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Name for Title and Name. "His name was Mr. Smith." Surely no babe was ever christened Mister.

Necessaries for Means. "Bread and meat are necessaries of life." Not so; they are the mere means, for one can, and many do, live comfortably without them. Food and drink are necessaries of life, but particular kinds of food and drink are not.

Necessities for Necessaries. "Necessities of life are those things without which we cannot live."

Née. Feminine of , born. "Mrs. Jones, née Lucy Smith." She could hardly have been christened before her birth. If you must use the French word say, née Smith.

Negotiate. From the Latin negotium. It means, as all know, to fix the terms for a transaction, to bargain. But when we say, "The driver negotiated a difficult turn of the road," or, "The chauffeur negotiated a hill," we speak nonsense.

Neither--or for Neither--nor. "Neither a cat or fish has wool." Always after neither use nor.

New Beginner for Beginner.

Nice for Good, or Agreeable. "A nice girl." Nice means fastidious, delicately discriminative, and the like. Pope uses the word admirably of a dandy who was skilled in the nice conduct [management] of a clouded cane.

Noise for Sound. "A noise like a flute"; "a noise of twittering birds," etc. A noise is a loud or disagreeable sound, or combination or succession of sounds.

None. Usually, and in most cases, singular; as, None has come. But it is not singular because it always means not one, for frequently it does not, as, The bottle was full of milk, but none is left. When it refers to numbers, not quantity, popular usage stubbornly insists that it is plural, and at least one respectable authority says that as a singular it is offensive. One is sorry to be offensive to a good man.

No Use. "He tried to smile, but it was no use." Say, of no use, or, less colloquially, in vain.

Novel for Romance. In a novel there is at least an apparent attention to considerations of probability; it is a narrative of what might occur. Romance flies with a free wing and owns no allegiance to likelihood. Both are fiction, both works of imagination, but should not be confounded. They are as distinct as beast and bird.

Numerous for Many. Rightly used, numerous relates to numbers, but does not imply a great number. A correct use is seen in the term numerous verse--verse consisting of poetic numbers; that is, rhythmical feet.


Ambrose Bierce

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