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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

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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

Social vs Societal

  • Mango
  • July 16, 2019, 10:29am

I am writing my MA dissertation, which uses social science methods for applied linguistics. I have been writing 'societal change' instead of 'social change' because of the latter's association in my mind with political activism. After reading the above discussion (or most of it - it's nearly lunchtime) I am considering changing it to 'changes in society', thus avoiding any unintended connotations or pomposity.

I have a sentence: "The list below describes important activities that a learning team can work together". Could you help me to rewrite this one starting with "Below"? Thank you =)))

I determined Table Of Contents was appropriate if my work had a CD, otherwise Table Of Content seemed so obvious.

Emotionality

How about this: emotionality is the mental/psychological faculty that enables us to be more or less emotional and to express our emotions. It is that which is one the same level with rationality and its opposite. It is a rather abstract entity whereas our emotions are the raw material of which our emotional self is built - hatred, fury, rage vs. love, compassion, fear etc. Emotionality is the code/software/system, emotion(s) the content. Is this making sense to anyone but me? I was reluctant using "emotionality" just minutes ago but I now think it has its justification.

Americans tend to use 'different than' on its own, but correctly, the 'than' is the other half of 'more', thus: more different than (something else).

How do I put Depaz on a gift? Should it be love, The Depazes?

Yes, it is very wrong.

The issue here is because the days of weeks are in blocks of weeks, there seems to be a confusion because of a Wednesday being placed into a future week, If we had a line of poles across 2 paddocks say 7 in each and you are standing at the first pole, the next pole is the second pole, not the second pole in the next paddock, same as if you are on Monday the next Wednesday is 2 days hence not Wednesday of next week. Similar to the earlier reference of next train, no other units of measurement places next as anything but the very next item, the options to clarify what seems to be an incorrect evolution of the term here is, next is next, a day in next week is a day of next week or as was known previously E.G. Wednesday week, meaning Wednesday of next week. or give the specific calendar date to avoid confusion.

The issue here is because the days of weeks are in blocks of weeks, there seems to be a confusion because of a Wednesday being placed into a future week, If we had a line of poles across 2 paddocks say 7 in each and you are standing at the first pole, the next pole is the second pole, not the second pole in the next paddock, same as if you are on Monday the next Wednesday is 2 days hence not Wednesday of next week. Similar to the earlier reference of next train, no other units of measurement places next as anything but the very next item, the options to clarify what seems to be an incorrect evolution of the term here is, next is next, a day in next week is a day of next week or as was known previously E.G. Wednesday week, meaning Wednesday of next week. or give the specific calendar date to avoid confusion.

Inch vs. Inches

  • Ringo
  • June 26, 2019, 7:00pm

1/8 inch, 3/8 inches. Singular vs plural is not a matter of measure but rather the number of units being referenced. In the matter of fractions, while both are less than one (1) inch, 1/8 is one of eight parts, therefore, a singular "inch" should be used, whereas anything more than one of eight (i.e. two, three, four... of eight) is plural and thus "inches" is appropriate. 2/8 inches = 1/4 inch. In similar manner for decimals, 0.1 inch, 0.2 inches, 0.11 inches.