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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 : 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

“This is she” vs. “This is her”

  • jim s
  • September 27, 2020, 8:04am

"I use she and I. "This is she" when answering the phone, or " this is I" or "it is I" as well. I have children of school age that I want to go to college, I want them to go far in life. I try to prevent them from using slang, especially today's slang which is just horrible, because as they grow older and go on interviews and go into the business world, I want them to sound intelligent and for them to stand out. I do not think using proper English is snobbery, but I do think it might be becoming a lost art."

Roz Oct-05-2011

The problem with this is it ISN'T correct. People are saying "this is she and she is this" are interchangeable. Lets change one parameter. You are pointing out a friend to someone you want to introduce her to. "That is she" isn't right.
I have the sneaking suspicion you would say "Would you like to go to the store with Tom and I?" is correct. It is not. "Would you like to go to the store with I"? It's called an object of the prepostion. Object. Obejective form of 1st person singular is "me"
English is Subject+Verb+Object. Not Subject+Verb+Subject.
It sounds classy and elegant to you, but it ignores the basic rules of grammar.

"Hey" is used in Scandanavian countries ( eg: Hej / Hei / Hæ ) it is an actual word - so this is likley where "hey" comes from
In the Netherlands, it is "hoi"

I know sometimes people from the US might feel like they invented English but it's not the case, sorry :-)

Street Address vs. Mailing Address

i want adress for shopping

Repetitive- use when you want to simply describe an act that is characterized by repeating or repetition.

Repetitious- use when you want to describe an act that is characterized by repeating AND MARKED BY •useless• and •tiresome• repetition.

Repetitive- use when you want to simply describe an act that is characterized by repetition or repeating.
Repetitiously- use when you want to describe an act that is characterized by repeating AND MARKED BY useless and tiresome repetition.

Heaven or heaven?

  • Witness
  • September 17, 2020, 2:46pm

Only one Heaven exists.

Two Heavens do not exist.

Two heavens may exist, if and only if each heaven is not the true Heaven.

For the reason that there is only one true Heaven, and there are not two true Heavens, the true Heaven is a proper noun.

If you believe that every proper noun should be capitalized, and if you are referring to the one true Heaven, then you must spell the English word which is spelled with the English letters h, e, a, v, e, n, in that order, as Heaven, with an uppercase H, in order to be consistent with your own beliefs.

If you do not believe that every proper noun should be capitalized, why are you asking whether or not to capitalize Heaven?

If you are not referring to the one true Heaven, what are you referring to, and why would you refer to another heaven that is not the one true Heaven? Are you trying to tell me something false? If so, you had better not tell it to me! May the Lord God, Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, Yehoshua Ha-Mashiach Ben Yehovah Elohim, be with you! Amen.

I have succeeded with every letter but J. Some people submit that the J is silent in "marijuana" or "hallelujah" when, in fact, they are voiced not as the usual [d-zh] diphthong. The "ju" digraph in most -juana words is voiced as a W, while the j in hallelujah is voiced as a y. Some say V is never, ever silent, but I submit that the second V in the word "savvy" is, in fact, silent, since it is pronounced SA-vee, and not SAV-vee. Here is "my" alphabet:

a: boat
b: dumb
c: scene
d: Wednesday
e: once
*f: halfpenny is not American, but IS English (and though many people do pronounce the second f in “fifth,” it is not incorrect when pronounced “fith”)
g: gnostic
h: hour
i: business
j:
k: knowledge
l: would
m: mnemonic
n: autumn
o: phoenix
p: pneumonia
q: lacquer
r: macabre
s: island
t: ballet
u: guide
v: savvy
w: answer
x: faux
y: day
z: rendezvous

So what is the mark ' called?

So what is the mark before the v called

You're right: "...in the order in which it was received" is precisely what it should be. The phrase as it is, "in the order it was received," is grammatically the same as saying "in the manner it was done." Both phrases require an "in."

There are two options for inserting the "in" into the phrase as it stands. Because most English learners are taught to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition, "in the order it was received in" sounds incorrect, although it is technically correct. Thus, the only grammatically correct option that remains is "in the order it which it was received."

(Note: I am American, so I am abiding by the American English rule of placing commas and periods inside quotation marks--a rule I dislike, I might add.)