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"Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will."
Helen Hunt Jackson, A Calendar of Sonnet's: February
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@Yevhen's questions

aprilapril ModeratorPosts: 10,491 mod
@Yevhen has some questions and hopes to get the answers. (I'm curious too :) )
Thank you, @Lynne ?

Here is the text:

One friend of mine works in an it-company that requires English and hires English teachers to help their employees to improve it. He passed a test some time ago. Of course detailed results were reported to chiefs and those who are interested in that. But my friend is a curious one and asked about them. Here is a short answer he was given:

"Hello - some aspects of English changed for better (according to the test) but some didn’t :(
Generally - slight upgrade took place."

I don't want to judge anyone especially English teachers in informal messages but as far as I know there are some mistakes. Here my concerns:
1. "change for the better" is an idiom so the definite article "the" is missed.
2. "a slight upgrade". I searched a word "upgrade" and found out that it is countable and has both singular and plural forms. It seems the indefinite article "a" must have been used.
3*. Using dashes. I am not familiar with this topic yet but my gut tells me that a dash is used in situations where it is not needed or at least can be omitted.


  • YevhenYevhen Posts: 71 ✭✭
    I often have doubts about the correctness of what I say or how I try to express my thoughts. According to the existance of this topic, I decided to write here some questionable sentences or phrases. This thread is going to be a sort of a diary of my misusing English.

    It will be great if one helps me to understand the nature of languge better.
  • YevhenYevhen Posts: 71 ✭✭
    Is it all right with those questions?

    1. What accent of English do they want to give us practice of listening to?
    2. Was Ethiopian food delicious Kate and Jack went for?
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 10,491 mod
    I'd say:
    1. Which English accent do they want us to practice or to listen to?
    2. Was it the delicious Ethiopian food that Kate and Jack went for?
  • YevhenYevhen Posts: 71 ✭✭
    Hi @april. Have not seen you for ages, I guess you are OK.

    Thank you for correcting me. The questions became better. :)

    By the way, I forgot that this topic was created by you. That means you will always be notified if somebody writes something here. Let me know unless it is a good idea and I will ask questions in a common thread.
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 10,491 mod
    Don't worry, @Yevhen , I like to read your questions.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 29,688 mod
    I was reading a very well-written novel by an Indian author, one who has lived and worked in the US as a banker for some years, and I was surprised by a few phrases of Hinglish that sneaked in, where the article 'the' was lost and one or two other phrases that didn't quite sound right. That said, Hinglish is a form of English in the same way American English is a variation on what we Brits arrogantly call 'Queen's English.' As long as it is understood, I don't think it really matters @Yevhen.
  • YevhenYevhen Posts: 71 ✭✭
    @mheredge , thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is something that a learner should remember or, at least, be aware of.

    I try to be more active while listening or reading. I practice speaking by imitating (repeating) native speaker’s saying. Moreover, I pause a video or stop reading after a phrase or a sentence and try to make as many questions as I can. After each question I try to give a full answer using information I am provided by a text or a video.

    I think it is the right way of practicing because doing this way, I have correct statements and they are a kind of a feedback. That means that, in most cases, I can correct myself. The probability that I will miss something (an article, a preposition, word order etc) is lesser than if I express my thoughts and ideas spontaneously.

    The problem I face is complexity of some questions I try to make. Let’s consider the following example. Here is a statement:

    “The Great Wall is located in a beautiful corner of China.”

    My tries:
    1. Is The Great Wall located in China?
    2. Is The Great Wall located in a beautiful corner?

    Let’s imagine that I have never heard about The Great Wall. I am showed a picture of it, so I can admire the beauty of the place where it is located. I think of it as “a beautiful corner”. I want to ask “in a beautiful corner of what (China, Japan, etc) The Great Wall is located in”. My try:

    N. What a beautiful corner is The Great Wall located in of?

    The question looks ugly (not sure if it is correct), but there are even no phrasal verbs with their prepositions.

    My native language allows making such questions and they are rather usual. I don’t know if it is possible, or clear, or usual in English to carry the whole structure of the statement to be specific about a certain aspect of it.

    I can’t stop thinking about it while practicing.
  • [Ex Member][Ex Member] Posts: 363 ✭✭✭
    Hi @Yevhen. I think your method of asking yourself questions by rephrasing what you've read is a very good one. Yes, you can carry the whole structure over into a question to be specific. Perhaps what would help you is reviewing how questions are asked? I mean the grammar if you are unsure.

    For example: You wrote "What a beautiful corner is The Great Wall located in of?" What a beautiful corner is not the correct beginning of a question. It is an exclamation. What a beautiful corner!!! What beautiful corner... (no 'a') is the correct beginning. Two prepositions can't come together at the end...so one of them has to go somewhere else. So, you would have 'What beautiful corner OF China is The Great Wall located IN?
  • YevhenYevhen Posts: 71 ✭✭
    @Larry_the_Zebra ,

    I know that it's possible to put prepositions in the end of a question:

    1. Who do you want to speak to?
    2. Where are you from?
    3. Which job have you applied for?

    But It seems that the preposition "of" requires an object and can't be used without it. So, I can't say something like:

    4. What... of?

    Can I somehow skip "China", that is the X of my equation, if I try to ask with the following meaning:

    5. Where is that beautiful corner where The Great Wall is located in?

    Or is it better to rephrase the question?

    6. Which beautiful corner is TGW located in?

    When I read your explanation, I have realised that probably I understood the difference between the usage of articles in questions and exclamations, but it wasn't conscious. I remembered a lot of examples like:

    7. What an adorable child you are!
    8. What kind of soldier are you?

    Again, many thanks :)
  • [Ex Member][Ex Member] Posts: 363 ✭✭✭
    @Yevhen What are you thinking of? What are you dreaming of? ...those are two examples I can think of right away, but you are correct, they are rare. Of normally does need an object.

    My point was that TWO prepositions at the end of a sentence doesn't work in English. Only one.

    Your example sentence:
    Where is that beautiful corner where TGW is located? (without 'in'). Or Where is that beautiful corner TGW is located in? (with 'in' but no second 'where') And you can also say: Where is that beautiful corner IN WHICH tgw is located?

    Which beautiful corner is TGW located in? Is correct. :)
  • YevhenYevhen Posts: 71 ✭✭
    Hello, guys. Here is the context.

    "They figured out they had two problems to solve. The first was to understand how people interacted with a computer and to see what kind of a mouse would work for them."

    I am not sure which tense I should use when I wanted to define people in the following example:

    1. They wanted to see what kind of a mouse would work for the people who interact (or interacted to agree tenses?) with a computer.

    The second question is about making a question to the first statement :) Can I say in this way:

    2. Which people did they want to see what kind of a mouse would work for?

    Even if the question grammatically correct, isn't it better to split it up?

    @Larry_the_Zebra , what would you recommend?.
  • [Ex Member][Ex Member] Posts: 363 ✭✭✭
    1. They wanted to see what kind of a mouse would work for the people who interact (or interacted to agree tenses?) with a computer

    Hi @Yevhen

    If it was one specific experiment, then use the simple past...They wanted to see...would work..who interacted with..

    If the experiment was for humanity in general and has no time limit in its application, then you can use the present tense: They wanted to see what kind of mouse works for people who interact with computers.
    (See what all has been changed?)

    Which people did they want to see what kind of a mouse would work for?

    Your feeling is right, this sentence is grammatically correct -- but a little difficult to follow. Perhaps....

    Which mouse did they want to see would work for which people? Or Which people did they want to see what mouse was best for?
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