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

Idea Vs. Ideal

My husband says ideal all the time. And I always ask tell him what do you deal? And then I ask him if he means idea. And that ideal does not mean the same thing as idea.

Actress instead of Actor

Actor is Male, Actress is Female. If you take the Male and turn it into a gender-neutral term, while keeping the Female-Specific term, what term are you going to use to replace the Male-Specific term? You are only confusing the issue when the words get used, making communication between people more difficult.

“hate with passion”

Omit a

Where are the commas?

I am a younger member of the administrative team and my writing is often corrected by an older gentleman who puts that extra comma after the second word in a list of three. Just wanted to make sure I was correct about what I was taught in college and what speech actually sounds like.

Which is correct:
She bought apples, oranges and pears.
OR
she bought apples, oranges, and pears.
I was taught in college that the first one is correct and matches speech patterns.

Can't believe I'm not alone in noticing this. Bravo to those who feel obliged to comment. As much as I love her, Michelle Obama was the first person I heard it from. And here I thought it was my perfect ear detecting an otherwise unnoticed flaw.

On Tomorrow

  • G-Dog
  • August 15, 2019, 12:55am

I found this forum as a result watching Bible Study from my local church on TV with my wife, I finally asked her if she ever noticed “church folk” while speaking in church use the phrase ‘On Today’ or ‘On Tomorrow’ but the same people don’t phrase it that way anyplace else?
It’s been a curiosity to me for some time but I’d never inquired aloud about it. I’m no closer to an answer but I’m relieved I’m not the only one to wonder.

Resume, resumé, or résumé?

Thanks for the enlightenment.
This is better than working on my resume any day :)
---------------------------------------------
SUMMARY (thank you for everyone's posts!):

[for context: i'm a native american english speaker]

1. In this post i learned the French pronounce as
rayzumay

2. i always heard it as
rezumay

So thank you, now the
re'sume' spelling makes sense.

And somehow like so many loan words, the pronunciation changed in its english usage.

3. CONTEXT MATTERS:
Like mentioned wind and wind cause no confusion IN CONTEXT (blowing wind or to wind a clock).
Same goes if we resume using resume for practical English usage.

4. Don't forget perhaps the most wisdom already mentioned:
Use resume without any accents in English for electronic postings (for less translation errors).
---------------------------------------------

Hi there,

I've a question about where one should place an abbreviation that is inside brackets. I have students handwriting their text response essays and I have told them that when they reference the text title they are to enclose the title with single quotation marks. One of the titles is a little long so I have said they can abbreviate the title after they firstly introduce the whole name, and the abbreviation in brackets. One student asked if the abbreviation enclosed by brackets needs to sit inside the single quotation marks and I'm not sure.

Examples:

a) The film 'Made in Dagenham' (MID) portrays the fight for equal pay in 1960s England.
b) The film 'Made in Dagenham (MID)' portrays the fight for equal pay in 1960s England.

Do you know which of the above sentences are correct?

Ta
James

Resume, resumé, or résumé?

If you are going to borrow a word from another language, you should spell it that way it is spelled in that language, not put your own interpretation on it because you pronounce it incorrectly or can't be bothered to even try to pronounce it correctly or because you have no respect for the other language.

You therefore either spell it the way it's spelled in French or you drop both accents entirely because English words have no accents. if you make it an English word, then you can't logically have an accent after the second "e". If you do, it is a non-word: neither French nor English, nor any other language.

Resume, resumé, or résumé?

here's the thing... obviously English has borrowed this "accented" word from another language... but in modern times, "resumé" does the job correctly of informing a reader that the two e's are pronounced differently, and that the final "e" is definitely NOT silient (it's not "rayzumay", is it? it's "rezumay") so only the middle spelling portrays the modern day English pronunciation accurately