Faulty idiom: Wrong word combination

Faulty idiom: Wrong word combination

From Everyday Uses of English by Maurice Harley Weseen and The Century Handbook of Writing by Garland Greever:

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.

III. Violations result from the incorrect use of prepositions.

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 to
abhorrence of
abide with
abound in
abstain from
accede to
access to
accordance with
acquainted with
acquitted of
adapted to
admit of
agreeable 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 with
apology for
approve of
attitude toward
averse to
bargain for
bereaved of
bestow upon
boast of
border upon
capable of
coincide with
commit to
comply with
conducive to
confidence in
connect with
conscious of
consign to
consult with
contrary to
convince of
decide upon
defraud of
desirous of
desist from
devolve upon
different from
difficulty in
disapprove of
dislike to
dispense with
disposed to
emerge from
encroach upon
endowed with
equivalent to
estimated at
exception to
expert in
expressive of
familiar with
fearful of
fondness for
foreign 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 from
frown upon
glad of
glance at
glow with
grateful to
grieve at
guard against
hanker after
hinder from
impose upon
inconsistent with
independent of
inferior to
inseparable from
insist upon
interfere with
intervene 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 upon
involved in
irritated by
jealous of
jeer at
join with
known to
liken to
listen to
made of
meddle with
mistrustful of
need of
object to
observant of
offend against
opposite to
partake of
partial to
participate in
patience with
permit of
persevere in
pleased with
possessed of
productive of
profit by
prone to
quarrel 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 from
regard for
rely upon
remit to
repent of
resemblance to
resolve upon
save from
seek for
seize upon
sensible of
significant of
sorry for
suitable for
superior to
surprised at
suspected of
sympathize with
taste for
think of
tired of
touch upon
true to
unite with
useful for
view 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 of
want of
witness of
worthy of
yield 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.

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