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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1.  You don’t know how I am delighted to have you as a friend

2.  You don’t know how delighted I am to have you as a friend.

3. I hope one day I can do something for you to show you how you are lovable in my heart and mind.

4. I hope one day I can do something for you to show you how loved you are in my heart and mind.

Sentences 2 and 4 are correct; sentences 1 and 3 are not.  Please could you explain why?  Thank you.

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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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Is it possible to say “by the time we arrived at the cinema, the film was starting”? Or do I have to say “the film had started”? 

Both structures sound ok to me if I use another verb (sleep) instead of “start” (“by the time I got there, he was already sleeping”) so I do not know if I am using the structure right (perhaps I should use “when” and not “by the time”) or if it is the verb “start” (due to its meaning) what makes “by the time we arrived, the film was starting” sound strange. 

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I’ve read a sentence like this:

Not only did George buy the house, but he also remodeled it.

think this counts as a complex sentence, but I want to get some extra opinions.  Doesn’t “Not only did George buy the house” modify “remodeled,” thus making the first clause dependent?  In common English usage, the position of the subject “George” after “did” is fine in an interrogative sentence, but it’s not in a declarative sentence.  Does the departure from standard declarative syntax suggest that the first clause is not independent (and therefore dependent)?

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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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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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I have recently been seeing rejections of many phrases with ‘of’ in them because they are “less concise.” An example of this would be changing “All six of the men were considered dangerous” to “All six men were considered dangerous.” Recently, someone corrected a sentence I wrote and it just doesn’t sound right even though it may be concise. They changed “There are six species of snakes and four species of butterfly on the list” to “There are six snake species and four lizard species on the list.”

Bonus question: Is it “species of butterfly” or “species of butterflies”?

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In the following sentence, are both parts of the clause correct for a present unreal sentence?

“She would have wanted you to become a doctor if she were alive today”

In this sentence, shouldn’t it be this?

“She would want you to become a doctor if she...”

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Some authorities (such as IBM and Wikipedia) say that “big data” should not be capitalised, while others say it should be capitalised as “Big Data”.

Logically, it would be capitalised only if it were a proper noun, that is, if it identified a unique individual. For example, “the Internet” refers to the global internet, of which there is only one, so it is capitalised. Big data does not really seem to be like that. In any technical usage, it refers to the use of very large databases, and should therefore be a common noun.

In the popular imagination, however, all instances of big data coalesce into a monstrous global conspiratorial network of databases, called Big Data. It is akin to Deep State.

So, it seems to me that “big data” should be used in any sober context, and “Big Data” reserved for conspiracy theories untethered from objective reality.

But ... in a proofreading context I would have to correct “a Big Data-driven project” to “a big data-driven project”, which is ambiguous as it could mean either “a big project that is driven by data” or “a project that is driven by big data”. 

Any suggestions?

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I moved to the US from Japan when I was 16, and in the 30 years I’ve lived here, I’ve noticed the ease with which Europeans communicate with native English speakers even when they have heavy accents. In contrast, Asian immigrants seem to have a harder time being understood by the native speakers. Asians typically blame the problem on their accents and their pronunciation but Americans, particularly urban Americans, are used to hearing a variety of accents. It seems to me that there is something else at work causing the difference between Asian and European ESL speakers.

Compared to the Japanese language, some of the phonemes in English are very subtle (like the th sound). So, over the phone, when we are spelling a name, we provide contextual information, like, “M as in Mary. S as in Sam,” and so on. The subtleties are lost over the phone, and we cannot differentiate between N vs. M, S vs. F, and so on. The Japanese language does not have this problem. I believe English is a more context-dependent language because there is a constant need to fill in the information lost in the subtleties.

Even when two native speakers are talking to each other, often they can’t hear each other well (e.g., noisy bar, subway platform, poor quality phone connection, etc..) but they THINK they hear everything. They are actually filling in the missing information from the context.

The reason Europeans have an easier time even with heavy accents is that their cultures are still very similar. They are able to provide better contextual information as they speak. Because Asian cultures are so different, Asian speakers are not able to provide enough contextual information in their sentences and their body language. Even if they can speak with no accent, their sentences can come out sounding foreign, like the automatic translation provided by Google—grammatically correct but incomprehensible. This makes it hard for Americans to understand especially if the speaker has a heavy accent.

A friend of mine is a pilot for Japan Airlines. As long as he is communicating within the context of air travel (like speaking to the passengers on the plane about the delays and weather forecast), nobody has trouble understanding him. This is because the cultural context in this instance is very narrow and well-defined which allows everyone to fill in the gap easily. But he has trouble understanding and being understood outside of this context because of the wide range of contextual possibilities.

If a French person were talking to an American about how he was treated at a particular restaurant, neither would have any problem understanding the cultural context since the restaurants in France function very much like the restaurants here in the US. But the restaurants in Japan work very differently. In fact, their customs in restaurants are so different that some Japanese people take an etiquette class to be able to eat at Western restaurants. (You can see an example of this in the movie, Tampopo). When you are deficient in the cultural knowledge to this degree, accent becomes a secondary issue. Even with flawless pronunciation, you could still have trouble being understood because the listeners have no idea what you are referring to.

Many native speakers find Indian English speakers hard to understand, even those who have been speaking English all their lives. We readily recognize Indian accent like we recognize Southern and British accents. So, the problem is not lack of familiarity. I think it’s the lack of contextual information because the Indian culture too is very different. We mistakenly believe that the problem is their accent.

What do you think?

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Latest Comments

"Hey" is used in Scandanavian countries ( eg: Hej / Hei / Hæ ) it is an actual word - so this is likley where "hey" comes from
In the Netherlands, it is "hoi"

I know sometimes people from the US might feel like they invented English but it's not the case, sorry :-)

Street Address vs. Mailing Address

i want adress for shopping

Repetitive- use when you want to simply describe an act that is characterized by repeating or repetition.

Repetitious- use when you want to describe an act that is characterized by repeating AND MARKED BY •useless• and •tiresome• repetition.

Repetitive- use when you want to simply describe an act that is characterized by repetition or repeating.
Repetitiously- use when you want to describe an act that is characterized by repeating AND MARKED BY useless and tiresome repetition.

Heaven or heaven?

  • Witness
  • September 17, 2020, 2:46pm

Only one Heaven exists.

Two Heavens do not exist.

Two heavens may exist, if and only if each heaven is not the true Heaven.

For the reason that there is only one true Heaven, and there are not two true Heavens, the true Heaven is a proper noun.

If you believe that every proper noun should be capitalized, and if you are referring to the one true Heaven, then you must spell the English word which is spelled with the English letters h, e, a, v, e, n, in that order, as Heaven, with an uppercase H, in order to be consistent with your own beliefs.

If you do not believe that every proper noun should be capitalized, why are you asking whether or not to capitalize Heaven?

If you are not referring to the one true Heaven, what are you referring to, and why would you refer to another heaven that is not the one true Heaven? Are you trying to tell me something false? If so, you had better not tell it to me! May the Lord God, Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, Yehoshua Ha-Mashiach Ben Yehovah Elohim, be with you! Amen.

I have succeeded with every letter but J. Some people submit that the J is silent in "marijuana" or "hallelujah" when, in fact, they are voiced not as the usual [d-zh] diphthong. The "ju" digraph in most -juana words is voiced as a W, while the j in hallelujah is voiced as a y. Some say V is never, ever silent, but I submit that the second V in the word "savvy" is, in fact, silent, since it is pronounced SA-vee, and not SAV-vee. Here is "my" alphabet:

a: boat
b: dumb
c: scene
d: Wednesday
e: once
*f: halfpenny is not American, but IS English (and though many people do pronounce the second f in “fifth,” it is not incorrect when pronounced “fith”)
g: gnostic
h: hour
i: business
j:
k: knowledge
l: would
m: mnemonic
n: autumn
o: phoenix
p: pneumonia
q: lacquer
r: macabre
s: island
t: ballet
u: guide
v: savvy
w: answer
x: faux
y: day
z: rendezvous

So what is the mark ' called?

So what is the mark before the v called

You're right: "...in the order in which it was received" is precisely what it should be. The phrase as it is, "in the order it was received," is grammatically the same as saying "in the manner it was done." Both phrases require an "in."

There are two options for inserting the "in" into the phrase as it stands. Because most English learners are taught to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition, "in the order it was received in" sounds incorrect, although it is technically correct. Thus, the only grammatically correct option that remains is "in the order it which it was received."

(Note: I am American, so I am abiding by the American English rule of placing commas and periods inside quotation marks--a rule I dislike, I might add.)

agree the terms

I was a student in England in the mid-1980s, and don’t remember hearing transitive usage. It strikes me as trendy talk that starts with journalists, maybe from broadcast school or a memo from corporate, like “ahead of” for “before” now. It doesn’t agree my ear....