Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/160

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A Desk-Book of

On the other hand, the very strong disapproval with which this and like uses of mutual are regarded by many writers of good taste may not unreasonably be considered as sufficient ground for avoiding mutual friend and kindred expressions. "Mutual friends," says Phelps, "would not be accurate" meaning that two persons are friends each to the other.

my. Compare me.

myself: An emphatic pronoun sometimes misused for "I" or "me"; as, "The property was willed to my wife and myself." For "myself" substitute "to me" and the sentence is correct. "Myself" is used correctly with a reflexive verb, that is, one whose object, expressed or implied, denotes the same person or thing as the subject; e. g., "I will control myself."


nasty: This word should not be applied to that which is merely "disagreeable," as nasty weather, for strong terms should not be robbed of their significance by being applied to conditions which could only be referred to in such terms by exaggeration. A pigsty is properly termed nasty, as there filth finds its habitat, and an obscene book is nasty as morally foul.

naught. Compare ought under aught.

need, needs: As an adverb need is now obsolete; needs means "necessarily." Do not say "as need he must," say, rather, "as needs he must."