Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

Pain in the English offers proofreading services for short-form writing such as press releases, job applications, or marketing copy. 24 hour turnaround. Learn More


Joined: November 30, 2010  (email not validated)
Comments posted: 10
Votes received: 9

No user description provided.

Recent Comments

"...throw out some extremely improper English around me and I will not even waste my time getting to know you."


"Might Could" is a great expression that follows the edicts of the likes of Orwell and Strunk and White about not using unnecessary words. It has two words less than "might be able to". (Oh dear, should that have been "fewer" words?) I'll stick with the "less" which has the advantage of being perfect English despite what some ignoramuses will tell you.

Gudonyamate February 24, 2012, 4:01pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

What about:

Calls are answered in the order of their receipt?

Robert January 24, 2011, 7:12am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Brian W said:
"So, I grant you, it is a commonly used construction. Yet I assert that it is a violation of grammar. The two situations can co-exist."

It is in no way a violation of grammar. Certainly not in the way linguists use the term "grammar" and hardly even in the broadest sense of the term. The issue is one of semantics or meaning.

And the grammar of a language is the way it is used. If something is as common as "one the most" it cannot possibly be bad grammar. Any so-called rule of grammar that is contrary to what a significant majority of native speakers actually write and say is not a true grammar rule at all. There are over 3000 million hits for "one of the most" on Google. Quite apart from that anyone with an ear for the language can tell "one of the most/best" is standard English. If you are going to be this pedantic, you are going to end up dismissing three quarters of the language.

For example, is "you" used as a singular with a plural verb -- as it always is -- bad grammar? It runs counter to the normal "rules". Shouldn't we say, if speaking to one person, "you is right", rather than "you are right?

My point is that common usage overrides the rules.

Robert January 23, 2011, 4:43am

1 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

I agree that to talk about a number of people or cars makes much more sense and sounds better than to talk about an amount of people. But this seems to me to have more to do with the meaning of words than with "grammar rules".

Robert January 23, 2011, 12:45am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

I can't believe that anyone these days would say that split infinitives are unacceptable. The so-called split infinitive has never violated any rule of English. Please cite any modern grammar book that says the split infinitive is unacceptable grammar. I suppose you also believe a sentence should never end with a preposition?

"it has no bearing on the fact that they have used an objective verb where a subjective verb is required, syntactically." Objective and subjective verbs?

"One of the world's best writers", "one of the most common errors"...etc, etc. It's risible to suggest that these are bad grammar and even sillier to say they are bad syntax.

Robert January 23, 2011, 12:29am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

PS if we can talk of a big exaggeration as opposed to a small exaggeration why can't we qualify the word in other ways?

Stevenz November 30, 2010, 3:51pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

For a political party to exaggerate the benefits of their policies would be normal. But if they exaggerated said benefits beyond what even the most gullible of the populace on the loose could take seriously, that would be an over-exaggeration.

So there you are:

An exaggeration is a lie; but an over-exaggeration is an implausible lie.


Stevenz November 30, 2010, 3:48pm

2 votes    Permalink    Report Abuse

If you are doing a test, "correct" is what your teacher says is correct. Otherwise it is not a very useful word in the context of a living language.

There is no official grammar of English, and no academy or central authority to tell us what is correct or not, so usage reigns.

With newish terms, when there is not enough experience to establish some sort of convention (or standard), the best we can do is make a guess at what our audience will most approve of.

Unless of course they are the sort of people who do not approve of prepositions at the end of sentences, when we do well to ignore them.

Stevenz November 30, 2010, 3:29pm

2 votes    Permalink    Report Abuse

As far as the punctuation is concerned, your sentence seems fine to me. There is no reason you can't use a colon and semi-colon in the one sentence.

It does sound a little formal with a couple of over-used expressions. I would especially try to avoid the "would not be where I am today" part.

Steve November 30, 2010, 2:57pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Everything you have said makes me very very happy!

Steve November 30, 2010, 2:36pm

4 votes    Permalink    Report Abuse