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Joined: February 16, 2005
Comments posted: 33
Votes received: 40

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Recent Comments

To answer your question, yes.

I should note, though, that ellipses are used much more widely than just in emails or within quotes.

Sean October 30, 2005, 10:41pm

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"I got burnt by my motorcycle's exhaust pipe" sounds just fine to me.

Sean July 26, 2005, 9:37pm

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You should try to avoid using "littler" when you can instead use "smaller," "less," or "lesser."

I find the Oxford English Dictionary's note very helpful:

"Little: A. adj. The opposite of great or much. Compar. LESS, LESSER; superl. LEAST.

These forms, however, are not quite coextensive in application with the positive, so that in certain uses the adj. has no recognized mode of comparison. The difficulty is commonly evaded by resort to a synonym (as smaller, smallest); some writers have ventured to employ the unrecognized forms littler, littlest, which are otherwise confined to dialect or imitations of childish or illiterate speech."

Sean July 2, 2005, 4:02pm

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Get it right: It's not a hyphen--it's a DASH.

Sean June 30, 2005, 1:27pm

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This has already been discussed pretty thoroughly in this topic:

Sean June 10, 2005, 11:08pm

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I think part of the reason it sounds awkward is because of its logic. "The one I ever wanted" could refer to several things, especially if you've ever wanted a lot of things in the past. Instead, "the only one I ever wanted" can only refer to one thing and informs the listener that you have never wanted anything except for that one thing.

Sean June 6, 2005, 10:57am

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I'm not sure about any rules, but I'm pretty sure that "Southern France" is acceptable.

Sean May 27, 2005, 1:09am

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Actually, you can "joke" someone.

"joke, v.


2. trans. To make the object of a joke or jokes; to poke fun at; to chaff, banter, rally."

--from the online OED

Sean May 15, 2005, 4:58pm

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I hear people say both all the time. While it is true that what your friend says is more colloquial, your alternative is still colloquial as well, despite being a little more "proper," so I don't think either is much more "wrong" than the other.

Also, you would probably never use either in any type of writing unless it's in dialogue, so there's really not an issue of which is more correct anyway.

Sean May 14, 2005, 12:13am

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Although I almost never hear that construction, you make perfect sense to me. Feel better now?

Sean May 4, 2005, 9:39pm

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Bah, a number of typos in that post:

In the third paragraph, "tell" should be "told."

In the fifth paragraph, the first "examines" should be "examine."

Sean April 30, 2005, 10:58am

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It all depends on context. Technically, none of them are truly correct because each one needs a comma between "happened" and "and" in order to separate the two independent clauses.

Aside from that, all three sentences make grammatical sense. You just have to decide which one to use depending on the situation. I'll see if I can get this to make sense...

The first two are almost completely interchangeable. You could use either if, for example, you fell off your bike and then went to see a doctor. Then you tell him what (had) happened, and he examined you. I think the second sentence addresses the issue of tense more correctly, but no one will think twice about your meaning if you use the first. The omission of "had" is really more of a result of native speakers' laziness, and everyone understands it.

The third sentence is trickier. Try this scenario:

You fall off your bike, but you only get a small scrape on your arm. Your mom forces you to go see a doctor, even though you know that you don't need to. When you get to the hospital, you tell the doctor what had happened and that he really doesn't need to examine you. (Call this point A.) The doctor agrees with you, but your mom insists that he or she examines you anyway. Then, the doctor examines you and finds that you are fine.

Ok. If you were explaining this situation to someone else and you wanted to refer to point A, then you could say, "I had told him what had happened (at that point in time), and he examined me (anyway)."

I really hope that makes sense...

Sean April 30, 2005, 10:54am

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Upon perusal of the OED, I found this definition of the pronoun "I."

"Sometimes used for the objective after a verb or preposition, esp. when separated from the governing word by other words.
This was very frequent in end of 16th and in 17th c., but is now considered ungrammatical."

I think that's pretty clear.

Sean April 27, 2005, 8:18pm

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Oh, and to Persephone Imytholin:

Could you please direct me to a site where I could find the rule that you cited? I don't think I've ever heard of it before.

Sean April 27, 2005, 8:03pm

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I completely agree with IngisKahn. Anyone who says "for my sister and I" clearly is trying to sound smart while only demonstrating their ignorance. This is one of my biggest pet peeves.

While I'm on this topic (and I know it's only slightly related), I may as well rant about the similar misuse of "myself," which should never be used as a subject and only sometimes used as an object when the subject is "I." For example, these sentences are wrong:

"John and myself had a great time yesterday."
"Our teacher gave the papers to John and myself."
"If you have any questions, feel free to ask any of the staff, myself included."

This sentence demonstrates the correct use:

"I hurt myself."

While this egregious mistake is not heard nearly as often as the "for me and I" and all its wonderful variations, it is still commonly used when a person is trying to sound especially formal. It also bugs the hell out of me.

Always remember--as Red Smith said, "'Myself' is the refuge of idiots taught early that 'me' is a dirty word."

Sean April 27, 2005, 7:59pm

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Go for either Murphies or Murphys--both look a tad weird to me, but I'm positive that any use of the apostrophe in this situation is just plain wrong.

Also check out this closely-related thread:

Sean April 1, 2005, 2:49pm

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I still hear people use "sign on" and "log on" very often, usually interchangeably with "log in," "login," and "sign in."

Sean March 14, 2005, 5:58pm

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Although Marta didn't directly state her idea of what "better" means, she did say that she's trying to find the one that "sound[s] natural" and is grammatically correct.

Sean March 13, 2005, 8:18pm

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"The Jones' house" doesn't make any sense; that's like saying "the Smith' house" or "the Lee' house."

Sean March 12, 2005, 7:58pm

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Speedwell, I have a question for you. In the first post, you say, "The family Jones has a house. It is the Jones's... house." Later in your third post, you say, "...the kitty belonging to the family [Klosses] is "the Klosses' cat."

Does this discrepancy result from an unintentional mistake in your first post, or is there something special about houses?

Sean March 11, 2005, 9:00pm

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