Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/57

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Errors in English

broke: A colloquial phrase common in commercial circles for "to become bankrupt." These terms are avoided by persons who cultivate a refined diction.

brothers: Distinguished from brethren. The one applies to those who are brothers by birth, whereas the other indicates fraternal relationship in some order or society.

building, being built: There are advocates of either form. Fitzedward Hall has shown conclusively that "is being built" has been used by the best writers for a century or more, and now has universal literary sanction. Richard Whately, George P. Marsh, Richard Grant White, and other critics have strenuously objected to this use. In literature there is support enough for their views: Milton wrote "while the Temple of the Lord was building." Dr. Johnson, in writing to Boswell, of his Lives of the Poets said "My 'Lives' are reprinting;" Macaulay followed the same style and wrote "Chelsea Hospital was building;" "while innocent blood was shedding." Being has a special modern use with passive forms of verbs to express progressive action. For example, is, are, or was being built, expresses what is expressed also by is, are, or was building, a-building, or in building. Both forms are permissible, but "is being built" is more frequently heard and, perhaps, preferable.