Accuracy In Diction. Part 2
6. allude, mention. He alluded to the remissness of certain officers, but he mentioned no names.
7. aggravate, exasperate. To aggravate a disease; to aggravate a difficulty; to exasperate a man.
8. alternative. An alternative is properly an act of choosing. He had no alternative, i.e. no choice. One of three courses - not one of three alternatives.
9. apparent. Apparent negligence is not obvious, clear, or manifest negligence. It is seeming negligence.
10. appreciate. I appreciate your kindness - not, I appreciate your kindness very much. If you want a stronger expression, say I value - highly.
11. avocation, vocation. Dr. Weir Mitchell's vocation was medicine. His avocation, or minor occupation, was writing novels.
12. balance. Used to excess for rest or remainder.
13. blame. Blame a man for a fault. Don't blame it on him.
14. calculate, calculated. "I calculate it's going to rain" is provincial. Don't say a thing is calculated to do so and so unless it is really designed to do so and so.
15. capacity, ability. Capacity is passive, ability is active. Capacity for receiving or learning; ability for doing. 16. casualty, casuality. Casualty means accident. You will need this word often. The other word means quality of being accidental. You may need to use it once or twice in a life-time.
17. character. Not to be confounded with reputation. Many a man of fine character may get a bad reputation - for a while.
18. clientele. An obsolete word. Clientage or clients is better.
19. compliment, complement. Compliment is used a thousand times to complement's once. The complement of an angle; a complement of infantry.
20. conscious, aware. We are conscious of what goes on within. our minds, aware of what goes on outside.
21. continual, continuous. A continual dropping will wear away stone. A continuous dropping would be a stream.
22. council, counsel. A council of men may give good counsel. The prisoner's counsel gave him good counsel.
23. data, datum. Several data; one datum.
24. definite, definitive. A definitive edition is a final, authoritative edition.
25. degrade debase, demean. Avoid using demean, which simply means behave, when you mean degrade or debase.
26. differ from, differ with. A man differs from his brother in looks. He may differ with him (or disagree with him) in conversation.
27. disremember. Provincial or humorous for fail to remember.
28. dock, wharfs In strictness, the ship lies in the dock, at the wharf.
29. dope. Think of the poverty-stricken state of mind that is implied by the exclusive use of this word instead of talk, instructions, nonsense, rubbish, drivel, stuff, etc., etc.
30. elegant. Elegance is union of richness and refinement. Use it perhaps once a month, and make it mean something.
31. else's. Somebody else's or somebody's else. Either is correct. Somebody else's is easier to say. Somebody's else often ends a'sentence well.
32. enthuse. Don't use it. Say, become enthusiastic. Look up the derivation.
33. eaves. Note the s. The word means the edge of a roof. One eaves is. Two eaves are.
34. expect. You can't expect something that has already happened. I suppose you had a good time - I don't expect so.
35. farther, further. Farther down the road; further into the subject; further discussion; further information; farther away.
36. feature. The word is used to excess in business English. Use it sparingly.
37. first. Don't say firstly. First, secondly, thirdly.
38. fix. Well enough if you mean fasten securely in place. Women's hair is often arranged; it is rarely fixed. Fix broken machinery? Yes, but mend is better. You might count the number of times you say fix in one day.
39. forceful. A good word, but used to excess. Speak of a forceful man, but of forcible advertising.
40. former president, ex-president. Either is good English. Newspapers prefer former President Roosevelt to Ex-president Roosevelt, mostly for the looks of the type.
41. good deal. This is good English. Deal is Anglo-Saxon dael, a part. A good deal is a good part; it means about the same as great deal.
42. got. It is no crime to say I have got for I have. But it is tedious never to hear I have. I have got means I have acquired; and some men seem to think that their great business ability got them everything that they own. "I have got a watch that my son gave me." Indeed! Listen!
43. guarantee. See Chapter XI (The History Of Business Words), Warranty.
44. hanged, hung. Men are hanged. Beef is hung. In the slang phrase "I'll be hanged" the correct form is used.
45. healthful, healthy. A healthful place, a healthful drink, a healthy man. But "healthy place" has a good colloquial standing.
46. hire, lease, let. We hire a house or money for our own use. We lease or let the house to others. A lease is a written letting.
47. illy. Don't use it. It is obsolete and high-flown. Say, he was ill treated. The word ill is ill treated nowadays.
48. imaginary. One blushes to confess it, but one hears occasionally about an "imaginary author," when the boy means imaginative.
49% in evidence. This French phrase is now being ridden to death. It has English equivalents.
50. in so far as. So far as is just as good as the longer phrase.
51. indexes, indices. Indexes of books, indices of numbers.
52. last, latest, preceding. The dying man hears his last news. The reader refers to the preceding chapter. The last chapter ends the book. The last book I read was the latest novel.
53. leave, let. Let it be. Let it lie. Leave it alone. Leave it lie is a vulgarism of the worst sort.
54. lend, loan. To lend money is better English than to loan money.
55. less, fewer. Less sugar, fewer lumps; less of a crowd, fewer persons; less friendship, fewer friends.
56. liable, likely. Liable means subject to. The thief is liable to arrest the officer is likely to arrest him - in some cities.