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Common errors in English usage - misspelled words list - daily 10 words - Part 15


The best use for "utilize" is to mean "make use of": "Ryan utilized his
laptop in the library mainly as a pillow to rest his head on." In most
contexts, "use" is simpler and clearer. Many readers consider "utilize"


Some young people use "verse" as a verb meaning "to play against," as in
"I'll verse you at basketball after school." Computer gamers are
particularly fond of virtual opponents versing each other. Presumably
this bit of slang derives from the word "versus," but it's not standard
English and is likely to confuse outsiders.


Wednesday was named after the Germanic god "Woden" (or "Wotan"). Almost
no one pronounces this word's middle syllable distinctly, but it's
important to remember the correct spelling in writing.


"I appreciate your cleaning the toilet" is more formal than "I
appreciate you cleaning the toilet."


For most purposes either form is a fine past participle of "prove,"
though in a phrase like "a proven talent" where the word is an adjective
preceding a noun, "proven" is standard.


Protestants often refer to "the Catholic religion." Catholicism is a
faith or a church. (Only Protestants belong to "denominations.") Both
Catholics and Protestants follow the Christian religion.


A mechanic services your car and a stallion services a mare, but most of
the time when you want to talk about the goods or services you supply,
the word you want is "serve": "Our firm serves the hotel industry."


The first two words are pronounced the same but have distinct meanings.
An official group that deliberates, like the Council on Foreign
Relations, is a "council"; all the rest are "counsels": your lawyer,
advice, etc. A consul is a local representative of a foreign government.


"Device" is a noun. A can-opener is a device. "Devise" is a verb. You
can devise a plan for opening a can with a sharp rock instead. Only in
law is "devise" properly used as a noun, meaning something deeded in a


The pronunciation of "genuine" with the last syllable rhyming with
"wine" is generally considered less classy than the more common
pronunciation in which the last syllable rhymes with "won."

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