Follow up from yesterday's post ... let's look at some commonly misused words and phrases.
Borrowed from THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by Strunk and White, pages 44-56:
Disinterested. Means "impartial." Do not confuse it with uninterested, which means "not interested in."
-ize. Do not coin verbs by adding this tempting suffix. Many good and useful verbs do end in -ize: summarize, fraternize, harmonize, fertilize. But there is a growing list of abominations: containerize, prioritize, finalize, to name three.
Nauseous. Nauseated. The first means "sickening to contemplate"; the second means "sick at the stomach." Do not, therefore, say, "I feel nauseous," unless you are sure you have that effect on others.
People. A word with many meanings. ... The word people is best not used with words of number, in place of persons. If of "six people" five went away, how many would be left? Answer: one people.
A note from Margo: If you found any of these interesting or eye opening, I highly recommend this book! Many points are obvious to me, but I am shocked at how many "rules" I did not know before reading this book. Hmm. Maybe these are the types of little errors the agents quickly spot in novice query letters and submissions?