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 : Misc

I thought you could put /s/ on a copy of a signed letter to indicate the original had been signed. Right or wrong?

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Can anyone tell me why the second ‘a’ in Canada and Canadian is pronounced differently? 

I’m English/British and I and from England/Britain.

Surely it should either be Can-a-da & Can-a-dian or Can-ay-da & Can-ay-dian...

My guess is it has something to do with the French influence, but I would love to know for sure.

Here in the UK our language has been heavily influenced over the years, including by the French and it has always interested where these things start or change.

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I was in empty space in an elevator one day when it occurred to me that it’s actually “pains-taking”, the taking of pains to do something thoroughly. I’d never thought about it before.

But it’s too hard to pronounce “painz-taking”, because the “z” sound must be voiced; whereas the unvoiced “s” combines easily with the “t” to make “-staking”, so that’s what we say. That’s my theory, but BrE might be different. Is it?

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Why does the Western media have so many different spellings for some Arabic terms?


1. hezbollah hesbollah hizbullah hizbollah hisbollah

2. ayatollah ayatullah

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I’m having a custom item made to indicate when our home was established.  The year will be the year my husband and I were married and started our family.  My issue is I’m not sure how our name should appear.  Here is the text.


Est. 2008

Our last name is Myers.  Please help!  I’m not sure if it should be possessive (ownership of the home/family) or plural (for the people).

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At the clinic I was directed to the “subwait area” and left to ponder my fate. I did wonder whether this should be sub-wait and how fully portable “sub” has become as a preposition and/or prefix, when attached to a Germanic-rooted word. What other words are there where “sub” is used as an English word, apart from phrases like “sub judice” and “sub” as a short form of “substitute” eg in sport “he was subbed off”?

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Can you please comment on a trend that I have noticed recently. More and more people seem to be pronouncing words that contain the letters “str” as if they were written “shtr”. Strong sounds like shtrong, strange sounds like shtrange, and so on. I have noticed even my favorite NPR journalists mispronouncing these words. I first noticed this pronunciation in one of Michelle Obama’s early speeches. I’d appreciate any insight that you might have.

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I have always believed, probably in common with most Scots, that the pronunciation of “gill” varies depending on whether one is referring to the organ of respiration in fishes and other water-breathing animals ( /ɡɪl/ ), or a measure of liquid (/dʒɪl/ ), or even one of the many other variations of the word. I was therefore somewhat surprised recently when watching an episode of QI to hear the erstwhile Stephen Fry and his guests use /ɡɪl/ for both the fishy organ and the liquid measure..

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Does anyone know if there are rules governing the pronunciation of “a”? It’s either “AYE” or “UH”, depending on the word following. My preference is dictated by how it sounds and how it flows off the tongue, but I have never been able to establish if actual rules exist.

Americans and Australians tend to use “AYE” all the time and sometime it just sounds ridiculous, like...”Aye man driving aye car stopped at aye traffic light”

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What diacritic would I use over the word YANA to accent the first a as an “ah” (short o) sound. It is pronounced Yahna. Thanks!

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Pled versus pleaded

I agree that "pled guilty" makes more sense. I get a little irked every time I see that someone in the news "pleaded guilty". There are so many things we cannot control.

I’m still learning English and I was confused about this (I have vs I’ve got), but you all have different opinions. The questions is, can I use what I want? Are both correct?

English schools

Many language learners and tutors would recommend a combination of lessons and immersion if both are feasible for the learner. Technology today has paved the way for a wide range of language learning resources from mobile apps, videos, even audio resources. And now that everyone's mobility is restricted these days which limits the possibility of taking actual language classes, online language lessons, similar to, have become a convenient way to learn a new language. As with any type of learning, investing a significant amount of time and effort on taking the lessons and practicing them definitely helps in achieving an effective language learning experience.

Why so few diacritics in English?

  • dec
  • November 29, 2020, 4:21am

1. Native English apparently does have some few examples of use of diacritics eg Bronte (w the diaeresis) although i suggest it is possibly originally a 'foreign' name? But virtually every one in current use is a 'borrowed' word.

2. but! my firm belief is that English SHOULD use/deploy diacritics more often to indicate pronunciation when that is ambiguious, or, more especially, where there are two or more English words spelt the same but with a different pronunciation (and obviously meaning).

I only give one example, but it is a very clear and definitive example - 'close' and 'close'.

But i can find nowhere that advocates for this reasonable, logical, and helpful, idea.

Plural s-ending Possessives

I am purchasing a housewarming gift for my friends. Their surname is Ellis. So, should it be “the Ellises?”

Abbreviation of “number”

For a set of engineering/design plans and documents, the correct denotation would be "no.s"

He and I, me and him

I was taught "me and him" was crass and that uncultured people could be spotted by this slip.
It is evidence of finishing culture. I was shocked to hear Obama use this properly, "Michael and I..."
Color me impressed.

We, I, or my wife had a baby?

if your talking to someone say "we" but if your talking to the family say "my wife"

and so...

  • Big DW
  • November 24, 2020, 9:25am

My girfriend says "and so" all the time especially when she's trying to sound smart, and it drives me crazy. It doesn't mean anything just like, "it is what it is," or "at the end of the day," or "that being said," or "if you will," and so ...

Actress instead of Actor

  • Pat99
  • November 24, 2020, 8:31am

I don't understand the commenters going so far as to say calling females ACTORs sounds "Orwellian", "ridiculous", or "distasteful". Or viewing the term ACTRESS for females as "empowering" or preferable.

What about many other terms in that same industry like director, producer, movie star, celebrity, entertainer, performer, talk show host, etc.?

What about the vast majority of professions in English? Some common ones:
- athlete
- coach
- musician / singer
- artist
- novelist / author / writer / blogger
- executive
- president
- politician
- lawyer
- doctor
- nurse
- therapist
- surgeon
- teacher
- architect
- designer
- engineer
- scientist
- researcher
- journalist
- reporter
- driver
- cashier
- bank teller
- secretary
- chef

None of these job / role nouns are inherently male or female, even though one sex may command the majority share of positions (historically or to this day).

@Diva4Jesus even wrote "I, however, like the fact that ladies and gentlemen are inherently different, and for me, vive la difference"

For professions where sex doesn't matter, how could you legally hire employees without discriminating against a particular sex, if you had female terms like "driveress" or "engineeress" for example? Sure ladies and gentlemen are different, but the job or role is not. At least according to women and many others who have been fighting for equality. Just like both sexes can perform the role of "parent" or "caregiver", even though a male cannot be a "mother".

Adding new classifications for roles based on sex would be counterproductive and provide no value. In an increasingly complex world where an individual can choose their gender and pronouns, yet ask or legally require others to respect that decision, it would be complete chaos. If you really want to differentiate, a mechanism already exists - you can say "female actor" or "male nurse".