Common Mistakes

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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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Occult/Cult

These words are sometimes confused because the expression a cult often sounds like the word occult. Cult most commonly means a religious sect organized around a strong leader and requiring beliefs or commitments not typical of other related groups. It can also refer to a following of a particular religious figure or icon within an

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