Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/68

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A Desk-Book of

"As a writer of English he [Addison] is not to be compared, except with great peril to his reputation, to at least a score of men."—Richard Grant White, Words and their Uses, ch. 4, p. 79.

He should have said with. If Addison is to be compared to the (presumably) able writers referred to, it can not be with "peril to his reputation." If comparing him with these men is perilous to his reputation, then for his sake the comparison should not be made. The sentence is an attempt to combine two ideas incompatible in a single construction, viz., "If he is compared with these men, it will be to his disadvantage," and "He is not to be compared to these men."—Standard Dictionary.

complected for complexioned is dialectical in the United States, and not sanctioned in general usage.

complement, compliment: Discriminate carefully between these words. Complement means "full quantity or number; that which is needed to complete or fill up some quantity or thing; or a complete or symmetrical whole." A compliment is "a delicate flattery, an expression of admiration or an act of civility or courtesy."

complete: A speech may be finished but far from complete. To finish is to bring to an end, but to complete is to bring to a state in which there is nothing more to do. You finish your dinner, but complete your toilet.