Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

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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 : Usage

In some recent fiction books written by American authors, I have seen the word “acclimated” as in “...she took a day to become acclimated to her new area.”

Shouldn’t this word be “acclimatised” or is this a case of American’s using one word and New Zealanders using another, both for the same purpose?

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I’m reviewing a New Zealand scientific report which uses the word ‘equivalency’. This sounds to me like an Americanisation of the word ‘equivalence’, both being nouns but with the redundancy of an additional syllable in ‘equivalency’.

As we use British English (despite word processing software trying to force American English upon us) I’m inclined to use ‘equivalence’.  What do you think?

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It grates every time I hear a local radio traffic reporter say “there is an accident just prior to the Erindale Rd turn-off.” 

I believe I’m right in thinking the word ‘prior’ is more correctly used in a time context, meaning earlier than or sooner than. 


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In American Grammar specifically, there is a somewhat new trend of referring to a singular collective as a plural noun. For example, “The band are playing at the Hall tonight.” To which I want to reply “It are?” While the British and Canadians have never understood the concept of singular collectives such as large companies or the aforementioned musical groups known by a name such as Aerosmith or Saint Motel, but why is this becoming popular in America where singular collectives have been referred to, until recently, as a singular entity? It’s on the radio, it’s on TV commercials and even in print. Are singular collectives now plural?

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Hi everyone, I’ve got an interesting question from my student:

Trump’s “ask the gays” statement:

- what exactly is wrong with it grammatically?


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I would like to know if it is correct to use the adjective “key” predicatively. I was taught that this word is like the adjective “main,” which can only be used in the attributive position. I’ve seen sentences like “This is key to the success of the plan,” but I remember typing something similar and the word processor marked it immediately as wrong. I think both “key” and “main” are special, (irregular, if you want) adjectives (in fact, they have no comparative forms) and feel they should be treated accordingly. I’ve never seen something like “This book is main in our course.” We will normally say “This is the main book in our course.” Thank you for your help!

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Could somebody please explain the problem with “as such”? I understand the frustration with its incorrect usage as a synonym for “therefore” or “thus”, but the response thereagainst wants to banish its usage entirely. I am confident that I am using it correctly, but I am constantly being directed to remove it from my papers nevertheless. Could you explain its proper usage?

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I noticed in reports of the recent GOP debate a number of instances where the phrase “Person A debated Person B.” was used rather than “Person A debated with Person B.” Is this common in USA?

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Is it escaped prison or escaped from prison?

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From my local medical centre’s web page:-

“The carpark at xxxxxx Health & Wellness Centre is now limited to 180 minutes. Cars parked longer than this and not displaying an exemption permit will be infringed with a $65 parking fine. This is intended to keep the carpark free for patients and customers of the building only. Unauthorised parkers leaving their vehicles in our carpark all day will be infringed.”

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Latest Comments

Inch vs. Inches

  • Ringo
  • June 26, 2019, 7:00pm

1/8 inch, 3/8 inches. Singular vs plural is not a matter of measure but rather the number of units being referenced. In the matter of fractions, while both are less than one (1) inch, 1/8 is one of eight parts, therefore, a singular "inch" should be used, whereas anything more than one of eight (i.e. two, three, four... of eight) is plural and thus "inches" is appropriate. 2/8 inches = 1/4 inch. In similar manner for decimals, 0.1 inch, 0.2 inches, 0.11 inches.

Couldn’t Care Less

This is an old Southern saying. The PROPER use of the saying is "I could care less". Here in the south we pride ourselves on being courteous, and this saying is just a polite way to say "I don't care". If you say "I couldn't care less" you might as well just say "I don't care" because you obviously don't have any manners.

and so...

I know this thread is sort of dead, but I came across it while researching the expression "and so it goes." I just wanted to throw this out there because I noticed no one mentioned it; is "so" being used as a conjunction here? Because I love the phrase "and so it goes," however, I think it may be technically incorrect to use two conjunctions b2b like this. Can anyone grammatically wiser than myself attest to this?

I travel. I'm sitting at a restaurant right now, and was just asked this question, for the hundredth time. When I pulled it up on Google, got this site, and was delighted. The most remarkable thing for me is the rapidity with which this question about how your food is tasting was adopted throughout the entire restaurant industry, across nearly every chain, and even into local diners such as the one where I'm sitting now.
My theory is that one guy who makes a living as a consultant decided it was a good idea for servers to be more specific. And voila! it was suddenly a standard.
I want to meet that one guy. Or woman. And I want to try and figure out how he got his notion penetrated across the entire country, within a matter of months. Or at least, that's how it seemed to me a few years back when this suddenly started.
(Then I want to get him to have servers stop asking me if I'm "still working" on my meal. But perhaps not complained belongs in another chain...)

"Had she been alive today, she would have wanted you to become a doctor."

How do you write 7.7% in written words?

It's called a mouse, I suppose because it reminds us of one. It looks similar to one, but, it is only a nickname. Actually, it is a computer input device so it could just as well be called a 'cid'. The plural of computer mouse can be either mice or mouses because it is only a nickname and therefore the plural is undefined. I prefer mouses. My nickname is Butch and if in the company of another nicknamed Butch I would prefer Butchs' to the alternative.

The ubuquitous "reach out" has become annoying to the max. Why can't one use the appropriate term for an action: call, contact, distribute, request, write, direct, ask, tell ..... Oh, wait, that would involve wasting a few seconds in reviewing and selectng the proper word!

"She would want you to become a doctor if she were alive today".

No Woman No Cry

  • gdt
  • June 13, 2019, 5:25pm

It's a song of romantic and kindred love about a man reminiscing about the time he left his home, his close friends and his girlfriend to find work elsewhere. He reflects about his close friendships, despite their poverty (he lives in a poor ghetto, namely the "government yards in Trenchtown"). His imminent departure makes his girlfriend cry; and the man comforts her ("little sister don't shed no tear; no woman, no cry" meaning "please don't cry").

The song is from Bob Marley's real life. He assigned the lyrics copyright to his friend so that he could continue to "cook corn meal porridge" for the poor residents.

The song has a political implication, due to its frankness about poverty and its celebration of people's strength in that situation. That's the point of comparing "hypocrits" to the "good people".

The meaning of the repetition of "no woman, no cry" isn't apparent from reading the lyrics. If you listen to the song you'll hear it start as a request (as in "please don't cry") and end as a statement of women's strength (as in "you are so strong you never cry"). Note that the woman is the strong person here: she is being left behind in the ghetto, presumably to keep their home whilst he sends her his earnings.

The multilayered meanings, the subtle messages despite the simple lyrics, the subtle but simple-sounding playing -- all are reasons why this song is still so loved, despite being over 40 years old.