Here’s another one in my ongoing series about common errors used in everyday English.
It’s another excerpt from my “list” of words and/or terms that I notice are commonly confused in everyday writing and speaking. Some of these words/terms are used in informal speech as “colloquialisms” but should not be used in most types of formal writing.
This is the third installment. I will be adding to this list in alphabetical order in future posts to this blog. (See blog posts for Sept. and Oct. 2011and Jan. 2012 for the first three).
Commonly Confused Words/Terms (No. 4)
“Enthused” is non-standard. Use “enthusiastic’.
The girls were enthusiastic about their pending trip abroad.
We were very enthusiastic about the upcoming game.
everyone, every one
“Everyone” is an indefinite pronoun that refers to ALL members of a group collectively.
“Every one” as two separate words refers to EACH member of a group.
Everyone left together. Every one of us was wearing a raincoat.
Please thank everyone. Later I will thank every one of them personally.
“Explicit” means clearly and specifically defined. “Implicit” means implied or unstated.
I gave the bank explicit instructions for the transfer.
The fact that he said nothing was seen as implicit approval.
“Farther” relates to distance. Further implies quantity or degree.
Vancouver is farther from Toronto than I thought.
He went further than expected in conducting his research.
“Fewer” refers to items that can be counted. “Less” refers to quantities.
Because fewer people were there, we collected less money.
Although there was less rain this time, fewer cars were on the roads.
“Firstly” is non-standard and sounds pretentious. Use first, second, third, and so on.
First, he created the plan, second he built the prototype…
“Good” is an adjective and must modify something. “Well” is an adverb.
She hasn’t felt good about her game since late last season.
She performed well in the final event of the competition.
Tiger played good golf last weekend; he knows he played well.
NOT: Tiger played good last weekend! INSTEAD: Tiger played well last weekend.
“Hardly” means “scarcely or only just”. It is often used incorrectly as a “double negative”,
as in: “He can’t hardly do it…”, which is incorrect.
Due to the accident, I can hardly remember anything that took place.
has got, have got
“Got” is unnecessary when used with have/has in such phrases as:
“We’ve got twelve days until the deadline.”
We have only twelve days left until the deadline.
“Hisself” is non-standard. DON’T use it. INSTEAD use “himself”.
He went to the game by himself. He did it himself.
Sometimes you can get away with these types of errors when speaking (i.e. people might assume they “misheard” you and/or will give you the benefit of the doubt), but if you make such mistakes when writing they are right there in “black and white” for everyone to see. This is an instant way to lose credibility and will immediately cast doubts on your overall capabilities.
For more writing help articles, and practical examples, go to my main writing help website at:
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