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LESSON XIII

MISUSED ADJECTIVES

Apt, likely, liable.-Apt implies a fitness or a natural tendency. Likely refers to a contingent event regarded as very probable, and usually, though not always, favorable. Liable refers to a contingency regarded as unfavorable. He is an apt scholar. Iron is apt to rust. An impetuous speaker is apt to say more than he can prove. An industrious person is likely to succeed. A delicate person is liable to catch cold. If I sign my name to a note as security, I am liable for the debt.

Childish, puerile, childlike.-Childish and puerile, when applied to a mature person, are usually taken in an unfavorable sense; childlike is used in a good sense. “As childish expresses the intellectual poverty, so childlike expresses the moral simplicity of a child."-Smith.

Continuous, continual.-Continuous signifies without a pause or a break. Continual admits of short pauses or intermissions. We often have continuous rains for several days. Some countries have continual rains for several months.

Couple, two.- Do not say a couple of weeks or a couple of dollars. Weeks and dollars do not come in couples. Couple in its primitive signification means not only two things, but two things united by some bond.

Credible, creditable, probable, plausible.—A story that may be believed is credible. That which is likely to happen is probable. That which pleases the ear but does not satisfy the judgment is plausible. Creditable means worthy of approbation. We may speak of a credible story, a probable out, come, a plausible excuse, a creditable way of doing business.

Desirous, anxious.-Desirous simply means eager, while anxious implies painful suspense.

Excellent, grand, splendid.— A thing is excellent when it surpasses other things of the same kind in some good quality or in the sum of qualities. A thing to be crcellent must be morally good, serviceable, or desirable. Grand implies a union of excellence with greatness or vastness; as, “A grand cataract.” Splendid is applied to abstract qualities only and always implies something brilliant, shining, or gorgeous.

Exceptionable, exceptional.-Exceptionable signifies liable to exception, objectionable, while exceptional signifies uncommon, out of the ordinary; as, “This passage I look upon as the most exceptionable in the whole poem.” -Addison. This country has exceptional advantages for commerce.

Frightful, dreadful, awful, very.—The first three of these words express fear, but in different degrees. They are often used extravagantly in the place of the simple word very. Space will not permit of a full discussion of these words. (See "Synonyms Discriminated," by C. J. Smith, page 352.)

Healthy, healthful, wholesome.-Healthy signifies having health or causing health; as, “A healthy child,” “A healthy climate.” However, healthful is usually used in the sense of conducive to health, virtue, or morality; as, “A healthful climate," "Healthful exercise," "The healthful Spirit of thy grace." Wholesome signifies making whole, keeping whole or sound, whether of body or mind; as, “Wholesome food,” “Wholesome air,”' "Wholesome advice."

Mad, angry.- Many Americans use the word mad when they mean angry. Mad signifies crazy or of unsound mind.

Mutual, common, reciprocal.-Mutual implies sameness of condition at the same time, and is properly applied to two persons, while common applies to more than two. “Reciprocal signifies giving backward and forward by way of return. Voluntary disinterested services rendered to each other are mutual; imposed or merited services returned from one to the other are reciprocal.Crabb.

Nice, pleasant.— The word nice is greatly overworked by many in such expressions as, “A nice dinner," "A nice day,” “A nice country,” “A nice sermon,” “A nice showing,” “A nice time.” We properly say, “An excellent dinner,” “A pleasant day," "A beautiful country,” “An ercellent sermon,” “A splendid showing,” “An enjoyable time;" but “A nice point,” “A nice distinction,” “A nice discrimination."

Pitiable, pitiful, piteous.—Pitiable means deserving of pity. Pitiful signifies full of that which awakens pity. Piteous applies to that which excites the emotion. A man is made pitiable on account of circumstances independent of his own action. What is pitiful in a man arises from his own unworthiness, while that which is pitcous arises from his weakness or inability to help himself. After the wreck, the man was found in a pitiable condition. As he was lifted from the ground he uttered a piteous cry. The condition of the drunken man was pitiful indeed. Pitiful may also refer to what is deserving of pity, being used chiefly for that which is merely an object of thought, while pitiable is applied to that which is brought directly before us.

Possible, practicable, practical, feasible.- Nany things are possible but not probable or practical. The possibility of a thing depends upon the agent.

or resources.

A plan is said to be practicable when it can be carried out by available means

Practical differs from practicable in that it applies to those things that may be turned to use or account; as, Practical chemistry,” Practical grammar.Feasible is like practicable, but it is applicable only to the physical action or to human plans and designs.

Sincere, candid, frank.- To be sincere is to be pure in thought and feeling; to be candid is to be free from prejudice and reserve; to be frank is to be free and open in the expression of one's sentiments, whatever they may be. A man who is sincere in his belief will utter no untruths. The man is candid who is fair-minded and ready to admit his own shortcomings. A frank man speaks as he thinks, regardless of what his opinions may be.

Social, sociable.- Sociable denotes a greater degree of familiarity than social. Man is a social being, yet all men are not sociable.

Sure, certain.-Our feelings make us sure; our judgment makes us certain. We are certain of what is already done. We may be sure of what is to be done.

Surprised, astonished, amazed, astounded, appalled. These words are here given in the order of their strength. We are surprised at what is unexpected. We are astonished at that which is not likely to happen. We are amazed at that which is incomprehensible or frightful. We are astounded at that which strikes terror. We are appalled when we are so frightened as to turn pale.

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He has been out of his head all day. He has been delirious all day. He is very much out of fix.

He is not feeling well. He is an ornery, good-for-nothing He is a worthless man. man.

"Ornery” is a vulgarism. My hand is swelled.

My hand is swollen. "Swelled” is a verb; "swollen” is an adjective.

Name......

Grade.....

EXERCISE 24

Insert in each blank space the adjective that expresses the exact meaning:

(Deduct two per cent for each error.)

Apt-likely-liable

to

1.

students are likely to succeed. 2. For manhood's sake we would not say of any man that he is

be married; yet under certain circumstances, most men are ... to be married.

-White. 3. If a man break the law, he is

to punishment. 4. If you go there, you will be

to get into trouble. 5. Each member of a partnership is

for the debts of the firm.

Childish-puerile-childlike 1. She laughed in

... glee. 2. We expect nothing from a youth but what is juvenile; we are surprised and dissatisfied to see what is.

in a man.-Crabb. 3. The lawyer made many

objections. 4. He conducted himself with

grace and simplicity. 5. We could but love this simple, 6. When I became a man I put away

things.-Bible. 7. This man is getting old and

man.

Continual-continuous 1. A storm of wind or rain that never intermits an instant is

succession of showers is 2. If I am exposed to ....

interruptions, I cannot pursue a train of thought.-Whately.

;a

1

Couple-a couple of-two

1. Scarce any

come together but their nuptials are declared in the newspapers with encomiums on each party.—Johnson. 2. Take

drops before each meal. 3. He will be here in ..... days. 4.

.... ladies were injured.

Credible-creditable-probable-plausible

1. A tale written in the Bible, which must needs be

:-Gower. 2. This is a ....

way of living. 3. His story sounds

enough, but I do not believe it. 4. That is accounted

which has better arguments producible for it than can be brought against it.

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