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

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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Now, I’ve been rolling this question over for few weeks now. I personally believe whom in the cases, but on we go. After writing most of this, I think [1] should be who now.

The infinitive phrase/clause normally takes the objective case as its “subject”.

“I wanted to meet him.”

Thus, the corresponding interrogative:

“Whom did he want to meet?”

But what happens if you take this construction and use it with a copular verb?

[1] “Who/whom am I to judge.” (?)

[2] “I am who/whom to be.” (?)

Which may correspond to the declarative sentences (U=unacceptable; A=acceptable):

[1a] “I am he to judge.”

[1b] “I am him to judge”

[2a] “I am he to be.”

[2b] “I am him to be.”

[2c] “I am to be he.” (U)

[2d] “I am to be him.”(A)

It is possible to expand them into relative clauses:

[1a'] “I am the person who can judge them.”(A)

[1b'] “I am the person whom can judge.” (U)

[2a'] “I am the person (who) you should be.” (U)

[2b'] “I am the person (whom) you should be.” (A)

The construction has two verb constructions (one copular and the other infinitive) vying for dominance. So thoughts? These conundrums are fascinating and, due to my obsessive-compulsiveness, frustrating. </p>

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Latest Comments

Pronunciation of “often”

@MrsLovewell The tendency to pronounce as spelled has traditionally been stronger in Scotland and America than in England. In an international world where we need to communicate with people from outside our local community, this tendency will probably gradually become stronger in England too.

Live or Living

i am living in B

Pronunciation of “often”

I have no educational credentials to offer here, but I'm going to give my two cents anyway. I just need to say to Skeeter Lewis that your comment "It's based on the fallacious idea that words have to be pronounced as they are spelled" is highly irritating. I live in an area where people make up incredibly annoying spellings for names because they don't believe things need to be pronounced the way they are spelled. People can't just go around creating new spellings for sounds that already exist in the English language and write it off as "words don't have to be pronounced as they're spelled." Just sayin'.

He was sat

  • Eljay
  • August 6, 2018, 6:43pm

I live In Scotland and everyone across the country says “ I was sitting , or I was standing “ . When I go to England or I hear an English person say this sentence, it is always “I was sat , or I was stood “.

If we cast everything into the active voice, there is no confusion.

a) I replaced the old rug with a new one. -> The old rug was replaced with a new one.

b) Plastic bags replaced paper bags. -> Paper bags were replaced by plastic bags.

So, the question is NOT "with" vs "by". The real question is whether

A) Somebody replaces X with Y.

or

B) Y replaces X.

When cast in the passive voice, (B) becomes "X is replaced by Y".

“hate with passion”

  • jaxxon
  • July 21, 2018, 5:38pm

I think the difference is "sing" and "say" are physical things that you can do (I talk, I sing) with emotion. For example, she spoke with passion about the needs of the homeless (acted with feeling).

However, "hate" is an emotion so you really wouldn't say, I feel with feeling. So, it's more I hate with a passion.

Someone else’s

@BrockawayBaby

"The justifications of "passersby" as the proper plural is silly. I know the grammar tyrants like to think it's correct, but think about the following: the word "playoff" is made up, like "passerby," of a noun (passer) and an adjective (by). Under the grammar tyrant rule, the plural of "playoff" should actually be "playsoff.""

This is not a noun + adjective. It's a verb + adverb. The same goes for those other words in your list. 'Passersby' is correct, as is 'playoffs'.

How do you spell out 6.75%?

Tell About

As a native speaker and ESL teacher from California, I personally cringe every time I see “tell about” without an object, yet I keep seeing it written in our school texts.

Past tense of “text”

I have many different arguments about this there is only text-noun,texting-verb,and text-past tense. Also, after reading some of the comments there needs to be a "thumb down" option. For me its not even about their opinion , we all are entitled to one, it is wrong facts that they use to support them.