Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

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24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

Discussion Forum

This is a forum to discuss the gray areas of the English language for which you would not find answers easily in dictionaries or other reference books.

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Latest Posts : Coinage

I’ve been listening to Van Morrison’s “Friday’s Child” for quite some time now because I love this song so much. I tried to look up the meaning of ” Friday’s Child” but onbly found a reference to an old rhyme. Can anybody tell me the meaning of the saying “Friday’s Child” and when and why it is used? Many thanks.

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Am I alone in despairing when I hear phrases like:

  • “We played brilliant.”
  • “He did it wrong.” (or more commonly “He done it wrong.”)
  • “He behaved stupid.”

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Some people think that there is a difference in meaning between “in that regard” and “in that respect”, some believe that a lot of phrases using “regard” or “regards” are in fact making inappropriate use of the word, and of course some think there is nothing wrong with such usage.

Does anyone else think that the phrase “In that regard” is overused and misused?

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Is there any defense of capitalizing after a semicolon? This reads well to me:

We do not sell tricycles; We sell velocipedes. 

Learn the difference.

Not capitalizing the first word of the second clause diminishes the perceived parallelism:

We do not sell tricycles; we sell velocipedes.

The store around the corner sells bicycles.

With a period between them, the first two clauses read like the premises of a syllogism:

We do not sell tricycles. We sell velocipedes.

Do we sell unicycles?

I will continue, of course, to pen as I please, but, in this instance, wonder if I can confidently publish as I please.

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Is separating two coordinating-conjunction-linked sentences, the former having a comma(s), with a semicolon instead of a comma logically justified?

In GrammarBook.com’s Semicolons category, Rule 5. reads:

Use the semicolon between two sentences joined by a coordinating conjunction when one or more commas appear in the first sentence.

Examples: When I finish here, I will be glad to help you; and that is a promise I will keep.

If she can, she will attempt that feat; and if her husband is able, he will be there to see her.

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The AP Stylebook today announced that electronic mail is now spelled without a hyphen: email. Finally. I personally haven’t used “e-mail” in about a decade. We have a thread here on this topic of how to properly spell email.

http://painintheenglish.com/case/4463

At the time, I commented that it may take another 10 years for this to settle, but it took less than a year!

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How does one know exactly when a word is supposed to end with -“ise” vs -“ize” in Oxford spelling?

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Onamography is a writing technique that involves creatively incorporating proper nouns (company names, celebrities, etc.) in regular English sentences.

A few examples to clarify the concept:

Onnicle 1: The man at the bar acknowledged that he found the job amateurish. Onnicle 2: The SMS said..Bob ill. The rag ate sick shellfish!

The first sentence has ‘Barack Obama’ embedded in it and the second one has Bill Gates. The concept can be extended to include multiple names in a paragraph.

I’ve been trying to find out if there is already a technical name in English to describe it. Onamography is a coined word (Greek origin: onuma --> name, graphe --> writing) as I couldn’t find anything else that comes close to describing the concept.

Any inputs?

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Have you noticed that, at trendy cafes, more than half of the laptop computers you see are the new MacBooks? (Well, at least in New York City.) I don’t mean any MacBook; I’m talking about the latest MacBook (”the brick”). In fact, I believe seeing the older versions of MacBooks is rarer than seeing PC laptops.

If these people are deciding to work at cafes for practical reasons, then the laptop demographic should be much more diverse, with a lot more PCs and older versions of MacBook, but this is not what I see. The demographic is heavily skewed towards the latest models of MacBook. So, I would have to conclude that the reason why these MacBook owners come out to cafes is because they want to show off their brand new MacBooks.

It would makes sense, therefore, to coin a term for showing off your MacBook at a cafe. I’ve struggled with this for a while, and this morning, I decided that it should be “Mac off”.

“Hey, honey. I’m gonna go Mac off at the Starbucks for a few hours, OK?”

“At a cafe in Williamsburg, I saw about a dozen people sitting in a row Mac’ing off.”

“I bought the new MacBook Pro last week, but I haven’t Mac’ed off yet.”

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If you have a kid and a stroller, I’m sure you’ve experienced this many times. You hang a lot of stuff from the handle of the stroller, and when the kid jumps out of it, the whole thing topples over.

One of my friends wants a word for this (a verb). I tried to think of one, but I couldn’t come up with a good one. (”Stropple”, for instance, isn’t so good because the sound of it lacks the impact of the actual event.) Can anyone think of one?

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Latest Comments

all _____ sudden

Yes, it is an idiom. However, those who say, "get over it" (i.e. do not read) do not understand how the misused idiom makes the speaker sound less intelligent and thus erodes their credibility.

Idea Vs. Ideal

My husband says ideal all the time. And I always ask tell him what do you deal? And then I ask him if he means idea. And that ideal does not mean the same thing as idea.

Actress instead of Actor

Actor is Male, Actress is Female. If you take the Male and turn it into a gender-neutral term, while keeping the Female-Specific term, what term are you going to use to replace the Male-Specific term? You are only confusing the issue when the words get used, making communication between people more difficult.

“hate with passion”

Omit a

Where are the commas?

I am a younger member of the administrative team and my writing is often corrected by an older gentleman who puts that extra comma after the second word in a list of three. Just wanted to make sure I was correct about what I was taught in college and what speech actually sounds like.

Which is correct:
She bought apples, oranges and pears.
OR
she bought apples, oranges, and pears.
I was taught in college that the first one is correct and matches speech patterns.

Can't believe I'm not alone in noticing this. Bravo to those who feel obliged to comment. As much as I love her, Michelle Obama was the first person I heard it from. And here I thought it was my perfect ear detecting an otherwise unnoticed flaw.

On Tomorrow

  • G-Dog
  • August 15, 2019, 12:55am

I found this forum as a result watching Bible Study from my local church on TV with my wife, I finally asked her if she ever noticed “church folk” while speaking in church use the phrase ‘On Today’ or ‘On Tomorrow’ but the same people don’t phrase it that way anyplace else?
It’s been a curiosity to me for some time but I’d never inquired aloud about it. I’m no closer to an answer but I’m relieved I’m not the only one to wonder.

Resume, resumé, or résumé?

Thanks for the enlightenment.
This is better than working on my resume any day :)
---------------------------------------------
SUMMARY (thank you for everyone's posts!):

[for context: i'm a native american english speaker]

1. In this post i learned the French pronounce as
rayzumay

2. i always heard it as
rezumay

So thank you, now the
re'sume' spelling makes sense.

And somehow like so many loan words, the pronunciation changed in its english usage.

3. CONTEXT MATTERS:
Like mentioned wind and wind cause no confusion IN CONTEXT (blowing wind or to wind a clock).
Same goes if we resume using resume for practical English usage.

4. Don't forget perhaps the most wisdom already mentioned:
Use resume without any accents in English for electronic postings (for less translation errors).
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Hi there,

I've a question about where one should place an abbreviation that is inside brackets. I have students handwriting their text response essays and I have told them that when they reference the text title they are to enclose the title with single quotation marks. One of the titles is a little long so I have said they can abbreviate the title after they firstly introduce the whole name, and the abbreviation in brackets. One student asked if the abbreviation enclosed by brackets needs to sit inside the single quotation marks and I'm not sure.

Examples:

a) The film 'Made in Dagenham' (MID) portrays the fight for equal pay in 1960s England.
b) The film 'Made in Dagenham (MID)' portrays the fight for equal pay in 1960s England.

Do you know which of the above sentences are correct?

Ta
James

Resume, resumé, or résumé?

If you are going to borrow a word from another language, you should spell it that way it is spelled in that language, not put your own interpretation on it because you pronounce it incorrectly or can't be bothered to even try to pronounce it correctly or because you have no respect for the other language.

You therefore either spell it the way it's spelled in French or you drop both accents entirely because English words have no accents. if you make it an English word, then you can't logically have an accent after the second "e". If you do, it is a non-word: neither French nor English, nor any other language.