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The volume she handed over was a first edition, of financial in addition to sentimental value. She must have kept it in the addition at the back of the house that she used as a library.



The effect of her gift was overwhelming.

‘I could not affect this emotion,’ said Trevor.

‘I did not think it would affect you so much,’ replied Margaret.




‘I hope the book will be effectual in bringing the argument to a conclusion,’ continued Margaret.

‘I am sure it will be very effective,’ said Trevor.



‘But either Bill or I will have to change our position,’ he continued, ‘and neither he nor I want to do that.’



Trevor explained that he was the elder brother, two years older than Bill.




Bill had been considered the most eligible bachelor in the district and had been advised to take up a career in medicine – primarily because of the his illegible handwriting.



Trevor, on the other hand, had eluded the traps set by his family – who wanted him to go into finance – and gone into the theatre – a subject that he would never allude to while in the family home.



Trevor always found memories of his childhood elusive, even though Bill’s conversation was always allusive.



Now he had to ensure Bill changed his opinion, and assure Margaret that he would succeed.



He had decided to emigrate from Britain. He was among the many people who would immigrate to Canada.



He had always been able to empathise with other people’s feelings and sympathise with their problems. Perhaps he should have been the doctor.



Trevor was no longer envious of Margaret’s library, stocked as it was with first editions, because he had the one book he coveted. It softened the fact that still felt jealous of his brother, who had always been the favourite.



But back to the book. It was the account of an epidemic of a highly infectious disease that  had been thought to be endemic to a small Pacific Island.



The islanders were known to be of an equable temperament and equitable in their dealings with their neighbours.



However, once the epidemic began to spread, it was especially noticeable that they became more aggressive, without special reason.



This aggression began to exceed normal limits until finally they had to accede to demands to impose a quarantine on the island.



Except for those who had been vaccinated before the outbreak, everyone had to accept the restrictions.



Another aspect of the disease was that the slightest activity became exhausting. And it was on this aspect of the disease that the exhaustive study in the book made its primary focus.



The conclusion was that the author was to exhort his readers to focus on curing the disease and not treating the inhabitants as criminals when the virus changed their character to such a degree that they began to extort money with menaces from anyone they met.

E words and the epidemic

Try to remember the story of the first edition to help you recall the correct use of these commonly confused words.

edition: a specific printed version

addition: extra; a calculation; or an annex






effect: the result (noun)

affect: put on a show; influence physically or emotionally (verb)





effectual: capable of producing a favourable result

effective: producing a favourable result or impression; in force




either or: one or the other

neither nor: not one or the other




elder: the older or more senior of two people  

older: of a greater age than



eligible: meeting all the criteria; desirable

Illegible: hard or impossible to read






elude: to avoid or escape from

allude: mention indirectly






elusive: hard to hold on to

allusive: full of indirect references




ensure: to make certain

assure: to state positively; to convince




emigrate: leave your native country

immigrate: settle in another country




empathise: to be able to imagine being in someone else’s place

sympathise: to share feelings or opinions




envious: wanting or begrudging something owned by or a quality of someone else

jealous: feeling suspicious of rivals; fear of being displaced





epidemic: widespread occurrence

endemic: peculiar to a specific area





equable: even-tempered

equitable: even-handed, fair, just




especially: unusual or notable

special: out of the ordinary; for a specific purpose




exceed: go beyond the boundaries set; a greater number

accede: agree




except: apart from

accept: to respond positively or to tolerate




exhausting: severely tiring

exhaustive: complete, thorough






exhort: to urge strongly

extort: to obtain money or advantage by nefarious means