Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/163

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Errors in English

never so: Often misused for ever so from which it should be carefully discriminated. Never so means "to an extent or degree beyond the actual or conceivable; no matter how." In common use ever so, meaning no more than "very" or "exceedingly," is often confounded with and used for never so.

never mean: A common slip of the tongue in such phrases as "I never mean to" which is frequently used when "I mean never to" is intended. Compare don't.

nibs: A vulgar title given usually satirically, to a person in authority; as "His nibs sailed to-day": a term to avoid.

nice: This word has undergone a peculiar transformation in sense. Derived from the Latin nescius, ignorant, and originally meaning "ignorant, silly, weak," it has now come to signify "characterized by discrimination and judgment, acute, discerning; as, a nice criticism." The word has, however, also been used colloquially in the sense of "pleasing, jolly, or socially agreeable; as, a nice girl," and the use has been condemned but is too well established to be abandoned.

nicely as a colloquialism for "very well"—as "He is doing nicely—should be avoided.

nifty: A vulgarism for "stylish."

nightly, nocturnal: These words do not have the same signification. The one means night by night,