Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/55

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Errors in English

coin, as being newly come from the fire and forge. Bran-new is a colloquialism.

brand of Cain: By a peculiar perversion of facts, this is invariably referred to as a stigma similar to the scarlet letter with which Hester Prynne was indeed branded. But the brand was an act of mercy and "a token of Divine protection," for "the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest any finding him should slay him."

bravery, courage: Inasmuch as the courageous may be without bravery and the brave without courage a careful discrimination should always be made in the use of these terms. Courage is rather a virtue of the mind, whereas bravery is temperamental. Your courage may ooze out, as it were, at the palms of your hands, but bravery which is instinctive, remains. For this reason bravery may often be misplaced, true courage—which ever seeks to do the right thing at the right time, regardless of results—never.

bred and born: An erroneous sequence of words. One is born before one is bred therefore say "born and bred."

brevity, conciseness: Words sometimes misused. Brevity is commonly applied to shortness of time, but it has the sanction of literary usage for conciseness or condensation of language into few words. A speech may be concise yet comprehensive; that is, it may cover the entire range of a subject in few