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 13, 2010

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Latest Comments

“sources of” vs. “the source of”

  • November 17, 2010, 4:29am

Ok, imagine the blood they are looking for is called t-blood.

No t-blood has been found in Joe nor Jack. It is from the results of this analysis that Joe nor Jack are sources for the t-blood discrepancy amongst humans.

However, the focus of the search is on the one confirmed source, and so, Joe nor Jack are the source for this search.

I think I explained that bad, but both can be used, but they will slightly mean different things.

“she” vs “her”

  • November 17, 2010, 4:23am

I don't remember learning this in school. Except for the part that in formal language you should use I at the end of the list of people you're talking about, because if you say 'I, Tom, Tim, and John went..' it sounds more selfish or something like that. You should say, 'Tom, Tim, John, and I'. I remember the teacher saying, 'And, if you have to use the word me, then at least say tom, Tim, John, and me'. Haha. But I think both she and I and she and me works. Although my elementary school teacher told us you shouldn't use me in the beginning of the sentence, because that's not the "better" way, it doesn't mean it cannot be used nor that it is not grammatically correct. So I would sometimes say 'Me, Tom, Tim, and John', if I'm not feeling too self-conscious about myself.

I feel that people who use 'she and I' are people who just like to speak like they learned, and/or want to stay professional, and/or want to speak "formally'', etc.. If it's come to the point that she's correcting you, Elizabeth, then it's more likely that she is insecure in the style of speech that she uses, herself. She subconsciously recognises that she does not like using 'she and I', and because she had previously been forced to change her style, she also wants you to speak in that way. But don't worry, that's one of those up-for-philsophical/psychological debate topics.

Now, maybe people are confusing 'her' with the possessive 'her'. Remember, there are two meanings. For masculine, there is 'him' and 'his'. But for feminine, there is only 'her', which can mean either.

Using 'him', 'me and him' does make sense. Then, 'me and her' also make sense.
'I and her' does not make sense because 'I' is a special word, more than you'd admit, as it's only used alone, or at the end of the list. 'he and I' or 'she and I' does sound a little weird, but 'he' and 'she' are both starting words like 'I' is. Switching it around, 'me and her' and 'me and him' are still correct. Using 'her' is the common as well as the right way to use it. Remember I said 'I' is a special word. Well, 'I' doesn't like to be with other subject pronouns unless it's at the end of the list. 'I and she' or 'I and he' would not grammatical sense. It's because 'I' is like this narcissistic word. Once 'I' is in there, any subsequent referrals to 'he' or 'she' is changed to 'him' or 'her'. Given this, 'him and I' or 'her and I' should be perfectly corrrect.

The other issue is that 'she' and 'he' sounds more formal. Her brain is subconsciously mad at you, because you're using the more "informal" word 'her' with the "formal" syntax of using 'I' or 'me' at the end of the list, although 'I' should always be at the end of the list.

Really happy or real happy

  • November 17, 2010, 3:54am

as long as you're allowed*

Really happy or real happy

  • November 17, 2010, 3:53am

Exactly, real is used for true, genuine, etc..

However, when I think of He was real happy, I think he was really happy. When I hear He was really happy, I think, really? Well, if you say so. Because, really is just an adverb - or in other words the adjective for an adjective - of happy. And so, if it wasn't used as an "adjective", or adverb, then it would mean real. I think rather, he was actually happy.

However, when I was say he was real happy, I think of vibrant colours, reality, real life, I feel the emotions he is feeling at the same time as thinking them, whereas really happy is just, well, yeah I know I believe you don't worry, I know that he is actually happen.

DeMisty, language is all about the choice of words and intonation. In terms of writing, it is all about the choice of words. The way you word things can change the way someone reads it drastically. That's all it comes down to.

Where I'm from, 'real' is accepted as formal and accepted that way. However, on something like an essay, there is another sense to the word 'formal', in terms of an essay being formal. It means that it cannot have emotions, and 'real' sometimes gives off emotions. For any other piece of writing that is not artsy nor for an essay, as long as you're not allowed to describe emotions, 'real' should accepted.

The only reason it shouldn't be accepted would be the stubbornness of some people who think they know the rules of English language. Even in any university, especially a prestigious one, should accept it. Actually, no, 'prestigious' universities would not, because they are not at all prestigious. They are famous, yes, but not prestigious, as in good, and famous because they are good. They are famous because they get funding, aka money. People who have the money are not the academics; they are the people with power and have the voice to bias rules and regulations.

And so, in any actual good university that you go to, if you use 'real', and they don't accept it, as long as you give your case, you shouldn't have a problem with it. That's actually what they're supposed to teach you, not impose their views on you. If you have the willingness to things in a different way because you learned that it is right, through your studies, then they have done their job.

It is you who are/is ...

  • November 17, 2010, 3:41am

Uh.. I think you're confusing yourself, Donna.

Does Donna change in numbers? You has always been singular. In English, there is no distinction in the word or spelling of 'you', to determine whether it's singular or plural. In this case, we already know who 'you' is referring to: Donna. So, whether it's having the 'who' or not, it's always singular. And, saying 'you are' doesn't make you more of yourself! That is just the rule for whenever you use 'you'.

The correct way is 'you who is wrong'. Unless it's like, 'You, who is the ruler of all the people of Nalatan, are wrong'. But, just having 'who', turns it into a pronoun for the concept of 'you' (it's called relative pronoun), which is referring to Donna. Therefore, it is 'is'.

A good way to remember this is replacing is or are with something else. Like, 'you who was wrong'. Being a native speaker, I can immediately tell by changing it into past tense that 'who was wrong' sounds right. 'you who were wrong' would definitely change the meaning, rather, to plural, not singular.

Also, if you're a native speaker, you would immediately imagine like some medieval story with a silly line 'It is I, the great...' or 'it is you who are'.. all of a sudden, you realise that in those days people referred to a single person in a plural form when you give them more respect. Even adversaries would you use 'you'-plural, because - well, yeah, exactly, they're their adversaries; they would most likely be as great of a success as that person is - and, because of the whole chivalrous thing. And so, if someone says 'you who are..' just take it as a compliment.

Comparisons and Superlatives of Colours

  • November 17, 2010, 3:23am

English-Russian Translator has got the right concept.

However, I would even shorten the list to only white; everything seems to me to be either literary "acceptability" or words that have arguably been gradually accepted over time.

I know for sure 'white', 'whiter', and 'whitest' work. Instead of blacker, I would use 'darker', although I know it's not exactly the same.

Superlatives (like best) and the other term for which I forgot the word (like better) are not limited to having -er and -est suffixes, you must remember.
For many of the words, I would use more and most instead. Like fast would turn into faster, just as strong would turn into stronger, but not all words are like that. Like, 'he is most brilliant at the logistics of..' or 'he is more brilliant at the logistcs of..'. You can't really use 'brillianter'.

But, as mentioned, some words are eventually being accepted like bluer or bluest (I personally still would not use that). 'Tan' would work when you're actually talking about a tan.. but since it's been used that way, it doesn't make a difference whether you're talking about the colour.

Gray/grey can definitely be used, as when someone is talking about the greying of one's hair.

Btw, I thought red, blue, and yellow were the primary colours.
In any case, the general answer I would give is depending on who you are you will argue differently. Like, one who is used to redder being an actual word would say more red or most red doesn't make sense. And, people who don't use it, would say the proper way is more red or most red. I sometimes the -ish suffix when I don't know. Like 'this sun is much more yellowish than it had been before..'

No, both are correct, as in accepted.

And, yes, 'was the previous owner' is also correct, and it doesn't have to mean he's dead.

Although David's answer is pretty crafty, he is taking it way to categorical. Like, if you say it this, it can only mean this. Say it another way, it still makes sense, but it necessarily means something else.

In answer to Helen's question, break it down, pretend you're an elementary school student. John was the owner. What kind of owner? The previous owner. If 'was the owner' meant that he was alive, adding 'previous' doesn't make him dead.

Both 'was' and 'is' the owner are both correct, but in a grammatically structured perspective, 'was' is the preferred word of usage. In this perspective, 'is the previous owner' does not make sense. If he is, then he can't at the same time not be, as 'previous' would mean that he only was and is not anymore the incumbent owner. However, since 'previous' can be used as meaning the same thing as 'former' or 'ex-', in which case it would make perfect sense, 'is the previous owner' can still make sense and is considered correct. But most people don't actually think all that when it's just spitting out of your mouth real fast.

In the case of 'John was the former owner', the 'former owner' can be thought of as one word or concept - that has already been established - then adding 'was' in the picture makes him dead, in most cases, but it's also accepted to mean that he's not necessarily dead.

Once again, to clarify, 'previous' is simply an adjective to owner, not part of the same concept, although you would normally have to think of it as the same concept or else you would get confused real easily.

OK vs Okay

  • November 17, 2010, 2:49am

It doesn't matter about the history.

All we have to know is that there was a history to OK, and the oral code OK was eventually adopted. Now, for the written code, people wrote it down as OK, as in the letters OK, or O.K., as in O.K. means 'alright', but it's still an abbreviation. Eventually, it came to a point where OK's origin did not matter. Since a lot of anglophones don't like reading two capitalised letters together unless it's an actual improper noun, to decapitalise it, it was written as okay. Some people, because 'okay' is simply the sounding written version, think it illegitimate, and so, use 'OK' or 'O.K.'.

I personally think 'okay' is semi-stupid, and 'ok' is the proper use. If it's made it into a word, treat it like one! Anglophones are just usually stubborn to adopt a word that doesn't make sense in terms of sounding as it's spelt. Of course, there are many exceptions to that, but in some way it still makes sense to them. 'ok', however doesn't make sense to them at all. So it's usually one of the first three mentioned. There is some hidden rule to some people that words spelt the way it's pronounced the same as it were if they were simply the letters pronounced is wrong. There are still so many people who spell 'tv' 'TV' or even 'T.V.', which I find quite ridiculous.

“This is she” vs. “This is her”

  • November 17, 2010, 2:37am

The other thing I look to add is some people think 'this is she' is more formal for some reason.. I think there's a term for that in linguistics, when people think they know the real way but they really don't. It usually comes as a result of 'this is she' being more foreign and, therefore, more correct, or more formal. Ok, I know that is not a good explanation, but if you know what I'm talking about, you will understand.

“This is she” vs. “This is her”

  • November 17, 2010, 2:34am

'this is she' and 'this is her' are both correct.

Not only does 'this is her' sound better to my ears or is in common usage, I compare it to other sentences. Read all along above for many examples.

'This is she' sounds like something from Shakespeare or some other older-style English. Like, 'He who removes the sword from the stone is..' or 'This is he who removed...'. 'This is she' needs something else, really. But, grammatically, 'this is she' is still correct. As a general note, you use 'she' for the subject, and not 'her' as the sole subject, but 'her' as the object. But normally, like 'Give it to she' is not correct, unless it's 'give it to she who possesses the power of..'. Another way of saying that is 'give it her, who possesses the power of..'.

I never though of speaking as this is her speaking, as in this is her speech or her speaking (the way she speaks), but rather as 'this is her, speaking'. In that case, it would be the same thing as 'this is she, speaking', or 'this is she who speaks of..'.

But 'speaking', was always a short form for 'yes, speaking' for me. Like, may I speak to Db? 'Yes, speaking' (as in, yes, you may, and btw, I'M speaking to you, so don't act as if I'm not even there). In this way, I always think of it like That's me, speaking. Or, yes, I'm speaking. When someone talks to you in the third person, you don't confirm that you're not him by saying this is her or she. What's wrong with you! Say, no! Hey, looky here, that's me, I'm speaking, please. That' just my opinion, anyway.


cannot vs. can not February 9, 2011