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 a passion. Learn More

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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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I am working on a documentary film and have hit upon a conundrum that we hope one of the fabulous Pain in the English grammarians can solve. We are using the full capital case (”all caps”) to identify our experts, in a text box that pops up below them during their appearances on screen; for example: JOHN SMITH, HISTORIAN. One of our experts has a name that includes a superscript letter (e.g.: JANE MCDONALD) and another has the abbreviation Jr. after his name (e.g.: WILLIAM DOE, JR.). 

Question: Should those superscripted and abbreviated letters stay in all caps, too? Or should they be treated differently, either lower case or small caps? (e.g.: JANE McDONALD / WILLIAM DOE, Jr.) I’ve searched the Chicago Manual of Style and the Government Printing Office’s online manual, and have found no guidance in either.

Thank you for your help!


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I have an issue with the use of the past perfect tense with “until” (and sometimes “before”). Can you please tell me which of these sentences is correct and why?

She hadn’t realized that she was addicted to nicotine until she smoked ten cigarettes a day. (i.e.: Before she smoked that many cigarettes, she didn’t have that knowledge about herself - not realizing/knowing was earlier.) 


She didn’t realize that she was addicted to nicotine until she had smoked ten cigarettes a day. (i.e.: First she smoked that many cigarettes, and then she realized.)

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I cringe whenever I hear the way Brits say: ‘the company ‘are’ or ‘the school board ‘are’ voted in by the parents. What is really frightening to me is that Americans are starting to use the same construction. My research tells me that Brits treat collective nouns as plural, while in the USA we consider them singular. ‘School Board’ is singular. ‘School Boards’ is plural.

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We are all aware of the "different from/to/than" debate, and I have no wish to resurrect that discussion. However, I have lately noticed that there are a few other instances of what might be termed “erroneous use of prepositions.” It almost seems that there is a drive to make “to” the de facto default preposition. Consider the following:

  1. “separate to” vs “separate from”
  2. “deal to” vs “deal with”
  3. “think to” vs “think of”

I have also heard “bored of” rather than “bored with.” There are probably many more examples. One has to wonder what has happened to the teaching of English Grammar in the modern era.

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I was taught that one should never use double negatives. But I was also taught that if you do, it can have the opposite meaning.

Example: The box does not contain nothing.

means: The box contains something.

So I heard the President’s speech. Note that he was not the first person to say it because I have also heard several newsmen use a similar expression. When I heard it, it sounded wrong.  But I could NOT put my finger on why it sounded wrong. Then suddenly it occurred to me, a double negative!

So here is what I heard...

“Putin badly miscalculated.” or

“He badly miscalculated.”

Since bad is the negative of good and the prefix “mis” makes calculated negative, isn’t this a double negative? I know what they mean. Shouldn’t this sentence be written like so?

“He severely miscalculated.”

Since severe is neither negative nor positive. It just indicates the degree of something.

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I wrote, “I have two sons, Bill and Ben.”

An editor said that the comma should be a colon. That opinion is backed up by various style guides which say a list (and presumably “Bill and Ben” is a list) should be preceded by a colon. I still feel that a colon is unnecessary, though I probably would use a colon if I had five sons not two. Would I use a colon with three sons? I’m not sure.

Had I written, “I have two sons, Bill and Ben, both in their twenties” there would surely be no question of a colon being required. It seems odd to me that omitting the final phrase, “both in their twenties” forces the first comma to become a colon.

I would be interested in others’ views.

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I was reading an old novel, British English written around 1850. I came across the phrase “I saw signs of elephant in the forest”. This intrigued me as the word "elephant" implies anything from a single to multiple animals. The word "signs" seems to have taken on the role of plurality for the noun. I was asked a similar question by my partner who is editing a book in which the phrase “I saw fairy dancing in the woods,” not meaning a single fairy but many fairies dancing. Can anyone expand my knowledge on the use of a singular noun being used as a non-collective plural noun?


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I am a bit confused about whether or not I should use “the” before “most” in the following sentence. I have searched on the internet but I have before more confused about the issue so please help me in this regard. I will add this sentence to my formal writing.

The sentence:

"What fascinates me the most about the textile industry is that it drives the economy of many third world countries”


"What fascinates me most about the textile industry is that it drives the economy of many third world countries”

Which one is correct and why?

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Hi everybody! Few days ago my mate attended to a job competition for a job in the technical office of Rome. Among the many legal questions there were also some English questions. The one I am asking your help for is:

“Let ……. come in.”

the possible answers proposed are:

- his

- him

- he

I am sure that all of you are thinking that the only right option to chose is “him”, that’s it.

Initially it was confirmed “his” with correct answer and after few days was corrected with “him”.

The english questions/phrases put in these competitions are generally extracted form bigger pieces, books.. and my partner didn’t answer because he says that in a certain contests it can be also right “Let his come in”, for example:

Michele is waiting for the vet to visit his cat. When the vet wants to visit Michele’s cat can say to his secretary:

<< Let his come in >> instead of << Let his cat come in>>.

What do you think? Is it possible consider both the options “his” and “him” correct?
Have you read some examples in books or articles in which you have found the phrase “Let his come in” ?

It can help my partner to obtain the job because he got a score of 20.8 and he had to get 21 to obtain the job! So it is very important the help of all of you.

Thanks !!!!!!!!!

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Sells or Sold? 

Does ‘sells’ in the sentence,”I find a pet store that sells ferrets.” stay as ‘sells’ or change to ‘sold’ if you are changing the sentence to Simple Past Tense? 

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Latest Comments

“think of” vs. “think to”

  • BMC
  • June 5, 2023, 11:15am

"thinking to" has appeared in the last decade in Brit-English, letting Yank-English off the ho????k - this time.
A lot has happened to Britain in that time, to the degree that I (end fifties) have started to need subtitles to watch some British movies. I seriously have to rewind and replay scenes to understand them.
It's frightening on an educational level. And also exciting, to be experiencing the realtime development of my own language: in the 80's I was challenged by meaty Essex phraseology and elocution; now it's by this skeletal grammatical phraseology.
Change is uncomfortable but proves life!

Like me videos plze
name anish_______boy

Like me videos plze

No, a singular noun cannot represent a plural non-collective noun. In English grammar, nouns and their corresponding verb forms should generally agree in number.

A singular noun refers to one person, place, thing, or idea, while a plural noun refers to more than one. For example:

Singular noun: "book"
Plural noun: "books"
In standard English, a singular noun should be paired with singular verb forms, and a plural noun should be paired with plural verb forms:

Singular: "The book is on the table."
Plural: "The books are on the table."
However, there are some irregular nouns, such as "sheep" or "deer," which have the same form for both singular and plural. In those cases, the noun itself does not change, but the verb form still needs to agree with the noun:

Singular: "The sheep is grazing in the field."
Plural: "The sheep are grazing in the field."
So, in general, a singular noun cannot represent a plural non-collective noun. Each noun should match its corresponding number in a sentence.

In the sentence "I have two sons, Bill and Ben," a comma is more appropriate than a colon.

A comma is commonly used to separate items in a list or to provide additional information within a sentence. In this case, "Bill and Ben" are the additional pieces of information providing the names of the two sons. Thus, a comma is the appropriate punctuation mark to use.

A colon, on the other hand, is typically used to introduce a list, an explanation, or a quotation. It suggests that what follows the colon is directly related to or elaborates upon what precedes it. Since the sentence "I have two sons" does not require an explanation or a list, a colon would not be suitable in this context.

Therefore, the correct punctuation for your sentence is: "I have two sons, Bill and Ben." ielts coaching in delhi

When using the past perfect tense with "until" or "before," we typically express an action that was completed or occurred before a specific point in the past. Here's how you can construct sentences using the past perfect tense with "until" or "before":


Subject + had + past participle + until + specific point in the past.
Example: She had studied until midnight before the exam.

In this sentence, the action of studying (past perfect tense: had studied) was completed before the specific point in the past (until midnight).


Subject + had + past participle + before + specific point in the past.
Example: They had already left before I arrived.

Here, the action of leaving (past perfect tense: had left) occurred before the specific point in the past (before I arrived).

Five of Ten

Five to Ten or Five Past Ten? It's between 9:55 or 10:05


English is quite difficult! Moreover, it (of course, like all other languages) is constantly changing, even quickly. New words, terms, forms, and jargon appear. Grammar and writing are already my weak point. I recently found the site where I read an honest Edubirdie review, and now I know for sure I will use their services for help with writing texts. In fact, it is a matter of practice, but all these rules are so difficult to keep in mind. I wish you all the best of luck with learning grammar and getting writing skills.

Is “much” plural?

Ohhh, grammar..
Thank you foe answers and [url=]suggestions[/url]