Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/53

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Errors in English

sing impression, "Were both rejected?" the reply may properly be, "Not both were rejected; one was rejected and one accepted"—a connection of not with both that is usually inadmissible. The confusion in meaning of a negative sentence containing both will be best avoided by making the sentence affirmative; "Both applicants were rejected," "One of the two applicants was rejected and the other accepted," etc.—Standard Dictionary.

both: As an adjective or pronoun both emphasizes the idea of two. It has been well defined as "the two, and not merely one of them"; it can not properly, therefore, be connected with or refer to more than two objects. As a conjunction, however, both has a more extended meaning and employment than it has as an adjective or a pronoun; thus, it is permissible to say, "He lost all his live stock—both horses, cows, and sheep." Both, as so used, emphasizes the extent or comprehensiveness of the assertion. The use has been challenged, but has abundant literary authority, and antedates Chaucer.

both alike: A pleonasm. Two things may be alike but alike should not be used as an adjective. Both daughters may be like their mother, but to say they are both alike, meaning that they resemble each other, is incorrect. Both should never be used with alike.

bounce: A colloquialism for "discharge" or "eject forcibly," an apt rather than an elegant term.