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Landed Estate for Property in Land. Dreadful!

Last and Past. "Last week." "The past week." Neither is accurate: a week cannot be the last if another is already begun; and all weeks except this one are past. Here two wrongs seem to make a right: we can say the week last past. But will we? I trow not.

Later on. On is redundant; say, later.

Laundry. Meaning a place where clothing is washed, this word cannot mean, also, clothing sent there to be washed.

Lay (to place) for Lie (to recline). "The ship lays on her side." A more common error is made in the past tense, as, "He laid down on the grass." The confusion comes of the identity of a present tense of the transitive verb to lay and the past tense of the intransitive verb to lie.

Leading Question. A leading question is not necessarily an important one; it is one that is so framed as to suggest, or lead to, the answer desired. Few others than lawyers use the term correctly.

Lease. To say of a man that he leases certain premises leaves it doubtful whether he is lessor or lessee. Being ambiguous, the word should be used with caution.

Leave for Go away. "He left yesterday." Leave is a transitive verb; name the place of departure.

Leave for Let. "Leave it alone." By this many persons mean, not that it is to be left in solitude, but that it is to be untouched, or unmolested.

Lengthways for Lengthwise.

Lengthy. Usually said in disparagement of some wearisome discourse. It is no better than breadthy, or thicknessy.

Leniency for Lenity. The words are synonymous, but the latter is the better.

Less for Fewer. "The regiment had less than five hundred men." Less relates to quantity, fewer, to number.

Limited for Small, Inadequate, etc. "The army's operations were confined to a limited area." "We had a limited supply of food." A large area and an adequate supply would also be limited. Everything that we know about is limited.

Liable for Likely. "Man is liable to err." Man is not liable to err, but to error. Liable should be followed, not by an infinitive, but by a preposition.

Like for As, or As if. "The matter is now like it was." "The house looked like it would fall."

Likely for Probably. "He will likely be elected." If likely is thought the better word (and in most cases it is) put it this way: "It is likely that he will be elected," or, "He is likely to be elected."

Line for Kind, or Class. "This line of goods." Leave the word to "salesladies" and "salesgentlemen." "That line of business." Say, that business.

Literally for Figuratively. "The stream was literally alive with fish." "His eloquence literally swept the audience from its feet." It is bad enough to exaggerate, but to affirm the truth of the exaggeration is intolerable.

Loan for Lend. "I loaned him ten dollars." We lend, but the act of lending, or, less literally, the thing lent, is a loan.

Locate. "After many removals the family located at Smithville." Some dictionaries give locate as an intransitive verb having that meaning, but--well, dictionaries are funny.

Lots, or a Lot, for Much, or Many. "Lots of things." "A lot of talk."

Love for Like. "I love to travel." "I love apples." Keep the stronger word for a stronger feeling.

Lunch for Luncheon. But do not use luncheon as a verb.


Ambrose Bierce

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