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

Idea Vs. Ideal

  • Lponce
  • January 20, 2020, 6:01pm

I've heard so many people use Ideal for Idea, I began to doubt myself,and looked it up,

There is no mystery to the Pronunciation of ‘a‘ and ‘the‘ in front of words! The ‘aye ‘ goes in front of vowels, ( aye uterus) however changes to ‘an’ when it is cumbersome (an octopus) . The ‘uh’ sound is used in front of consonants. Many people whose first language is not English or those with discreet dialects adopt incorrect usage feeling that it elevates their diction Now we have become accustomed to the nuance and linguists would accept it as correct for a region or culture. Listen to Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady singing Why Can’t The English (pronounced THEE ) Teach Their Children How To Speak?

Might could

One issue that may be relevant is that "could" also implies possibility or uncertainty in some cases. If you ask me if I will edit a spreadsheet for you and I respond that I will, then there is no uncertainty. If I respond that I could, there is an implication of uncertainty. If I were to include both "might" and "could", I am using two words that both suggest uncertainty.

With regard to a previous comment, it is inaccurate to suggest that individuals who use a term when speaking will not use that same term in their writing. While it may be less common to use some informal or regional terms in writing, I have seen many students and co-workers use informal terms in their writing.

I'm here because I've found such occurrence in my English book. The word "mouses" sounds horrible, even for a non native English speaker. I've been reading quite a lot of comments in here and I'm astonished there's no certain rule in English, as well as tech companies avoid the plural usage via "mouse devices".
In my point of view, I'd stand for "computer mice" in order to be grammatically correct, but hopefully it will be decided in the future so we can avoid seeing official English books using the word "mouses".

Pled versus pleaded

  • Kimmie
  • January 13, 2020, 11:48pm

I automatically hear pled, when ever I see pleaded.

Pled versus pleaded

  • Kimmie
  • January 13, 2020, 11:47pm

I agree with you 100 percent, this has been bothering me for a long time.

Pled versus pleaded

It seems like a leftist conspiracy to simplify for people who speak English as a second language. It is just the first thing to go. Couldn’t even find pled in an online dictionary before I frustratedly googled “What happened to pled”.
How does this happen. Who gets the media to line up like this?
Glad to find this page and the comments here.
Thank you for being here.

Do not induce vomiting

I I'm only here by accident I'm not sure how, but more than likely due to all the different link clicking and redirecting tabs I hit... And then I decided to stay for a while and see what was being shared, because I found it to be almost informative but even more entertaining ! So even though I have nothing important to comment on or of any relevance to this thread. I just wanted to say I do appreciate you guys for giving me an almost pleasant 10 minute experience ! Peace out homie

V-cards

I earned it.

I live in the American south and I never heard the use of “bring” when one means “take” until the most recent decade and I believe it’s a New York construct. No one I know says “ I brought my child to the doctor” for example, but I hear this on television and radio shows.