Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/158

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A Desk-Book of

than supreme excellence. We may even say, further, that the word in its original sense could not be used without a qualifying word (as 'nearly perfect' for example) in a world in which nothing is utterly free from defect. To go about saying that things are 'nearly perfect' would be gross pedantry."

For the sanction of literary usage see the quotations:

"It would be strange, doubtless, to call this the best of Burns's writings: we mean to say, only, that it seems to us the most perfect of its kind as a piece of poetical composition strictly so called."
Carlyle, Essay on Burns, referring to his poem "The Jolly Beggars."

"Our battle is more full of names than yours,
Our men more perfect in the use of arms."
Shakespeare, 2 Hen. IV. iv. i.

"Most perfect goodness." —Cymbeline i. 7.

mought: Although recorded by the dictionaries as the imperfect of "may" and often used for might, the use is one which does sufficient violence to euphony to be characterized as undesirable.

muchly: Although formerly in vogue is now obsolete and stigmatized as slang, and as such to be avoided.

mug: A vulgar characterization for the human face.

murderous should not be used for "dangerous" or "deadly."

music. See chin.

Mussulman: The plural of this word is formed by adding s—Mussulmans not Mussulmen. Here the word "man" is no component part of Mussulman