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

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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 : Pet Peeves

Is anyone annoyed by “double words,” such as:  Were you happy happy?  Was it fixed fixed?  Do you know how to type type?  Now, here’s a doozy:  “He’s in his office office.”  What in the heck does that mean?  I’d appreciate your feedback.

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Just how screwed has our language become?

Why do we hear phrases like:

“If he gets in contact with you”

when there are simpler and more meaningful phrases like:

“If he gets in touch with you”

or

“If he contacts you”.

Why do people have this predilection with “get” or “got”?

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Not content with using “roading” as a noun meaning “the provision and building of roads” the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has now introduced another example of why suits should not be allowed to write signs.

A stretch of motorway on the north side of Auckland is being widened and there is a forest of signs proclaiming “3 laning project in progress”!

GRRRR GNASH GNASH!!                              :)

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I came upon this on their website: “The Senior Management Team at Fettes College have day to day responsibilities for the running of The College. They meet regularly throughout the year and feedback to staff and Governors as appropriate.”

Leaving aside the rather Germanic employment of capital letters on some, but strangely then not all, of the nouns in this statement, and the wholly gratuitous ‘as appropriate’ tacked on to fill up some space, I find most irksome the use here of ‘feedback’ as a verb. I would use two words: ‘feed back’ (a compound verb), or I would insert a verb and say ‘provide feedback’ (noun + verb). In fact I would much prefer to avoid this ugly expression altogether and use a term such as ‘report back to’ or ‘report to’. Am I alone in finding this whole thing rather disappointing for a major British school?

It’s like the sign at Gatwick airport which directs passengers to do something along the lines of ‘check-in here’ where what is meant is ‘check in here’ because ‘check in’, being what you do, is a compound verb, and ‘check-in’, being the name of the place where you do it, is a noun. 

It is very elementary grammar, as taught to me at about the age of eight, noun! verb! and I find it almost incredible that a renowned Scottish public school can be so sloppy, and that a major airport in England, an English-speaking country, does not proof-read what is to be painted in huge letters on its walls. 

On the other hand, one’s reaction to seeing in Phnom Penh, in Cambodia, the “PRINCESSS HOTEL” in huge pink neon lights ranged in a column above the door, has to be mirth, and wondering what the extra S cost the management. It is not as though they could not afford an apostrophe, as in the foyer are life-size photographs of a number of these estimable ladies, so the ‘princesss’ are plural. So it was an ‘e’ which proved beyond budget, then, or a proof-reader. But that of course is forgivable, as it is not in an anglophone country.

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I’m not usually a peever, but I do make an exception for business buzzwords. A recent survey in Britain found that many office workers felt ‘management-speak’  to be ‘a pointless irritation’. Up to now my least favourite has been ‘going forward’, an expression Lucy Kellaway at the Financial Times campaigned against when it first appeared, but to no avail: everyone uses it now, from Obama to Beckham. But the one that I’m increasingly noticing is ‘reach out’. 

Apart from its physical meanings, my dictionary gives this meaning for ‘reach out’:

reach out to somebody - to show somebody that you are interested in them and/or want to help them - “The church needs to find new ways of reaching out to young people.”

Which is fine. But increasingly it seems to be being used simply to mean ‘contact’, especially on tech sites, for no good reason that I can see other than trendiness. Some examples:

‘If you would like any other suggestions or need help with transitioning your current Google Reader RSS feeds, please reach out to a Library’

‘Wired has also reached out to Google for additional comment.’

‘If you want to follow up, feel free to reach out to me by phone.’

I know I’m just an old fuddy-duddy, and these expressions are harmless, but they do niggle a bit. Any comments? Or anyone for Buzzword Bingo?

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It’s one I had not encountered before moving to NZ. Now I hear it and read it almost daily. Yet a Google seach shows 843,000 hits for NZ out of a total of 267,000,000 so it is obviously not restricted to the antipodes.

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My beef is with titled vs entitled. It seems that it is now acceptable to use entitled in the place of titled. For example: Jane won the contest so she was entitled to the winnings. This is correct. Jane wrote a book and it was entitled ‘How to win at the lottery’ In my opinion, the book was not entitled to anything. The misuse of the word is very widespread and supposedly the meaning has now been officially changed.

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Biggest pet peeve: anything that “changed history.” You cannot change what has already happened. It is over and done with. Even if you go back in time and make changes, you have not changed history, because now it never happened the original way. The original events never happened, became “the past,” and were therefore never history! The only history at that point is the one that did take place as a result of changes being made. There is only one history, regardless of sci-fi movies’ time travel themes, etc., and that is why every form of the phrase “to change history” drives me crazy!

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Pet peeve 3

Saying “get in contact’ or “keep in contact”

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As a follow up to Hairy Scot’s pet peeves. One of mine is the American pronunciation of Gala - gey-luh instead of the traditional English gal-uh.

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Latest Comments

Mileage for kilometers

Hi,

I work in the healthcare industry in Canada and have heard and used the term "kilometration". Although, I must admit I have never found such a term validated anywhere on the internet. I am afraid this might be a made-up word, but sounds great for the purpose, doesn't it?.

Cheers!
Orlando

“Big of a”

I don't mind Americanisms if they make sense, but this one doesn't. 'Big is an adjective'; 'much' is a determiner (or pronoun or adverb). Therefore: "Would you like some of the cake?" and "How much of the cake would you like?" Whereas: "Would you like a big piece of the cake?" and "How big a piece of the cake would you like?"

Texted

I feel that "text ed" sounds redundant I feel that texted sounds redundant if if you pronounce text fully you don't need to enunciate the Ed just my opinion

If you refer to this source to the experts from this service https://paperell.com/write-my-thesis , who have been writing thesis for many years, then it would be correct to say “graduated from high school”. The current standard usage is to say someone graduated FROM high school. By 1963, the fourth edition of H. L. Mencken's book "The American Language" said that the active form had triumphed over the passive form because of the American drive to simplify the language. https://www.grammarly.com/

Sells or sold?

Yeah, i agree with Rik853,
"Sold only if they used to sell them but they do not sell them anymore."

Fetch Referring to People?

  • Boopy
  • July 24, 2021, 1:09pm

A friend of mine was banned from Barnes and noble when he went in on crutches and asked an employee to fetch some books for him as it would be impossible for him to do so. He’s from North Carolina. He has very good manners.

Regarding the many commenters who've made the "You wouldn't say sheeps..." argument:

Isn't that a classic case of begging the question (in the actual meaning of that oft-misused phrase, i.e., to assume the truth of the premise of one's argument)?

Who decreed that "Lego" is equivalent to "sheep" and "deer," for example, with regard to the toy name supposedly also being a plural forms not needing to end with "s"? And why does the "LEGO/Lego/Legos" debate attract more fervor than does the constant and potentially dangerous misuse of "media" as a monolithic singular entity?

If Ford declares that, henceforth, its name is also a plural, would I then be wrong to say, "I own two Fords"?

If I had told my grammatically precocious child, "Pick up your Lego," he would have scoffed, "Which one?"

Hi, I’ve read your article happily. I am also Hungarian like your father. Do you speak Hungarian?

There are LEGO tiles, LEGO bricks, LEGO plates, LEGO minifigs, LEGO wheels, LEGO sets, LEGO books etc etc etc. you want to pluralize something, pluralize the item, not the brand.