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

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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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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Latest Comments

My wife and I usually respond "the food is tasting very well". It goes right over the waiter's head.

“hate with passion”

As 'hate' is a transitive verb, I guess the word 'hate' would need an object. I have also never heard this phrase without the indefinite article.

I also say 'I hate [something] with a passion'

Fora vs Forums

  • aladanh
  • December 1, 2019, 11:34pm

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Fora vs Forums

  • aladanh
  • December 1, 2019, 11:34pm

I personally like your post, you have shared good article. It will help me in great deal.
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from among

I am a copy editor and quite often come across "pain in the English," which is removed with your help.

No Woman No Cry

  • laylos
  • November 26, 2019, 10:22pm

i started getting the idea that it could be that without a woman there is no cry of a child. No woman, no cry also could be said "No woman, no child".

Title vs. Entitle

  • Gotham
  • November 25, 2019, 1:24pm

My boss always uses "entitled" to refer to a paragraph heading instead of "titled" or "subtitled". A google search and other comments suggest that major dictionaries say both mean the same thing though one normally associates "entitled" with being privileged or having a right to something. I looked up American Heritage Dictionary and Damon is right, they mean the same thing. But most dictionaries define it as a person being entitled to something. The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary defines it as "feeling that you have a right to the good things in life without necessarily having to work for them".

Thanks for sharing this information about Street Address vs. Mailing Address.

in that regard

For what it's worth: it's Bierce not Pierce (probably just a typo, that one time), but more importantly AMBROSE, not Anthony.

in that regard

For what it's worth: it's Bierce not Pierce (probably just a typo, that one time), but more importantly AMBROSE, not Anthony.