Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/239

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Errors in English

for veracity; if so, there is no doubt that he told the truth or that the account he gave was true.

verbal nouns, especially such as could be replaced by a noun pure and simple, etymologically coordinate, should be preceded by a possessive in sentences of this character: "The cause of Henry ('s) dying was appendicitis." Dying is here equivalent to death; and we should (if we substituted the pronoun) certainly say "the cause of his dying" rather than "the cause of him dying."

verse: The chief meaning of this word is a single line of poetry; sometimes it is used as a synonym for stanza. Some grammarians advocate the use of verse instead of stanza, and the familiar character of the word seems to argue in favor of this use.

very: Excepting where a participle is used solely as an adjective, it is now thought to be more grammatical to interpose an adverb between the participle and this word. Thus, "very greatly dissatisfied" is preferred to "very dissatisfied," whereas "very tired" is accepted as correct. Compare real.

vest: In the sense of waistcoat, this word, which is in better usage a synonym for undervest, is not used by precise speakers.

vice. Compare crime.

vicinity should not be used for neighborhood."

visit: A term sometimes misused. Do not say "The actor has just visited, with much abuse, the