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 : Grammar

Is it possible to say “by the time we arrived at the cinema, the film was starting”? Or do I have to say “the film had started”? 

Both structures sound ok to me if I use another verb (sleep) instead of “start” (“by the time I got there, he was already sleeping”) so I do not know if I am using the structure right (perhaps I should use “when” and not “by the time”) or if it is the verb “start” (due to its meaning) what makes “by the time we arrived, the film was starting” sound strange. 

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I’ve read a sentence like this:

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

think this counts as a complex sentence, but I want to get some extra opinions.  Doesn’t “Not only did George buy the house” modify “remodeled,” thus making the first clause dependent?  In common English usage, the position of the subject “George” after “did” is fine in an interrogative sentence, but it’s not in a declarative sentence.  Does the departure from standard declarative syntax suggest that the first clause is not independent (and therefore dependent)?

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I have recently been seeing rejections of many phrases with ‘of’ in them because they are “less concise.” An example of this would be changing “All six of the men were considered dangerous” to “All six men were considered dangerous.” Recently, someone corrected a sentence I wrote and it just doesn’t sound right even though it may be concise. They changed “There are six species of snakes and four species of butterfly on the list” to “There are six snake species and four lizard species on the list.”

Bonus question: Is it “species of butterfly” or “species of butterflies”?

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In the following sentence, are both parts of the clause correct for a present unreal sentence?

“She would have wanted you to become a doctor if she were alive today”

In this sentence, shouldn’t it be this?

“She would want you to become a doctor if she...”

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What does “that” mean in the following sentences? Are there any rules which apply to the exact phrases which “that” refers to?

1. The graphs above show the rates of electricity generation of Kansas and “that” of the U.S. total in 2010. 

Q. Doesn’t “that” refer to “electricity generation”? If yes, isn’t “of” needed before “that”? 

2. The rate of electricity generation by nuclear power plants in Kansas was about the same as that of the U.S. total. 

Q. Doesn’t “that” refer to “the rate of electricity generation by nuclear power plants”? If yes, why is it “that in the U.S. total”, instead of “that of the U.S. total” to be parallel with in Kansas?

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There is a structure used by native speakers that I often read on social media, referring to people who have passed away, on the day of their anniversary. e.g. “He would have been 60 today.” Shouldn’t it be “He would be 60 today”? Meaning, if he were alive, he would be 60 today.

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In making a plaque, I need to know the correct grammar for the following.

  1. Walking Heavens woods with her daddy.
  2. Walking Heaven’s woods with her daddy.
  3. Walking Heavens’ woods with her daddy.

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I just read this in a Wall Street Journal article

 ”Sandy Bleich, a technology industry recruiter, says that for years a bachelor’s degree was enough ... Now recruiters like SHE are increasingly looking for someone with hands-on experience...”

Query: is the use of SHE correct?!

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“I had a talk with so and so,” is a common phrase, so I would imagine that “I had a small talk with so and so,” is equally correct. But “small talk” appears to be treated as an uncountable noun most of the time. Is it countable or uncountable? If both, in what contexts does it become one or the other?

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“We have to go to the store yet.”

I would just remove the “yet” all together; however, I keep hearing someone use the word yet in this fashion and I am wondering if they are grammatically correct.

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Latest Comments

Idea Vs. Ideal

  • Lponce
  • January 20, 2020, 6:01pm

I've heard so many people use Ideal for Idea, I began to doubt myself,and looked it up,

There is no mystery to the Pronunciation of ‘a‘ and ‘the‘ in front of words! The ‘aye ‘ goes in front of vowels, ( aye uterus) however changes to ‘an’ when it is cumbersome (an octopus) . The ‘uh’ sound is used in front of consonants. Many people whose first language is not English or those with discreet dialects adopt incorrect usage feeling that it elevates their diction Now we have become accustomed to the nuance and linguists would accept it as correct for a region or culture. Listen to Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady singing Why Can’t The English (pronounced THEE ) Teach Their Children How To Speak?

Might could

One issue that may be relevant is that "could" also implies possibility or uncertainty in some cases. If you ask me if I will edit a spreadsheet for you and I respond that I will, then there is no uncertainty. If I respond that I could, there is an implication of uncertainty. If I were to include both "might" and "could", I am using two words that both suggest uncertainty.

With regard to a previous comment, it is inaccurate to suggest that individuals who use a term when speaking will not use that same term in their writing. While it may be less common to use some informal or regional terms in writing, I have seen many students and co-workers use informal terms in their writing.

I'm here because I've found such occurrence in my English book. The word "mouses" sounds horrible, even for a non native English speaker. I've been reading quite a lot of comments in here and I'm astonished there's no certain rule in English, as well as tech companies avoid the plural usage via "mouse devices".
In my point of view, I'd stand for "computer mice" in order to be grammatically correct, but hopefully it will be decided in the future so we can avoid seeing official English books using the word "mouses".

Pled versus pleaded

  • Kimmie
  • January 13, 2020, 11:48pm

I automatically hear pled, when ever I see pleaded.

Pled versus pleaded

  • Kimmie
  • January 13, 2020, 11:47pm

I agree with you 100 percent, this has been bothering me for a long time.

Pled versus pleaded

It seems like a leftist conspiracy to simplify for people who speak English as a second language. It is just the first thing to go. Couldn’t even find pled in an online dictionary before I frustratedly googled “What happened to pled”.
How does this happen. Who gets the media to line up like this?
Glad to find this page and the comments here.
Thank you for being here.

Do not induce vomiting

I I'm only here by accident I'm not sure how, but more than likely due to all the different link clicking and redirecting tabs I hit... And then I decided to stay for a while and see what was being shared, because I found it to be almost informative but even more entertaining ! So even though I have nothing important to comment on or of any relevance to this thread. I just wanted to say I do appreciate you guys for giving me an almost pleasant 10 minute experience ! Peace out homie

V-cards

I earned it.

I live in the American south and I never heard the use of “bring” when one means “take” until the most recent decade and I believe it’s a New York construct. No one I know says “ I brought my child to the doctor” for example, but I hear this on television and radio shows.