Kamis, 26 Maret 2009

Common Errors in Writing ( part 2 )

Complement and Compliment :
The change from an "e" to an "i" makes a big difference in these two words. The word "complement" is related to the word "complete". If one thing complements another, then the two together make a whole.

In contrast, the word "compliment" is an observation of some good quality in a person. It is considered more sincere than flattery.

Datum and Data :

The word "data" is a plural noun, like "facts". Do not use it as a singular noun ( like fact ) or as a collective ( like water ). Right : "There are many data in that report."

If you want the singular of data ( one bit of information ) then use the word, "datum."
Right : "I need only one datum from that report." This is very seldom used nowadays.

etc :

End of thinking creatively ( E.T.C ). Avoid using "etc."

Fewer and Less :

"Fewer is used for counting while "less" is used for measuring. You can say Kwaku has fewer litres of fuel than Kwame, if litres are discrete things, or you can say Kwaku has less fuel than Kwame, because you measure fuel, not count it.

You can say that Akua has fewer shillings than Efua, or you can say that Akua has less money than Efua. ( You can not say that Efua has shillings or that Kwaku has less litres ). Money is measured while coins and bills are counted.

Glocery store managers display their illiteracy when they put up signs in the express lanes saying ten items or less instead of ten items or fewer.

Forum and Fora :

A forum is a place being used for communication within a group or collection of persons. Historically it was a physical gathering place, but metaphorically it could be in a newspaper or on internet.

More than one "forum" is not "forums." They are "fora." The word has a Latin origin so we do not make the plural by adding the letter "s." The word "fora" refers to several places for discussion. Few people use the word "fora" any more.

In general, "s" is not used to indicate plural for words that are borrowed from Latin. The singular ( one ) should and in "um" while the plural ( more than one ) should end in "a." Examples include : stadium, stadia; medium, media; datum;data. ( The word "media" means more than one medium of communication, ie newspaper, radio and TV ).

Hippopotomonstrousquipedalianism :

Do not use long words.

Hopefully :

Do not use "hopefully" unless you state exactly who is doing the hoping. Say : "They stood hopefully in the rain waiting for the rock star to appear."

Do not say: "Hopefully the bear will stay out of the village, or "Hopefully I will come in time." Say "We hope that the bear will stay out of the village," and "I hope that i will come in time."

Avoid all "....fully" words if you do not specify who is doing the action.

In Spite :

There is no such word as "inspite." Make sure you use the two words separately, "in" and "spite."

Input and Put in :

An "input" is a noun, a thing, It is what you put into a project or process.

"Input" is not verb. You can not say you input something into a project or a process.
You put something in, where "put" is the verb.

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