Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files within 24 hours. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More



Joined: August 12, 2010
Comments posted: 753
Votes received: 109

No user description provided.

Questions Submitted

Five eggs is too many

June 30, 2013

Recent Comments

My take on it is that "fewer" + uncountable noun is nonsensical, as "fewer" implies countable number.

jayles May 8, 2014, 7:37pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

BTW I suppose you guys realise you can upvote your own comments! ;=))

jayles May 8, 2014, 4:53pm

1 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

I would suggest that proficient English readers do not read by sounding out each syllable to understand the word; each word becomes a sort of symbol pretty much like Chinese, so whether it is orthographic or not becomes irrelevant to the reading process; it just needs to be consistent and familiar.
Spelling is an issue when we're learning to read and write and in an ESOL context; for most of us we are past it (or very much past it).

jayles May 8, 2014, 4:52pm

1 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

less means smaller (in size or number); fewer = smaller in number.
a) Her troubles were fewer than her husband's.
b) Her troubles were less than her husband's.
Doesn't really come up much though.

jayles May 5, 2014, 2:18pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

If "fewer is more" means something other than "less is more", then we have a semantic distinction, but it's very small.

Is "few" is the result of Viking "package tours" ?

jayles May 5, 2014, 2:52am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Few is more

jayles May 4, 2014, 8:33pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Never in the history of humane endeavour have so many owed so much to so less.

There were, apparently, a less people there

jayles May 4, 2014, 8:32pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

I've seen it suggested that the past-simple<-present-perfect substitution is colloquial, non-formal and more common among 'less-educated' Americans.

The following ngram suggests that "have you ever" is twice as common as "did you ever" in US writing:
did you ever:eng_gb_2012,did you ever:eng_us_2012,have you ever:eng_gb_2012,have you ever:eng_us_2012

This ngram suggests that in US writing "did you forget already" is much much less common than have...
Did you forget already:eng_gb_2012,Did you forget already:eng_us_,Have you forgotten already:eng_gb_2012,Have you forgotten already:eng_us_2012,Have you forgot already

jayles April 29, 2014, 5:32pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Murphy also notes the well-known Americanism: sentences like:
"Did you finish your homework yet?"
Is this too an example of something borrowed from some earlier form of English?

jayles April 28, 2014, 8:25pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

I do remember the teacher in primary school (England 1950's) forbidding us to use the word 'get' in writing because it was a "horrible" word. Given that kind of indoctrination it is not surprising if some people retain a less-than-empirical outlook on word choices.
BTW in Murphy's grammar book 'gotten' is simply marked as "American", so again it is hardly surprising if people think that is the end of the story. I certainly did for many years.

jayles April 28, 2014, 12:55pm

1 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

@WW by "practical purposes" I meant outside the classroom, like submitting your CV in English or answering business emails.

jayles April 25, 2014, 12:06pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

I agree that spelling is not the major issue for non-native speakers; after all, the common end-use writing situations (business emails, reports, and academic essays) are all covered by spell-checkers. On the other hand, business telephone conversations put enormous pressure on clear-enough pronunciation (and listening and everything else too).
Like Russian, English stress is hard to predict (although often last-but-two on longer words). Aural learning the only way to go.

EF= Entertainment First ??

jayles April 23, 2014, 3:30pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

"daemon" is often used with this spelling when referring to a piece of software that is permanently running on the server, for instance as a channel to a database. Spelt without the lig here:

jayles April 22, 2014, 5:59pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Curious how looker(s)-on was overtaken by onlooker(s) toward the end of 19th year-hundred.
Also the difference in meaning between passers-by and by-passers (ie people who take the bypass), and the following:

jayles April 19, 2014, 9:22pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

jayles April 19, 2014, 9:13am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

@WW "putter-onner" , putter-inner, taker-outer, leaver-outer, - all several have hits on google

jayles April 19, 2014, 9:02am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

jayles April 18, 2014, 11:09pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

jayles April 18, 2014, 6:17pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

More at:

google "putter-upper"
"by-stander" and "passer-by" lack the -er on the adverb.

OED has “picker-upper” (1913), “fixer-upper” (1932), “pepper-upper” (1934), “maker-upper” (1936), “builder-upper” (1936), “opener-upper” (1941), “mucker-upper” (1942), and “looker-upper” (1951). But “Ver-up” is actually more frequently attested than “Ver-upper” in the forms collected by the OED.

jayles April 18, 2014, 6:09pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse