Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/124

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A Desk-Book of

an heir does not exist till death either by will or operation of law, it is only by impropriety of speech that one talks of the heirs of the living.

help has the meaning of "assist"; it has also the somewhat opposed meaning of "prevent, hinder, or refrain from." This veiled negative makes the correct application of the word difficult. Take, for example, the sentence "Make no more noise than you can help." I can not help doing a thing is I can not refrain from doing it: that is, I can not not do it, which means I must do it. The correct form of the sentence just given is shown by filling in the ellipsis, whence it appears that not should also be supplied: "Make no more noise than (such as) you can (not) help (making)." Help includes aid, but aid may fall short of the meaning of help.

hence, thence, whence: As in meaning these words embrace from it is pleonastic to precede them by the word thus implied. Do not say, "go from hence," "from thence he went to Rome," "from whence did you come." From is redundant in all these sentences.

hen-party: A vulgar term for a social gathering of ladies. Compare stag-party.

herd: A term sometimes applied indiscriminately to persons as well as beasts. Herd is correctly used to designate, "a number of animals feeding or herding together;" when applied to persons the