usage

secondary, second Link to this term

a secondary infection (like an ear infection following on from the primary infection of a cold), secondary education (following on from primary education). But a second heart attack, a second cold (suffering the same illness again).

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gigaton or gigatonne Link to this term

Metric (tonne) and imperial (ton) differ slightly in mass but seem interchangeable when applied to gigatons/tonnes (a billion tons/tonnes) in climate change discussion. The main thing is to be consistent.

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well known, better known, best known Link to this term

he's well known for his wit, better known for his temper but best known for his flower arranging. We sometimes write 'most well known', which is not the best usage.

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imminent Link to this term

'...after Cate Blanchett's imminent departure at the end of next year...' Macquarie says 'imminent' means likely to occur at any moment, impending; so a highly publicised departure planned for a definite time, especially when it's a year away, cannot really be described as imminent.

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adage or cliche Link to this term

Found on the RN site this week: You know the old cliche, a photo says a thousand words... That's not a cliche, it's a traditional adage, proverb or saying, and it should read: 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. A cliche is an overused phrase that has lost its meaning, like 'at the end of the day' or 'battle with cancer'. An adage usually tells a universal truth and its wording is set in stone. Its use can be metaphorical: 'Too many cooks spoil the broth,' or 'It's a long road that has no turning.'

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emigrate Link to this term

to leave one country and travel to another where you will live permanently. To immigrate is to arrive in one country from another.

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into or in to Link to this term

one word except where 'in' and 'to' belong to separate phrases, as in 'sworn in to the presidency' or 'I walked in to work'. Into is being used more and more often where 'in' by itself is enough. For instance, 'enter a film into the festival.' is too thrusting by far. All that's needed is enter a film in the festival.

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from ... to Link to this term

'Everyone from trainers, bookies, bar staff and punters are feeling it...' doesn't make sense. If you have a 'from' you need a 'to'. Everyone from trainers and bookies to bar staff and punters ... And 'Everything from city design to modern art to the basic box...' doesn't make sense either. We need two points, from and to. So we can say 'Everything from city design and modern art to the basic box.' We want to throw the stone from one shore to the other, not skip it over the water.

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due to Link to this term

means caused by, not 'because of'. So 'The delay is due to [caused by] bad weather' is correct. 'Due to [caused by] bad weather there is a delay' is widely used but 'Bad weather has caused a delay' is considered by some to be better usage.

prosecute Link to this term

you can prosecute a person in the sense of instituting legal proceedings against them, or you can prosecute an inquiry in the sense of carrying it out. But this use of the word is wrong: Belarus is ... a place where freedom of expression is severely limited, and regularly prosecuted. Freedom of expression itself cannot be prosecuted, only the people who advocate it. The sentence should read: Belarus is ... a place where freedom of expression is severely limited and its advocates regularly prosecuted.

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