Common Mistakes

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Presume/Assume

Assume has a variety of meanings. It basically means “to take up or on oneself,” “to suppose or take for granted,” “to pretend,” or “to be taken up.” The noun form is assumption. Presume is related to and similar to assume, but it has the sense of doing it beforehand. It means “to dare or

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Nowheres

The adverbs anyway, anywhere, everywhere, nowhere, and somewhere do not end with an -s. Incorrect: I put the pen somewheres around here. Correct: I put the pen somewhere around here.

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Quash/Squash

Quash usually applies to government or government authority. It means “to annul” or “legally invalidate.” Squash means “to squeeze” or “crush.” Examples: The “fairness doctrine” quashed media debates. The army squashed the demonstration in the capital.

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Number/Amount

Use the word amount with quantities that cannot be counted and number with quantities that could be counted one-by-one. Examples: He had a small amount of ammunition left. He had a small number of bullets left. This follows a pattern similar to fewer and less.

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Quote/Quotation/Quotation Mark

Quote is a verb. It means “to repeat the words of a writer or speaker.” Quotation is a noun. It means “words quoted” or “the act of quoting.” Quotation marks are punctuation marks used to highlight a written quotation. Correct: He quoted Shakespeare frequently. Incorrect: We listened to a long quote from the government report.

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