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T

Talented for Gifted. These are both past participles, but there was once the verb to gift, whereas there was never the verb "to talent." If Nature did not talent a person the person is not talented.

Tantamount for Equivalent. "Apology is tantamount to confession." Let this ugly word alone; it is not only illegitimate, but ludicrously suggests catamount.

Tasty for Tasteful. Vulgar.

Tear Down for Pull Down. "The house was torn down." This is an indigenous solecism; they do not say so in England.

Than Whom. See Whom.

The. A little word that is terribly overworked. It is needlessly affixed to names of most diseases: "the cholera," "the smallpox," "the scarlet fever," and such. Some escape it: we do not say, "the sciatica," nor "the locomotor ataxia." It is too common in general propositions, as, "The payment of interest is the payment of debt." "The virtues that are automatic are the best." "The tendency to falsehood should be checked." "Kings are not under the control of the law." It is impossible to note here all forms of this misuse, but a page of almost any book will supply abundant instance. We do not suffer so abject slavery to the definite article as the French, but neither do we manifest their spirit of rebellion by sometimes cutting off the oppressor's tail. One envies the Romans, who had no article, definite or indefinite.

The Following. "Washington wrote the following." The following what? Put in the noun. "The following animals are ruminants." It is not the animals that follow, but their names.

The Same. "They cooked the flesh of the lion and ate the same." "An old man lived in a cave, and the same was a cripple." In humorous composition this may do, though it is not funny; but in serious work use the regular pronoun.

Then as an Adjective. "The then governor of the colony." Say, the governor of the colony at that time.

Those Kind for That Kind. "Those kind of things." Almost too absurd for condemnation, and happily not very common out of the class of analphabets.

Though for If. "She wept as though her heart was broken." Many good writers, even some devoid of the lexicographers' passion for inclusion and approval, have specifically defended this locution, backing their example by their precept. Perhaps it is a question of taste; let us attend their cry and pass on.

Thrifty for Thriving. "A thrifty village." To thrive is an end; thrift is a means to that end.

Through for Done. "The lecturer is through talking." "I am through with it." Say, I have done with it.

To. As part of an infinitive it should not be separated from the other part by an adverb, as, "to hastily think," for hastily to think, or, to think hastily. Condemnation of the split infinitive is now pretty general, but it is only recently that any one seems to have thought of it. Our forefathers and we elder writers of this generation used it freely and without shame--perhaps because it had not a name, and our crime could not be pointed out without too much explanation.

To for At. "We have been to church," "I was to the theater." One can go to a place, but one cannot be to it.

Total. "The figures totaled 10,000." Say, The total of the figures was 10,000.

Transaction for Action, or Incident. "The policeman struck the man with his club, but the transaction was not reported." "The picking of a pocket is a criminal transaction." In a transaction two or more persons must have an active or assenting part; as, a business transaction, Transactions of the Geographical Society, etc. The Society's action would be better called Proceedings.

Transpire for Occur, Happen, etc. "This event transpired in 1906." Transpire (trans, through, and spirare, to breathe) means leak out, that is, become known. What transpired in 1906 may have occurred long before.

Trifling for Trivial. "A trifling defect"; "a trifling error."

Trust for Wealthy Corporation. There are few trusts; capitalists have mostly abandoned the trust form of combination.

Try an Experiment. An experiment is a trial; we cannot try a trial. Say, make.

Try and for Try to. "I will try and see him." This plainly says that my effort to see him will succeed--which I cannot know and do not wish to affirm. "Please try and come." This colloquial slovenliness of speech is almost universal in this country, but freedom of speech is one of our most precious possessions.


Ambrose Bierce

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