Commonly Misused Words and Phrases Part # 2Part # 2 Part # 3 Part # 4Part # 3Part # 4 Slide 2 Where is the error? We received alot of e-mails supporting the new policy. A lot is often incorrectly written as one word (alot). The phrase a lot is informal and normally should not be used in technical writing. Use many or numerous for estimates or give a specific number or amount. Slide 3 Where is the error? The electrolyte actuates the battery. Both activate and actuate mean make active, although actuate is usually applied only to mechanical processes. The relay actuates the hammer. [mechanical process] The electrolyte activates the battery. [chemical process] The governor activated the National Guard. [legal process] Slide 4 Where is the error? Both General Motors as well as Ford is marketing hybrid vehicles. Do not use as well as with both. The two expressions have similar meanings; use one or the other and adjust the verb as needed. Both General Motors as well as Ford is marketing hybrid vehicles. Both General Motors and Ford are marketing hybrid vehicles. Slide 5 All right All right means all correct. (The answers were all right.) In formal writing, it should not be used to mean good or acceptable. It is always written as two words, with no hyphen; alright is nonstandard. Slide 6 Where is the error? To achieve Fairness, the scheduler should assign resources equally between the three users. Between is normally used to relate two items or persons. (The alloy offers a middle ground between durability and cost.) Among is used to relate more than two. To achieve Fairness, the scheduler should assign resources equally among the three users. Slide 7 Where is the error? We can not meet the deadlines specified in the contract. Cannot is one word. We cannot meet the deadlines specified in the contract. Slide 8 Where is the error? A pre-defined criteria is used to evaluate the students. Criterion is a singular noun. Criteria and criterions are both acceptable plural forms of criterion, but criteria is generally preferred. A pre-defined criterion is used to evaluate the students. Slide 9 Where is the error? He left work due to illness. Due to (meaning caused by) is acceptable following a linking verb. Due to is not acceptable, however, when it is used with a non-linking verb to replace because of. He left work because of illness. His absence was due to a work-related injury. Slide 10 Where is the error? The conference included speakers from five countries; i.e., Germany, Italy, Japan, China, and the United States. The abbreviation e.g. stands for the Latin exempli gratia, meaning for example; i.e. stands for the Latin id est, meaning that is. If i.e. or e.g. connects a noun and an appositive, a comma should precede it and follow it. Slide 11 Where is the error? The conference included speakers from five countries, i.e., Germany, Italy, Japan, China, and the United States. If i.e. or e.g. connects two independent clauses, a semicolon should precede it and a comma should follow it. The conference reflected international viewpoints; i.e., Germans, Italians, Japanese, Chinese, and Americans gave presentations. Slide 12 Where is the error? The sorting machine processes coins (for example pennies, nickels, etc.), and then packages them for redistribution. Etc. is an abbreviation for the Latin et cetera, meaning and others or and so on. do not use etc. at the end of a series introduced by the phrases such as and for example. Do not italicize etc. Slide 13 Where is the error? Every one of the team members contributed to this discovery. Although normally everyone and everybody are written as one word, write it as two words if you wish to emphasize each individual in a group. The sentence is correct and has no errors. Slide 14 Where is the error? It is a fact that our research has improved because we now have a capable technical staff. Do not use the word fact to refer to matters of judgment or opinion. In my opinion, our research has improved because we now have a capable technical staff. Slide 15 Former/latter The president and his aide emerged from the conference, the former looking nervous and the latter looking glum. Former and latter should be used to refer to only two items in a sentence or paragraph. Because these terms make the reader look to previous material to identify the reference, however, they complicate reading and are best avoided. Slide 16 Where is the error? Janet presented a well plan. Good is an adjective, and well is an adverb. ADJECTIVE Janet presented a good plan. ADVERB She presented the plan well. Well also can be used as an adjective to describe health (a well child, wellness programs). Slide 17 Omit unnecessary words In order to start the engine, open the choke and then press the starter. Most often, in order to is a meaningless filler phrase that is dropped into a sentence without thought. To start the engine, open the choke and then press the starter. Use the numbers in the graph in order to evaluate the zero point. Slide 18 Where is the error? Its essential that the lab maintain its quality control. Its is a possessive pronoun and does not use an apostrophe. Its is a contraction of it is. Its essential that the lab maintain its quality control. Slide 19 Where is the error? The media is the main reason behind the problems in Egypt. Media is the plural of medium and should always be used with a plural verb. The media are the main reason behind the problem The Internet is a multifaceted medium. Slide 20 Is there any error? The tests will give an indication if the virus is present. Nominalization is a noun form of a verb that is often combined with general (or weak) verbs like make, do, give, perform, provide. Avoid nominalizations when you can use specific verbs that communicate the same idea more directly and concisely. The tests will indicate if the virus is present. The staff should perform an evaluation of (evaluate) the new software. Slide 21 What is the correct sentence? None of the clients has been called yet. OR None of the clients have been called yet. None can be either a singular or a plural pronoun, depending on the context. None of the clients has been called yet. [Use a singular verb even with a plural noun (clients) if the intended emphasis is on the idea of not one.] None of the clients have been called yet. [Use a plural verb if you intend none to refer to all clients.] Slide 22 Where is the error? Neither the architects nor the client were happy with the design. Two or more singular subjects joined by or or nor usually take a singular verb. However, when one subject is singular and one is plural, the verb agrees with the subject nearer to it. Neither the architects nor the client was happy with the design. Neither the architect nor the clients were happy with the design. Slide 23 Where is the error? Mr. Smith gave his okay to the project. The expression okay (also spelled OK) is common in informal writing, but it should be avoided in most technical writing. Mr. Smith approved the project. Slide 24 Where is the error? She is one of those managers who is concerned about their writing. A dependent clause beginning with who or that and preceded by one of those takes a plural verb. She is one of those managers who are concerned about their writing. She is the only one of those managers who is concerned about her writing.