Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/116

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A Desk-Book of

guess, suppose, think, conjecture: Words sometimes used incorrectly. We guess when we are content to hazard an opinion based on data which are admittedly insufficient, but we suppose when we have good ground for assuming a thing to be true. When we think, we give thought to a matter on which we yet admit the thought has been insufficient to furnish us with exact or certain knowledge. Thinking is allied to conjecturing, in which, though holding a pronounced opinion, this falls short of absolute conviction. We guess the outcome of an event, but suppose that an event which has happened may result in good. We think that a certain medicine may effect a cure, but if we have tried it successfully before for a similar complaint, conjecture that it will, although not being absolutely sure that the conditions are precisely the same we are not convinced and do not know.

gums. Compare rubbers.


habit, custom, usage: Discriminate carefully between these words. In strict usage habit pertains exclusively to the individual; custom to a race or nation of people, as, the customs of the Jews. Usage refers particularly to habitual practise or something permitted by it or done in accordance with it.

had better, would better: Although according to grammatical rule had better is incorrect, it has