Tricky Rules

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Envious/Jealous/Suspicious

Jealous means “apprehensive or vengeful out of fear of being replaced by someone else.” It can also mean “watchful,” “anxiously suspicious,” “zealous,” or “expecting complete devotion.” The last is normally applied to God. The noun form is jealousy; the adverb form, jealously. Envy means “to bear a grudge toward someone due to coveting what that

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Bad/Badly

Bad is an adjective. It describes nouns or pronouns. It is often used with descriptive linking verbs like look, feel, sound, or to be. Incorrect: She felt badly about missing the date. Correct: She felt bad about missing the date. (Bad describes the pronoun she.) Incorrect: Things looked badly for the Mudville nine. Correct: Things

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Could Have/Could Of

Could of does not exist. Neither do should of, will of, or would of as verbs. Write could have, should have, will have, or would have. If you want to emphasize the pronunciation, write it as a verb contraction: could’ve, should’ve, will’ve, or would’ve.

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Equivocal/Equivocable

Unequivocal means “leaving no doubt.” Unequivocable does not exist. Equivocal, equivocally, and unequivocally are all legitimate words with the same root. Similarly, equivocable, equivocably, and unequivocable do not exist.

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Because after Reason

Do not use because after the reason. Use the reason plus that, or else rewrite the sentence. The word because starts adverb clauses, but the noun reason needs an adjective modifier. The word that introduces adjective clauses which modify nouns. Incorrect: The reason he left is because he was frustrated. Correct: The reason he left

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