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Notes of [Elements of Style] by Strunk and White – VI(c)

Imply – Infer

The former means “indicate” or “suggest” but not expressed; the latter involves a process of deduction from facts.


When used as “more importantly”, it can usually be omitted.

Inside – Inside of

Unless meaning “in less than”, the latter should be substituted with the former.

In terms of 

Should be avoided.


Should be replaced with the thing that is interesting.

Irrespective of – Regardless of



Try not to create verb by adding ‘-ize’; it doesn’t work every time.

Lay – Lie

lay – laid – laid – laying

lie – lay – laid – lying

Less – Fewer

The former stresses quantity, e.g., “he has less troubles than me” means his troubles are not that great;

The latter stresses number, e.g., “he has fewer troubles than me” means his troubles are not that numerous.

Like – As

The former governs nouns and pronouns while the latter governs phrases and clauses.

Line/Along these lines

Often abused; instead use more accurate words to rephrase the meanings.


Try to replace it with more accurate descriptions.


Too vague; try to be more accurate.

Nauseous – Nauseated

The former means something that makes people feel like vomiting; the latter means being uncomfortable in the stomach.


Try avoid using it unless when describing accuracy, e.g., “nice distinction”.


WRONG: He cannot sleep nor eat.

CORRECT: He cannot sleep or eat. / He cannot sleep and nor can he eat. / He can neither sleep nor eat.

Offputting, Ongoing

Incorrect words; avoid using them.


‘One’ should correspond to ‘one’s’. “One should watch one’s step” but not “One should watch his step”.


About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

Making an Impact in Your Life


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