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July 21, 2016

Common Errors in English Usage with Explanations - Part 41

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    • When arranging the party for the boss, be sure to be discrete.   (wrong)
    • When arranging the party for the boss, be sure to be discreet.  (correct)
      • Explanation : The more common word is 'discreet', meaning 'careful not to cause embarrassment or attract too much attention, especially by keeping something secret'. When arranging party for the boss, be sure to be discreet; we want him to be surprised.' 'Discrete' means 'separate, distinct': 'He arranged the guest list into two discrete groups : non-vegetarians and vegetarians. 
      • Tip to Remember : Note how the 'T' separates the two 'Es' in 'discrete'.
    • Remember the do's and don't's.   (wrong)
    • Remember the do's and don'ts.  (correct)
      • Explanation : One unusual use of apostrophes is to mark plurals of words when they are being treated as words, as in 'pro's and con's', although plain old 'pros and cons' without apostrophes is fine. But 'don't' already has one apostrophe in it, and adding another looks awkward in the phrase 'do's and don't's,' so people wind up being inconsistent and writing 'do's and don'ts.' This makes no logical sense. You can also skip the extra apostrophes and write 'dos and don'ts,' unless you're afraid that 'dos' will remind readers of MD-DOS. 
    • I will download the video of your birthday party to You Tube.   (wrong)
    • I will upload the video of your birthday party to You Tube.  (correct)
      • Explanation : Most people do far more downloading (transferring files to their computers) than uploading (transferring files from their computers), so it's not surprising that they often use the first word for the second word's meaning. You don't download the video of your birthday party to You Tube - you upload it. 
    • The distinguishing cuts made into an animal's ear are its hallmarks.  (wrong)
    • The distinguishing cuts made into an animal's ear are its earmarks.  (correct)
      • Explanation : The distinguishing cuts made into an animal's ear are its earmarks. They work like brands to mark ownership. Originally, gold and silver articles assayed at Goldsmith's Hall in London received a 'Hallmark' to certify them as genuine. 
    • The set didn't phase her.   (wrong)
    • The set didn't faze her.  (correct)
      • Explanation : 'Faze' means to embarrass or disturb, but is almost always used in the negative sense. 'Phase' is a noun or verb that signifies a distinct period. 'He's just going through a difficult phase. '
    • He was feint of heart.  (wrong)
    • He was faint of heart.  (correct)
      • Explanation : A feint, whether in chess or on the battlefield, is a manoeuvre (a movement or set of movements needing skill and care) designed to divert the opponent's attention from the real centre of attack. A feint is a daring move. Do not use this very specialized word in the expression 'faint of heart' (or 'faint at heart'), which implies timidity. 
    • She has a flare for writing.   (wrong)
    • She has a flair for writing.  (correct)
      • Explanation : 'Flair' is conspicuous talent : 'She has a flair for writing.' 'Flare' is either a noun meaning 'flame' or a verb meaning to blaze with light or to burst into anger. 
    • She tried to flout her diamond necklace.   (wrong)
    • She tried to flaunt her diamond necklace.  (correct)
      • Explanation : To flaunt is to show off : you flaunt your new necklace by wearing it to work. 'Flout' has a more negative connotation; it means to treat with contempt some rule or standard. The cliche is 'to flout convention'. Flaunting may be in bad taste because it's ostentatious (too obviously showing your money, possessions, or power, in an attempt to make other people notice and admire you), but it is not a violation of standards. 
    • He could forsee the future.  (wrong)
    • He could foresee the future.  (correct)
      • Explanation : Foresee is a misspelling. The word 'foresee' means 'to see into the future'. There are lots of words with the prefix 'fore-' which are future - oriented, including 'foresight', 'foretell', 'forethought' and 'foreword', all of which are often misspelled by people who omit the 'e'. 
    • The use of this gadget is full proof.   (wrong)
    • The use of this gadget is foolproof.  (correct)
      • Explanation : If you want to get credit for solving a complicated mathematical problem, you will have to provide a 'full proof'. But if you are referring to something that can't go wrong you want to make it 'foolproof'. 
    • He wrote in the 50's.  (wrong)
    • He wrote in the 50s. (correct)
      • Explanation : There's  no requirement for the apostrophe before the 'S' in decade names like 50s and 60s, since there are no omitted letters. 
    Shared by Bhargav Gupta Yechuri
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