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Glossary of Correct Usage

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1.  

reason ..... because is not correct.  Say reason ..... that

         
    Wrong :

The reason I came late was because I overslept..

    Right :

The reason I came late was that I overslept.

         
    Wrong :

The reason that he makes poor grades is because of his poor study habits.

    Right :

The reason that ( or why ) he makes poor grades is his poor study habits.

         
         
2.  

sayssaidSaid is the past tense.

         
    Wrong :

John ran into the room and says, " There is a stranger outside."

         
    Right : John ran into the room and said, " There is a stranger outside."
         
         
3.  

seldom ever,  seldom or ever are incorrect.  Use seldom if ever or hardly ever.

         
    Wrong : He seldom ever plays tennis.
         
    Right : He seldom if ever ( or hardly ever ) plays tennis.
         
     
4.  

sit,  set.  Sit does not take an object;  set takes an object.  The principal parts of the verb sit are : sit ( present ),  sat ( past ),  sat ( past participle),  and sitting ( present participle ).  The principal parts of the verb set are:  set ( present ),  set ( past ),  set ( past participle),  and setting ( present participle ).

         
      The old man is sitting under the tree. ( present participle )
      She set the chair beside the window. ( past tense )
      He sat down to rest. ( past tense )
      They set a date for the meeting. ( past tense )
      Sit here. ( present tense )
      The guests are sitting at the table. ( present participle )
     
         
5.  

so that.  So that refers to " purpose."  Do not omit " that."

         
    Wrong : He came here so he could study English.
         
    Right : He came here so that he could study English.
         
         
6.

 

such.  Do not use such to mean " very."  In a result clause;  such should be followed by that.

         
    Wrong : New York is such a crowded city.
    Right : New York is a very crowded city.
         
    Right : New York is such a crowded city that I wouldn't like to live there.
         
         
7.  

superior  is followed by the preposition to ( not than ).

         
    Wrong : My toothpaste is superior than the other brands on the market.
         
    Right : My toothpaste is superior to the other brands on the market.
         
         
8.   sure and try are not followed by and.
         
    Wrong : Be sure and study for the test.
    Right : Be sure to study for the test.
         
    Wrong : Try and get some rest.
    Right : Try to get some rest.
         
         
9.  

that.  Do not omit that in noun clause.

         
    Wrong : My objective to smoking is it is dangerous to health.
    Right : My objective to smoking is that it is dangerous to health.
         
    Wrong : He assured me he understood my problem and he would try to help me.
    Right : He assured me that he understood my problem and that he would try to help me.
         
         
10.  

their,  there,  they're.

         
      They're over there beside the cabinet.
      I am not interested in their motives.
      There was nothing left to do.
      There are several reasons for his actions.
      They're coming later this afternoon.
     
     
 
 
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