Common Mistakes

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Commas with Titles that Follow Names

Each title that follows a name is set off by commas. Incorrect: Kenneth Griffey Jr. could have broken Maris’ record. Correct: Kenneth Griffey, Jr., could have broken Maris’ record. Correct, if pompous: The book was written by John Kenneth Galbraith, A.B., M.A., Ph.D., D.Sc., Litt.D. (Note that each title is set off by commas.) Numerical

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Tortuous/Torturous/Tortured

Tortuous means “winding, crooked” or “tricky to handle.” Torturous means “causing torture” or “painful in a cruel way.” Tortured as an adjective means “receiving torture” or “pained.” Examples: He had to take a tortuous route through the Alps. He survived the torturous existence of the concentration camp. The beggar gave a tortured look to the

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Who’s/Whose

Whose is the possessive form of who (or, occasionally, which). It means “belonging to whom or which.” Who’s is a contraction of who is or who has. Notice the apostrophe replacing the missing letters. Incorrect: Who’s department do you work for? Correct: Whose department do you work for? Correct: Who’s coming to visit tomorrow?

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Commas in Addresses

Use a comma to separate each part of an address that has two or more parts. This follows the same pattern as geographical names. Commas are not needed if prepositions join the address parts. Incorrect: Write me in care of Post Office Box 203 Shelton Connecticut 06484. (Commas needed) Correct: Write me in care of

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Somewheres

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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