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


Chris B

Member Since

March 22, 2011

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Latest Comments

Using country name as an adjective?

  • June 20, 2014, 10:29pm

With New Zealand, you have no choice. Well, informally you can say Kiwi, but there's no "New Zealandish" or anything like that. Are there any other countries whose adjectival form is simply the name of the country?

Regarding the other point, I'd find it quite odd if someone (in English) started talking about Italia or Deutschland. Watching the World Cup, English-speaking commentators and writers seem split on whether to say the Ivory Coast or Côte d'Ivoire. I much prefer the former.

Resume, resumé, or résumé?

  • June 20, 2014, 9:58pm

Everybody get ready for the 10-year reunion on Tuesday! Is chas still around?

Have diphthongs gone for good?

  • April 21, 2014, 6:16am

I don't think I was implying that the ligature is more common than the two separate letters. At least I wasn't trying to. Although I think the rarity of the æ and œ ligatures nowadays is largely because they're hard to type (for the same reason that you see things like "2.5 years" or "2 1/2 years" when "2½ years" looks much better).

Another (more mainstream) place you see 'daemon' is when an email bounces back.

“it’s the put-er-on-er-er”

  • April 21, 2014, 3:50am

I remember hearing "looker-after-er". Gives me 18,000 hits on Google.

Have diphthongs gone for good?

  • April 21, 2014, 3:41am

@WW (April 15th, 1:36pm):
And who now uses (even in British English) færie, fœderal, dæmon?

I'm with you on fœderal, but I think there's a subculture in which words like færie and dæmon thrive. The æ ligature (or even just the 'ae' digraph which is unusual in English) has a certain mystical, mediæval feel about it.
Dæmons (which are nothing like demons) play an important part in Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" series.

tonne vs ton

  • February 8, 2014, 7:47pm

Yeah I remember seeing "livre" (= pound), meaning half a kilo, in French markets.

I used OS maps in my work for a short time before I moved to NZ. Those maps were 2 cm to the km, or 1:50,000. You can see why they went metric early on - 1 inch to the mile is (Google...) 1:63,360 - ugh!

I don't remember seeing footpath signs in km over there - are they a new thing?

Yes, the hybrid system works quite well. I imagine the last thing to go metric in the UK will be the pint. If they start serving half-litres there will be a public outcry.

tonne vs ton

  • February 6, 2014, 1:25am

Interesting. I've seen this in NZ too. It's perhaps more understandable here because we're fully metricated, but I still found it odd. I agree that we should keep "ton" in the idiom. Incidentally I often hear "tonne" (when people are actually talking about the weight) pronounced to rhyme with "gone".

I'm in two minds about metric/imperial. Metric is much more convenient for just about all purposes (even if base 12 does have some advantages over base 10), but for me linguistically (and that's what this site is about, right?) imperial wins by a mile.

Words like "centimetre" and "millilitre" have a technical, clinical feel about them. If you come across them in a novel, it almost feels like you've been transported to a lab. The shorter imperial terms have a more natural feel to them. And they're more evocative. "Inch" sounds like a short distance, doesn't it? "Mile" sounds like a long way. "Furlong" (and I know that's obsolete outside horse racing) makes you think of "far" and "long", and it's a nice word to say.
"Pound" and "stone" give little indication of how heavy they are, but at least they sound like weights. "Kilogram" could be pretty much anything (and it's clumsy to say - I say "kilo" or "kay-gee").

It's interesting that even in NZ, where we're fully metric, people have an aversion to metric for height. I've worked for a life insurance company. When customers are asked to give their height and weight over the phone, most people come out with something like "five-ten and, um, eighty kay-gees".

“feedback” and “check in”

  • November 25, 2013, 3:50pm

WW: I do think it's worth separating out the technological jargon from meaningless or baffling business buzzwords.

Spot on. Jargon is very useful in many spheres, as a time-saver and to avoid ambiguity. Think of sailing (which is full of jargon) - time is of the essence there. There's no reason why business should be any different.
However when someone asks me "Did you touch base with x in regards to y?" this adds nothing (and when I hear something like this, the use of language completely overshadows the content, to the point where I don't take in who and what x and y are).
A lot of this unnecessary BS tends to be used by management types, perhaps to make their jobs (and themselves) sound more important than they are.
And sometimes the buzzwords actively subtract value (they make things opaque, often deliberately) as you mentioned above.

The biggest surprise for me, since I entered the business world, has been how much spoken BS I come across on a daily basis, as well as written.


  • October 26, 2013, 8:49pm

WW: I do hear things like "six past ten" and "twenty-one to eleven" on the radio here in NZ.
I think how we talk about time varies a lot between the different forms of English.
For instance, "half nine" (for 9:30) is very common in the UK, rather less common in NZ, and I'm guessing almost unheard of in America. (In German and Dutch, "half nine", or its equivalent, means 8:30!)

Cherochaun: when I first read your comment I thought your "minute" was the thing there are 60 of between one o'clock and two o'clock, but it appears you mean the other kind of minute.
I think most of us do know the correct answer: it's short for "of the clock".

Funny you should mention that WW.
As it happens I lived in Birmingham for three years and saw Blues play a number of times. Yes it's definitely 'on to' as two separate words. In the song there's an audible pause between 'on' and 'to', supporters often abbreviate it to "Keep Right On" and, as you say, 'onto' doesn't make a lot of sense there.
I still check their results from 12,000 miles away. Big win over Millwall this morning (my time).

Wow - impressive knowledge and explanations there. I would definitely write "lead on to better things" too, although I wouldn't have been able to properly explain why.

I note that some people have an aversion to 'onto' and never use it (I'm not one of those people).

I should also mention the relatively new "please login". You can just about get away with 'login' as a noun (i.e. username and password), but as a verb I think it needs to be two words.

My previous comment was more of a general one about native speakers not knowing whether to use one word or two in various phrases, and I think a lot of them (us) don't care either.