Special Sub-Topic: Common Errors in Usage Part III
|I love my new job, but now I must commute (farther/further) to work each day.|
farther. "Farther" should be used to refer to a physical distance. "Further" is metaphorical. For example, "This matter is no longer open to further discussion." Don't fret too much if you missed this one - it is pretty minor and is rarely noticed.
|The members of the restaurant association pointed to evidence that the proposed city-wide smoking ban would harm their businesses, even though the statistical data (was/were) inconclusive.|
were. "Data" is a plural noun, with the singular being "datum". Therefore use a plural form of the verb. The same applies to "media" (plural) and "medium" (singular). Like question #1, most people will never notice this if you err, so don't worry too much.
|The President seems quite focused on the international scene. (But/However,) he does not seem to have a handle on the domestic economy.|
However & However,. However is the better word and is more formal. Starting a sentence with a conjunction such as "and" or "but" is less formal, but it can add some punch to your writing style.
|I much prefer reading the "Dallas Observer" to reading "The Dallas Morning News", even though the "Dallas Observer" is only published (weekly/on a weekly basis).|
weekly. "On a weekly basis" is wordy, a bit pretentious, and totally unnecessary.
|(Comprised/Composed) of more than 118 million items, the United States Library of Congress is the largest library in the world.|
Composed. The phrase "comprised of" is fairly common and generally incorrect. "Comprise" can often mean "contain", as in the sense that the library "comprises books" (as in "contains books"). Imagine if you said that the library "is contained of" books and that is exactly what you say when you say it "is comprised of" books. Use "composed" in this and similar circumstances.
|Any competent attorney should tell you to get it in writing! A written contract is much better proof in court than a(n)(verbal/oral) one.|
oral. The technical, and better antonym of "written" is "oral", meaning spoken. Both "written" and "oral" statements are verbal. Of course this is a diehard distinction that has all but disappeared, since most people will assume you mean "oral" when you say "verbal".
|Serious bodybuilders make sure they consume many grams of protein every day through foods that are protein-rich, (e.g./i.e.), chicken breast, tuna, and eggwhites.|
e.g. & e. g. & eg & e g. "E.g." is latin for "exempli gratia", or "for example". "I.e.", on the other hand, means "id est", or "that is". The former abbreviation is normally followed by a list of items that exemplify the point, while the latter is followed by a restatement of the point place to clarify that point. You cannot interchange these two abbreviations. In either case, remember that you always follow these abbreviations with a comma.
|As a Certified Public Accountant, I can offer my next employer over 5 (years'/years) experience as a manager.|
years'. You must use the apostrophe in the absence of "of". "5 years of experience" is the same as "5 years' experience", and the two are interchangeable.
|Ninety percent of this school's faculty (do/does) not smoke cigarettes.|
does. This point is a bit tricky. Normally when referring to a percentage of something, you are referring to a number less than 1. Therefore it is better to use the singular form of the verb as in the above instance. However, if the percentage is of a countable entity, the plural verb form should be used. For example, "Ninety percent of all smokers argue that they have the right to smoke in public restaurants."
|I like Coca-Cola (more/better) than Pepsi.|
more. Use "more than" in more formal situations. "Better than" has become almost interchangeable with "more than" but is still considered informal. I hope you enjoyed this quiz!
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