Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/99

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Errors in English

qualities that are useful, or that can be made productive of comfort, satisfaction, or enjoyment, as, a good view, good flour; well signifies having physical health, free from ailment; as, "two are sick, the rest are well." Compare good.

felicitate, congratulate: The distinction in the meanings of these words should be carefully noted. To felicitate is to pronounce one happy and in the strict sense, applies to self alone; congratulate is to wish joy to another. In recent years congratulate has been applied to one's self, and felicitate to another; thus the application of the meanings of these words have been reversed by careless usage.

Trench says, "When I congratulate a person (congratulor) I declare that I am sharer in his joy, that what has rejoiced him has rejoiced me also." Gratulation, does not signify participation, and therefore, is a mere felicitation (or admission of existing happiness or cause for happiness) addressed to another.

female: An opprobrious or contemptuous epithet for woman. Female should be restricted to its correct use. Do not say "With that modesty so characteristic of a female"; say rather, " characteristic of a woman." Compare lady.

fermentation, fomentation: Exercise care in the use of these words. Fermentation is a chemical decomposition of an organic compound; fomentation, is the act of treating with warm water.