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Common errors in English usage - misspelled words list - daily 10 words - Part 12


Journalists often use this mild term to describe all manner of civil
disorders, but it's silly to call mayhem or chaos merely "unrest" when
there are bullets flying about and bodies lying in the streets.


There are a few unusual words in English when ending in "MN" in which
the "N" is silent, such as "hymn" and "column," but "volume" is not one
of them.


Confused by the spelling of "guarantee," people often misspell the
related word "warrantee" rather than the correct "warranty." "Warrantee"
is a rare legal term that means "the person to whom a warrant is made."
Although "guarantee" can be a verb ("we guarantee your satisfaction"),
"warranty" is not. The rarely used verb form is "to warrant."


Here's a case in which eagerness to avoid error leads to error. The
original expression is the last part of a deliberately ungrammatical
joke: "If that's what you think, you've got another think coming."


"Pronounce" is the verb, but the "O" is omitted for the noun:
"pronunciation." This mistake ranks right up there in incongruity with


In ordinary speech these two words are often treated as interchangeable,
though it's "revolving credit account" and "rotating crops." Scientists
make a sharp distinction between the two: the earth revolves (orbits)
around the sun but rotates (spins) around its axis.


"Select" means "special, chosen because of its outstanding qualities."
If you are writing an ad for a furniture store offering low prices on
some of its recliners, call them "selected recliners," not "select
recliners," unless they are truly outstanding and not just leftovers
you're trying to move out of the store.


"Current" is an adjective having to do with the present time, and can
also be a noun naming a thing that, like time, flows: electrical
current, currents of public opinion. "Currant" refers only to little


Popular expressions like "not that big a deal" and "what's the deal?" in
which "deal" stands vaguely for something like "situation" are fine in
casual spoken English, but inappropriate in formal writing.
Even in casual speech, it's better to leave out the "of" in "not that
big of a deal."


We used to grow our hair long or grow tomatoes in the yard, but now we
are being urged to "grow the economy" or "grow your investments."
Business and government speakers have extended this usage widely, but it
irritates traditionalists. Use "build," "increase," "expand," "develop,"
or "cause to grow" instead in formal writing.

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