Common Mistakes

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Unequivocal/Unequivocable

Unequivocal means “leaving no doubt.” Unequivocable does not exist. Equivocal, equivocally, and unequivocally are all legitimate words with the same root. Similarly, equivocable, equivocably, and unequivocable do not exist.

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Would Have/Would Of

Could of does not exist. Neither do should of, will of, or would of as verbs. Write could have, should have, will have, or would have. If you want to emphasize the pronunciation, write it as a verb contraction: could’ve, should’ve, will’ve, or would’ve.

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Commas with Certain Words Omitted

Words intentionally left out of clauses may be shown by a comma. A comma is used when the missing words are clearly understood. Incorrect: George liked the color green; John red. (Confusing) Correct: George liked the color green; John, red. (Now missing words are understood.)

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Suspicious/Jealous/Envious

Jealous means “apprehensive or vengeful out of fear of being replaced by someone else.” It can also mean “watchful,” “anxiously suspicious,” “zealous,” or “expecting complete devotion.” The last is normally applied to God. The noun form is jealousy; the adverb form, jealously. Envy means “to bear a grudge toward someone due to coveting what that

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Uninterested/Disinterested

Disinterested means “impartial” or “not taking sides.” (In other words, not having a personal interest at stake.) Uninterested means “not interested.” (In other words, not showing any interest.) Correct: A good referee should be disinterested. (He does not take sides.) Incorrect: He was disinterested in Jill’s hobby. Correct: He was uninterested in Jill’s hobby. (He

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