Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/182

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A Desk-Book of

convinced that he is wrong is persuaded, by justice or interest, to amend his ways.

peruse should not be used when the simple read is meant. The former implies to read with care and attention and is almost synonymous with scan, which is to examine with critical care and in detail. A person is more likely to read than to scan or peruse the Bible.

petition, partition: Sometimes pronounced as if they were homophones, but they are not. Exercise care in their use. A petition is a request, a partition is that which separates anything into distinct parts.

phenomenon is the singular of phenomena, and the distinction should be observed in speech. Avoid as incorrect such locution as "A remarkable phenomena."

piece, a: A provincial vulgarism used in such phrases as "We went along the road a piece"; "he followed me a piece," etc.

pike A vulgarism used as a verb for "to move away rapidly," and as a noun, contemptuously, for "a shiftless class of persons."

pillar, pillow: Discriminate carefully between these words. A pillar is a firm, upright, separate support; a pillow is a head-rest. Note the difference in the spellings.

pile-in: Slang for "get to work."

pipe-off: A vulgarism for to "take in at a glance."