|Directions: Review the following words and expressions commonly misused. For each of these words and expressions, write example sentences to show incorrect and correct usage.
Many of the words and expressions here listed are not so much bad English as bad style, the commonplaces of careless writing. As illustrated under Feature, the proper correction is likely to be not the replacement of one word or set of words by another, but the replacement of vague generality by definite statement.
All right: Idiomatic in familiar speech as a detached phrase in the sense, “Agreed,” or “Go ahead.” In other uses better avoided. Always written as two words.
As good or better than: Expressions of this type should be corrected by rearranging the sentence.
As to whether: Whether is sufficient.
Bid Takes the infinitive without to. The past tense is bade.
Case: The Concise Oxford Dictionary begins its definition of this word: “instance of a thing’s occurring; usual state of affairs.” In these two senses, the word is usually unnecessary.
It has rarely been the case that any mistake has been made.
Certainly: Used indiscriminately by some speakers, much as others use very, to intensify any and every statement. A mannerism of this kind, bad in speech, is even worse in writing.
Character: Often simply redundant, used from a mere habit of wordiness.
Claim, vb: With object-noun, means lay claim to. May be used with a dependent
clause if this sense is clearly involved:
Compare: To compare to is to point out or imply resemblances, between objects regarded as essentially of different order; to compare with is mainly to point out differences, between objects regarded as essentially of the same order. Thus life has been compared to a pilgrimage, to a drama, to a battle; Congress may be compared with the British Parliament. Paris has been compared to ancient Athens; it may be compared with modern London.
Clever: This word has been greatly overused; it is best restricted to ingenuity displayed in small matters.
Consider: Not followed by as when it means, “believe to be.”