to casual e-mail patterns have begun to omit capital letters
    throughout their writing, even at the beginning of sentences when
    writing in more formal contexts. Unless your correspondent is someone
    that you know prefers the all-lower-case approach, to be taken seriously
    you should take the trouble to hit that Shift key when necessary.

    Particularly watch out for this sloppy habit in writing timed
    examinations. A teacher who has devoted 20 years to the study of Chinese
    art flinches when she sees her cherished subject demoted to "chinese."

    CARAMEL/CARMEL

    Take Highway 1 south from Monterey to reach the charming seaside town of
    Carmel, of which Clint Eastwood was formerly mayor. Dissolve sugar in a
    little water and cook it down until the sugar turns brown to create
    caramel. A nationwide chain uses the illiterate spelling
    "Karmelkorn(TM)," which helps to perpetuate the confusion between these
    two words.

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    CARAT/CARET/CARROT/KARAT

    "Carrots" are those crunchy orange vegetables Bugs Bunny is so fond of,
    but this spelling gets misused for the less familiar words which are
    pronounced the same but have very different meanings. Precious stones
    like diamonds are weighed in carats. The same word is used to express
    the proportion of pure gold in an alloy, though in this usage it is
    sometimes spelled "karat" (hence the abbreviation "20K gold"). A caret
    is a proofreader's mark showing where something needs to be inserted,
    shaped like a tiny pitched roof. It looks rather like a French
    circumflex, but is usually distinct from it on modern computer
    keyboards. Carets are extensively used in computer programming. Just
    remember, if you can't eat it, it's not a carrot.

    CAREER/CAREEN

    A truck careening down the road is swerving from side to side as it
    races along, whereas a truck careering down the road may be simply
    traveling very fast. But because it is not often clear which meaning a
    person intends, confusing these two words is not likely to get you into
    trouble.

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    CARING

    Most people are comfortable referring to "caring parents," but speaking
    of a "caring environment" is jargon, not acceptable in formal English.
    The environment may contain caring people, but it does not itself do the
    caring.

    CAST IN STONE/CAST IN CONCRETE, CARVED IN STONE

    People expressing flexibility say that their ideas or rules are "not
    cast in concrete," meaning they have not hardened into rigidity. You
    cast concrete in a mold by pouring it in and letting it set; so the
    expression can also be "not set in concrete."

    A similar expression is "not carved in stone" (like the Ten
    Commandments).

    People frequently mix these two expressions up and say things like "It's
    not cast in stone." They may be influenced by the unrelated Christian
    saying, "Don't cast [throw] the first stone."

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    CAST DISPERSIONS/CAST ASPERSIONS

    "Aspersions" is an unusual word whose main meaning is "false or
    misleading accusations," and its only common use is in the phrase "cast
    aspersions." To disperse a crowd is to break it up and scatter it, which
    perhaps leads some people to mistakenly associate "cast" ("throw") with
    "disperse" but the expression is "cast aspersions."

    CATCH-22/CATCH

    People familiar with Joseph Heller's novel are irritated when they see
    "Catch-22" used to label any simple hitch or problem rather than this
    sort of circular predicament: you can't get published until you have an
    agent, and you can't get an agent until you've been published. "There's
    a catch" will do fine for most other situations.

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