Ulla de Stricker, de Stricker Associates
Following on her piece in the July 2013 issue, Ulla de Stricker offers additional examples of common but easily avoidable errors in English language usage.
Locate or find? Depends—are we talking place or discovery?
WRONG: Users say they can’t locate the information they need on the intranet.
“Locate” means “place, situate”: The architects want to locate a secondary entrance on the building’s south side. The restrooms are located at the end of the hallway.
“of a”: Av-oid the combination! (Take my word: Just avoid it!)
WRONG: I am not that good of a dancer. It was that critical of a situation …
Issue-ification … don’t we have enough issues already?
GRATING: How many issues are on the agenda?
“Issue” means difficulty, conflict, problem, sore point, and so on. “Please vote on the coffee issue” is over the top when the matter at hand is a request for input on preferences for the lunch room!
SOLUTION IF YOU’RE NOT SURE: Will “matter” or “subject” or “topic” do the job? If so, avoid the “issue”!
Principal vs. Principle: “pal” is a person, a key item, or a loan amount; “ple” is a concept
WRONG: The principle reason is cost. The School Principle will speak at noon. The loan principle is $x.
Moral or ethical principles guide our beliefs and decisions. “The principal reason we support the School Principal’s proposal is that we agree with the underlying principle of democratic process.”
SOLUTION IF YOU’RE NOT SURE: The main guideline in our decision to support the School’s Management is …
They sound the same, but …
Horde: large group of people, animals Hoard: stash, collect; a collection
Whose or who’s ? Answer: Who Is!
WRONG: -Who’s are these shoes? Employees who’s pension plans are locked in … Whose responsible?
Dependant vs. Dependent: You may safely lose the ant – it’s only a “vari-ant”.
WRONG: He has two dependants. Dependant on the court judgment, …
SOLUTION IF YOU’RE NOT SURE: Two children depend on him. It will depend on the court judgment whether …