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 : Punctuation and Mechanics

If a city and state (and full date) start a sentence in possessive form, would you consider the punctuation correct in the following three examples?

  • Frankfort, Kentucky’s crime rate has increased.
  • Paris, France’s breathtaking sights left us in a state of raptures.
  • September 11, 2001’s tragic events will forever be indelibly etched in the minds of everyone.

Please, no recasts. 

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When including a complete sentence in parentheses, what are the rules? For example, someone just sent me this in an email:

“I always change some of the readings from semester to semester (for example, I am trying out the book on migration for the first time this semester and am not sure if I will keep it in the Fall).”

But I could just as easily see it written this way:

“I always change some of the readings from semester to semester. (For example, I am trying out the book on migration for the first time this semester and am not sure if I will keep it in the Fall.)”

Are both acceptable? Is one preferred? 

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When making a list of the very same name of something, is it proper english to use one quotation mark in place of the same name or word after writing it a couple of times down the list? I can’t seem to find anything on it.

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Which ending punctuation sequence is correct for a question dialogue sentence containing a quotation within it?

a. ”Does the menu say, ‘no substitutions?’” asked Jo.

or

b. ”Does the menu say, ‘no substitutions’?” asked Jo.

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My friend is sending an invitation, and she is using the date of:

January, 16th 2016

Is this technically correct, or at a minimum not considered barbaric? Where should the comma be?

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In a sentence, there is the name of a company followed by an abbreviation, the initials of the company, in parentheses. The company name is a possessive in this sentence. Where does the apostrophe go? I want to know how this would work, as I am having trouble finding anything but advice to restructure the sentence, and I would like an answer that gives me what to do with the sentence as it stands.

Example: This policy sets a standard for determining access to Introspective Illusions (II) resources.

Would it be Introspective Illusions’ (II’s) or  Introspective Illusions’ (II) or some other construction?

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Should a rhetorical question end with a question mark?

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I have a question about “;” and “—” as used in sentence structure. I prefer using — i.e. “He did not expect to meet anyone—the house had been empty for years—and was surprised to hear whistling from the upper floor.”

Now, as I wrote a line in my story, as sentence ran away from me and I ended up using a ; at the end, as well as the — and I got the feeling that maybe it had to be one or the other all the way through and not a mix. Anyway, the sentence (racial slur warning)

Rod had not let her buy the beer herself at first—not until father had gone down there and cleared up some misconceptions from that sneaky pool-digger—and hadn’t that been a fun day to be alive; now he just gave her sympathetic looks whenever she came to get beer for her father.

So, in such a sentence, is it right to use both the “—” and the “;”? I can always rebuild it, but it felt right to me somehow, even though I got uncertain about if it would sting in the eyes of others.

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Could I use both a colon and semicolon in a sentence?

A college will provide help for students who are struggling in homework; the resources are: study skills that help students to be on top of coursework, counselors will give advices dealing with the workload, and the option to drop a class early.

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For example, “Every morning, I wake up at 6:00 am and then I make a cup of coffee.”

As a writing teacher for international students, I see this kind of sentence all the time. I know it is technically correct to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction, but I have found that so many Americans omit this comma that it has become extremely commonplace even among native English speakers. Is it socially acceptable in writing to omit the comma? How serious is it to mandate that my international include this comma?

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Latest Comments

Five by Five

Yeah well it could also kean 55 years old...the bestest age, lol

Please be advised....

  • moscott
  • November 13, 2018, 4:45pm

Please be advise, due to the holidays we are is planning to ship the remaining actuators on or before 11/27/2018. If you should have any questions regarding this report, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please be advised....

  • moscott
  • November 13, 2018, 4:44pm

Please be advise, due to the holidays we are is planning to ship the remaining actuators on or before 11/27/2018. If you should have any questions regarding this report, please do not hesitate to contact me.

"We're" is correct because it is used when the statement is hypothetical.

When we say “general” in “attorney general,” “surgeon general,” and “postmater general,” it is not meant as a rank as in the military sense, and it is not even a noun. It is an adjective meaning “chief or principal.” It is the same sense as in “general manger.” The confusion comes from the adjective following the noun.

Writing out percentages correctly

  • MC Rob
  • November 9, 2018, 5:57pm

I have to say that character graphic at the top of the home page is priceless! Having her pop up and say "Good luck, genius" when someone clicks "No" is truly inspired. I'm saving this site for when I do need proofreading - timidity is a bad quality in a proofreader.

Hi all vs. Hi everybody

I use "Hi/Hello Everybody" in my English class (I am learning).
Is it well written?

Resume, resumé, or résumé?

why had this argument been going on for 14 years?

* also my favorite spelling is résumé *

“hate with passion”

  • ÉricP
  • November 3, 2018, 11:25am

"Hate with passion" seems more appropriate to me. Different from "hate with a vengeance".

Screw The Pooch

I always thought that the expression was a descriptive for some rather disgusting f*ck up to which the action was compounded by a follow up with another sh*tty act!
I.e. "He screwed the pooch and then sold her pups!"