GrammarPhile Blog

Look Smart Using These Words Properly

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Sep 4, 2013 5:30:00 AM

We're keeping things simple this week. Check out these words and make sure you are using them correctly.

Former, first. Former refers to the first of two persons or things. When more than two are mentioned, use first.
  • He has skied behind a MasterCraft and a Ski Centurion, but he prefers the former.
  • She has driven a Bronco, a Suburban, and a 4Runner, but she prefers the first. 
Farther, further. Farther refers to actual distance; further refers to figurative distance and means "to a greater degree" or "to a greater extent."
  • The trip to Frye's Leap was farther (in actual distance) than we expected.
  • Let's discuss the plan for the tournament further (to a greater extent) next week. 
Except. When except is a preposition, be sure to use the objective form of a pronoun that follows.
  • Everyone has the flu except Mortimer and me. (NOT: Mortimer and I.) 

Non, un. According to the Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary, most words with the prefixes non and un are not hyphenated.
  • nonfattening, nonbeliever, noncorporate, noncorrosive, noncreative, noncritical, nonliterary, nonalcoholic. (BUT: non-Jewish, non-Russian.)
  • uncoordinated, uninformed, unindexed, unintended, unintelligible, unwon, unwrinkled, unwounded. (BUT: un-American.)

Topics: misused words

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