Sunday, June 29, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 41)

80 words down and who-knows-how-many more to go. Here are some more:

Verses vs. Versus

Wrong: It was man verses beast.
Right: It was man versus beast.
Right: It was man vs. beast.

Verses strictly refers to lines of poetry, while versus means “against” or “in contrast to” and is often abbreviated as vs. (Be sure to always include the period, even in the middle of a sentence.)

Amount vs. number or quantity

Wrong: We need to collect a larger amount of cans than last year.
Right: We need to collect a larger number of cans than last year.

Use amount when referring to something that can’t be counted. For example, “The storm deposited a large amount of sand on the shore.” Use number or quantity when writing about something that can be counted. “No amount of money can make up for the number of lives lost in the disaster.” (Why did I use amount instead of number with “money”? After all, we can count money, can’t we? Well, just how many monies were we talking about?)

I have plenty more of these to go. Stay tuned.


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