Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/118

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A Desk-Book of

merit of being idiomatic and easily and universally understood.

I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. Ps. lxxxiv. 10.

If for "You had better stay at home," we substitute "You should better stay at home," an entirely different meaning is expressed, the idea of expediency giving place to that of obligation.—Standard Dictionary.

"Would rather may always be substituted for had rather. Might rather would not have the same meaning. Would and should do not go well with better. In one instance can is admissible. 'I can better afford,' because can is especially associated with afford. We may say might better, but it has neither the sanction, the idiomatic force, nor the precise meaning of had better."—Samuel Ramsey, Eng. Lang, and Gram. pt. ii. ch. 6, p. 413.

hail, hale: Hail is pronounced as hale (robust; sound) but should be distinguished therefrom, although for that word there is an alternative spelling hail, which, however, is rarely used. Hale is from Icelandish heill, sound; hail is from the Anglo-Saxon, haegel, frozen rain.

hain't: A common vulgarism for have not, haven't, and made worse, if possible, by being used also for has not or hasn't; as "I hain't," "He hain't," etc. "I haven't" "He hasn't," are permissible, "haven't