Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

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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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Inch vs. Inches

  • Ringo
  • June 26, 2019, 7:00pm

1/8 inch, 3/8 inches. Singular vs plural is not a matter of measure but rather the number of units being referenced. In the matter of fractions, while both are less than one (1) inch, 1/8 is one of eight parts, therefore, a singular "inch" should be used, whereas anything more than one of eight (i.e. two, three, four... of eight) is plural and thus "inches" is appropriate. 2/8 inches = 1/4 inch. In similar manner for decimals, 0.1 inch, 0.2 inches, 0.11 inches.

Couldn’t Care Less

This is an old Southern saying. The PROPER use of the saying is "I could care less". Here in the south we pride ourselves on being courteous, and this saying is just a polite way to say "I don't care". If you say "I couldn't care less" you might as well just say "I don't care" because you obviously don't have any manners.

and so...

I know this thread is sort of dead, but I came across it while researching the expression "and so it goes." I just wanted to throw this out there because I noticed no one mentioned it; is "so" being used as a conjunction here? Because I love the phrase "and so it goes," however, I think it may be technically incorrect to use two conjunctions b2b like this. Can anyone grammatically wiser than myself attest to this?

I travel. I'm sitting at a restaurant right now, and was just asked this question, for the hundredth time. When I pulled it up on Google, got this site, and was delighted. The most remarkable thing for me is the rapidity with which this question about how your food is tasting was adopted throughout the entire restaurant industry, across nearly every chain, and even into local diners such as the one where I'm sitting now.
My theory is that one guy who makes a living as a consultant decided it was a good idea for servers to be more specific. And voila! it was suddenly a standard.
I want to meet that one guy. Or woman. And I want to try and figure out how he got his notion penetrated across the entire country, within a matter of months. Or at least, that's how it seemed to me a few years back when this suddenly started.
(Then I want to get him to have servers stop asking me if I'm "still working" on my meal. But perhaps not complained belongs in another chain...)

"Had she been alive today, she would have wanted you to become a doctor."

How do you write 7.7% in written words?

It's called a mouse, I suppose because it reminds us of one. It looks similar to one, but, it is only a nickname. Actually, it is a computer input device so it could just as well be called a 'cid'. The plural of computer mouse can be either mice or mouses because it is only a nickname and therefore the plural is undefined. I prefer mouses. My nickname is Butch and if in the company of another nicknamed Butch I would prefer Butchs' to the alternative.

The ubuquitous "reach out" has become annoying to the max. Why can't one use the appropriate term for an action: call, contact, distribute, request, write, direct, ask, tell ..... Oh, wait, that would involve wasting a few seconds in reviewing and selectng the proper word!

"She would want you to become a doctor if she were alive today".

No Woman No Cry

  • gdt
  • June 13, 2019, 5:25pm

It's a song of romantic and kindred love about a man reminiscing about the time he left his home, his close friends and his girlfriend to find work elsewhere. He reflects about his close friendships, despite their poverty (he lives in a poor ghetto, namely the "government yards in Trenchtown"). His imminent departure makes his girlfriend cry; and the man comforts her ("little sister don't shed no tear; no woman, no cry" meaning "please don't cry").

The song is from Bob Marley's real life. He assigned the lyrics copyright to his friend so that he could continue to "cook corn meal porridge" for the poor residents.

The song has a political implication, due to its frankness about poverty and its celebration of people's strength in that situation. That's the point of comparing "hypocrits" to the "good people".

The meaning of the repetition of "no woman, no cry" isn't apparent from reading the lyrics. If you listen to the song you'll hear it start as a request (as in "please don't cry") and end as a statement of women's strength (as in "you are so strong you never cry"). Note that the woman is the strong person here: she is being left behind in the ghetto, presumably to keep their home whilst he sends her his earnings.

The multilayered meanings, the subtle messages despite the simple lyrics, the subtle but simple-sounding playing -- all are reasons why this song is still so loved, despite being over 40 years old.