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 : Style

I need to give a range of percentages. Do I say “somewhere between 40 and 50%?” or “somewhere between 40% and 50%”? Does the percentage sign get assigned to the first value, even though it’s not verbally articulated?

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Is it alright to omit the word “I” in some cases. If I have already been writing about myself and I slip in a sentence that says for example, “Will be in town next week.” Is this acceptable or should I write “I” at the beginning of each sentence?

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The New York Yankees

The Utah Jazz

The Orlando Magic

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A) Must we have fish for dinner again?

B) Shall we have to have fish for dinner again?

C) Will we have to have fish for dinner again?

D) Do we have to have fish for dinner again?

Accepting that (D) is by far the commonest utterance and would express annoyance or lament. roughly the same as “I wish we weren’t having fish again”, my concern is with the other options, particularly (B) which looks “grammatical” but just sounds odd to me. (A) is less common today but seems to go back a long way whereas “have to” is relatively modern, so which sound “normal” to you?

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How do you handle a quote within a quote within a quote in an MLA citation?

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“She said she...” or “She said that she...”

All my life I have received great feedback about my grammar, but these past few years I find myself over thinking it—all the time. It actually causes me to create mistakes where there previously weren’t any. Bizarre? 

One such thing that I have thought too much about is the necessity of “that” in phrases like the above. When would you say it’s necessary? Always? Never? Sometimes? Explain! Thanks!

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Are adverbs something to be avoided like the plague or an inevitable mutation of the English language that we just have to deal with? I’ve heard it said that they’re the mark of a writer who lacks the vocabulary to use powerful words (for example, “He walked slowly” does not carry the weight of “He plodded” or “He trudged”) and the skill to vary their sentence structure. I’ve seen them used in published in professional work, from George R. R. Martin to J.K. Rowling, so it’s not something authors shy away from and, for the most part, the public accepts it without question.

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What is a correct... “A gift of John Doe” or “A gift from John Doe” when referring to a large charitable donation? I like the sound of “of” but not sure which one is right.

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What would be the preferred form of each of these:- 

a) “in hopes of” or “in the hope of” 

b) “a change in plans” or “a change of plan”

c) “apprise” or “inform” 

d) “envision” or “envisage”

I favour the second of each of the above, but no doubt there will be different opinions.

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Why is the term “attorneys general” correct? It used to be “attorney generals” ... There are multiple attorney generals.

If I was describing a group of Army generals, I wouldn’t say “Armies General” ... would I?

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Latest Comments

Dear members,
there are situations when the proper use of an English word is problematic for a non-native English's speaker. These situations are very specific -context-dependent- but at the same time are pretty common. This happens, for instance, when writing a CV or a cover letter.
I've got an example of these situations. I want to express my experience over the last 15 years, by writing: "I have worked as a specialist or leading consultant in studies of baselines, closure assessments, and impact evaluations."

An alternative could be:
"I have worked as a specialist or leading consultant in studies addressed to build up baselines, closure assessments, and impact evaluations."

Would you please enlight me about the proper way to convey my experience in the way I was trying.
Thanks in advance.
Enver (Peru)

"grammatically correct" is redundant. Grammar is the CORRECT use of words. "Grammatically correct" can be likened to "a golden solid gold watch." ( FWIW, "a grammatical error" is also incorrect. It is a contradiction of terms. One might commit an "error in grammar." "A grammatical error" can be likened to "a BLACK white." )

Pled versus pleaded

I cringe every time I hear someone say pleaded, when it should be pled! It's been 'pled' all my life...why did it suddenly change to this incorrect use of English?

Past tense of “text”

Texed.

Past tense of “text”

Text

Past tense of “text”

Excuse the spelling mistake. Should have been illiterate. Fat fingers!!!!

Past tense of “text”

Using texted shows that you know how to properly use the english language and not sound like an illerate (verbal) moron

I think it should be enamored by. I am 51 years old, and that to me makes more sense, and sounds better.

I wanted to edit the message below but was unable to. I meant to write,
"Conversely the same goes for when a customer is e-mailing, contacting or asking, they are NOT "reaching out"!

Saying, "reaching out" when you mean to say, "contact" or "ask" is inappropriate and irritating. It connotes that you are in trouble and need help so when companies or anyone else says to customers or to anyone else, "Thank you for reaching out" it comes off as condescending and implying you need help.
When someone with a drug problem reaches out they are doing so after a lot of indecision and are in serious need of help.
Same when a person with a mental problem "reaches out".
If one is about to fall off a cliff, and they reach out, that means they are reaching out with their hand for help. They are not contacting, they are reaching out. Conversely the same goes for when a customer is e-mailing, contacting or asking, they are "reaching out". Please stop using the phrase everywhere it is not appropriate.
Replying to below, YES the following is appropriate.
".. would use it to describe the process of contacting someone with whom they'd previously had no relationship or trying to re-establish a rapport with someone who was now more distant or estranged. It was usually used in the context of getting help or assistance."