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


D. A. Wood

Member Since

November 7, 2011

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Latest Comments

As I have mentioned before, English does not exist in a vacuum, entirely free to make up its own rules as it goes along. English is a member of the Indo-European family of languages, and English grammar needs to correspond with that of most of these other languages: Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Sanskrit, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Swedish, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Ukrainian. These languages all have singular and plural pronouns, and verbs, too.

Otherwise, if you want to go around with your nose stuck up 120 kilometers in the air, I guess that we cannot throw you into the dungeon for than, yet. Could we arrange for that power to be given back to Q.E. II and the Duke of Edinburgh?

“Your teenagers are more at risk while on their restricted licences.”?
Now, let's drop that unnecessary word "your".
“Teenagers are more at risk while (driving?) on their restricted licences.”?

I am also bothered by those people who make an assumption that a "license" is a "driver's license". Why? Look at the following:
{business license, dog license, electrician's license, firearms license, fishing license, hunting license, pilot's license, plumber's license, railroad engineer's license}.

Going back to the original line at the top of this section:
“Your teen is more at risk while on their restricted licence.”
Why not “Your teenagers are more at risk while on their restricted licences.”?
The answer to the question: Sheer intellectual laziness.

These has been heard many times from news and "public affairs" TV programs in the U.S.A.:
"Your child .... them...." and "Your child .... their...."
The speakers were supposed to be college-educated professionals.
Hence, why not these instead: "Your children .... them...." and "Your children .... their...." ?? These are grammatically elegent.
Then, the possibility of the singular ("child") is subsumed withing the plural ("children") as a special case. ("Lightning strikes!")
However, all of this presumes the intelligence to think ahead and plan ahead about what one will say before one says it.
Is that positively backbreaking work?

Pronouncing “mandatory”

  • September 26, 2012, 4:41pm


In American dictionaries, in the pronunciations, there is often a primary stress marked on one syllable and then a secondary stress marked on another syllable - usually later on in the word. This is difficult to do with this kind of a simple word processor, so in American English, we type MAN-di-TOR-ee, STA-tis-TICS, AS-tro-NAU-tics, EC-o-NOM-ics, and A-pos-TRO-phee.

LOL, here is hard one for you: magnetohydrodynamics.
I count at least four stressed syllables in this one, with the rest being unstressed. Remember that in American English, and in Canadian English, too, "stressed syllables" includes strong stresses and secondary stresses, too.

I gave up on some of these discussions because of argumentative twerps there. I wrote things like "North American English", and then they made all sorts of rude comments. They could not grasp it automatically that North American English means that which is spoken in the United States and Canada, and thus it excludes the English of Belize, Jamaica, Granada, Guyana, Trinidad, the Falkland Islands, and those other places south of here, so they argued about it. As for the language of the Bahamas, is quite similar to the English of Jamaica, Granada, etc., and rather unlike that of Florida.

If you want to compare the spoken English of Ontario and Manitoba with that of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota -- there isn't any. Our good friends the Canadians smuggled some Americans out of Tehran in 1978 - 79. They just gave the Americans Canadian passports and told everyone that they were Canadians who were going out of the country, and the Iranians were completely fooled. That's North American English!


Pronouncing “mandatory”

  • September 26, 2012, 4:37pm

There are many people, including foreigners and not, who do not understand how English "slides" letters from one syllable to another when forming compound words and when adding suffixes and prefixes. From my studies, I know that in German that is never done when forming compound words, and probably not in the other two cases, either.
In English, we take reg-u-late, then drop the "e", the add "ory", do a little bit of shifting, and then get "reg-u-la-tor-ee". Sometimes, a consonant even gets assigned to two different syllables, and we can even go for this: "reg-gu-la-tor-ee", though this is rather uncommon. (In Spanish, they do it all the time.)

In English, "e-lec-tric" becomes "e-lex-tri-cal", "phys-ics" becomes "phys-i-cal", and "ob-serve" becomes "ob-ser-va-tor-ee". That silent "e" disappeared, and then the "a" got glued right onto the "v".

My opinion is that if foreigners cannot manage this when they try to speak English, they they should quit and just stick to whatever their native languages are.

I figured that I would speak German with a horrid American accent. However, when I met some German tourists visiting here and I spoke their language with them, they complimented me on how well I did. It is possible that they were just being polite to me, but I will never know.

An American whom I knew majored in German in college here, but he also studied in Germany for a year. When he asked them how to express his father's occupation on his college and visa forms, they told him that "chemical engineer" was just fine with them. Given my profession, I am fond of "Elektrotecniker", but I think that "electrical engineer" or "Elektroingenieur" would be all right, too.

Pronouncing “mandatory”

  • September 26, 2012, 3:48pm

I agree that the word "mandate" usually has equal stresses on its two syllables, as unusual at that is in English.

However, it might make a difference depending on whether:
1. Mandate is a noun, or
2. Mandate is a verb.
I emphasize that I really mean "might". You think about it.

Pronouncing “mandatory”

  • September 25, 2012, 11:17am

It is really reh-gu-la-tor-ee, with no particulatory emphasis on any syllable that I can perceive. An example of its use: The FCC is the regulatory agency for telecommunications in the United States.
Also, it sounds to me that man-duh-tor-ee does not have particular emphasis on any syllable. Perhaps this is also true for other words that came from French.

In contrast, I have heard French people (in interviews, etc.) say "economic" without any emphasis on the syllables, but in English, it is EC-o-nom-ic.
There are also people from Continental Europe who insist on writing "economy" when what they really mean is "economics".
This is difficult to fathom because of all of the other such words in English that end in "ics", such as aerodynamics, electromagnetics, hydraulics, linguistics, mathematics, mechanics, optics, physics, statics, statistics,... and economics.
So many people clearly do not learn that words in English come in families and what those families are. They must "learn" words one at a time.
German also has words that come in families, and once you learn the families, that is very helpful.

Latest vs. Newest

  • August 12, 2012, 2:17pm

How many hundreds of dictionaries have you read?

Latest vs. Newest

  • August 12, 2012, 2:14pm

"Ensure" is never used in American English.
It is considered to be one of those British peculiarities, just like the Brit. Eng. words "flat", "boot", "bonnet", "gearbox", and "Cheerio!"


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