List O

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official or officious? OFFICIAL = authorised, formal
an OFFICIAL visit
an OFFICIAL invitation
OFFICIOUS = fussy, self-important,
interfering
an OFFICIOUS secretary
an OFFICIOUS waiter
onto or on to? There are circumstances when the words
must always be written separately. We
will consider these first.
” Always write the words separately if
‘to’ is part of an infinitive (e.g. to eat,
to speak, to be, to watch, etc.):
She drove ON TO test the brakes.
As a matter of interest you can
double-check the ‘separateness’ of the
two words by separating them further:
She drove ON because she wanted TO
test the breaks.
” Always write the words separately
when ‘to’ means ‘towards’:
We cycled ON TO Oxford.
Once again, the two words can be
further separated:
We cycled ON the few remaining
miles TO Oxford.
” It is permissible to write ‘onto’ or ‘on
to’ when you mean ‘to a position on’:
The acrobat jumped ONTO the
trapeze.
The acrobat jumped ON TO the
trapeze.
It should be borne in mind, however, that
many careful writers dislike ‘onto’ and
always use ‘on to’.
‘Onto’ is more common in American
English but with the cautions expressed
above.

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