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 : 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

By the time

I think the amount of time gap between the two actions will dispose us to the use of the tense whatever best fits there . If the gap in the time is considerably of long duration , we tend to use past perfect tense and if the two actions are simultaneous or near simultaneous , we would find it too formal to use the perfect tense and thus we would go in for the progressive tense .

I have the knowledge of the use of this kind in certain announcements that read 'admissions going ' , ' repair works going ' and the like . At first they ,with their apparent lacking of the helping verbs ,hit me right in the eye but having come across the sentences of such kind particularly in advertisements or announcements , I have got used to them .

Where are the commas?

the first one i think lol

He was sat

There is only one correct way of speaking english ! He was sat is a mutilation and to think its coming from the Brits is even more upsetting. PLEASE teachers correct your students because the rest of the world is not impressed .Thank you ... "we are sitting"

It is the same as entering a password then to confirm that password by writing it again. You done get in unless you do. Or attempting to solve a captcha to prove you are not a robot but get it wrong.

Around October 2007. I'll never forget it. A recruiter left a VM for me stating "I saw your resume and decided to reach out to you". I thought it was the oddest and most plastic way to express oneself. Then from that day on, incredibly, almost every day, I began to hear the term used in that manner, more and more frequently.

"so long as" is used by people who are uneducated and repeat phrases they heard without thinking if those statements are logically or grammatically correct. "As long as" is the only correct phrase to mean "under the conditions of." This follows English grammar rules regarding comparisons, whereas the substitution of "so" for "as" is nonsensical since "so" is a qualifier.

Quick Question:

(1) This is she, who is speaking.
(2) This is her, to whom you are speaking.

Are both of those sentences grammatically correct, or only the first one? If the 2nd is not grammatically incorrect, then I could see answering the phone with an abbreviated version of that implied longer sentence, shortening it to "This is her...".

If the 2nd sentence is grammatically incorrect, would the correct formulation then be: "This is she, to whom you are speaking?"

Hang Glide

I too have hung glidden

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