Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 48)

More frequently misused words:

Proved vs. proven

Right: He proved his case.
Right: She was proved wrong.
Right: She was proven wrong.
Right: Unless I’m proven wrong, my decision stands.

Proven must be proceeded by a form of the verb “to be” (am/are/is/was/were/will be/will have been/could be/might be, and so on), while proved is correct either with or without a form of to be. In the fourth example, the two words are interchangeable. However, sometimes one sounds better than the other. (Personally, I feel that proved wrong, when spoken, doesn’t flow as well as proven wrong.)

Shear vs. sheer

Wrong: She cried out in shear terror.
Right: She cried out in sheer terror.

Shear means to cut, so unless she’s being menaced by pinking shears, it’s sheer, as in utter.

Please come back for more words next time.


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