Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/93

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Errors in English

well, as never in his life before, he can not win." The tendency has been to use both ever so and never so loosely and vaguely.

ever so: The phrases ever so great, little, much, many, etc., meaning "very" or "exceedingly great," etc., may be carefully discriminated from never so great, little, etc., meaning "inconceivably great, little," etc. Compare never so.

every: A collective pronominal singular that is sometimes incorrectly used with a verb in the plural. Do not say "Every passenger of the two hundred aboard were detained at the dock." Say, rather, "Every passenger … was detained."

every confidence: The phrase is objected to by some critics on the ground that "every is distributive, referring to a number of things that may be considered separately, while confidence is used as a mass-noun." The adjective, therefore, as signifying all or entire, is not permitted, though the phrase is accepted by many as being elliptical, the words "sort of" being understood after every; but implicit confidence is a preferable phrase.

every which way: A pleonastic colloquialism for "every way"; "in all directions"; either of which phrases may be used in preference.

evidence, testimony: These words are often used as if they were interchangeable. Greenleaf says "Testimony, from the Latin, testis, a witness, is, how-