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


Each Other for One Another. "The three looked at each other." That is, each looked at the other. But there were more than one other; so we should say they looked at one another, which means that each looked at another. Of two, say each other; of more than two, one another.

Edify for Please, or Entertain. Edify means to build; it has, therefore, the sense of uplift, improvement--usually moral, or spiritual.

Electrocution. To one having even an elementary knowledge of Latin grammar this word is no less than disgusting, and the thing meant by it is felt to be altogether too good for the word's inventor.

Empty for Vacant. Say, an empty bottle; but, a vacant house.

Employé. Good French, but bad English. Say, employee.

Endorse for Approve. To endorse is to write upon the back of, or to sign the promissory note of another. It is a commercial word, having insufficient dignity for literary use. You may endorse a check, but you approve a policy, or statement.

Endways. A corruption of endwise.

Entitled for Authorized, Privileged. "The man is not entitled to draw rations." Say, entitled to rations. Entitled is not to be followed by an infinitive.

Episode for Occurrence, Event, etc. Properly, an episode is a narrative that is a subordinate part of another narrative. An occurrence considered by itself is not an episode.

Equally as for Equally. "This is equally as good." Omit as. "He was of the same age, and equally as tall." Say, equally tall.

Equivalent for Equal. "My salary is equivalent to yours."

Essential for Necessary. This solecism is common among the best writers of this country and England. "It is essential to go early"; "Irrigation is essential to cultivation of arid lands," and so forth. One thing is essential to another thing only if it is of the essence of it--an important and indispensable part of it, determining its nature; the soul of it.

Even for Exact. "An even dozen."

Every for Entire, Full. "The president had every confidence in him."

Every for Ever. "Every now and then." This is nonsense: there can be no such thing as a now and then, nor, of course, a number of now and thens. Now and then is itself bad enough, reversing as it does the sequence of things, but it is idiomatic and there is no quarreling with it. But "every" is here a corruption of ever, meaning repeatedly, continually.

Ex. "Ex-President," "an ex-convict," and the like. Say, former. In England one may say, Mr. Roosevelt, sometime President; though the usage is a trifle archaic.

Example for Problem. A heritage from the text-books. "An example in arithmetic." An equally bad word for the same thing is "sum": "Do the sum," for Solve the problem.

Excessively for Exceedingly. "The disease is excessively painful." "The weather is excessively cold." Anything that is painful at all is excessively so. Even a slight degree or small amount of what is disagreeable or injurious is excessive--that is to say, redundant, superfluous, not required.

Executed. "The condemned man was executed." He was hanged, or otherwise put to death; it is the sentence that is executed.

Executive for Secret. An executive session of a deliberative body is a session for executive business, as distinguished from legislative. It is commonly secret, but a secret session is not necessarily executive.

Expect for Believe, or Suppose. "I expect he will go." Say, I believe (suppose or think) he will go; or, I expect him to go.

Expectorate for Spit. The former word is frequently used, even in laws and ordinances, as a euphemism for the latter. It not only means something entirely different, but to one with a Latin ear is far more offensive.

Experience for Suffer, or Undergo. "The sinner experienced a change of heart." This will do if said lightly or mockingly. It does not indicate a serious frame of mind in the speaker.

Extend for Proffer. "He extended an invitation." One does not always hold out an invitation in one's hand; it may be spoken or sent.

Ambrose Bierce

Sorry, no summary available yet.