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 : Usage

Andrew Cuomo, in his popular COVID press conferences, often uses the words “dose” and “dosage” interchangeably (at least so it seems). Here is an example:

“We have the operational capacity to do over 100,000 doses a day — we just need the dosages.”

Here is another:

“To date, New York has administered 2.5 million dosages, with about 10% of New Yorkers receiving their first dose. Ninety-two percent of dosages allocated to the state to date have been used.”

I thought “dosage” refers to the amount in a dose, like x milligrams. A single dosage can have multiple milligrams, so, when you pluralize “dosage,” what exactly are you referring to, if not the number of doses?

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I recently ran across the working word in a document that was: “re-substantial.”

Even if it were only listed as "resubstantial," my question is this: Is this even a real word? If it is, what on earth does it actually mean?

Your help is greatly needed.

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Is it grammatically ok to use the adjective “respective” with a singular noun ?

Many dictionaries such as Longman define the term “respective” as follows.

used before a plural noun to refer to the different things that belong to each separate person or thing mentioned.

But, I often see “respective” used with a singular noun as follows (cited from an Internet site).

Each of the Division’s three regional offices - in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco - handles criminal matters arising in its respective area and serves as the Division’s liaison with U.S. attorneys, state attorneys general, and other regional law enforcement agencies.

I wonder if the above usage is now common, though it is gramatically incorrect.

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In our office we are advocates for our client and in representing what we do with a client we have times that we advocate for our clients. I am under the impression that you can advocate for your client to do something with them and several of my co workers disagree stating that you can only advocate for them to receive something with another provider or resource. Who is corrent? examples:

Can you correctly say:

“the care support provider provided advocacy in encouraging the client to participate in therapy” or the “Care manager advocated with the client to participate in therapy weekly.”

Can we advocate for a client to do something that they are recommended to do. Using advocated in the place of “encouraged”

office question responses appreciated.

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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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Latest Comments

Medicine or Medication?

Another example of the [B]"think it's classy/clever"[B] genre is:-
imagine -- imagination

English grammar is considered pretty diverse, especially about tenses. It takes quite a long time to properly study it. If we talk about the prospect of communication, it might probably not worth so much to delve into each of the tenses. Native speakers can easily understand you without complex tense structures. Please note that we are talking only about "spoken English." However, if you need academic English to write literary or scientific articles, you may need to use a little more tense structures. I agree that some tenses in English are extremely rarely used. But from my point of view, it would be nice to get acquainted with them, at least to get a complete picture of English grammar. If there is a problem with understanding this part, you can find some relevant info here - . As for me, practice is the best way to understand something.

I absolutely agree! I've seen plenty of movies and tv-shows etc. where "all but" has been used in different, opposite meanings. Really annoying stuff!

By the time

I think its a matter of time. Had started is correct for that sentence however was sleeping is correct for the second sentence as sleeping is an activity for time little bit longer.

Vaccine doses or dosages?

Dose is to use for the singular term however dosage is used for the plural term.

Thank you so much for this topic, it was very useful for me.

How to ask a question?

The standard structure of a Wh- question is...
[“Wh-” Question Word/Phrase] + [Auxiliary Verb] + [Subject] + [Main Verb] + [Object or Other Information] + ?
but there are some questions that don't follow this structure such as "What are the characteristics of a leader?"
What is the exception here and what structure does this follow?

I've been living in Brisbane, Australia for nearly 8 years (originally from UK) and here they say bring instead of take. So my 2 sons are now saying bring! I correct them but it's not sticking in their brains, argh! :-)

Pled versus pleaded

Totally agree - 'pled' sounds much better, and it's surprising how fast things change; and for no good reason.

obliged or obligated?

I just love the rainbow display of perceived competence/understanding in the debatement of these 2 words'll find arguments that range from comically ignorant, to simple but precise, all the way up to over elaborately intelligent. Its great! (Is over elaborately even a "word"/grammatically correct in this case? I initially typed, "...overly elaborately intelligent[.]", but ultimately chose to edit it. Looks like I found the next subject of/to^ debate! ^ Which is correct; '..subject of debate[!]' or '..subject to debate[!]'? Look at that, I found yet another!)
Although I am being genuine in what I've just written, I also did so to illustrate just how endless the list is when it comes to the amount of things that can be debated over when it comes to language-ESPECIALLY the English language. While some of them do actually have a clear/concise right or wrong answer, many are subjective to culture, location, topic, situation, &/or opinion. This topic def belongs to the latter. You would have to assess the context of the situation in order to choose which form of the word is more fitting. However, as a [very] general rule, I typically see/use/refer to 'obligated' as more of a negative sense of the word &'obliged' as the more positive sense. I can actually remember the specific situation that developed my understandings in this goes all the way back to me being 8 years old watching the timeless,classic Tim Allen movie, Jungle 2 Jungle (which is still as entertaining to watch now as it was then) when his young teen/pre-teen son(who has come to live with him in urban America after being raised in some village tribe that most would refer to as 'uncivilized') asks him what 'obligated' means, when Tim Allens character is explaining to him that he has to leave for the day to go to work. He explains it as, "..something that I have to do that I don't necessarily want to do." Tims character has a gf who is very unaccepeting of his son&his odd ways of behaving& during a phone conversation with her, Tims character uses the word 'obligated' when it came to what his reasons were for going to get his son/allowing him to stay there,which his son over hears and obviously gets upset. Because he now thinks his dad never wanted him to come home with him, he only did it because he had no choice. If you haven't seen the movie, you need to stop what you're doing right now,& go watch it. You can thank me later. Anyways, that's my take on this matter.. Hopefully it's of some use to someone.