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



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December 24, 2011

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Latest Comments

Past tense of “text”

  • February 15, 2010, 9:15am

Simply, in the english language if the word ends in a "t" then in the preterit of that word the "ed" must be pronounced, just as in the word "tested".

me vs. myself

  • December 29, 2009, 10:55am

There's certainly a case to be made for "myself" as an appositive in that example, but I think it's a weak one. It is, I believe, a superfluous modifier - if I fixed the car, after all, it could have been no one else, and so there's no reason to point out that it was "myself" - it's tautological. We should resolve to make sure we avoid superfluity and redundancy in our speech. *grin*

As an adverb, however, it describes how the fixing of the car was done, i.e. with no help from anyone else.

me vs. myself

  • December 28, 2009, 8:10pm

A reflexive is usually used as an object pronoun, when the subject is performing an action, and the object of that action is the subject. For example:

I cut someone with a kitchen knife.
The person I cut was me.

I cut myself.

Another option is as an adverb, when the speaker does something that he or she would normally have someone else do.

I fixed my car myself (rather than have a mechanic do it).

In the OP's original example sentence, there are three reasons why the reflexive is incorrect:

"Serious gardeners like my wife and me/myself always use organic fertilizer."

The first is that you're using an object pronoun where you should be using a subject - "My wife and I" - which makes the whole reflexives point moot. A reflexive can only be used as an object pronoun or as an adverb, not as a subject.

The second is that the speaker is not the object of the verb "use" - therefore, the reflexive object pronoun is unnecessary.

Third is that there's no implication that the speaker and his wife are doing something that a serious gardener would normally have someone else do, i.e. fertilize their garden. Therefore the reflexive adverb is unnecessary. What's more, there's no verb that "myself" could modify in this sentence.

To sum up, never use a reflexive as a subject, and never use a reflexive as an object if someone other than the speaker is performing the action. I used to have a boss (in an ESL school, no less) who would write memos that read, "Please return this form to the secretary or myself...." and I'd have to go sit in a dark room for a few hours with a cold compress. *smile*

Plural of “insurance”?

  • December 17, 2009, 12:57am

The term "insurances" is used within the insurance industry to mean "lines of insurance" or "types of insurance". The pluralized term is specialized industry jargon, which should not be used in general parlance.

The same applies for "damages": the term refers to monetary compensation ordered by a court of law. In general terms, when speaking of things being wrecked, the term "damage" (an uncountable noun) should be used.

Twenty-ten vs Two thousand-ten

  • December 17, 2009, 12:24am

2010 will be the year when we can once again start using the abbreviated paradigm we've used for hundreds of years (eighteen whatever, nineteen whatever). 2001-2009 are unwieldy when saying "twenty whatever", but for 2010-2099 it will be easy to say this.

On Tomorrow

  • December 8, 2009, 3:45pm

I'm currently dating a guy that always uses the phrase "on tomorrow," and only minutes ago, I received an e-mail from a colleague that used it as well. So, I decided to Google it for clarification. The guy I'm seeing is from Georgia, and I am too; different parts, my colleague is from Texas (where we all currently reside). I too thought it was a slip-up when I first heard it, but it has become repetitious.

Pronunciation: aunt

  • September 30, 2009, 3:18pm

Im from both the South and New England. I was taught to pronounce Aunt like 'Ahnt'. Most people I have discussed this with dissagree and think it should be pronounced as 'Ant'. I don't know about your Aunt, but mine only had 2 legs. Also I have never heard of the 'silent u'. I think people learned to pronounce it as 'ant' because they didn't know how pronounce it with the short 'a' sound as in 'anht'. Accents are part of our culture, but they don't make it right. There is a right way to pronounce it, but I don't know what it is.


  • March 27, 2009, 11:58am

I have an additional question in regards to the correspondence question, the phrase "Please find attached a correspondence from Mr. Smith." vs. "Please find attached correspondence from Mr. Smith". In the sense that correspondence is both a singular and plural noun, would the use of "a" be justified in distinguishing the singular correspondence from two or more correspondence? Would this also apply to the phrase "I bought a fish from the store" to distinguish from buying more than one fish?

Acronyms, Abbreviations, and BBC News

  • February 18, 2009, 2:23am

I too think it's silly of the BBC to abbreviate AIDS as Aids and NASA as Nasa. Maybe I should call them the Bbc instead of the BBC.

Using plural in the title

  • February 18, 2009, 2:11am

Yes, most of the time nouns, when serving as adjectives, are singular.

There are exceptions, though: "munitions dump", "operations research" and "weapons malfunction" are but a few. Many of these exceptions have a military origin.