Comments for Pain in the English https://painintheenglish.com Forum for the gray areas of the English language Sat, 29 Apr 2017 14:24:14 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Why “behead” and not “dehead” or “unhead”? by brendan https://painintheenglish.com/case/819/#comment-27275 brendan Fri, 28 Apr 2017 10:41:07 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/819/#comment-27275 your completely wrong

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Comment on On Tomorrow by Gail Padgett https://painintheenglish.com/case/3919/#comment-27274 Gail Padgett Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:34:54 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/3919/#comment-27274 I live in the South and have heard this quite frequently. Funnily enough, the speakers who engage in this linguistic homicide are from the NORTH!

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Comment on First annual vs. second annual by Kim Bridge https://painintheenglish.com/case/925/#comment-27273 Kim Bridge Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:13:09 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/925/#comment-27273 The eleventh year after the inaugural year..
is there a special adjective?

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Comment on Word in question: Conversate by Gerry Dunn https://painintheenglish.com/case/4304/#comment-27272 Gerry Dunn Mon, 24 Apr 2017 23:03:32 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/4304/#comment-27272 Once again, we have lowered our standard of grammar to accommodate those too lazy to learn usage!

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Comment on agree the terms by jayles the ungulate https://painintheenglish.com/case/5811/#comment-27269 jayles the ungulate Mon, 24 Apr 2017 14:47:21 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/5811/#comment-27269 Certainly does seem to appear only in British publications. American equivalent would be "agree on the terms" I think.

We have yet to agree the terms of your surrender.

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Comment on Difference between motive and motivation by jayles the unwitting https://painintheenglish.com/case/5815/#comment-27268 jayles the unwitting Mon, 24 Apr 2017 06:56:01 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/5815/#comment-27268 see http://painintheenglish.com/case/35

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Comment on Persian/Farsi by Shahram iravani https://painintheenglish.com/case/685/#comment-27266 Shahram iravani Sun, 23 Apr 2017 22:24:58 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/685/#comment-27266 The reason we don't like the word "Farsi" I believe is: the actual word is Parsi and in Arabic language "p" doesn't exist so when Islamic Arabs attacked Iran and stayed for along time cuz they couldn't pronounce "P" they were saying Farsi instead of Parsi so after few hundred years of occupying Iran b4 they got kicked out, the word of Farsi stayed I hope the F word goes back to them to have fun with it

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Comment on “Zen” as an Adjective by Dustin https://painintheenglish.com/case/229/#comment-27265 Dustin Sun, 23 Apr 2017 21:14:19 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/229/#comment-27265 I also agree with Eliza. Pick a better adjective. Continuing to use "Zen" that way only commodifies and promotes misunderstanding about that religious tradition.

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Comment on Street Address vs. Mailing Address by Alana Flynn flynn126@yahoo.com https://painintheenglish.com/case/3604/#comment-27263 Alana Flynn flynn126@yahoo.com Sun, 23 Apr 2017 13:42:12 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/3604/#comment-27263 I live in a rural area, and do not get U.S. Postal delivery at my physical address. I have a P.O. Box at the local post office but when address verification is requested, like from UPS, the post office has no record of my physical address. This can be a huge problem. The solution is to install a mailbox on the main road a mile away. My husband has been reluctant to do this for safety reasons, even though I him that our mail will continue to go to the local post office. I actually purchased a mail box which my husband has been avoiding. I am over 70 so it's rather difficult for me, maybe I can get my neighbor to help.

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Comment on As wet as ? by richard3 https://painintheenglish.com/case/596/#comment-27262 richard3 Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:08:10 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/596/#comment-27262 As wet as a well diggers ar**e!

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Comment on “my” vs. “mine” in multiple owner possessive by Barack McBama https://painintheenglish.com/case/5042/#comment-27260 Barack McBama Fri, 21 Apr 2017 22:51:15 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/5042/#comment-27260 The grammatically and syntactically proper way to form this is: "I [do so] appreciate your taking the child of Gregg and mine to school today".

Tho me thinks sumthin ain't quite right soundin with them their wordins u no wut I mean?

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Comment on Resume, resumé, or résumé? by T.D https://painintheenglish.com/case/193/#comment-27258 T.D Fri, 21 Apr 2017 14:36:26 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/193/#comment-27258 Your pop up was rude and obnoxious...I will never go back to this site.

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Comment on “if he were alive, he would be” vs. “would have been” by Sasha888 https://painintheenglish.com/case/5771/#comment-27256 Sasha888 Mon, 17 Apr 2017 07:55:50 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/5771/#comment-27256 “would have been” is 3d condition wich is unreal past.So that can't be used in this case.The correct version is “He would be 60 today”.
For “would have been” it should be “if he were alive, he would have been 60 yesterday”

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Comment on Texted by Susan Wells https://painintheenglish.com/case/3896/#comment-27255 Susan Wells Fri, 14 Apr 2017 23:05:32 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/3896/#comment-27255 It's about the rules of syllabication...period. Two syllables.. just say to yourself...tested.... we tested the fourth grade. Why would you make texted...text as past tense? Has to do with the xt and st at the end of the word.

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Comment on use of “prior” in space vs. time by rmensies https://painintheenglish.com/case/5724/#comment-27251 rmensies Wed, 12 Apr 2017 13:06:28 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/5724/#comment-27251 Prior means before in time, not in place.

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Comment on What happened to who, whom and whose? by Rae https://painintheenglish.com/case/4648/#comment-27247 Rae Tue, 11 Apr 2017 20:24:36 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/4648/#comment-27247 Aren't we talking about restrictive and relative pronouns here? In which case they are both used, but in different situations.

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Comment on Plural s-ending Possessives by su https://painintheenglish.com/case/223/#comment-27246 su Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:43:55 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/223/#comment-27246 hi I have a doubt ...will you help me clear this out.. is it correct to say "fish`s fin" or should it be fish fin altogether ?

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Comment on Right Question For this Answer (about count/rank/order) by Neethu Augustin https://painintheenglish.com/case/250/#comment-27245 Neethu Augustin Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:14:18 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/250/#comment-27245 Howmanyeth president was Manmohan Singh

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Comment on “If I was” vs. “If I were” by stuart1 https://painintheenglish.com/case/4662/#comment-27244 stuart1 Tue, 11 Apr 2017 06:46:59 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/4662/#comment-27244 Henry and one or two others have summed it up fairly well. The "were" used in place of "was" in some English conditionals is a relic of the Old English subjunctive. It preserves no semantic distinction in Modern English and can be dropped. It is still quite frequently used in a number of constructions, though, and has more or less taken on the status of a fixed expression or idiom. The notion that it is not used as often as it used to be isn't supported by a quick check of corpora I have access to.

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Comment on “graduated high school” or “graduated from high school”? by Thomas Keyt https://painintheenglish.com/case/4505/#comment-27243 Thomas Keyt Mon, 10 Apr 2017 11:40:32 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/4505/#comment-27243 The worst thing is that this usage has entered professional level media including the advertising in the Seattle Times and an article in a magazine of national prominence. It could be that this is an example of language changing! OED of 2030 may cite the material I saw as examples of correct usage in the constantly changing English language.

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Comment on “she” vs “her” by haidararecord https://painintheenglish.com/case/4377/#comment-27242 haidararecord Sun, 9 Apr 2017 04:38:06 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/4377/#comment-27242 which sentence between these and why?
1 she and he are the same family
2 he and she are the same family

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Comment on You’ve got another think/thing coming by Daina https://painintheenglish.com/case/4970/#comment-27241 Daina Sun, 9 Apr 2017 03:35:45 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/4970/#comment-27241 I know this is old but I'm posting anyway. I don't know if this is how others in my generation interpreted the incorrect saying, but I personally always read it as a threat. It may or may not have been a serious threat or one said in jest but still a threat. It made dialouge seem either angrier or more flippant than the correct version did. So it looks like I have another think coming. Thank you for that tidbit. I have only recently come across the correct phrase in a series of books I'm reading, and I've heard the incorrect version (and believed it to be correct) for so long that the moment I read it, my mind would correct it, however because this phrase occasionaly appears in this series it has been conditioning my mind to think the correct version instead.

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Comment on Social vs Societal by maxime https://painintheenglish.com/case/977/#comment-27240 maxime Fri, 7 Apr 2017 14:14:04 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/977/#comment-27240 this is a good publication

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Comment on “she” vs “her” by Infogypdy https://painintheenglish.com/case/4377/#comment-27239 Infogypdy Thu, 6 Apr 2017 09:55:31 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/4377/#comment-27239 It may be gaining acceptance but, as with "the girl 'that' won," it sounds terrible. She and I is a better choice.

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Comment on Someone else’s by jayles the unwashed https://painintheenglish.com/case/4156/#comment-27238 jayles the unwashed Thu, 6 Apr 2017 07:12:47 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/4156/#comment-27238 @Ryland3 I'm not going to greatly disagree with you, except that perhaps it would be better to talk about standard vs non-standard English rather than right vs wrong. After all, British and American English differ but simply reflect two different standards. Over the years standards change - all the way from Chancery English to the present day. One simply needs to use the appropriate standard - whatever the university, magazine, business, or government department prescribes or the on-house style is.

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Comment on Someone else’s by Ryland Westbrook, III https://painintheenglish.com/case/4156/#comment-27237 Ryland Westbrook, III Wed, 5 Apr 2017 17:51:07 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/4156/#comment-27237 Oh, the bane of the existence of every English professor: the general consensus.

I see these are old submissions; however, people still stumble upon this page as I have today, so I would like to add my response lo these many years later.

As a retired English professor and newspaper editor, I've always found it disturbing how people presume English grammar and spelling to be subjective to their opinions and that whatever "sounds right" is the right way to go.

Consider the comment in the original question that "There are a lot of discussions online about 'passers-by' vs. 'passer-bys'” and that the author found the "general consensus" made one "more correct" than the other. (Incidentally, something cannot be "more correct." Things are either correct or incorrect.)

The person posting the question, Dyske, is in good, and sadly, often otherwise well-educated company. I applaud Dyske for seeking the correct spelling, I grieve that he or she sought it in the wrong place.

What disturbs me is not unique to Dyske. It is something that could have been written by a majority of the population, and that is the suggestion that one "is more correct" because of a "general consensus."

"The general consensus" is not what determines if English grammar or spelling is correct. There are rules in English spelling and grammar, standards that are not based upon a "general consensus."

People who attend school in the United States are taught those rules every year in English class, even if in an English literature class, with the expectation that they will retain those rules and use them throughout their lives. Even universities require English courses as part of core curricula.

Leaving questions of spelling or grammar to what a group of people think is correct will often lead you to the wrong answer. In this case, the general consensus, as well as all of the responses within view of this comment box, are wrong on both points.

If you have a question about spelling and grammar, consult a reputable dictionary like Merriam-Webster or Oxford Dictionaries and not other people. You can't even trust the spelling and grammar feature in your computer. While I'm certain that those who have responded here have the best of intentions and that their arguments can sound compelling, go to the authorities in English grammar and spelling for your answers.

Had a reputable dictionary been consulted in this case, Dyske would have learned that the correct spelling is "passersby."

Ryland Westbrook, III.

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Comment on Joke by philip styles https://painintheenglish.com/case/431/#comment-27236 philip styles Tue, 4 Apr 2017 05:24:06 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/431/#comment-27236 The expression is a double entendre on the word yank (or Yank). The American soldiers (Yanks) were said to be 'Overpaid, oversexed and over here' and consequently the girls were ready to lose (yank = pull off) their knickers (which were all 'utility' standard - there were no others) to the first Yank that they met.
During the war this needed no explanation!

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Comment on Hyphens conundrum by Graham Foy https://painintheenglish.com/case/912/#comment-27234 Graham Foy Fri, 31 Mar 2017 19:55:22 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/912/#comment-27234 Very interesting. I've been meaning to look this up for some time as I post a lot on forums relating to old cars and motorbikes and the hyphenation thing is getting tricky. You might wonder why it would be an issue on something as 'dull' as engineering-based information (see I did one) but after a few examples you'll see my problem:

'I find the old lacquer type paints much easier to use than the currently more easily available 2k urethane products' or 'I find the old lacquer-type paints much easier to use than the currently-more-easily-available 2k-urethane products' ?

My rule of thumb is that I hyphenate any descriptive words which become one adjective to describe the object I'm referring to. This is probably the actual rule but I haven't really checked on it before.

Another conundrum is when simply describing a part: 'the lower wishbone rear mounting point split pin' or 'the lower-wishbone rear mounting-point split-pin' ?

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Comment on As wet as ? by GD43 https://painintheenglish.com/case/596/#comment-27233 GD43 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 16:59:00 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/596/#comment-27233 a sick kids hanky

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Comment on “Can I get” vs. “May I have” by Tamir Smith https://painintheenglish.com/case/230/#comment-27232 Tamir Smith Wed, 29 Mar 2017 09:32:25 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/230/#comment-27232 I mean it depends on how you are using say if your saying can i go get some more food you are asking am i able to go get some more food. So i think can i is proper but my teacher corrects me every time

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Comment on Fora vs Forums by jayles the unlettered https://painintheenglish.com/case/627/#comment-27231 jayles the unlettered Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:28:41 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/627/#comment-27231 @Lenur Poetry and lyrics sometimes use a less usual word order to suit their purpose; nothing wrong in that, as long as it is readily understandable. In fact "I can see how tiny are we" is a word order which is often, albeit mistakenly, used by some non-native speakers of English.

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Comment on Social vs Societal by Babooshka https://painintheenglish.com/case/977/#comment-27230 Babooshka Tue, 28 Mar 2017 04:03:37 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/977/#comment-27230 I hope you're still not running a proofreading service, as just glancing at this post I've spotted two errors. That doesn't fill me with confidence! You've missed a question mark at the end of one sentence, and the word 'separate' has an 'a' in the middle, not an 'e'.

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Comment on Fora vs Forums by Lenur https://painintheenglish.com/case/627/#comment-27229 Lenur Tue, 28 Mar 2017 03:23:42 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/627/#comment-27229 Hi everyone!
Again, I need your help
I know that correct construction of the sentence:
"I can see how tiny we are"
But is it possible to say?

"i can see how tiny are we"
Like a statement....
Because in my situation it's better for singing, riming and flow in the song. Or it just sounds stupid?

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Comment on The fact of the matter is is that by Thad B https://painintheenglish.com/case/5656/#comment-27228 Thad B Mon, 27 Mar 2017 23:28:19 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/5656/#comment-27228 This is similar to the "that that" problem, which I have myself found utilizing. Perhaps, if not in such a rush with emails, I would find the time to reconstruct my sentence to avoid "that that", though I don't find it difficult to understand when I read it myself. Perhaps others do.

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Comment on Trend of referring to a singular collective as a plural noun by Thad B https://painintheenglish.com/case/5694/#comment-27227 Thad B Mon, 27 Mar 2017 23:20:08 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/5694/#comment-27227 English, at least American English, is an evolving language. I am abhorred by radio, television and my own just-adult children who have seemed to have forgotten what an adverb is. The sentence "He ran really quick" irks me constantly but seems to be common usage these days. While I dislike the new usage, I am also not an advocate of using Old English, ergo - I am accepting of the evolving language.

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Comment on Salutations in letters by Thad B https://painintheenglish.com/case/5731/#comment-27226 Thad B Mon, 27 Mar 2017 22:06:57 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/5731/#comment-27226 I use "Hello Jim"
and sign,

"Regards,
John"

I work for a high tech American firm in New York.

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Comment on Someone else’s by Kenneth W. Slayor https://painintheenglish.com/case/4156/#comment-27225 Kenneth W. Slayor Sun, 26 Mar 2017 17:50:04 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/4156/#comment-27225 The grammar patterns of Courts Martial, Judge Advocates General, etc. would seem to agree. In example, those who pass flatulence would be "gas passers" or passers of gas, just as passers by, which is short for an entire phrase "passers by the side of [implied or mentioned object]" is different. However, "someone else" appears to hearken back to a more Germanic form of grammar, rather than the French Norman with its Latin influence. If this is the origin of the phrase, then using the entire phrase as a single noun or idea would be appropriate. In this case, where both words originate from the Germanic, it would be "someone else's". The Germans frequently abbreviate such phrases where they become excessively long, but in their original were written as one word using their cursive. In school I studied French, Classical Latin, and German enough to become aware that our aggregatenous language has so many exceptions because of those origins. (I have dabbled with Gaelic which is as far as I can tell the source of split infinitives.)

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Comment on Someone else’s by vagabondwahine https://painintheenglish.com/case/4156/#comment-27224 vagabondwahine Sun, 26 Mar 2017 11:22:02 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/4156/#comment-27224 The easiest way to avoid the use of "someone else's" (which is grammatically incorrect), is to put the NOUN, with which you are linking the possessive, FIRST in the sentence.
For example: "It was someone else's fault." (incorrect)
"It was the fault of someone else." (correct)
This works every time when you write, but for conversational speech, "someone else's" is the common usage. However, if you are quoting what was spoken by someone else, then you would want to quote it exactly.

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Comment on First annual vs. second annual by jayles the ungodly https://painintheenglish.com/case/925/#comment-27223 jayles the ungodly Sat, 25 Mar 2017 11:02:59 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/925/#comment-27223 @Lisa: biennial

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Comment on First annual vs. second annual by Lisa at Gala Calendar https://painintheenglish.com/case/925/#comment-27222 Lisa at Gala Calendar Sat, 25 Mar 2017 10:11:48 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/925/#comment-27222 What happens if you skip a year?

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Comment on “40 and 50%” vs. “40% and 50%” by Hairy Scot https://painintheenglish.com/case/5766/#comment-27221 Hairy Scot Sat, 25 Mar 2017 01:12:10 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/5766/#comment-27221 I'd say that when using the % sign it would be "between 40% and 50%" but when spelling it out "between 40 and 50 percent" would be adequate.

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Comment on “40 and 50%” vs. “40% and 50%” by jayles the ungodly https://painintheenglish.com/case/5766/#comment-27220 jayles the ungodly Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:14:15 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/5766/#comment-27220 It depends on what you are writing. In a legal document one might spell it out unambiguously as "between forty percent and fifty percent". Elsewhere omitting the first percentage sign may well be clear enough.

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Comment on “if he were alive, he would be” vs. “would have been” by jayles the ungodly https://painintheenglish.com/case/5771/#comment-27219 jayles the ungodly Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:09:36 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/5771/#comment-27219 There is a good explanation of mixed conditionals here:
http://random-idea-english.blogspot.co.nz/2011/02/more-on-condtionals-third-and-mixed.html

If I remember correctly, there is a comment in Michael Lewis's "Lexical Approach" (1993) that in conditional sentence one just uses the appropriate tense and modal. If we construe "would" as a modal subjunctive indicating a counter-factual situation, and "have been" as a perfect infinitive indicating the situation is in the past, then this does not sit well with the time adverb "today".

However, I do believe that in some areas, such as Quebec, usage may be different, so there may be some wiggle-room here.

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Comment on Where are the commas? by dionne https://painintheenglish.com/case/4/#comment-27218 dionne Tue, 21 Mar 2017 13:35:31 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/4/#comment-27218 I was lead to believe it was Sally.

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Comment on “Can I get” vs. “May I have” by Caroline https://painintheenglish.com/case/230/#comment-27217 Caroline Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:53:24 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/230/#comment-27217 As far as I can discern, it is neither impolite nor polite. However, it is incorrect. "Can I get [something]?" implies that the person is asking whether it is possible that they, themselves, are able to go and fetch or obtain something e.g. "Can I get petrol there?" or because they are asking whether another person would like something that they could obtain on their behalf, for example "Can I get you a drink?"

If they are asking a waiter, bartender, shop assistant or other person serving if they would go and fetch something for them on their behalf, they should ask the question "May I have/can I have/could I have" and similar variants preferably with "please" in there somewhere!

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Comment on Writing out percentages correctly by Joanna Said https://painintheenglish.com/case/859/#comment-27216 Joanna Said Tue, 21 Mar 2017 08:58:58 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/859/#comment-27216 I am wondering how you say this percentage in words:
.00011 percent.
Is it something like:
One hundredth and one thousandth of one percent??

I am trying to show how SMALL 1100 parts per billion is...

Thank you,

Joanna

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Comment on hanged vs. hung by Maya https://painintheenglish.com/case/503/#comment-27215 Maya Mon, 20 Mar 2017 23:48:48 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/503/#comment-27215 I want to know , which is the correct sentence to use when your laptop freeezes. Like , " My laptop hung up or my laptop hanged or my laptop is hung

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Comment on fill in the blanks! by Hstegall https://painintheenglish.com/case/313/#comment-27214 Hstegall Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:56:57 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/313/#comment-27214 I have a release of all claims and above the notary & witness signatures, there is this statement:
WITNESS___________ hand and seal this ______ day of _________, 2017; what is put in after WITNESS?

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Comment on Past tense of “text” by Monocle https://painintheenglish.com/case/474/#comment-27213 Monocle Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:35:38 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/474/#comment-27213 Spelt: texed
Pronounced: texd or text... as one can't really hear the difference.
Easy way to get over that troublesome t thing.

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Comment on Past tense of “text” by Monocle https://painintheenglish.com/case/474/#comment-27212 Monocle Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:35:31 +0000 https://painintheenglish.com/case/474/#comment-27212 Spelt: texed
Pronounced: texd or text... as one can't really hear the difference.
Easy way to get over that troublesome t thing.

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