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 : Grammar

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

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Latest Comments

It shold have been me?

He was sat

  • Elaine
  • October 15, 2019, 5:44pm

This incorrect use of the past tense grates on me enormously! And it is exactly like an epidemic - it's everywhere!! And so many people (including teachers who I work with) don't seem to have any clue that it is wrong!! It does only seem to be for the verbs "to sit" and "to stand", however. But given that in primary schools in the UK, children need to pass a grammar test at the end of KS2, it is surely paramount that the teachers are speaking (and therefore teaching the children) correctly. Wouldn't it be a concern if we gave them the incorrect dates for Henry VIII's reign? The content needs to be accurate in what we as teachers deliver to children. I cannot imagine anyone ever saying "I was drank a lovely bottle of wine..." or "I was swam in the sea for an hour..." so why do people get it wrong for "sit" and "stand"? Beats me...and I'm despairing more and more as I hear it on the television and radio. What hope have these kids got????

“my bad”

I don't care about the grammar because it so irritates me so to hear it. It is such a ridiculous way of saying "I made a mistake"!
I, too, was interested as to where it came from. I can somewhat understand it in relation to sports and making a bad play, but I wish it would stay in sports where it belongs.

I note that in your example "four species of butterfly" is equivalent to "four lizard species". Lizards are of course know for their conciseness.

What I really hate is UPS and FedEx look at my 4 line address with both physical andmail addresses. They turn white and say we can’t take one with a PO Box. So off goesthe PO Box.

Then about 1/4 of the time, the package comes in the mail because their computer saysit is cheaper to have USPS deliver it.

The term is disambiguation

and so...

  • patty-c
  • September 27, 2019, 3:36am

Lol wish I could delete my posts. My self-contradictory and now incorrect post. Also my repetitive post. Oh well! So it goes!

and so...

  • patty-c
  • September 27, 2019, 3:29am

@Warsaw Will ... Just came across your article! Nice! Thank you

and so...

  • patty-c
  • September 27, 2019, 3:28am

@Of_Course
I don't think it's a conjuction at all !
"And so" has the conjunction "and" and then I would call "so" an adverb, it's like "therefore"
(in "I didn't like it, and so I left")
And so I don't even think it breaks the rules of grammar, not at all. (Though I just did; but I can tell the difference)
In your special case "and so it goes", that's a slightly different meaning but "so" is definitely an adverb there - it means "that way", or something close to "thus". In your "and so it goes", "and" isn't even connected to "so". So it goes. They changed my schedule again, and so it goes. I hate my new schedule, but so it goes. "And so it goes" can't possibly have anything wrong with it! (Sez I)