Tricky Rules

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Historic/Historical

Historical normally means “having taken place in history” or “from the past” or “having to do with history.” Historic means “having significance in history.” It usually refers to an event or person. Historically is the adverb form of both words.

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Judicious/Judicial/Juridical

All three words have similar roots, but judicious applies to human character in general. Judicial and juridical are more specifically connected with matters of law. Judicious means “wise, showing good judgment.” Judicial means “relating to courts of law or judges.” Juridical means, more specifically, “relating to the administration of justice.” Examples: He judiciously invested in

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Hopefully

Hopefully is an adverb which means what it ought to–“full of hope” or “characterized by hope.” It normally modifies verbs. Nonstandard English sometimes substitutes the word hopefully for I hope (or some other subject with the verb hope). Correct: They listened hopefully for the sound of the rescue party. (They listened with hope) Incorrect: Hopefully,

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Just, Use of

When using the word just as an adverb meaning “no more than,” place it directly in front of the word it modifies. Similarly, place the word only directly in front of the word it modifies. Vague: Just give me three more days. Correct: Give me just three more days. Vague: I only have three dollars.

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Except/Accept

Accept means “to receive.” Except is usually a preposition meaning “but” or “leaving out.” However, except can also be a verb meaning “to leave out.” As verbs, accept and except are nearly antonyms, so the difference is important! Examples: He accepted the gift. (He received it.) He excepted the twins. (He did not include them.)

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