Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/21

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Errors in English

acquiesce: Never use the preposition "with" after this word. You acquiesce in an arrangement.

act, action: Do not use one word for the other. A man does a good act rather than a good action. An act is accomplished by an exercise of power, whereas an action is the fact of exerting such power and refers to the modus operandi. A party to a conveyance signifies his exercise of power by the formula "This is my act and deed," but the course pursued, the procedure—the fact of sale and purchase—may be referred to as a wise action.

adherence, adhesion, attachment: These terms are no longer synonymous, although originally so. Adherence is used of things mental or spiritual, as principles, while adhesion is applied to material things. The figurative meaning of adhere appears in adherence, which is somewhat synonymous with attachment and applies to mental conditions or principles. Adhesion is generally reserved for physical attachment; as, "an adhesion effected by glue," although Dowden in his "Studies in Literature" (p. 230,) has written "Browning's courageous adhesion to truth never deserts him." Far better is Johnson's "Shakespeare's adherence to general nature has exposed him to the censure of critics, who form their judgments upon narrower principles."