Quick english grammar sanity check?

Moderator: Tempo Gain

Re: Quick english grammar sanity check?

Postby Chris » 11 Sep 2011, 11:55

Tempo Gain wrote:Chinese doesn't seem to have the restrictions about this. Semantically related clauses can be connected by commas at will, or am I wrong?

Yes, or even semantically unrelated clauses (or at least that's how it appears), but I have no idea what the "official rules" governing Chinese punctuation say about it.

One peeve when translating Chinese is when I see three clauses joined by commas, and the middle one starts with "because". So.... does the "because" clause link mainly to the first or the third clause? Is it "A because B; C", or "A; because B, C"? It's often unclear, and the use of a semicolon or period (not to mention the use of "suoyi") would have made it crystal clear.
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Re: Quick english grammar sanity check?

Postby bababa » 11 Sep 2011, 13:17

I agree with Chris on this one. 4 is correct, but the average Chinese person will choose 1 because such a construction (a run-on sentence or a comma splice) is perfectly normal in Chinese.
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Re: Quick english grammar sanity check?

Postby IYouThem » 11 Sep 2011, 22:38

Just to throw a spanner into the works (or a "Spaniard" into the works, as John Lennon once punned), I think this is not a good question/problem to put on a test. The test writer(s) should do further analysis or endure further discussion as to its merit for inclusion.

To me, a good (well-formed) English sentence contains one (and only one) small, completed idea. Yes, literature and other writing goes beyond this, but a Taiwanese English test is not about literary writing.

There are two distinct ideas (although related) expressed here. A semi-colon would be nice (maybe), but it's still better to make it two sentences and not use "which". For example:

The course was divided into three sessions. Each session was taught by a different instructor.

This post was recommended by Charlie Jack (12 Sep 2011, 00:14)
Rating: 4%
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Re: Quick english grammar sanity check?

Postby merge » 11 Sep 2011, 22:53

IYouThem wrote:Just to throw a spanner into the works (or a "Spaniard" into the works, as John Lennon once punned), I think this is not a good question/problem to put on a test. The test writer(s) should do further analysis or endure further discussion as to its merit for inclusion.

To me, a good (well-formed) English sentence contains one (and only one) small, completed idea. Yes, literature and other writing goes beyond this, but a Taiwanese English test is not about literary writing.

There are two distinct ideas (although related) expressed here. A semi-colon would be nice (maybe), but it's still better to make it two sentences and not use "which". For example:

The course was divided into three sessions. Each session was taught by a different instructor.


That would be nice, if test writers were not on deadlines and budgets. Let me shoot down your little theory here...

Let's do a little google search for the following:
"three sessions. Each session" - 58,400 results, including different punctuation variants
"three sessions, each of which" - 11,500 results

Bah - I lose. Nicely done! :notworthy:
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Re: Quick english grammar sanity check?

Postby IYouThem » 11 Sep 2011, 23:13

merge: nah, you didn't lose ... I never woulda figgered on that search string as a sly debating point. Thanks muchly!
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Re: Quick english grammar sanity check?

Postby IYouThem » 11 Sep 2011, 23:45

Which reminds me of a similar, but a little bit different, Taiwanese English test question I read earlier today:

_____ 1. Sophie is a famous actress now. Her career __________ after she took the role in a blockbuster.
a) developed
b) performed
c) launched
d) confirmed


Is there anything wrong with this question/problem, or is there just something wrong with me?!
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Re: Quick english grammar sanity check?

Postby Chris » 11 Sep 2011, 23:56

IYouThem wrote:Which reminds me of a similar, but a little bit different, Taiwanese English test question I read earlier today:

_____ 1. Sophie is a famous actress now. Her career __________ after she took the role in a blockbuster.
a) developed
b) performed
c) launched
d) confirmed


Is there anything wrong with this question/problem, or is there just something wrong with me?!

It's a bad question. The only answer that fits grammatically is 1, but semantically it's strange. I'd expect "flourished" or "took off", because the context implies she saw sudden success after starring in this major film.

Also, is this an isolated question, or does it have a reading attached to it? I ask this because of the "the" before "role" (instead of "a"), which implies that the role has already been discussed.
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Re: Quick english grammar sanity check?

Postby IYouThem » 12 Sep 2011, 00:31

There is a reading that goes along with it, but I don't think it is important. This is the first question on a wrap-up test at the end of a unit I will be teaching.

I agree - the "the" before "role" should be "a role".

I also agree about the semantics. Nicely said, Chris!

By the way, when I first read this earlier today, I also picked a). (... as the best among the possible choices.)

Unfortunately, the Taiwanese English test correct answer is c).
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Re: Quick english grammar sanity check?

Postby IYouThem » 12 Sep 2011, 02:02

And before anyone thinks this is just my imagination playing with you, here's question 2:

________ 2. The movie in which Nicole Kidman singed _______ No. 1 in the box office.
a) declared
b) recorded
c) removed
d) proceeded


I have (I really did!) checked the above carefully for typos (from a given printout). It really is the 2nd question. I (maybe) will have to mark this right or wrong on a Taiwanese English test. What answer would you choose?


Note: The book that this test question (and the first question I posted previously) is taken from is ISBN 978-988-212-799-9. A.K.A., "Classroom Guided Reading Revolution 4000".
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Re: Quick english grammar sanity check?

Postby Chris » 12 Sep 2011, 02:41

"singed"? As in the past tense of "singe"?

Even assuming it means "starred", none of the answers are correct, though I surmise the writers think the answer should be 2.
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