Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/58

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A Desk-Book of

building, construction: Alfred Ayres (Some Ill-used Words, p. 44) quotes the following example of the misuse of these words: "These two advisory bodies have recommended the building of battleships. It is understood that Mr. Long is opposed to the construction [constructing] of any armorclads." Mr. Ayres points out that if building is correct—and it is—then construction is incorrect and the correct word to use is constructing.

bum: A vulgar term for "an idle, dissolute fellow; a loafer,"—on the bum. A vulgar phrase used to denote that that to which it is applied is of poor quality, badly done, or has been subjected to careless treatment.

busted: A slang term for financially broken, not used by persons accustomed to a refined diction. Compare broke.

but, however: Discriminate carefully between these words. Do not say "He is suffering—not, however, acutely;" say rather, "He is suffering, but not acutely."

but that: Implies a negative, but when it follows another negative phrase (as "I don't know but that I did it") it suggests the positive or, as in the example given above, the likelihood or possibility that some act has been done. Locutions of this kind should be avoided as inelegant, say rather "I may have done it."