Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/52

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A Desk-Book of

boost, to: A vulgarism for "to assist"; used also as a noun, as "He gave me a boost in business" for "He assisted me…."

borne, the past participle of bear, must not be confounded with the adjective born. "Man is born to sorrow, which may or may not be well borne."

both: When both is used in a negative sentence, the meaning intended is sometimes doubtful. "Both applicants were not accepted." Were both applicants rejected? Or, was one rejected and the other accepted? Or, was neither applicant accepted or rejected? A similar confusion of sense occurs in some negative sentences containing all, when not is misplaced; this practically contradicts the sense intended, or makes it ambiguous; as, all will not go, that is, not all will go—meaning some will and some will not go. "All were not of that mind" (probably) not all were of that mind, or (possibly) all were of a different mind or minds from the one spoken of. So, also, when all is used substantively. "All that glisters is not gold"—not all that glisters is gold. A peculiarity of both is that it can not be negatived by connecting not immediately with it, except elliptically in sentences of unusual form that are obviously arranged for the prevention of misunderstanding—as in correcting the doubtful meaning of the sentence cited above, "Both applicants were not accepted." If one asks, in order to clear its confu-