Accuracy In Diction. Part 3
57. located. The word is worked, to death. Why may not a few things and places be situated? or placed? or set? or planted?
58. mad. Angry men are temporarily mad - insane - crazy. Use the word all you please if you appreciate that fact. A good word for salesmen to ponder.
59. magnetism. The word is used to excess by business journals as a synonym for personal power, attractive personal-itv etc etc
60. materialize. Another ugly pet. It is taken from the slang of spiritists. Sometimes it means put in an appearance. Sometimes it means yield returns, or take definite shapes. Use it rarely, if ever.
61. most. There can be no objection to an occasional colloquial use of most for almost. But never to say almost is a privilege of the nursery.
62. motives, purposes. We act from motives, but for purposes.
63. necessities, necessaries. There are necessities of life, doubtless; taxes and work and death are necessities of life. Necessaries are food, clothing, shelter; some people seem to include automobiles.
64. nice. If you will use the phrases nice discrimination and nice distinction once a day, you may do what you please with
the word the rest of the time.
65. O,oh. Beware of using 0 when you mean oh! O should be a rare word. Use it however as often as you please in prayer.
66. observance, observation. Observance of rules; observa-tion of the stars.
67. one. One feels that one must do what public opinion wants one to do. That is the best usage - but that too is rather British.
68. one's self. Help all good men to keep those words apart. Listen to the stuttering gasp of oneself I
69. optimist. Must every cheerful man be called by this mag-nificent philosophical title? It is a pet word of trade journals.
70. partly, partially. What do you gain by inserting ial into partly? Nothing. Be simple.
71. party, person. Call one person a party only when you are talking law and if the legal party happens to be one person.
A party in a silk hat - could only be a party of beings small enough to inhabit a hat.
72. per. Very often the English equivalents are better. "Eggs $1.25 a dozen, or $1.50 for 15."
73. plenty. Quite good enough is quite good enough. Plenty is a noun.
74. posted. It is better to call a man informed than posted. A man is not a ledger.
75. prescribe, proscribe. Society proscribes you, boycotts you, ousts you if you dare to disregard its customs.
76. proposition. A good word - if a real proposition is meant. But the word is wrongly used to mean this, that, and the other thing.
77. proved, proven. Give the first word a chance. Don't talk Scotch law all the time.
78. quite. This is our word quit. It means wholly, completely, entirely. If yon are quite sick you can't work at all. If yon are quite well yon haven't a pain or an ache, and may be-called on for hard work. Never pronounce the word with that sliding uncertain inflection which means rather.
79. raise, rear. Cattle are raised. Men are reared. Don't speak of yourself as if you were a horse.
80. real. Real nice is schoolgirl slang.
81. red-blooded men. The phrase is on its last legs. Give it a merciful kick and let it go.
82. replace. This has two meanings. Occasionally give the better one of them a chance. We replace a book on the shelf if we haven't lost it. If we have lost it, we may replace it with another. In strictness, the word means to put back in place.
83. reliable. The word is now well established, but sometimes use trustworthy; dependable is colloquial.
84. right now, just now. Give just now a chance.
85. same. It is the same kind that [not as] I had before.
86. significance, signification. The significance of ah important fact; the exact signification of a word. A significant word is such not because of its exact signification but because of its use by a certain person in a certain situation.
87. snappy. Advertising slang which is being used for too many things. The word has about as much snap left in it as a water-soaked ginger snap. "Snappy phrases" is well enough; but "snappy taste of Postum cereal" - that really won't do!
88. some. Often used in slang for somewhat. Keep it out' of your written work.
89. specialty, speciality. You may possibly some day need the second word - it's in the dictionary - but it is not likely that you will.
90. strata, stratum. One stratum, two strata.
91. sustain. He sustained a broken leg! Highflown newspaper English for broke his leg. Received will not do, either. Suffered seems the least objectionable. Had his leg broken is clear enough colloquial English - though had his cow killed sounds suspicious.
92. thereby. Used to excess. Save it for legal documents.
93. transpire. This word means leak out, get noised abroad. It does not mean happen. Don't be highflown.
94. Very much pleased. So we say in America. Our Brit-ish friends omit the much, but let us not imitate them.
95. venal, venial. A venal man is one who will take bribes. His offense is not trifling or venial; it is great.
.96. virile, virility. Be as virile as you please, but don't use the word more than once a month. It is a pet of hysterical writers.
97. way. A long way off is better grammar than a long ways off. Some distance is better grammar than quite a ways.
98. Welsh rabbit. This isn't a business term, but the article sometimes produces bad business English the next morning.
Rabbit is right; rarebit is nonsense. The phrase is an old joking name. Compare Cape Cod Turkey, which means codfish.
99. without. This word is not to be used for unless. Germans say ohne, but our idiom is different.
100. wouldn't wish for any. Our young man from the farm means, I don't care for any.
§ 65. Synonyms
Limitations of space make it undesirable to attempt the discussion of shades of meaning between many synonyms. But the following list will serve as an introduction to the systematic study of the subject.