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Tip 10: Commonly Misused Words

Words and Expressions Commonly Misused from Chapter IV of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, fourth edition:

Aggravate- means “to add to” an already troublesome matter or condition.
Irritate- means “to annoy.”
For example: Jeff, please do not aggravate the situation by irritating Tom-again.

And/or is “a shortcut that damages a sentence and can lead to confusion or ambiguity.”
Avoid using it. Please. When at all possible.

Anticipate-Use the word expect in the sense of simple expectation. ‘Anticipate’ can sound pretentious.

As to whether-Whether is sufficient.

Fortuitous-it means ‘limited to what happens by chance.’ Do not use it to mean fortunate or lucky.

Fixin’ to-The Texas way of saying that you are about to do something. Neither Strunk nor White mentioned it. Deal with it.