Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/240
A Desk-Book of
head of the critic," when you mean that he abused him roundly. This is an erroneous application of the word, which is confounded with the Scriptural usage "to send judgment from heaven upon" as punishment.
vocation. Compare avocation.
wa'n't: A contraction of was not, or improperly of were not; as, "He wa'n't (or they wa'n't) at home": a common vulgarism.
want and need are not synonymous terms, although both denote a lack. Want, however, refers more properly to a personal conception of shortcoming or shortage, whereas need denotes the matter of fact. Thus a delinquent son may need castigation, while he distinctly does not want it. Want, therefore, signifies a wdsh to supply what is lacking. But the word want is sometimes less strong than need, for a covetous man wants (i. e., desires) many things he does not need (or things for which he has an absolute necessity). "I need assistance or I shall drown." Again, "I want a position, but do not need it, because I can continue as I am without it; but when resources fail I shall need it."
want of: An undesirable colloquialism. Do not say "What does he want of a yacht?" say, rather. want with, or "What need has he of a yacht?"