I need to find whether these sentences have mistakes or not (some might be correct) : 1) We have less than 25 registrants so far.  2) I did not mean to infer that you had made a mistake.  3)...

I need to find whether these sentences have mistakes or not (some might be correct) :

1) We have less than 25 registrants so far.

 2) I did not mean to infer that you had made a mistake.

 3) He is not adverse to your suggestion; he simply wants more information.

  4) You may have whichever computer you choose.

Asked on by dragones

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Three of these sentences contain errors in usage while the fourth (Sentence #4) does not.  Let us see what is wrong with each of the incorrect sentences.

In Sentence 1, the problem is that the word “less” is used when “fewer” would have been more appropriate.  The word “less” should typically be used when the thing being referred to cannot be counted.  In this sentence, the number of registrants is easily counted.  Therefore, we would say that we have “fewer than 25 registrants.”  “Less” should be used for mass terms that can be measured but not so easily counted.  For example, we could say that there is “less poverty” in a city than there used to be.  However, if we started to talk about the number of poor people, we would have to say that there are “fewer people living in poverty.”

In Sentence 2, the problem is with the word “infer.”  The proper word in this situation would have been “imply.”  When we “imply” something, we try to get that point across without actually saying the words.  If we think that someone has made a mistake, we might say “have you checked the math on this answer.”  This would imply that they had erred without actually saying “you made a mistake.”  When we “infer,” we are trying to take evidence and draw a conclusion from it.  For example, if you come out from a room where you are taking a test and you are in tears, I can infer that you have done badly on the test.  In the sentence you have given, “imply” is clearly the better word.

In Sentence 3, the mistake is in the use of “adverse.”  The proper word would have been “averse.”  “Adverse” means something like “harmful” or “unfavorable” and we do not use it when we are talking about people’s attitudes.  For example, I might say “I decided not to start a business because of adverse economic conditions.”  By contrast, “averse” describes the state of mind of a person.  It means something like “being very reluctant.”  In the sentence you have given, “averse” is clearly correct because the person is saying that they are not reluctant to help.

Sentence 4 is correct because “whichever” can be used, for example, when a person may choose from any of a number of choices.

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soodananya98's profile picture

soodananya98 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

1) This sentence seems to be fine

2) The word 'infer' is used incorrectly here.

3) The word adverse is used incorrectly here

4) This sentence is fine as well

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