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Glossary of Correct Usage


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maybe,  may be.  Maybe means " perhaps."  May be is a verb form.

    Wrong :

May be the meeting will be cancelled.

    Right :

Maybe the meeting will be cancelled.

    Right :

The meeting may be cancelled.


myself,  himself,  yourself  are reflexive pronouns.  Do not use them unless they refer back to the subject.

    Wrong : No one attended the meeting besides ourselves.
    Right : No one attended the meeting besides us.
    Wrong : A man like himself deserves praise.
    Right : A man like him deserves praise.
    Wrong : Only John and myself witnessed the accident.
    Right : Only John and I witnessed the accident.
    Right : I wrote the composition by myself.
    Right : They themselves did the research. ( or They did the research themselves. )

off of.  Omit " of."

      He fell off the horse.

out loud is not correct.  Say aloud.

    Wrong : He sang out loud.
    Right : He sang aloud.

passed,  pastPassed is a verb.

    Wrong : She past me the salt.
    Right : She passed me the salt.
    Right : One can learn from his past experiences.
    Right : He lives in the past.


percentagepercent.  Use percent after a number.

    Wrong : A large percent of his salary is spent on food.
    Right : A large percentage of his salary is spent on food.
    Right : He spends twenty percent of his income for rent.

prefer is not followed by the preposition than.

    Wrong : I prefer chocolate ice cream than vanilla.
    Right : I prefer chocolate ice cream to vanilla.
    Right : I prefer chocolate ice cream rather than vanilla.
8.   principalprinciple Principal is a noun or an adjective meaning " chief official " or " main."   Principle is a noun, meaning " fundamental truth."
      He followed basic scientific principles.
      He is a man of few principles.
      The principal side effect of the drug is drowsiness.
      My principal objection to smoking is its danger to health.

quiet,  quite.  Quite means " completely."  Do not use quite instead of very, rather, or somewhat.

    Wrong : The apartment is quite expensive.
    Right : The apartment is very ( rather, somewhat ) expensive.
    Right : We must be quiet inside the library.
    Right : You are quite wrong.

raise rise.  The verb rise does not have an object.  The verb raise has an object.  The principal parts of the verb rise are:  rise ( present ), rose ( past ), risen ( past participle ), and rising ( present participle ).  The principal pars of the verb raise are:  raise ( present ), raised ( past ), raised ( past participle ), and raising ( present participle ).

      He raised his hand before asking the question. ( past tense )
      Some questions were raised about income taxes. ( past participle )
      Should a gentleman rise when a lady enters the room ? ( present tense )
      The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. ( present tense )
      After finishing dinner, he rose from the table. ( past tense )
      God has risen from the dead. ( past participle )
      The sun is rising high in the sky. ( present participle )

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