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 : Grammar

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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Problem with capitalizing and pluralizing official titles. For example:

He is a State Governor (or a state governor; a State governor; a state Governor: a governor of a state; Governor of a State?) in Nigeria. 

She is a deputy registrar (or is it a Deputy Registrar?) in my university. Many Deputy Registrars (or is it deputy registrars?) attended the conference.

Some university Registrars (or is it university registrars) have criticized the policy. 

Many Presidents (or is it presidents) came in person. Others were represented by their Vice Presidents (vice presidents?)

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Is it correct to say “she is in my same school”?

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Dear Sirs, I read your post on “I was/ I were”.  I found it very helpful, resuscitating memories of English classes. I’m still not sure if I should use “was” or “were” in this sentence, below. 

“And if anyone else were to peek, they would see the bear cubs looking fast asleep, dreaming of all the things they loved.”

The “anyone else” might be peeking and might not be peeking. We don’t know. “were” sounds better to my ear, but my MS Word has it underlined in green. Who is correct? Me or the machine?

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Latest Comments

obstinacy vs. obstinancy

  • Mord
  • April 25, 2019, 12:35am

An obstinacy of Buffalo.. Obstinacy is the same as Gang or herd..

obstinacy vs. obstinancy

  • Mord
  • April 25, 2019, 12:34am

Obstinacy is a word. One use of this word is to describe a group of Buffalo.. An Obstinacy of Buffalo..

This has irritated me for years and it is getting worse. I've also heard the misuse in movies from the 40s. It seems to be a flaw in our education system.

Above I read "the speaker is not currently at". That also irritates me.

No Woman No Cry

The lyrics say:
No, woman, no cry;
No, woman, no cry.
'Ere, little darlin', don't shed no tears:
No, woman, no cry.

So it means No, Woman, don't cry

Pled versus pleaded

"Pleaded" sounds Juvenile, Inane, Asinine, and just plain STUPID.
One doesn't say they "Bleeded" when they cut themselves.

As far as I remember, this phrase comes from an American TV ad in the 70s promoting contacting loved ones via a phone call. It used the song 'Reach out and touch somebody's hand' as its theme and "reaching out" was its catchphrase.

I am so glad that this obnoxious phrase is annoying to other people besides myself. I think it's creepy and I have started telling businesses that use it that I do NOT wish to be reached out to, and that if they can't simply contact me then I will take my business elsewhere.

Pronunciation: aunt

If you call an Aunt an Ant do you call your mother a "Moth"er? If you call an Aunt an Ant do you pronounce Australia like Aestralia? I fear that the mispronunciation of Aunt comes from the inability of current people's ancestors to read. So very much like the current trend of troglodytes to use double negatives to add emphasis to their statements I am inclined to think that people mispronouncing Aunt as Ant is simply a matter of ignorance of how written English should be pronounced.

Past tense of “text”

After reading many (although not all) of these comments, I have observed that those who prefer "text" as a past tense verb tend to have more grammatical errors of other kinds in their posts than those who prefer "texted," giving them less credibility as qualified judges of what should be considered grammatically correct. I vote for texted.

Thank you for publishing this comment page. It was sooooo
comforting to learn that I am not the only one who has become
thoroughly disgusted with the increasing over-use, not to mention
incorrect use of this phrase. A typical example was a call I received yesterday from the receptionist in a dental office who said "Nancy asked me to reach out to you to ask if they could change an appointment time." Why didn't she simply ask if it
would be possible to change the time?