Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/175

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Errors in English

conjunction than, instead of which the words but and except are often erroneously introduced. Than is indeed the conjunction of simple comparison, and should be used after adjectives in the comparative degree. In better usage else is also followed by than, unless the word is introduced, as frequently, without appreciably adding effect to the sentence; as, "She did nothing (else) but weep," though even here the introduction of the unnecessary word would make than the preferable sequence. "He knew no other course than this"—not but or except. "It can not operate otherwise than for good"—not but. "No quicker did he climb the rope than (not but) back he fell."

ought. Compare aught.

ought, hadn't. See had ought.

out of sight: An intense vulgarism for "superb."

over and above, if redundant, is an undesirable expression. Avoid the addition of words to a sentence that fail to add to the sense. "Over and above his debts illness had now to be provided for." It were better to say "In addition to his debts," etc.

over, across: Over is sometimes misused for "across." Do not say "go over the bridge" when you mean across it.

overflowed: The banks of a river may be overflowed; they should never be spoken of as overflown. There is no verb to overfly, but there is one to overflow the participles of which are overflowed, overflowing. The