Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
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Member Since

August 26, 2003

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Latest Comments

Either Is or Am

  • October 22, 2003, 3:51pm

I have to agree with Carrie here - whether or not one of these sentences might somehow be technically definable as gramatically correct, they both sound terrible and would never be used by a sober native speaker.


  • October 10, 2003, 4:01pm

Guild of Critics, I find your etymology of the slur "chink" interesting, although I think it's probably incorrect. I think the word is more likely a variation of "chinese", which is what the American Heritage Dictionary thinks ( didn't provide any other etymologies). But I wonder whether the eye-slit idea was only yours, or was generally considered to be the meaning of the word in your region?

A Jew and Jews

  • October 10, 2003, 3:47pm

"Jew" is not, in itself, a slur, and I disagree with Slur_guy on this point. The problem simply resides in the fact that being jewish has been considered shameful by so many for so long. No matter what term you use for it, someone will have already used that term in a derogatory sense.

Also it occurs to me that the jews do not have any euphemistic terms, like "hebrew-american". Actually i applaud them for this, but it means there aren't a lot of politically correct words to use (ie words with no negative historical references).


  • September 18, 2003, 12:05pm

I think most people are aware of the original meaning of the word, but they hear the derogatory meaning more frequently. Similar problems arise with many, if not most, offensive terms: dyke, cock, ass, etc.

I don't think it's just Californians that think this way but it's a question of which term is more common.

Two Weeks Notice

  • September 12, 2003, 1:31pm


I'm not a linguist or grammatician - in fact I don't even know if there is such a word as grammatician - but I found the alt-usage-english argument convincing. Their example was "one day's leave" which to me seems to be essentially the same grammatical issue as "two weeks' notice". Actually it may be a better example because day is singular, so it becomes obvious that "one day leave" doesn't sound right.

Two Weeks Notice

  • August 29, 2003, 12:39pm

There is an interesting discussion about usage of the genetive in English for non-possessive purposes. It's in the FAQ Supplement at


  • August 26, 2003, 9:38am

For most practical purposes, there is only one future. Therefore, "in the future" is the correct formulation.

On Star Trek (or perhaps if you are a physicist), people are sometimes aware of more than one future. In this case, "a future" makes sense, although it may still sound a little weird. We're still talking about the same kind of future here, it's just that we're allowing that there may be more than one. This doesn't make sense for everyday usage.

"Futures" as traded on stock markets, are an diferent beast altogether. They are objects whose name is derived from the fact that they are a bet on the future value of some commodity. I don't think it's particularly useful as an example here.

Finally, I believe "in future" is simply a contraction of "in the future" used to reduce the length of a telegram or memo. I don't think it's any more grammatically correct than any other telegram-speak. Just my opn stop Hope topic clrfd smwht stop

a shit

  • August 26, 2003, 9:13am

I think stizzous is close but maybe this could be explained a little better.

The first comment is exactly right: "This is bullshit" is a metaphor implying that the thing in question is similar to bullshit. Since bullshit has little value, the implication is that the object of discussion similarly has little value.

In the second instance, I think there an implied word has been left out. "He gave me shit" is basically the same thing as "He gave me some shit". Shit, in this case, is a substance, not an object. It's an uncountable noun as you like to say here. An article wouldn't make sense.

In the last instance, we're talking about an object, not a substance. "I don't give a shit" is talking about a particular shit, that is to say, the results of a session of shitting; a turd. It's a particular thing and deserves an article for that reason.


Broad October 22, 2003