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Glossary of Correct Usage


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1.   its,  it's It's is a contraction of it is.  Its is a possessive pronoun.

  It's essential that we leave on time.


  Its habits have been studied in detail.


kindsort  are singular words which may be modified by that or this.

    Wrong :

I like these kind of students.

    Right :

I like this kind of student.

    Right :

These kinds of machines are very useful.

    Wrong : Those sort of people amuse me.
    Right :

That sort of person amuses me.


kind of a,  sort of a.  Omit "a."

    Wrong : What sort of a wife is she ?
    Right : What sort of wife is she ?

kind of,  sort of are sometimes confused with the word " somewhat."

    Wrong :

The record was kind of expensive.

    Right : The record was somewhat expensive.

later,  latter.  Latter refers to the last name of two.  Do not use latter if more than two are named.  Later is the compartive of late.

    Wrong : John, Mary, and Susan entered the room. The latter was carrying a typewriter.
    Right : John, Mary, and Susan entered the room. The last named was carrying a typewriter.
    Right : There are a typewriter and a pencil sharpener on the desk.  The latter needs to be repaired.

lay,  lie.  The verb lay has an object;  the verb lie does ot have an object.  The principal parts of the verb lay are:  lay ( present),  laid ( past ),  laid ( past participle), and laying ( present participle ).  The principal parts of the verb lie are:  lie ( present ), lay ( past ), lain ( past participle ), and lying ( present participle ).

    Wrong : I always lay down after I eat dinner.
    Right : I always lie down after I eat dinner. ( present tense )
    Wrong : He laid down because he had a headache.
    Right : He lay down because he had a headache. ( past tense )
    Wrong : The books are laying on the table.
    Right : The books are lying on the table ( present paticiple )
    Right : The teacher laid her books on her desk. ( past tense )
    Right : The boys have lain under the tree for several hours. ( past participle )
    Right : She has laid her head on the pillow. ( past participle )
    Right : Her head lies on the pillow. ( present tense )


leavelet  are sometimes confused.

    Wrong : She will not leave me smoke inside the classroom.
    Right : She will not let me smoke inside the classroom.
    Right : Leave ( or let ) me alone.

lendloanLend is a verb;  loan is a noun.

    Wrong : Would you loan me your pencil.
    Right : Would you lend me your pencil.
    Right : He went to the bank to take out a loan.
9.   likeasas if Like is a preposition;  asas if ( or as though ) are conjunctions.  As is also a preposition when it means " in the capacity of."
    Wrong : She doesn't study like she should.
    Right : She doesn't study as she should.
    Wrong : She acts like she doesn't understand.
    Right : She acts as if ( or as though ) she doesn't understand.
    Right : As a member of the organization, I have a right to vote.
    Right : He eats like a bird.

lose looseLose is a verb.  Loose means " not tight."

      She will lose weight if she goes on a diet.
      One of the buttons on my shirt is loose.

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