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 : 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”


“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

can you use an uncountable noun as a countable one?
Is it okay to say I play musics? Do you give people advices? I would like some informations about this. And if I'm wrong that would be extraordinary newses.
I'm not saying I don't have excess baggagess, but I find it important to use our intelligences to get this right.
I can feel the electricitys in the air about this topic and I'm willing to put moneys on it... I don't care, I'll even wager some rices too. I'd bet all the petrols at the refinery too. Golds? I'll buy some to bet against your supply of lumbers.

Hit me up, we can discuss it over coffees, while we watch the tennises down by the concretes.

If this comment does your head in, then you are proof that it's LEGO, not LEGOs.

Thank you for such a visual explanation of the subject. I think it will be useful for many students. I advise those who want to master grammar at an excellent level to use training videos on YouTube, in which experienced teachers tell the grammar rules of the English language in an accessible form. I found more than a hundred videos on this topic there and noticed that most of them were posted by channels with about 23 thousand subscribers! I am sure this is because the authors of such channels used the services of in order to wind up subscribers for YouTube.

Cool insformation, thank you!

“hate with passion”

  • venqax
  • February 25, 2021, 6:33pm

I think you're correct to say that including "a" in all the examples slightly changes the meaning of the phrase. Both a'ed and a-less seem grammatically fine. I would also say that "hate with a passion", specifically, is an idiomatic expression, so somewhat immune to routine rules. You done good. It ain't over till it's over.

I would say that with the use of "not only", the "also" is simply redundant, and so unnecessary. The "but" might not even be needed, though just being concise for its own sake isn't always the best way to go.

"Not only did George buy the house, but he remodeled it."

By the time

  • venqax
  • February 25, 2021, 6:06pm

I think either would be okay, grammatically. As others have said, in this case "was starting" might be more specific and therefore informative, if in fact the film was just beginning. Saying "had started" is more ambiguous about how long it had been running. If it had been going for, say, half an hour, you probably wouldn't say it was starting, but might still say it had started.

Just curious, but what is "resubstantial" intended to mean, in context?

Fora vs Forums

I love your pop up. Just clicked "no" on the "need a proofreader" question and was greeted with: "OK, genius. Good luck." The next time I do need a proofreader, you will be my first stop. All the best!

Fora vs Forums

My complements on your hilarious pop up. I just clicked "no" on the "need a proofreader question" and was greeted with "OK genius, Good luck." I love it. The next time I do need a proofreader you will be my first stop. All the best!

Why be so stilted? Thanks for taking our child to school, (or wherever). Presumably you know the driver well enough to trust them with your child, and the child has been sired by someone, the important matter is we trust you, and thank you, not there are two people involved in the kid’s life.