I continue my look through Bryson today. No one likes this about me, and I am not even a stickler about using words like this correctly; but I think it is fun, so there. I am a nerd.
"Comic, Comical." Comic is intended to be funny. Something that is comical is funny whether or not that was the intention.
"Compare to, compare with." The first should be used to liken things, the second to consider their similarities or differences.
"Compendium." No doubt because of the similarity in sound to comprehensive, the word is often taken to mean vast and all embracing; in fact "compendium" is a succinct summary of abridgment.
"Complacent, complaisant". The first means self-satisfied to the point of smugness. The second means affable and cheerfully obliging.
"Comprise." Comprise means to contain; a house may comprise seven rooms but seven rooms do not comprise a house.
"First conceived, initially conceived, originally conceived". All redundant. Something can be conceived only once.
"Condone" This word does not mean to approve or endorse. It means to pardon, forgive, or overlook. You can condone an action without supporting it.
"General consensus". Redundant.
"Consummate". An overused term of praise, consummate means unrivaled or nearly so, not just very good.
"Continual, continuous." Continual refers to things that happen repeatedly but not constantly. Continuous refers to an uninterrupted sequence.
"Convince, persuade". You convince someone he should believe, but persuade him to act. I have been using this one dramatically wrong for years in my writing.
"Culminate" does not mean outcome; it means high point.