Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/42

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bad grammar
A Desk-Book of

fies the main calling or business of life. An avocation is a diversion.

award. Compare accord.

aware. Compare conscious.

awful, awfully: Awful should not be used of things which are merely disagreeable or annoying, nor in the sense of excessive, exceedingly bad, great, or the like. It is sometimes incorrectly used to designate surprise or distress, as, an awful mouth, that is, a mouth of surprising size. Do not say "He created an awful scene," when you mean that the scene he created was distressing. Things cannot be "awfully nice" nor persons "awfully jolly," notwithstanding the sanction of colloquial usage. Phelps relates the following: "Two travelers at Rome once criticized Michael Angelo's statue of Moses. 'Is it not awful?' said one. 'Yes,' answered the other, 'it is sublime.' 'No, no!' rejoined the other, 'I meant awfully ugly!'" That is awful only which inspires awe.

aye, ay: Meaning always, ever, and pronounced ê (e, as in eight), is to be distinguished from aye, meaning yes, and pronounced ai (ai, as in aisle).


back on, go. Compare go.

back or back up, with the signification of uphold or support has the countenance of high authority, but