GrammarPhile Blog

Common Confusions

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Oct 9, 2013 11:28:00 AM


We see these confusions from time to time in the documents we're asked to copyedit. Fortunately we save our clients from intense embarrassment. You should be aware of these pitfalls:

  • Imply/infer. Imply means "to suggest." You imply something by your own words or actions.
    • Vaxine implied (suggested) that we needed expert assistance.
    Infer means "to assume, to deduce, or arrive at a conclusion." You infer something from another person's words or actions.
    • I inferred from Vaxine's remarks that our brochures were a mess.
  • In regards to. Substitute in regard to, with regard to, regarding, or as regards.
    • I am writing in regard to (not in regards to) your error-ridden white paper published last week.
  • Irregardless. There is no such word! Use regardless.
    • When testing for editors, we eliminate those people who leave this non-word on the form, regardless of how many other points they may get right.
  • Is where/is when.Do not use these phrases to introduce definitions.
    • A dilemma is a situation in which one must choose between sending out the 500,000 improperly edited brochures and incurring the cost of reprinting them without the egregious error. (NOT: A dilemma is where one has to choose...)
    However, these phrases may be correctly used in other situations.
    • The Mayflower Hotel is where the next NEPA annual meeting will be held.
    • Noon on Sunday is when the meeting is usually scheduled to begin.

Topics: misused words

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