Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/241

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
Errors in English

warm: A slang term used for "rich," formerly in vogue in England.

warm, not so: A vulgar phrase applied to persons and meaning usually "not as important" or "not as accurate" as the person to whom the epithet is applied may think himself to be.

was, is: These terms are sometimes confused, especially in dependent sentences that state unchanging facts. Then the present tense should be used in the dependent sentence notwithstanding the fact that the principal verb may denote action in the past. Say, "He said that space is (not was) infinite"; "We assert that life is everlasting. "

watch, observe: These words have a similarity of meaning, but watch expresses a scrutiny or close observation which is not implied by the latter. You observe a preacher's manner but carefully watch a thief. When you observe intently and concentrate your entire thoughts upon the thing observed you watch. You observe the hour of day but watch the time lest you lose your train.

way or 'way, as an abbreviation of the adverb away, as "'way out West," is an impropriety of speech. Say, rather, "He has gone (or is in the) West."

ways, for way: In the sense of "space or distance," the erroneous form ways, for way, is often used colloquially, perhaps originally through confusion with the suffix -ways; as, "The church is a long