Common Mistakes

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Raise/Rise

Raise means “to make higher,” “build,” or “nurture and cause to grow.” It is normally transitive, that is, the action is done to something or someone else. Rise means “to get up” or “become elevated.” It is never transitive. The past tense is rose; the past participle, risen. Examples: They raised the barn in two

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Fortunate/Fortuitous

Fortuitous means “happening by chance.” Fortunate means “lucky” or “beneficial.” Examples: Finding the lost coin was strictly fortuitous; I just stumbled upon it. I was fortunate to find that coin because I needed the money.

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In after Want

The verb want is not supposed to be followed by an adverb or preposition indicating direction such as in, out, up, off or down. When using standard English, complete the sentence by including the words left out of such expressions as want in or want down. Incorrect: He wants out of the contract. Correct: He

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Less/Littler (More Little)

The word little can be used in two different senses–meaning “small in size” or “small amount of.” Examples: He was still a little boy. (small in size) Please give me a little milk. (small amount of) This becomes trickier in the comparative and superlative because little has two different forms. If little means “small in

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Gone/Went

Gone is the past participle of to go. Used as the verb of a sentence, it must always be preceded by an auxiliary verb such as has, have, had, is, am, are, was, were, be, or one of their contractions. Went is the past tense of to go. It never takes an auxiliary verb. Incorrect:

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