Common Errors Starting with V

very unique vs unique

“Unique” singles out one of a kind. That “un” at the beginning is a form of “one.” A thing is unique (the only one of its kind) or it is not. Something may be almost unique (there are very few like...

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vague reference

Vague reference is a common problem in sentences where “this,” “it,”“which” or other such words don’t refer back to any one specific word orphrase, but a whole situation. “I hitchhiked back to town...

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vain vs vane vs vein

When you have vanity you are conceited: you are vain. “You’re so vain you probably think this song is about you.” This spelling can also mean “futile,” as in “All my love’s in vain” (fruitless). No...

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vapid vs vacuous

“Vapid” is used to describe something flavorless, weak, flat. Many people confuse this word with “vacuous,” which describes things which are unintelligent, lacking serious content. A boring speech ...

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various vs several

<p>If you want to indicate large numbers of same or similar kind use "several". If you have varied kinds in the group with large number, use "various". Both are correct but need to be used in diff...

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vary vs very

“Vary” means “to change.” Don’t substitute it for “very” in phrases like"very nice” or “very happy."

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veil of tears vs vale of tears

The expression “vale of tears” goes back to pious sentiments that consider life on earth to be a series of sorrows to be left behind when we go on to a better world in Heaven. It conjures up an ima...

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vendor

Some writers are turning “vendor” into a verb meaning “to sell,” writing things like, “he was vendoring comic books on eBay.” Since “vend” is already a verb meaning “sell” and “vendor” is normally ...

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veracious vs voracious

If you are extremely hungry, you may have a “voracious” appetite (think of the O as an open mouth, ready to devour anything). “Veracious” is an unusual word meaning “truthful, honest” (think about ...

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verbage vs verbiage

<p>Verbage is not a correct word and as such should be avoided.</p><p>Verbiage is the appropriate word that means excessive and of fine detail. It relates to the overabundance of words.</p><pre>"Th...

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verb tense

If the situation being described is an ongoing or current one, thepresent tense is needed, even in a past-tense context: “Last week sheadmitted that she is really a brunette” (not “was”).Pairs of v...

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verse vs play against

Some young people use “verse” as a verb meaning “to play against,” as in “I’ll verse you at basketball after school.” Computer gamers are particularly fond of virtual opponents versing each other. ...

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verses vs versus

The “vs.” in a law case like “Brown vs. The Board of Education” standsfor Latin versus (meaning “against”). Don’t confuse it with the word forlines of poetry—“verses”—when describing other conflict...

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very sort of, very kind of

“He’s very sort of buffed.” Wha . . ? He can’t be very buffed and only sort of buffed at the same time. It’s an error to follow the phrase “very sort of” with an adjective (a quality, such as “rich...

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vicious vs viscous circle vs cycle

The term “vicious circle” was invented by logicians to describe a form of fallacious circular argument in which each term of the argument draws on the other: “Democracy is the best form of governme...

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video vs film

Many of us can remember when portable transistorized radios were ignorantly called “transistors.” We have a tendency to abbreviate the names of various sorts of electronic technology (see and ), of...

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vinegarette vs vinaigrette

Naive diners and restaurant workers alike commonly mispronounce the classic French dressing called “vinaigrette” as if it were “vinegarette.” To be more sophisticated, say “vin-uh-GRETT” (the first...

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virii vs viruses

Hackers like to use “virii” as the plural form of “virus,” but Latin scholars object that this invented term does not follow standard patterns in that language, and that there is already a perfectl...

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visually impaired vs blind

Many people mistakenly suppose that “visually impaired” is a more polite term than “blind.” But the distinction between these two is simpler: a person without eyesight is blind; a person with visio...

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vitae vs vita

Unless you are going to claim credit for accomplishments in previous incarnations, you should refer to your “vita,” not your “vitae.” All kidding aside, the “ae” in “vitae” supposedly indicates the...

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viola vs voila

A viola is a flower or a musical instrument. The expression which means “behold!” is voila. It comes from a French expression literally meaning “look there!” In French it is spelled with a grave ac...

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volumptuous vs voluptuous

<p>Voluptuous is suggestive of someone or characterized by full, generous and pleasurable sensation.</p><pre>"I'm not quite sure our neighbours are voluptuous as they seem."</pre><p>Volumptuous is ...

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