Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

B

Back of for Behind, At the Back of. "Back of law is force."

Backwards for Backward.

Badly for Bad. "I feel badly." "He looks badly." The former sentence implies defective nerves of sensation, the latter, imperfect vision. Use the adjective.

Balance for Remainder. "The balance of my time is given to recreation." In this sense balance is a commercial word, and relates to accounting.

Banquet. A good enough word in its place, but its place is the dictionary. Say, dinner.

Bar for Bend. "Bar sinister." There is no such thing in heraldry as a bar sinister.

Because for For. "I knew it was night, because it was dark." "He will not go, because he is ill."

Bet for Betted. The verb to bet forms its preterite regularly, as do wet, wed, knit, quit and others that are commonly misconjugated. It seems that we clip our short words more than we do our long.

Body for Trunk. "The body lay here, the head there." The body is the entire physical person (as distinguished from the soul, or mind) and the head is a part of it. As distinguished from head, trunk may include the limbs, but anatomically it is the torso only.

Bogus for Counterfeit, or False. The word is slang; keep it out.

Both. This word is frequently misplaced; as, "A large mob, both of men and women." Say, of both men and women.

Both alike. "They are both alike." Say, they are alike. One of them could not be alike.

Brainy. Pure slang, and singularly disagreeable.

Bug for Beetle, or for anything. Do not use it.

Business for Right. "He has no business to go there."

Build for Make. "Build a fire." "Build a canal." Even "build a tunnel" is not unknown, and probably if the wood-chuck is skilled in the American tongue he speaks of building a hole.

But. By many writers this word (in the sense of except) is regarded as a preposition, to be followed by the objective case: "All went but him." It is not a preposition and may take either the nominative or objective case, to agree with the subject or the object of the verb. All went but he. The natives killed all but him.

But what. "I did not know but what he was an enemy." Omit what. If condemnation of this dreadful locution seem needless bear the matter in mind in your reading and you will soon be of a different opinion.

By for Of. "A man by the name of Brown." Say, of the name. Better than either form is: a man named Brown.


Ambrose Bierce

Sorry, no summary available yet.