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

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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November 6, 2002

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I would say intent is irrelevant for the definition of "lie". Think of so-called "white lie". Suppose your boss gives you a present for your birthday, and he asks, "Do you like it?" If you are polite, you would say "Yes" even if you didn't like it. The "intent" in this case is to be polite or to express your appreciation for the gift.

Many restaurants claim things like "World's best pizza". It's a lie because they have done nothing to prove that they do indeed serve the best pizza in the whole world. Is there an intent to deceive? No, because we all know that claiming something to be "world's best" is a common expression; it is not interpreted literally.

Say, you come home really tired and you are not in a mood to talk to your spouse, so when your spouse asks, "What did you do today?", you reply, "I went to the moon." It's a lie but you have no intent to deceive because it is obvious that you didn't actually go to the moon. The intent is to say, "I don't feel like talking right now," or "Don't ask me boring questions."

and so...

  • April 12, 2011, 4:35am

It is certainly not a grammatical issue; it's a stylistic issue, SO, it's not wrong. It just does not sound good when you repeat any word over and over.

and so...

  • April 11, 2011, 3:16pm

I have the same exact problem! If I write without paying conscious attention to using "so", I end up with a whole bunch of them. So, I have to always read through my text specifically to revise my usage of "so". I think I naturally think this way. That is, my mind always structures thoughts into "if - then - so", or that I only have that type of thoughts. Even when I replace "so" with "therefore", "thus", etc., they get quite repetitive also. I think this is just how some people's brains are.

Over exaggeration

  • March 22, 2011, 2:29am

@Jesse the blob of Bromine

I feel your response is beyond exaggerating with all the capital letters and exclamation marks, as well as your desire to harm someone physically. The word "exaggerating" isn't enough to express how I feel about your response, but I cannot think of a better word at the moment. I need something stronger than "exaggerating". I'm not sure if there is such a word in English. Any suggestion?

See below for the new development on this topic:

Past Perfect vs. Past Tense

  • March 9, 2011, 3:27pm

Yeah, I agree with you. I don't see anything that would justify the use of past perfect tense. It appears that keeping it simply in past tense would make more sense.

Past Perfect vs. Past Tense

  • March 9, 2011, 9:49am

I'm not sure if it's possible to evaluate this sentence alone. I think it would depend on the tense of the sentences that came before it.

cannot vs. can not

  • February 10, 2011, 2:10am

Well, my dictionary says both are fine. And, a lot of grammarians on the Web seem to agree. But what I'm curious about is how "cannot" became acceptable and then a preferred form. I would guess that at first "can not" was the only acceptable form. We don't use "maynot", "couldnot" or "shouldnot", so why "cannot"?

I have to say, I love the way you phrased the question. You are really just asking for a word that means bad taste, right?

"Malodor", according to my dictionary, is not a thing that smells bad; it means bad smell. So, are you asking for a word equivalent of bad taste, or a thing that tastes bad?

Does “Who knows” need a question mark?

  • November 15, 2010, 5:23pm

Speaking of the tone, let me provide another example that might be more relevant. How would you read this sentence? Do you really read it like a question if you were to actually say it?

"Let's not add this feature for now. Who knows if we would ever come across a situation where this feature is necessary."


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Future November 10, 2002
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A position followed by a company name November 10, 2002
Matching Numbers November 11, 2002
Control November 13, 2002
Letter A November 16, 2002
lack of “a” November 16, 2002
Multi-disciplinary November 21, 2002
a shit November 21, 2002
Emotionality November 21, 2002
Two Weeks Notice November 27, 2002
Gone to Seed November 29, 2002
Off His Rocker November 29, 2002
“got the best of him” November 29, 2002
hit a snag November 29, 2002
Potboiler November 29, 2002
Went to extremes November 29, 2002
Five of Ten November 30, 2002
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In and of itself December 12, 2002
Down to the Wire December 17, 2002
Neither is or neither are December 20, 2002
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Perturb vs. Disturb January 3, 2003
Social vs. Societal January 11, 2003
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ON the Lower East Side February 11, 2003
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The Reality March 18, 2003
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Life Savers 5 Flavor March 18, 2005
First Generation vs. Second Generation December 18, 2005
Paraphrase May 4, 2006
“The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English” July 16, 2006
Quarters September 13, 2006
Feeling concern September 13, 2006
Materialism January 25, 2007
Ass February 8, 2007
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