Commonly Misused Words and Expressions

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Department
ENG - ENG-English
Course
ENG 356
Professor
Marianne Gingher
Semester
Spring

Description
Commonly Misused Words and Expressions I. On the contrary This is the first in a series of notes in which I discuss expressions that are commonly misused by Japanese writers. The expression ``on the contrary" is used very often in the papers I proofread, and it is almost always used incorrectly. This expression can only be used to introduce a statement that expresses a meaning that is opposite to what has been previously stated or to what is expected. Its use gives emphasis to the statement in which it appears and to the falsity of that which this statement denies. The following sentences demonstrate its proper use: 1. Today is not cold. On the contrary, this is the warmest day thus far this spring. 2. This interaction does not lower the energy of the system. On the contrary, it increases the energy by such a large amount that the approximation used above becomes invalid. In most of the cases that ``on the contrary" is used in the papers I read, the intended meaning is that expressed by ``contrastingly", ``in contrast", ``by contrast", ``while", ``but", ``however", etc. Consider the following (incorrect) examples: 1. Anderson investigated the full system in the weak-coupling limit. On the contrary, we consider the simplified system described by (1) and study it in the strong-coupling limit. 2. This equation can be easily solved. On the contrary, that derived in Sect. 1 can only be treated numerically. 3. Bose-Einstein statistics describe integer spin particles. On the contrary, the particles in which we are interested are always of half-integer spin. 4. In the case discussed above, t >0t .1On the contrary, in the present case, t < 0 . 1 5. The primitive form of analysis used in the previous section does not allow us to draw any definite conclusions with regard to properties of this solution. On the contrary, with the form of analysis developed in this section we are able to determine upper bounds on the values it assumes in each of the intervals in question. Note that in none of these cases does the second sentence contradict the first. For this reason, ``on the contrary" is inappropriate. Rather than contradiction, in each case above, the second sentence presents a situation which is in contrast with or in some sense inconsistent with that presented in the first sentence. In 1, the situation in which Anderson investigates the full system and that in which we investigate a simplified system are not mutually exclusive. In 2, since we are considering different equations, there is nothing contradictory about claiming that one of them can be solved easily while the other cannot. The following are some possibilities for corrected versions of the above examples. 1. Anderson investigated the full system in the weak-coupling limit, while we consider the simplified system described by (1) and study it in the strong-coupling limit. 2. This equation can be easily solved. Contrastingly, that derived in Sect. 1 can only be treated numerically. 3. Bose-Einstein statistics describe integer spin particles, while the particles in which we are interested are always of half-integer spin. 4. In the case discussed above, t > t0. H1wever, in the present case, t < t . 0 1 5. The primitive form of analysis used in the previous section does not allow us to draw any definite conclusions with regard to properties of this solution. Contrastingly, with the form of analysis developed in this section we are able to determine upper bounds on the values it assumes in each of the intervals in question. II. ``keep,'' ``maintain'' and ``preserve'' In this note I discuss the use and misuse of the three related words ``keep,'' ``maintain'' and ``preserve.'' The word ``keep'' is often mistakenly used by Japanese authors in situations that ``maintain'' or ``preserve'' would be appropriate. In fact, in the papers I read, this word is more often used improperly than properly. In written English, and in particular scientific writing, it is best to avoid words with very broad meanings and to use in their place more precise expressions: ``perform,'' ``carry out,'' ``undertake,'' or ``execute'' instead of ``do,'' ``take on,'' ``obtain,'' or ``become'' instead of ``get,'' etc. The situation is the same in the case considered presently. Because the word ``keep'' has many meanings, its use can be ambiguous, and it is therefore better to use more narrowly defined (and therefore more precise) words such as ``retain,'' ``maintain,'' ``preserve,'' ``conserve'' and ``prevent.'' Misuse of ``Keep'' The following are typical ways in which the word ``keep'' is misused: 1. The system keeps its symmetry under the transformation ${\cal{T}}$. 2. The qualitative behavior of the system is kept even when the temperature is raised by as much as 10 Δ T. 3. The delicate balance of these two opposing terms is kept until the critical temperature, because until this point, the operator P keeps the only relevant quantity, z. 4. In this way, the system is kept from reaching a global equilibrium. 5. The integral of this function keeps its value for all time. * 6. This measurement keeps the total angular momentum of the system. 7. Of course, the system keeps its total energy. 8. The center-of-mass distances are all kept during the evolution. * 9. The propagator keeps the values of α and β. * 10. The material keeps its structural integrity until the amplitude of the driving force is increased to f . 0 These sentences are better written as follows: 1. The system maintains its symmetry under the transformation ${\cal{T}}$. 2. The qualitative behavior of the system is maintained even when the temperature is raised by as much as 10 Δ T. 3. The delicate balance of these two opposing terms is maintained until the critical temperature, because until this point, the operator P preserves the only relevant quantity,z. 4. In this way, the system is prevented from reaching a global equilibrium. 5. The integral of this function is independent of time. 6. This measurement preserves the total angular momentum of the system. 7. Of course, the system maintains its total energy. 8. The center-of-mass distances are all preserved during the evolution. 9. The propagator preserves the values of α and β. 10. The material maintains its structural integrity until the a
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