Faulty idiom: Wrong word combination
A faulty idiom is an expression which, though correct in grammar and general meaning, combines words in a manner contrary to usage.
I. Some words go well together and others do not.
“I enjoy reading.”
In selecting words with a view to their accuracy, we must take into account the fact that some words naturally go well together and some others do not. Our words may be entirely correct from the point of view of their individual meanings and of their individual suitability to the occasion before us and yet not be acceptable because they do not combine in accordance with generally recognized usage. “I enjoy to read” is wrong, not because the words offend logic or grammar, but merely because people do not instinctively make that combination of words. “I like to read” and “I enjoy reading” are good idioms.
II. Idioms are established by custom rather than logic.
“My house is different from yours.”
It is difficult to explain by grammar or logic why one word combination is accepted and another is not. Grammar or logic can never furnish an adequate explanation of this fact. Of two forms, equally justifiable by all rules of grammar, we instinctively accept the one and reject the other. It is this unscientific nature of the idiom which makes it so difficult to deal with. If a man says, “I done it as good as I could,” we can explain his errors to him in a very definite way and we can justify our corrections by an appeal to very definite grammatical rules. But if he says, “My house is different than yours,” rather than “My house is different from yours,” the task of explaining his error is much more difficult. In the latter case our criticism is not that he has violated any specific grammatical rule but that he has committed an offense against good idiomatic English. His usage is not in conformity with the particular phraseology which has received general recognition by knowledgeable users of the language. He displays a lack of appreciation of the spirit of English.
Many violations of English idiom result, as in the examples given above, from an incorrect use of prepositions. The incorrect combination “different than” is probably the most common of all of these violations. It needs to be guarded against with special care, particularly when the two words different and from are separated by intervening words. To make a list of English idioms would be equivalent to making a new dictionary. The following examples are intended only to represent some types of everyday idioms which everyone should master:
abandoned toabhorrence ofabide withabound inabstain fromaccede toaccess toaccordance withacquainted withacquitted ofadapted toadmit ofagreeable to He was abandoned to his fate.His abhorrence of cruelty is marked.John abides with his parents.That house abounds in doors.He abstains from smoking.They finally acceded to our wishes.He has access to all meetings.This is in accordance with your request.I am well acquainted with him.He was acquitted of the crime.Some are not adapted to office work.The plan admits of no compromise.Your terms are agreeable to me. angry withapology forapprove ofattitude towardaverse tobargain forbereaved ofbestow uponboast ofborder uponcapable ofcoincide withcommit tocomply withconducive toconfidence inconnect withconscious ofconsign toconsult withcontrary toconvince ofdecide upondefraud ofdesirous ofdesist fromdevolve upondifferent fromdifficulty indisapprove ofdislike todispense withdisposed toemerge fromencroach uponendowed withequivalent toestimated atexception toexpert inexpressive offamiliar withfearful offondness forforeign to James is angry with John.He made no apology for his conduct.I heartily approve of your methods.What is your attitude toward disarmament?He is averse to trying anything new.They bargained for the whole stock.Death bereaved him of his best friend.Gifts of great value were bestowed upon him.Some people boast of trifles.That borders upon the commonplace.He is capable of doing excellent work.His view coincides with mine.Commit your thoughts to writing.We are glad to comply with your request.Such conduct is not conducive to health.I have confidence in his judgment.This house is connected with the central station.He was not conscious of his error.The goods were consigned to you.You should consult with a specialist.That is contrary to our usual procedure.Are you convinced of his sincerity?They decided upon immediate action.Jones was defrauded of a fortune.We are desirous of pleasing you.Please desist from your cutting remarks.It devolved upon me to finish the job.The Pacific is different from the Atlantic.Do you have difficulty in writing correctly?I disapprove of your slovenly habits.He has taken a dislike to me.We could not dispense with his services.Smith is always disposed to have his own way.They emerged from the crisis.Our territory is being encroached upon.He is endowed with unusual vigor.That is equivalent to a confession.Their resources are estimated at a million dollars.He took exception to our statements.Are you expert in letter writing?His letter is expressive of regret.Jones is familiar with contemporary novels.I am fearful of the consequences.He has a fondness for reading.That is foreign to the present subject. free fromfrown uponglad ofglance atglow withgrateful togrieve atguard againsthanker afterhinder fromimpose uponinconsistent withindependent ofinferior toinseparable frominsist uponinterfere withintervene between No one of us is free from faults.Why frown upon all things new?We are glad of the chance to serve you.He merely glances at the daily paper.Praise makes one glow with pride.We are grateful to you for your letter.Why grieve at every loss?Guard against errors of speech.He hankers after greater gains.Nothing can hinder him from succeeding.Do not impose upon his good nature.This is inconsistent with our general policy.We are independent of any trust.These goods are inferior to those.Credits are inseparable from collections.Always insist upon this brand.Never interfere with legitimate plans.What intervened between Monday and Friday? intrude uponinvolved inirritated byjealous ofjeer atjoin withknown toliken tolisten tomade ofmeddle withmistrustful ofneed ofobject toobservant ofoffend againstopposite topartake ofpartial toparticipate inpatience withpermit ofpersevere inpleased withpossessed ofproductive ofprofit byprone toquarrel with Don't intrude upon busy men.Smith is involved in a great scheme.He is irritated by every interruption.It is foolish to be jealous of anyone.Jeering at others never pays.Will you join with us on this occasion?He is well known to us.One might liken him to Napoleon.Listen to good advice.This box is made of wood.Do not meddle with the affairs of others.I am mistrustful of his honesty.The house is in need of repairs.Do you object to long letters?He is observant of every detail.Some words offend against good taste.His view is opposite to mine.We shall all partake of the profits.Jones is partial to the block form.What games do you participate in?I have no patience with such manners.That permits of two interpretations.Persevere in your work and you will succeed.We were well pleased with your offer.He is possessed of a large estate.Dishonesty is productive of serious results.We can profit by the experience of others.Many people are prone to put off their work.I have no quarrel with him. refrain fromregard forrely uponremit torepent ofresemblance toresolve uponsave fromseek forseize uponsensible ofsignificant ofsorry forsuitable forsuperior tosurprised atsuspected ofsympathize withtaste forthink oftired oftouch upontrue tounite withuseful forview of It is well to refrain from fault finding.He has no regard for propriety.You can rely upon his statement.Please remit to this office.Some day he will repent of his sins.This letter has much resemblance to that.What course have you resolved upon?Very little was saved from the wreck.Jones is seeking for a better position.Seize upon this opportunity!He is sensible of his defects.This report is significant of many things.I feel sorry for him.Your letter is not suitable for the occasion.The colonel is superior to the captain.He was surprised at my silence.To be suspected of theft must be disagreeable.I can sympathize with poor speakers.He has no taste for drama.John thinks only of money.The world is tired of war.The speaker touched upon several subjects.Be true to your ideal.Will you unite with us in this endeavor?This tool is useful for many purposes.In view of the circumstances, we cancel the order. void ofwant ofwitness ofworthy ofyield to He seems to be void of common sense.For want of reserves, they went bankrupt.I was a witness of the collision.He is not worthy of the honor.He will not yield to the demands.