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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Latest Comments

Does “Who knows” need a question mark?

  • November 15, 2010, 5:13pm

Hi Steve,

Otherwise, you’re saying that someone named Who has the answer.

This is interesting. Doesn't "Who knows" function the same way "God knows" does? In my head, "Who knows" is a response phrase like "God knows".

"e-mail" was how the word started, because it was a short for electronic-mail. But I think we evolved further now, and "email" is more common. If you are not hyphenating it, it makes more sense to capitalize the e. Email. That's what I do personally. But I don't think there is a definitive answer for this. It will be settled in about 10 years, I would guess.

Also, I would imagine that some of the manuals of style would have this in them.

“she” vs “her”

  • June 20, 2010, 7:46am

Technically speaking, "Her and I traveled" is wrong. Each has to stand on its own. "Her traveled" doesn't. But what puzzles me is why "Her and I" sounds OK. In comparison, "I and she traveled" sounds awkward even though it's technically correct. Whenever the "I" is included, it's usually the last one. "You and I traveled" sounds fine, but "I and you traveled" sounds weird.

It also depends on the verb too. "Me and you are..." is wrong but sounds OK (because we hear "me and you" as a phrase often). "I and you are" is technically correct (or is it?) but sounds awkward.

As a writer, we put a lot of effort in composing sentences in such a way that they naturally flow, and so that the readers are not distracted by the technicality of them. When the sentence sounds wrong, it almost doesn't matter if it's technically correct. So, I sometimes deliberately choose the wrong one just so that the majority of the readers can stay focused on the content.

Personally, I would call it "6th". Skipping a year does not necessarily cast a doubt on the number, but on the word "annual". If you end up skipping another year, it would turn into "biennial". In other words, the number part refers to a historical fact, but the "annual" part refers to your intention. That is my own opinion.

Here is a related post.

At first I thought this was a silly question, but after researching it a bit I found that various languages have made concerted efforts to reduce the amount of capitalization over their histories, including English. Here is from

In German, all nouns are capitalized. This was also the practice in Danish before a spelling reform in 1948. It was also done in 18th century English (as with Gulliver's Travels and most of the original 1787 United States Constitution). Luxembourgish, a close relative of German and one of the three official languages of Luxembourg, also still uses capitalization of nouns to this day.

Imagine if we had to capitalize all nouns. That would be a lot of work. Thank God it was changed.

A similar observation is made about the Japanese language by non-native speakers. They cannot understand why Kanji (the complex Chinese characters) has to be used in Japanese because they are actually not necessary. I believe there have been some organized efforts to eliminate or reduce the amount of Kanji. Some believe that it gives the Japanese a disadvantage in global competition because the complexity of Kanji adds to the amount of time spent on writing every piece of communication. The cumulative effect of this inefficiency can easily amount to millions or billions of dollars in loss.

So, in terms of efficiency, I believe English is one of the best.


  • March 16, 2010, 3:01pm

My 5 year old daughter used to say "mines". We thought it was funny so we also started using "mines" sometimes. My sister made her a bag that said "mines". Maybe it's not just my daughter; perhaps this is a common mistake by toddlers, and the adults started using it because they thought it was funny.

For toddlers, perhaps the "s" is actually a possessive, as in "mine's". At around that age, claiming their possessions is a big preoccupation, so they might feel that "mine" is not good enough, so they feel the need to add the possessive "s" for the maximum impact.

That's my theory.

How do I write out .25% ?

  • March 3, 2010, 1:00pm

Well, I think you could say "a quarter of a percent", but this does not address the fundamental problem of your question. For instance, what if the number is ".24%"?

Myriad / myriad of

  • March 1, 2010, 9:08am

Both should be correct. One is used as a noun, the other used as an adjective. But what I'm not sure about is if there are any differences in nuance. For instance, saying "many apples" and "many of the apples" are quite different in meaning; the former means a lot of apples and the latter is a subset of a larger pool of apples.

Loose = Lose?

  • September 16, 2009, 11:47am

Yes, it is indeed annoying. I see it all the time, and many people even argue that they are right. Some people even ask me, "Hey, how do you spell 'lose'? With one O or two O's?"

I just assumed that this has been going on forever, but you might be right, maybe it's relatively recent.

I think this is a legal issue (which term should be used for which situations), so only lawyers could answer this properly, but here is my own sense of the difference.

I think the difference becomes clearer if you use "the right". "Release the right" would means that you are handing over your right to someone else. For instance, if you sign a release before appearing in front of a camera, you are not only giving up your right, but also transferring the right to the photographer. The photographer has the right to use your image.

"Waive the right" would simply mean that you are giving up the right, but not transferring it, like waiving the right to sue someone. (In this case, it's not transferable anyway.)

But "release" might also be appropriate for situations that do not involve transferring of rights. If so, the two terms are interchangeable. But again, I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know how these terms are used in the legal world. In the end, that's what matters.


What Rhymes? November 2, 2002
Don’t you count money? November 2, 2002
Where are the commas? November 2, 2002
“A” News November 4, 2002
Text, A Text, Texts November 5, 2002
Past / Present November 6, 2002
A Part of ... November 7, 2002
What is / What are November 8, 2002
A lot of water November 10, 2002
Future November 10, 2002
Type November 10, 2002
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
Over-the-counter December 1, 2002
Motives vs. Motivation December 10, 2002
In and of itself December 12, 2002
Down to the Wire December 17, 2002
Neither is or neither are December 20, 2002
Fried Chicken December 23, 2002
Perturb vs. Disturb January 3, 2003
Social vs. Societal January 11, 2003
Sheep, Fish, and Cattle January 17, 2003
Decades January 23, 2003
Taking sides February 5, 2003
Matching the tense February 5, 2003
ON the Lower East Side February 11, 2003
Value February 18, 2003
20 Something March 18, 2003
The Reality March 18, 2003
Commas, Periods, and Quotation Marks March 18, 2003
There were/was an apple and an orange. April 4, 2003
War in/on/with Iraq April 20, 2003
Trouble with Trouble April 25, 2003
Ranks has or have April 29, 2003
Sister Company May 8, 2003
Email May 8, 2003
Couldn’t Care Less May 22, 2003
Dual Purpose or Dual Purposes? May 23, 2003
Commodity June 5, 2003
Shrewd June 5, 2003
Sweet and Savory June 5, 2003
Spaces After Period June 12, 2003
Hyphen, N-dash, M-dash July 22, 2003
Friends July 29, 2003
Chink September 17, 2003
A Jew and Jews September 21, 2003
Either Is or Am October 2, 2003
Shame on You! October 7, 2003
At least, at the least October 23, 2003
The Americans December 5, 2003
The Flu and a Cold January 19, 2004
Identical March 16, 2004
There is no such a thing as... April 2, 2004
Silk and Silkworm April 10, 2004
Wiener Coffee July 18, 2004
Color of People August 6, 2004
Murphy’s Law December 3, 2004
Tsunami January 9, 2005
I’m home February 6, 2005
We, I, or my wife had a baby? March 9, 2005
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
Don’t mind if I do July 6, 2007
What is this triangular symbol? September 1, 2007
Do’s and Don’t's September 30, 2007
First Husband or First Gentleman? October 2, 2007
Announcement June 24, 2008
Why Don’t We Abolish Irregular Verbs and Nouns? April 14, 2009
Effect vs. Affect April 27, 2009
Should the link include the quotes? April 29, 2009
One of the most... May 14, 2009
Peter thins them out May 15, 2009
Someone else’s June 4, 2009
Word for Twitter Whores? June 15, 2009
Word for Stroller Toppling Over June 28, 2009
Word for Showing Off Your MacBook at Cafe — Mac off June 29, 2009
Is Punctuation Part of “Mechanics”? August 20, 2009
Does “Who knows” need a question mark? November 15, 2010
It’s Official: email not e-mail March 18, 2011
Isn’t the word “feminism” itself gender-biased? July 16, 2011
LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect? August 21, 2011
Collins Dictionaries February 27, 2012
It had impacts on... April 19, 2012
“hack” in “hackathon” April 30, 2012
Not just me who thinks... or Not just me who think... or Not just I who think... or Not just I who thinks... August 31, 2012
What does “Curb your dog” mean? March 9, 2014
Use my brain or brains? June 14, 2014
“go figure” November 29, 2015
Small Talk—Countable or Uncountable? May 27, 2016
What exactly is “width” in geometry? May 8, 2017
“hate with passion” June 21, 2018
Why Asian English Speakers Are Hard to Understand July 11, 2018