Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/192

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A Desk-Book of

sick man, but is pretty sure to recover, being at all times pretty fortunate."

prevail: In the sense of "triumph," this word is usually followed by the prepositions over or against; as, "We have prevailed over our enemies"; "None can prevail against us." In the sense of "to have effectual influence," follow it with on, upon or with; as, "He prevailed on me to go." In the sense "to have general vogue, currency or acceptance," it should be followed by through or throughout; as, "Mohammedanism prevails throughout Northern Africa."

preventive is preferable to preventative, which is a corruption of the former, has been described as a "barbarism," and is said to stamp any one using it as lacking in common education.

previous: In higher literature, the adverbial use of previous with to, in the sense of "prior to" is not favored. The adverb previously or the expression prior to is preferred.

prey. Compare pray.

principle, principal: Exercise care in the use of these homophones. Principle is a source or cause from which a thing proceeds: principal, first or highest in rank. Note the difference in spelling.

profess. Compare pretend.

promise should never be used for "assure." A promise always implies futurity. Do not say "He