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or not" is the proper phrase, if it is a verb that is suppressed. 25. A confirmed invalid.
A person, weak and infirm, is an invalid; whatever is made firm, or is strengthened, established, or rendered certain, is confirmed. Hence, we have here a contradiction in terms. How can a man be a confirmed, or strengthened, invalid?
26. Such, for so; as, “I never saw such a high spire.” This means, “I never saw a high spire of such a form or of such architecture”; whereas the speaker, in all probability, means only that he never saw so high a spire.
27. How, for that. “I have heard how some critics have been pacified with claret and a supper.
How is an adverb, and can not be used as a conjunction. Older writers frequently followed it by that, but this practice is no longer in good use; as, “Knowing how that part of the South Sea was utterly unknown.”—Bacon.
28. Directly, for as soon as. “Directly he came, we started home.” Directly, in the sense of as soon as, has not the sanction of careful writers; it must be regarded as a gross solecism.
29. Equally as well, for equally well; as, “It will do equally as well." Equally, an adverb of degree, should modify well; hence there is a solecism in joining them by the conjunction.
30. All of them. As the etymology of the preposition of shows its primary meaning to be from, or out from, it can not be correct to say all of them. We may say, “Take one of them,” or, “Take two of them,” or, “Take them all”; but the phrase we are criticising is wholly unjustifiable.
31. Quantity, for number; as, “A quantity of books." We may use quantity in speaking of a collection or mass; but in speaking of individual objects, we must use the word number. “A quantity of meat" or, “A quantity of iron" is good English, but not, “A quantity of bank-notes.” We may say, “A quantity of wood,” but we should say, “A number of sticks.” 32. Whole, for all.
Whole refers to the component parts of a single body; and is, therefore, singular in meaning. “The whole Russians are inspired with the belief that their mission is to conquer the world.” This can only mean that those Russians who are entire,—who have not lost a leg, an arm, or some other part of the body,-are inspired with the belief of which he speaks.
33. Stopping, for staying. “The Hon. John Jones is stopping at the Galt House." In reading such a statement as this, we are tempted to ask, When will Hon. J. Jones stop stopping? A man may stop many times at a place, or on a journey, but he can not continue stopping. One may stop at a hotel without becoming a guest.
34. Indices, for indexes. “We have examined our indices.” Indices are algebraic signs; tables of contents are indexes.
35. Rendition, for rendering; as, “Mr. Barrett's rendition of Hamlet was admirable.” Rendition means surrender, giving up, relinquishing to another, as when we speak of the rendition of a beleaguered town to the besieger, or of a pledge upon the satisfaction of a debt.
36. Condign. “ He does not deserve the condign punishment he has received.” As the meaning of condign is that which is deserved, we have here a contradiction in terms, the statement being equivalent to this: “He does not deserve the deserved punishment he has received."
37. Folks, for folk. As folk implies plurality, the “s” is needless.
38. Older, for elder. Older is properly applied to objects, animate and inanimate; elder, to rational beings.
39. Overflown, for overflowed; as, “The river has overflown its banks." Flowed is the past participle of “to flow"; flown, of “to fly.”
40. Accord, for grant. “He accorded them (or, to them), all they asked for.” To accord with, means properly to agree or to suit; as, “He accorded with my views.”
41. Almost, as an adjective; as, “The almost universality of opinion.” We might properly say, “The opinion is almost universal."
42. Mutual, for common, or reciprocal. Mutual means an interchange between two at the same time; reciprocal, existing in one by way of return to something previously done by another; common, belonging to all in common. Hence, we may speak of a mutual desire, reciprocal reproaches, common country. Dean Alford justly protests against the stereotyped vulgarism, “a mutual friend." Mutual is applicable to sentiments and acts, but not to persons. Two friends may have a mutual love, but for either to speak of a third person as being
"their mutual friend,” is absurd. The expression should be," their common friend."
One of the most offensive barbarisms now prevalent is the use of this pet word to express almost every kind of approbation, and almost every quality. Nice implies a union of delicacy and exactness. In nice food, cookery, taste, etc., delicacy predominates; in nice discrimination, management, workmanship, etc., exactness predominates. Lately, however, a new sense has been introduced which excludes them both; this new sense is pleasing, and it is a common thing to hear of “A nice girl,” “A nice excursion,” “A nice book.” Of the vulgarity of such ex
pressions as “A nice man" (meaning a good or pleasing man), “A nice day,” “A nice party," etc., there can be no question. Archdeacon Hare stigmatizes the word nice a “ characterless domino."
44. Looks beautifully. The error arises from confounding look in the sense of to direct the eye, and look in the sense of to seem, to appear. In English, many verbs take an adjective with them to form the predicate; as, “He fell ill”; “He feels cold ”; “Her smiles amid the blushes lovelier show.” No cultivated person would say, “She is beautifully,” or, “She seems beautifully," yet these phrases are no more improper than, “She looks beautifully.” We qualify what a person does by an adverb; what a person is, or seems to be, by an adjective; as, “She looks coldly on him"; "She looks cold."
45. Myself, for I ; as, “Mrs. Smith and myself will be happy to dine with you”; “Prof. W. and myself have examined the work." The proper use of myself or thyself is either as a reflexive pronoun, or for the sake of distinction and emphasis; as,
These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Thus wondrous fair; thyself how wondrous then.—Milton. 46. Previous, for previously; as, “This occurred previous to my leaving Europe.” To describe whatever goes before in time, we use the adjective previous; as, “Sound from the mountain, previous to the storm, rolls o'er the muttering earth."--Thomson. To express the time of an occurrence, we use the adverb previously; as, “A plan previously formed."
47. Try and, for try to; as, “Try and do it.” “Try to learn,” “Try to lift a weight,” “The horses tried to draw the load,” are instances of correct usage. Try is followed by and only when the conjunction occurs between root-forins. Thus, in the sentence, "If I try and find it, I shall be amply repaid,” both try and find are equally contingent as regards the principal verb.
48. Restive, for uneasy or restless; as, “A restive horse." A restive horse is one that balks; but horses that are restless or frisky are frequently called restive. The following is an example of its correct use: “The beasts which were to drag him to the gallows became restive, and went back.” -Macaulay.
49. Allude, for refer. To allude means to hint at in an indirect way.
50. Balance, for remainder; as, “The balance of the people went home.” Webster says: “To transfer the word 'balance' to the general concerns of life, and speak of 'the balance of the week,' 'the balance of the evening,' etc., meaning remainder, is a gross vulgarism, to be avoided by every one who does not mean to 'smell of the shop.'
51. Calculate, for design or intend, or as an equivalent to likely, apt; as, “Sensational newspapers are calculated to injure the morals of the young.” They are not calculated to do so; but they are certainly likely to do so. Calculate means to compute, to reckon, to work out by figures; hence, the essential thought expressed by it is the careful adjustment of means to an end. Thus, "Religion is calculated for our benefit.”- Tillotson.
52. Couple, for two; as, “He gave me a couple of peaches.” A couple means properly two that are coupled.
53. Demean, for debase; as, “I would not demean myse by doing so." To demean is to behave in any way, and has no connection with the term mean.
54. Emblem, for motto, sentiment, or meaning; generally applied to flowers. “The emblem of this flower is