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

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

Dear members,
there are situations when the proper use of an English word is problematic for a non-native English's speaker. These situations are very specific -context-dependent- but at the same time are pretty common. This happens, for instance, when writing a CV or a cover letter.
I've got an example of these situations. I want to express my experience over the last 15 years, by writing: "I have worked as a specialist or leading consultant in studies of baselines, closure assessments, and impact evaluations."

An alternative could be:
"I have worked as a specialist or leading consultant in studies addressed to build up baselines, closure assessments, and impact evaluations."

Would you please enlight me about the proper way to convey my experience in the way I was trying.
Thanks in advance.
Enver (Peru)

"grammatically correct" is redundant. Grammar is the CORRECT use of words. "Grammatically correct" can be likened to "a golden solid gold watch." ( FWIW, "a grammatical error" is also incorrect. It is a contradiction of terms. One might commit an "error in grammar." "A grammatical error" can be likened to "a BLACK white." )

Pled versus pleaded

I cringe every time I hear someone say pleaded, when it should be pled! It's been 'pled' all my life...why did it suddenly change to this incorrect use of English?

Past tense of “text”

Texed.

Past tense of “text”

Text

Past tense of “text”

Excuse the spelling mistake. Should have been illiterate. Fat fingers!!!!

Past tense of “text”

Using texted shows that you know how to properly use the english language and not sound like an illerate (verbal) moron

I think it should be enamored by. I am 51 years old, and that to me makes more sense, and sounds better.

I wanted to edit the message below but was unable to. I meant to write,
"Conversely the same goes for when a customer is e-mailing, contacting or asking, they are NOT "reaching out"!

Saying, "reaching out" when you mean to say, "contact" or "ask" is inappropriate and irritating. It connotes that you are in trouble and need help so when companies or anyone else says to customers or to anyone else, "Thank you for reaching out" it comes off as condescending and implying you need help.
When someone with a drug problem reaches out they are doing so after a lot of indecision and are in serious need of help.
Same when a person with a mental problem "reaches out".
If one is about to fall off a cliff, and they reach out, that means they are reaching out with their hand for help. They are not contacting, they are reaching out. Conversely the same goes for when a customer is e-mailing, contacting or asking, they are "reaching out". Please stop using the phrase everywhere it is not appropriate.
Replying to below, YES the following is appropriate.
".. would use it to describe the process of contacting someone with whom they'd previously had no relationship or trying to re-establish a rapport with someone who was now more distant or estranged. It was usually used in the context of getting help or assistance."