Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 64)

Here are some more words to watch out for:

Longest vs. Longer

Wrong: The Queen Mary is the longest of the two ships.

Right: The Queen Mary is the longer of the two ships.

Use longer or shorter when referring to one of only two; use longest or shortest when referring to one of three or more.

Shone vs. Shown vs. Shined

Wrong: She shown the light down into the grave.

Right: She shone the light down into the grave.

Shone, like shined, is the past tense of shine, however they are used differently. Use shone when describing the act of shedding or casting light. (“The moon shone down upon the graveyard.”) Use shined when describing putting a gloss or polish on something (“I shined my shoes to a mirror finish.”), or when referring to someone distinguishing himself. (“He really shined in the high jump competition yesterday!”). On the other hand, shown is unrelated to shine. It’s the past tense of show, and is preceded by was or had: “She was shown the door.” or “He had shown her the proper way to tie a slipknot.”

More next time.


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