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Old 11-22-2012, 02:10 AM   #1
_Lynn_
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Troublesome Expressions

Knowing which word to use can be confusing. Lay or lie . . . less or fewer . . . that or which. A dictionary can help (CMS recommends Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary). In the publishing world, writers find help in a usage guide. I have the 15th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, which I’ll use as a reference. For anyone interested, according to the CMS website, they still offer a 30-day free trial to the online version.


Altogether vs. all together

Altogether ~~ ‘wholly’ or ‘entirely’ (that story is altogether false)

All together ~~ refers to a unity of time or place (we were all together at Thanksgiving)
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:13 AM   #2
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I have too many dictionaries.

Most of the time I use the Oxford Compact English Dictionary with 187,000 entries. Beside the desk I have a fat Oxford Shorter. Downstairs I have the photographically reduced Complete Oxford Dictionary (normally 14 fat volumes).

Of course I have a Roget's Thesaurus.

I have several dictionaries of quotations.

Languages: Large academic dictionaries for French, German, Spanish, Italian, Latin and smaller dictionaries for those and other mainly European languages.

But I can still get lie and lay wrong.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:00 AM   #3
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lay vs. lie

Lay ~~ a transitive verb—it demands a direct object [lay your pencils down]. It is inflected lay—laid—laid [I laid the book there yesterday] [these rumors have been laid to rest].

Lie ~~ is an intransitive verb—it never takes a direct object [lie down and rest]. It is inflected lie—lay—lain [she lay down and rested] [he hasn’t yet lain down].
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:00 AM   #4
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all (of)

Delete the of whenever possible [all the houses] [all my children]. The only common exceptions occur when all of precedes a nonpossessive pronoun [all of us] and when it precedes a possessive noun [all of North Carolina's players].
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oggbashan View Post
I have too many dictionaries.

Most of the time I use the Oxford Compact English Dictionary with 187,000 entries. Beside the desk I have a fat Oxford Shorter. Downstairs I have the photographically reduced Complete Oxford Dictionary (normally 14 fat volumes).

Of course I have a Roget's Thesaurus.

I have several dictionaries of quotations.

Languages: Large academic dictionaries for French, German, Spanish, Italian, Latin and smaller dictionaries for those and other mainly European languages.

But I can still get lie and lay wrong.
Very similar to you Og but my shorter Oxford is in 2 volumes which makes it more readable. I have Websters New International but it is so massive in one volume that it's not practical to use. My favourite Dictionary is the Macquarie (Australian) a bit more comprehensive than the concise Oxford and the clearest print of any dictionary I know - only problem is that the paper is so thin it creases easily.
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:26 AM   #6
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Very similar to you Og but my shorter Oxford is in 2 volumes which makes it more readable. I have Websters New International but it is so massive in one volume that it's not practical to use. My favourite Dictionary is the Macquarie (Australian) a bit more comprehensive than the concise Oxford and the clearest print of any dictionary I know - only problem is that the paper is so thin it creases easily.
My Shorter is a very old edition (1962) but I prefer the one volume format.

I have found the Compact Oxford the best compromise for daily use. When I used smaller dictionaries the word I wanted to look up wasn't in them. I knew how to use and spell every word in those dictionaries.

Even the Compact sometimes lets me down but is a good guide for writing. If I am trying to use a word that is genuine but isn't in the Compact then I know that it is obscure. I might understand what I mean but many readers wouldn't. (And Word doesn't like it either!) So I think again and rewrite.

The full photographically reduced Oxford I tend to use only for the unfamiliar words thread in the Authors' Hangout. Most times the Shorter is good enough and easier to use. Trying to copy an entry from the small print of the full Oxford means juggling a heavy book, a magnifying glass, and trying to type.
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Old 11-24-2012, 01:22 PM   #7
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couldn't care less

This is the standard phrasing. Avoid the illogical form could care less.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:35 PM   #8
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alongside

This term, meaning at the side of, should not be followed by of.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:47 PM   #9
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Discrete vs discreet

"Discreet" = quiet, surreptitious. "Discrete" = separate, distinct.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:23 PM   #10
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Your is the possessive form of you.
[your cabin = this cabin of yours]


You're is the contraction for you are.
[you're welcome = you are welcome]
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:26 PM   #11
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The one I'm seeing crop up in a couple of works I'm editing now is writing "waste" when they mean "waist." It's produced some pretty icky images.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:23 PM   #12
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their/they're/there is of course a common one. I've made the mistake myself -- my fingers just type too fast sometimes. And like you/you're, it won't get picked up by spell check.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MistressLynn View Post
lay vs. lie

Lay ~~ a transitive verb—it demands a direct object [lay your pencils down]. It is inflected lay—laid—laid [I laid the book there yesterday] [these rumors have been laid to rest].

Lie ~~ is an intransitive verb—it never takes a direct object [lie down and rest]. It is inflected lie—lay—lain [she lay down and rested] [he hasn’t yet lain down].
I've given up on understanding this one myself and just try to write around it.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:26 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
I've given up on understanding this one myself and just try to write around it.
Ha! I do the same thing.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MistressLynn View Post
Knowing which word to use can be confusing. Lay or lie . . . less or fewer . . . that or which. A dictionary can help (CMS recommends Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary). In the publishing world, writers find help in a usage guide. I have the 15th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, which I’ll use as a reference. For anyone interested, according to the CMS website, they still offer a 30-day free trial to the online version.


Altogether vs. all together

Altogether ~~ ‘wholly’ or ‘entirely’ (that story is altogether false)

All together ~~ refers to a unity of time or place (we were all together at Thanksgiving)
Of course, in a very 'sharing' family, welcoming a new daughter-in-law for the holiday... "We were all to get her at Thanksgiving."
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:00 AM   #16
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a lot

Two words, not one.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:05 AM   #17
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center around

Although this illogical phrasing does have apologists, stylists tend to use either center on or revolve around.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:20 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MistressLynn View Post
Altogether vs. all together

Altogether ~~ ‘wholly’ or ‘entirely’ (that story is altogether false)

All together ~~ refers to a unity of time or place (we were all together at Thanksgiving)
Not so erudite as you but a couple of pointers I use.

Altogether is an adverb meaning 'completely', 'entirely'. Like, 'When I read the story I was altogether blown away.

"All together,” in contrast, is a phrase meaning “in a group.” For example: “The wedding guests were gathered all together in the garden.”

If you can split the words to say, "All the guests were gathered together in the garden you know you are right.

I struggle with 'altogether' as a noun for naked people. We talk of 'undressed people as being in the “in the altogether. Is this a shortening of the phrase “altogether naked"?
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:37 PM   #19
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Other troubles in the "A" section:

ad (this is short for advertisement; it's not tagging more on [add])

adapt/adept (adapt is a verb meaning "adjust"; adept is an adjective meaning "skilled")

advise/inform (advise is to give an opinion; inform is to provide facts [assuming there are such things as facts])

affect/effect (affect is a verb meaning to influence. It is only used as a noun in psychology or literary criticism. Effect is a noun meaning "end result")

aggravate/annoy (aggravate is for something making matters worse; annoy is for irritation)

allude/delude/ellude (allude is to make a direct reference; delude is to deceive; ellude is to escape)

allusion/illusion (allusion is a casual or indirect reference; illusion is a false or deceptive concept or impression)

altar/alter (an altar is a relgious table; alter is to change)

among/between (among is for three or more; between is for two)

anticipate/expect (anticipate is for doing something; expect is to look toward a coming event)

anxious/eager (anxious is for something that's worrisome; eager is for something you're looking forward to)

assure/ensure/insure (assure is for giving confidence; ensure is to make certain something happens; insure is for insurance company policies)

averse/adverse (averse is unwilling, usually with repugnance; adverse is opposing or counteracting.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:07 PM   #20
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Thanks, guys. I'm making myself a nice list. I could have looked them up individually but I'm too lazy today.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:20 PM   #21
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palate/pallet/pellet/palette

palate: Anatomy. the roof of the mouth, consisting of an anterior bony portion (hard palate) and a posterior muscular portion (soft palate) that separate the oral cavity from the nasal cavity.

pallet: a bed or mattress of straw; a small or makeshift bed.

pellet: a small, rounded or spherical body, as of food or medicine; a small wad or ball of wax, paper, etc., for throwing, shooting, or the like; one of a charge of small shot, as for a shotgun; a bullet; a ball, usually of stone, formerly used as a missile.

palette: a thin and usually oval or oblong board or tablet with a thumb hole at one end, used by painters for holding and mixing colors; any other flat surface used by a painter for this purpose; the set of colors on such a board or surface; the range of colors used by a particular artist; the variety of techniques or range of any art: a lush but uneven musical palette.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:29 PM   #22
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Quote:
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a lot

Two words, not one.
http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.co...verything.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Other troubles in the "A" section:

affect/effect (affect is a verb meaning to influence. It is only used as a noun in psychology or literary criticism. Effect is a noun meaning "end result")
"Effect" is also a verb meaning "to bring about": "he effected a change in the legislation" etc.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:36 PM   #23
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Quote:
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http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.co...verything.html



"Effect" is also a verb meaning "to bring about": "he effected a change in the legislation" etc.
A lot

Two words, not one. CMS 5.202 15th edition.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:33 PM   #24
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compliment/complement

A compliment is a flattering or praising remark [a compliment on your skill].

A complement is something that completes or brings to perfection [the lace tablecloth was a complement to the antique silver].

The words are also verbs: To compliment is to praise, while to complement is to supplement adequately or to complete.
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:23 AM   #25
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Quote:
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A lot

Two words, not one. CMS 5.202 15th edition.
I stand by the link I posted above :-)
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