Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Common Problems (Part 10 of 16)

  • Is it until? Till? ‘Til? That’s an easy one to remember: Till and ‘Til are both acceptable today, but many of us still prefer until.
  • What about beside and besides? Both are prepositions but with different meanings; they’re not interchangeable. Beside means at the side of or close to. Besides means in addition to. Here are examples of the correct use: I park the car beside the house. Who is going to ride with me besides you? 
  • Many writers are troubled over due to (and I used to avoid it). Think of the two-word phase meaning as caused by. An easy rule is to use due to only when you can logically substitute caused.
  • Burst, bust, and busted. Despite the common usage, the standard form for the present, future, past, and past participle is burst. He burst the balloon. He will burst the balloon if he isn’t careful. Yesterday he burst six balloons. This is one of those rules that will probably change, but for now . . . 
  • Etc. I see this occasionally and my rule is don’t use it. It’s an abbreviation of et cetera, which means and so on. Try the expression, “and others.” (I avoid “and so forth” because it has become cliché).

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