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Editing Tips - More misused words

© 1999 by Mary Embree

~ Mary Embree, SPAWN's Founder, is a writer, editor, and publishing consultant.

In the June issue of SPAWNews, I listed a number of words that are frequently confused or used incorrectly. Here are some more to add to that list:

auger a tool

augur a prophet (noun); to prophesy (verb)

canvas cloth

canvass to examine or seek opinions

continual intermittent; frequent; often repeated

continuous uninterrupted in time; without cessation

councilor member of a council

counselor one who gives advice

criminologist one who studies crime as a social phenomenon

criminalist a forensic investigator

disburse to pay out

disperse to scatter

flaunt to show off

flout to show contempt for

forbear to refrain or abstain from

forebear ancestor; forefather

forego to precede

forgo to relinquish

foreword a short introductory statement; a preface

forward toward what is in front of; an offensive player in sports

gibe to jeer or taunt

jibe to be in agreement; to shift sails

hail to acclaim; to attract: hail a cab; to be from (verb); ice pellets (noun)

hale healthy, robust, vigorous; to compel someone to go: hale a person into court

hoard a stash (noun); to store away (verb)

horde a wandering group or a swarm

imply to indicate

infer to draw a conclusion

mantel a facing or frame around a fireplace; a shelf above

mantle a cloak or cape; something that conceals: mantle of darkness

rack framework (noun); spread out, torture, torment: she racked her brain (verb)

wrack damage or destruction: wrack and ruin (noun); to wreck (verb)

recision an act of canceling or voiding; to cut back

rescission the act of rescinding, invalidating or repealing

Mary can be reached at



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