Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
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Member Since

September 4, 2012

Total number of comments


Total number of votes received



Latest Comments

cannot vs. can not

  • January 8, 2014, 5:37am

I agree with Henri, I see a difference.

You cannot go there. - It is not possible/permissible to go there, i.e. you have to not go there.
You can not go there. - it is not obligatory to go there, i.e. you don't have to go there.

But I can see how it could be confusing and I'd avoid "can not".

p.s. I'm UK

Five eggs is too many

  • October 8, 2013, 6:00am

In a French omelette you should only use 1 egg.

...because in French, 1 egg is un oeuf.

Adverbs better avoided?

  • May 7, 2013, 6:57am

Isn't writing a little like a balanced diet? - everything in moderation.
If you use an adverb where an adverb is needed then it's ok... but if you overuse adverbs, or repeat the same tiresome cliche-ed adverbs, etc. then your writing is going to suffer.

Misplaced clauses?

  • January 4, 2013, 6:03am

Jasper, I would also have said that 'A' was the most natural in English.
Choice 'D' seems quite clumsy to me.

Acronyms, Abbreviations, and BBC News

  • September 19, 2012, 3:16am

The UK Guardian newspaper style guide also uses Farc and Nasa.

They say this:
Use all capitals if an abbreviation is pronounced as the individual letters (an initialism): BBC, CEO, US, VAT, etc; if it is an acronym (pronounced as a word) spell out with initial capital, eg Nasa, Nato, Unicef, unless it can be considered to have entered the language as an everyday word, such as awol, laser and, more recently, asbo, pin number and sim card. Note that pdf and plc are lowercase.

Table of Content vs Table of Contents

  • September 14, 2012, 12:07am

I'm very content to use Table of Contents.

attorneys general vs. attorney generals

  • September 6, 2012, 7:02am

Typo alert... - "1 power OF attorney...."

Past tense of “text”

  • September 6, 2012, 2:58am

Monocle (et al.) - do we really need to add extra irregular verbs to the language when the perfectly regular 'texted' is already in common use and understandable?

To counter your list, how about - vet / vetted - pet / petted - arrest / arrested - reflect / reflected... why not text / texted...?

“and” or “but” followed by a comma

  • September 6, 2012, 1:18am

provincejim - "Stoke have confirmed the signing of Michael Owen on a one-year-deal...." sounds fine to my British ear.
"Stoke has confirmed..." would sound wrong, on the other hand, more like a person or the town of Stoke that did something, not the football team (sorry, soccer team ;) ).

I guess in the US, teams are maybe more often called by their nicknames, "The Rams have played ..." etc., but if you look on various forums and boards, there are lots of US examples of, "Dallas have drafted...." or "Chicago have drafted..." etc., so it's not just a British thing.... but maybe is a sports thing.

attorneys general vs. attorney generals

  • September 4, 2012, 2:28am

bringing it back to attorneys rather than military ranks... it is 1 power or attorney, and 2 powers of attorney (not 2 power of attorneys)

same principle.


Abbreviation of “number” September 20, 2012