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



Member Since

October 20, 2005

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Latest Comments

He was sat

  • May 23, 2013, 3:49pm

No, Brus, you claimed that Tessa said that "I like to watch (him) sat at a stool" is perfectly correct grammatically, which is not what she said :) Go back and read your own post.

Had he breakfast this morning?

  • May 23, 2013, 3:34pm

While I would say "did he have breakfast?", if the "have" version is also correct, then it would be "has he had breakfast?", not "had he had breakfast?" The "had he had" version would be, er, the past perfect?

And Will, while your explanation certainly makes sense, I can't help but think of "baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?..." :)

He was sat

  • May 23, 2013, 3:15pm

Brus, I think you missed my point. Yes, we are talking about the same post. Yes, Tessa did say "Both of these are perfectly correct grammatically", but Tessa never said anything about "I like to watch (him) sat at a stool" being "perfectly correct grammatically".

The "...sat at a stool..."comment was from Warsaw Will's post of September 4, 2012, 12:03pm, not Tessa's post. Tessa's post does follow, but has nothing to do with Will's previous post. Hers is just a continuing discussion of the relevant topic.

Look closely again at Tessa's post. Here's a shortened version:

"Both of these are ... correct...:"
"He was sat at the table".
"He was sitting at the table".

See the colon? The "Both" in Tessa's post is clearly referring to the two examples in Tessa's own post. She was comparing "...was sat at the table" to "...was sitting at the table" and nothing more. If she were replying specifically to Will's comment, why would she use the word "both"? Will didn't offer two examples to be compared. Why would she follow up with a colon and then list two examples that only make sense in the context of her previous sentence? Her post stands on its own. In fact, it only makes sense when viewed this way.

Do note, I'm not addressing whether or not "was sat" is OK; I'm merely clarifying Tessa's comments.

He was sat

  • May 21, 2013, 3:27pm

Brus, I think your criticism of Tessa is misplaced. Tessa did not claim that "...'I like to watch (him) sat at a stool' is "perfectly correct grammatically"..." Actually, it was Will. Well, he didn't exactly claim it was "perfectly correct"; he merely claimed that it sounded "absolutely fine" to him. If you look more carefully, you'll realize that Tessa merely claimed that both "was sat" and "was sitting" are correct. Well, she also claimed that "was sat sitting" is OK. While it does sound awkward, given a little punctuation massage and the right context, I would suggest that it might be grammatical, as in, say, something like: He was sat, sitting at the table (, not at the bar).

Comma before “respectively”?

  • April 22, 2013, 10:55am

Sorry Bolle, but you are completely incorrect. "Trawling" is fishing by dragging a net along the sea bottom. "Trolling" is fishing by moving or dragging a fishing line with hook and/or bait.


  • April 10, 2013, 2:29pm

Erin, Will, regarding:

"...the standard rule for when two people own an OBJECT is one apostrophe..."

This is true, but incomplete. Your confusion is arising because you're simply not considering the rules in their entirety.

"...the standard rules don't seem to mention anything about pronouns..."

This is not true. According to numerous sources, the "standard" rules (whatever that means) also state that when one pronoun is used, the first noun gets an apostrophe and the pronoun goes second: "...Jane's and your...", "...Jane's and my...", etc.

If might help to understand the rationale for the rule. In "...Jane and John's house", the "apostrophe-s" after John forms possession for both Jane and John. Eliminating it after Jane is a kind of shorthand notation. In "...Jane's and my house", there's no "apostrophe-s" after "my" to be shared, so it's required after "Jane".

Good discussion here:

By the way, some arguments about ambiguity of one form or the other are specious and irrelevant. In many cases, distributing the possession or not, merely shifts the ambiguity instead of eliminating it.

Some (not all) find it awkward with two pronouns, and suggest recasting the sentence as "...your house and mine", instead of "...your and my house". If the single pronoun version still bothers you, you can always recast it similarly.

Last, it's interesting to note that while "Jane and John's house" is standard for joint possession and "Jane's and John's houses", for separate possession, not all sources specifically rule out "Jane's and John's house" for joint possession. Right or "wrong", in some cases, it could eliminate ambiguity, or create emphasis. Instead of houses, how about "Jane and John's sister" vs. "Jane's and John's sister"? Or, how about for emphasis, as in:

"Is it Jane's house or John's house?"
"Neither, it's Jane's AND John's house."

-ic vs -ical

  • March 26, 2013, 2:07pm

While there may be some overlap, I think of comic as meaning "of or relating to comedy" and comical as "in a comic manner", i.e., funny. I think this is often the case with -ic vs. -ical. Wow, glad no one asked about comedic!

I think that comic as a noun grew from the adjective. Funny how often this happens. Compare music (really adjectivally from "of the muses" even though it's never used as such) and musical.

I've also thought that animal as a noun arose as a "nounification" from the adjective animal (of anima), but I'm not sure this is etymologically correct.

I think of bad as being, well, the opposite of good (at least for this discussion). I tend to think of poor as meaning something more like ill-suited or prehaps lacking. I would suggest that even when they are synonyms, poor's meaning of "low quality" stems metaphorically from the notion that, that which is poor is somehow lacking something.

Defining a proper noun

  • March 3, 2013, 11:09am

You know Will, I was just about to click "report abuse", just like I did for the designer fasion spam a few posts up. But, after seeing your funny quotes from the site, I thought, better to leave it there for everyone's amusement:)

“all but” - I hate that expression!

  • February 27, 2013, 3:25pm

Boy, I hope I don't regret this, but let me weigh in as well. D. A. Wood, I think you missed Warsaw Will's point. The simple past tense is used to describe general truths, ongoing states or repetitive actions. It is not used for things that are happening "right now". This is equally true in North America, the USA, and the UK.

If you want to express actions that are actually taking place, you would use the present progressive.

Consider: "Does the moon orbit the earth? It does so, and it is doing so right now"

"It does so" (simple present) means that it is a general truth that the moon orbits the earth. The occurrence is ongoing; it has in the past and will likely continue in the foreseeable future.

"It is doing so right now" (present progressive) means that at this very moment, the moon is orbiting the earth , regardless of what it did yesterday or will do tomorrow.

"It does so right now", while it doesn't sound particularly bad, would technically be a non sequitur.

Compare this to, say: "Do you like to jog? Why yes, I jog. In fact, I'm jogging right now!"

"I jog" means I habitually jog, likely on a regular basis. "I am jogging right now" means that I'm jogging at this very minute, while I'm talking to you, say, on my cell phone.

No one would normally say "I jog right now" to mean that they were actually jogging at this very minute. The only reason someone would say "I jog right now" is if they meant to convey that they jog on a regular basis, but only recently started, as in "I jog right now, but last year I did Pilates all the time."

When people are describing stuff they're actually, actively, currently doing in the Here and Now, they say "I"m going shopping. I'm eating now. I'm trying to finish. I'm doing my homework." They do not say "I go shopping. I eat. I try to finish. I do my homework." Not in North America. Not in the UK. Not anywhere.