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  #1  
Old May 25th, 2011, 8:50 pm
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The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Opening PostSo the idea for this thread is for Non-English speakers to get corrections and advice on their English and we English speakers to do our best to help them.

So if anyone has any questions or just wants to run something by us, go ahead.


References:
Version 1
Version 2
Version 3


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  #2  
Old May 31st, 2011, 3:42 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

The following is an example of the English proficiency test which I am preparing for.

Car manufacturer Thresher launched its first solar-powered automobile at a press conference yesterday. Called the Tester 3000, the car is propelled by an engine featuring a thousand photovoltaic cells mounted on the vehicle's roof, which convert the sun's energy into electricity to power the car without begetting air pollution. Although the Tester 3000's engine is more environmentally sound than fossil fuel-based ones, experts envision consumer reluctance to adopt the new technology because of concerns over its dependablility and performance.

Q: What is the news report mainly about?

(a) The efficiency advantage of solar-powered automobiles
(b) A description of how solar power is converted into electricity
(c) The reaction of consumers to solar car technology
(d) A vehicle that uses low-emission alternative energy


The answer is (d). But I think this answer also has some problem because, according to the above news script, the car will have zero emission (...the car without begetting air pollution...), not low emission. What do you think???


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Old May 31st, 2011, 4:58 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

I can see D working as an answer. I think if it's not D they're looking for, then it's probably C.

(Reasoning for Answer C: The opening sentence mentions a press conference, which gets the news out to the consumers. The next sentence is a brief explanation & description of the new car & how it works. And then the next sentence is speculating about how well the consumers will or won't take to the new car.)


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Old May 31st, 2011, 11:12 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

I can see how it could be C, but I think it's really only the last sentence that looks at consumer reaction (press conferences which market the car to consumers are not IMO quite the same as consumer reaction), so I'd say D.

I think, though, this question is a perfect example of why most native speakers would probably fail the Cambridge exams!


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Old May 31st, 2011, 2:07 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

^ True


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Old May 31st, 2011, 5:47 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

The answer is definitely (D). There are no sentences about (A) or (B) and only one sentence about (C). The whole blurb is about the low emission technology, though I admit it's a little confusing to switch between no and low. But I wouldn't use the phrase "begetting air pollution" anyway. I would probably say "emitting" or "producing" air pollution.


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Old June 1st, 2011, 9:25 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Q. 1
Assume you tell someone the directions.
Do you say "walk up" if you mean the northern direction and say "walk down" if you mean the southern direction?

Case 1.
A: Excuse me. Can you tell me how to get to the post office from here?
B: Sure. Walk up Main Street and you'll see the post office on the right, across from the drug store.

Case 2.
A: Excuse me. Can you tell me how to get to the laundromat from here?
B: Sure. Walk down Main Street and you'll see the laundromat on the left, next to the high school.


Q. 2
Is a avenue a road that extends from north to south and is a street a road that extends from east to west?



Last edited by ominous; June 1st, 2011 at 9:28 am.
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Old June 1st, 2011, 9:56 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ominous View Post

Q. 2
Is a avenue a road that extends from north to south and is a street a road that extends from east to west?
Where I'm from, they're different names for the same thing. Direction has nothing to do with it. For example, my neighborhood has Quail Run Way, Quail Creek Drive, Quail Road, Quail Ridge Avenue... (if you ignore all the random quails, you can see that it's just the developers being creative with names.) At least, that's the way I see it.


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Old June 1st, 2011, 10:31 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

In Britain when you "walk up" it usually means you are heading to the centre of town (although it might mean you are walking up a hill).

The convention comes from the railways where up trains go to London and down trains go away from it.

An avenue originally meant a road lined by trees


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Old June 1st, 2011, 10:47 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

I use "walk up" and "walk down" pretty much interchangeably (although, now I think about it, I'm more inclined to say "walk up" if I'm going in the direction towards the shops and the main road, which would confirm what Dung said).

As Mundungus said, an "avenue", in theory, should have trees on it. Many councils just give residential streets names that sound pretty these days, though, so "avenue", "drive", "road", "street", "lane", "alley", "mews" etc are often used in modern street names quite regardless of their literal meaning.

A "street", though, is always a residential or shopping street in a village, town or city - you don't get streets in the middle of the countryside. Thoroughfares that lead from one town to another are "roads", not "streets".


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Old June 1st, 2011, 12:05 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Thank you my beloved guys...You guys are just awesome....


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Old June 1st, 2011, 5:18 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

I think I use directional 'up' and 'down' not in conjunction with the word 'walk' but rather 'drive'. If I was giving walking directions I would not be too concerned about it, but if I was telling some one to drive miles north or south I would use those descriptors.

The avenue street thing, well, I've never thought of that. My town is kind of old and may have used that originally. None of our Avenues have more or less trees then any other. It seems here to refer to size of streets. Anything that is a 'court' or 'place' or 'circle' isn't even a street but a cul de sac.


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Old June 1st, 2011, 5:57 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

When I first read that I was confused, but it turns out I do something close: here when people discuss going places we do use "up" or "down" pretty regularly with reference to north and south (or "out" if the relative direction is unclear). The trouble is I don't hear this much with directions because usually people either aren't aware of cardinal directions or it isn't important, so you might hear "go down Main Street" even if Main runs east-west.


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Old June 2nd, 2011, 5:34 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Here, I think I've mostly only heard "up" and "down" used as a reference to north and south when discussing other towns, cities, counties, states, and/or countries (hmm...and sometimes "out" being used in reference to east or west)... and not really much (or at all) when discussing streets and directions.

Examples:
"My uncle lives up in Minnesota."
"My cousin lives down in Texas."
"They went down to Cancún for spring break."
"They went up to Canada to visit relatives."
"I went out to California for school."


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Old June 2nd, 2011, 10:08 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Oil prices have skyrocketed over the past week, ________ consumption of petroleum is at an all time high.

(a) for (b) once (c) whereas (d) even though


The answer is (d).
But I'm not quite convinced. Isn't it natural that the prices go up when consumption of something is high?


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Old June 2nd, 2011, 11:08 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ominous View Post
But I'm not quite convinced. Isn't it natural that the prices go up when consumption of something is high?
I would have thought so, too, but linguistically I think it has to be (d), because the other suggestions don't really make sense or sound idiomatic.

You could have had "Oil prices will skyrocket, once consumption reaches an all-time high", but "once" doesn't make any sense with the tenses as they are.

"Oil prices have skyrocketed over the past week, whereas gas prices have dropped" would have made sense, but not "whereas" in the sentence we've got, as "whereas" carries the meaning of "while, in contrast...".

"Oil prices have skyrocketed over the past week, for consumption of petroleum is at an all-time high" would sort of make sense (if oil and petroleum are the same thing - are they?), but it would sound very stilted, as this kind of use of "for" meaning "because" is now pretty archaic. You wouldn't actually say it in modern English.



Last edited by Melaszka; June 2nd, 2011 at 11:45 am.
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Old June 2nd, 2011, 2:29 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
I would have thought so, too, but linguistically I think it has to be (d), because the other suggestions don't really make sense or sound idiomatic.

You could have had "Oil prices will skyrocket, once consumption reaches an all-time high", but "once" doesn't make any sense with the tenses as they are.

"Oil prices have skyrocketed over the past week, whereas gas prices have dropped" would have made sense, but not "whereas" in the sentence we've got, as "whereas" carries the meaning of "while, in contrast...".

"Oil prices have skyrocketed over the past week, for consumption of petroleum is at an all-time high" would sort of make sense (if oil and petroleum are the same thing - are they?), but it would sound very stilted, as this kind of use of "for" meaning "because" is now pretty archaic. You wouldn't actually say it in modern English.
I've been thinking about this, and I suspect there might be justifications for C rather than D. While "whereas" doesn't initially make sense to me either, I think it is possible to loosely construe it as a generic coordinating conjunction. Even in what I consider its formal sense though, I think it can function correctly provided a context that is discussing either a very broad or a very specific subject related to petroleum, i.e., the important factor might be oil prices, but wait a minute, consumption could be it instead.

Anyway, I may not notice that "whereas" is a bit clunky and misplaced, but I would definitely be scratching my head after reading "even though" in that context. EDIT: I suppose either could be there highlighting the unexpectedness of the increased consumption given the increased prices, but neither would be my preferred way of expressing that.



Last edited by canismajoris; June 2nd, 2011 at 2:32 pm.
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  #18  
Old June 7th, 2011, 7:37 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

I sorted out the problem...so I'm deleting my post...thanks...



Last edited by ominous; June 8th, 2011 at 11:48 am.
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  #19  
Old June 10th, 2011, 3:58 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Brenda plays her radio very louldy. She should try to play her radio ________.

Q. quieter or more quietly?


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Old June 10th, 2011, 11:05 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

I would say more quietly, since we're looking for an adverb here. Quieter is an adjective, and would describe a person or thing, but since we're describing the way the radio is played, quietly is best.


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