shoulder on/soldier on
Soldiers are expected to do their duty despite all obstacles, and that’s why we say that a person who perseveres soldiers on. But because “soldier” is rarely used as a verb in modern English, many people mix this expression up with a more common one involving pushing through crowds: to shoulder through. People shouldering are being pushy, usually in an obnoxious way. People who soldier on are admirably determined to carry on despite difficulties.
This week's entries feature selections from the revised and expanded third edition of Common Errors in English Usage—now available to order on the William, James & Company Web site.
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