Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/210

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A Desk-Book of

stricted in its application to marine animals only; as, "a school of whales."

scrap: A vulgarism for "fight" or "quarrel."

screw loose, to have a: A slang phrase used sometimes as a substitute for "to be irrational or mentally weak."

sealing. Compare ceiling.

search me: A colloquialism used usually as a noncommital reply to an interrogatory and best rendered by a decisive answer as, "I don't know."

seasonable, timely: These terms are not synonymous. That which is seasonable is in harmony or keeping with the season or occasion; that which is timely is in good time. A thing may be timely in appearance that is not seasonable.

see, witness: These words are not synonymous. See is used of things, witness of events. Thus, we may see soldiers, but witness a review; see a man, but witness an assault.

seem. Compare appear.

seldom or ever: A very common error for "seldom if ever." One may say "I seldom if ever speak so," meaning to imply doubt; thus, "I seldom speak so if indeed I ever do." An alternative form is "I seldom or never speak so," which is more emphatic and implies personal opinion, as "I speak so very seldom or (according to my belief) probably never. "