Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/193

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Errors in English

was alarmed, I promise you;" say, rather, "I assure you."

pronouns in the objective: Often the coupling of one pronoun with another leads a careless speaker into error, where had one pronoun only been used, no doubt or difficulty would have been experienced. "If he calls for (you and) I, we will go." If the words in parenthesis be omitted no one would think of saying "for I," but would naturally use the correct pronoun me. This method of elision will generally elucidate the correct usage. "To talk like that before (you and) I was atrocious." Say me, as you certainly would if you omitted the words in parenthesis.

prophecy, prophesy: Discriminate carefully between these words. A prophecy is a prediction, the foretelling of an event; to prophesy is to predict, or foretell an event. Note the difference in spelling.

proposal, as distinguished from proposition, refers to the difference in treatment of the matter at issue. The one invites a plain "yes" or "no," whereas the other suggests consideration or debate. A proposal of marriage usually anticipates an immediate reply, whereas a proposition for partnership involves reflection and discussion of terms.

propose, purpose: Words often used incorrectly. To propose is to offer; to purpose is to intend. One proposes to a young lady if one's purpose is to marry her. Compare contemplate.