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  #21  
Old June 13th, 2011, 2:32 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Had this question in my exam today:

I want to buy a new villa, so I . . . . . save a lot of money.

Among the choices are both, 'am going to' and 'will'. I wonder which one of them is the correct choice and why. I never knew there was a difference between the two..


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  #22  
Old June 13th, 2011, 2:58 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

I think it's 'am going to' I couldn't tell you why, it just sounds right.


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  #23  
Old June 13th, 2011, 3:29 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gelowo93 View Post
I think it's 'am going to' I couldn't tell you why, it just sounds right.
I agree though the sentence is still capable of misunderstanding - does it mean I will save a lot of money by buying a villa or that I am going to save up a lot of money to buy a villa


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  #24  
Old June 29th, 2011, 8:20 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

What is the difference between 'should' and 'must'?

I should stop eating spicy food.
I should go by now.

I must stop eating spicy food.
I must go by now.

Also can you tell me the difference between "will + verb" and "will be + ~ing"?

Will you be home this evening?
Yes, I will. I will (read, be reading) books.



Last edited by ominous; June 29th, 2011 at 8:35 am.
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  #25  
Old June 29th, 2011, 8:43 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ominous View Post
What is the difference between 'should' and 'must'? I should stop eating spicy food. I should go by now. I must stop eating spicy food. I must go by now.
Should is more like a suggestion/recommendation, you don't have to do it. While must is more like an order/obligation, it's necessary.


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  #26  
Old June 29th, 2011, 9:53 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ominous View Post
Also can you tell me the difference between "will + verb" and "will be + ~ing"?

Will you be home this evening?
Yes, I will. I will (read, be reading) books.
I'll see if I can tackle the second half.

I believe that the difference between "will + verb" and "will be + ~ing" comes down to the active versus the passive voice.

"I will eat dinner." - Active
"I will be eating dinner." - Passive

Active voice indicates a focus on the person/thing doing the action while the passive voice indicates a focus on the object receiving the action. So, in the first sentence, the focus is on the subject "I," and the fact that I will eat. In the second sentence, the focus is on "dinner" and the fact that it will be eaten.

If I didn't explain that correctly, someone else is more than welcome to jump in.

EDIT: In the case of your sentence, Ominous, you are likely leaning towards the passive voice: "I will be reading books," because the focus of the sentence should be the books and the fact that they will be read. Did that make sense?


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Last edited by Inigo Imago; June 29th, 2011 at 10:00 am.
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  #27  
Old June 29th, 2011, 12:55 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Imago View Post
I'll see if I can tackle the second half.

I believe that the difference between "will + verb" and "will be + ~ing" comes down to the active versus the passive voice.

"I will eat dinner." - Active
"I will be eating dinner." - Passive

Active voice indicates a focus on the person/thing doing the action while the passive voice indicates a focus on the object receiving the action. So, in the first sentence, the focus is on the subject "I," and the fact that I will eat. In the second sentence, the focus is on "dinner" and the fact that it will be eaten.

If I didn't explain that correctly, someone else is more than welcome to jump in.

EDIT: In the case of your sentence, Ominous, you are likely leaning towards the passive voice: "I will be reading books," because the focus of the sentence should be the books and the fact that they will be read. Did that make sense?
It's not the passive voice (the passive voice would be "Dinner is being eaten" - it's when the object of the verb becomes the subject, if you see what I mean). "I will eat" is simple future and "I will be eating" is the future continuous.

In the sentence ominous posted, I'd say the more natural choice would be "I will be reading books", because it's talking about a continuous action which goes on for some time and would be interrupted if the person asking the question dropped by.

"I will eat dinner" would tend to be used more for a future action in a series of future plans, all of which finish before the next one begins (e.g. "When I get home tonight, I will eat dinner, read the paper, 'phone my sister, then go to bed". e.g. "I will make sure I've locked the front door before I go to bed - you can't be too careful with burglars around!") or for promises (e.g. "I will clean my room tonight, I swear!" e.g.2 "Could anyone pick up my dry cleaning for me this afternoon?" "I will, if you like.")

Here are some explanations of the simple future and future continuous.


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  #28  
Old June 29th, 2011, 1:06 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
It's not the passive voice (the passive voice would be "Dinner is being eaten" - it's when the object of the verb becomes the subject, if you see what I mean). "I will eat" is simple future and "I will be eating" is the future continuous.

In the sentence ominous posted, I'd say the more natural choice would be "I will be reading books", because it's talking about a continuous action which goes on for some time and would be interrupted if the person asking the question dropped by.

"I will eat dinner" would tend to be used more for a future action in a series of future plans, all of which finish before the next one begins (e.g. "When I get home tonight, I will eat dinner, read the paper, 'phone my sister, then go to bed". e.g. "I will make sure I've locked the front door before I go to bed - you can't be too careful with burglars around!") or for promises (e.g. "I will clean my room tonight, I swear!" e.g.2 "Could anyone pick up my dry cleaning for me this afternoon?" "I will, if you like.")

Here are some explanations of the simple future and future continuous.
Melaszka has given a much better explanation above than in my previous post. Like I said, I gave it a shot but I'm certainly not an expert on technical issues in the English language.

Thanks for the clarification!


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  #29  
Old August 1st, 2011, 3:42 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

You know

I gave her a dimond ring. (right)

I gave a dimond ring to her. (right)


Also

It costed me fifty dollars. (right)

then, how about

It costed fifty dollars to me. (???)


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  #30  
Old August 1st, 2011, 7:10 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ominous View Post
You know

I gave her a dimond ring. (right)

I gave a dimond ring to her. (right)


Also

It costed me fifty dollars. (right)

then, how about

It costed fifty dollars to me. (???)
The first two are correct, grammatically.
However, the last two are not.
Instead of saying, "It costed me fifty dollars," you should just say, "It cost me fifty dollars."
As for the last sentence, it doesn't really make any sense. I would just stick to the first revised sentence.
I hope this helps! =)


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  #31  
Old August 1st, 2011, 7:10 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

And it's "diamond", not "dimond"

The reason you can say "I gave the ring to her" but not "It cost fifty dollars to me" is because the "her" in "I gave the ring to her" is in the dative case/is an indirect object (the direct object is "the ring" and the subject is "I"), whereas the "me" in "It cost me fifty dollars" is in the accusative case/is a direct object (the subject is "It"). Hope that helps.



Last edited by Melaszka; August 1st, 2011 at 7:48 pm.
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  #32  
Old August 2nd, 2011, 3:30 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

The question that really bites me.

Q. Identify the option that contains an awkward expression or an error in grammar.

(a) Angela Rixon is a celebrated author of books about animals. (b) Her interest in animals, however, extends beyond authorial one. (c) She also works as a professional animal photograher for naturalist magazines. (d) So, she often goes on photographic safaris through Africa and South America.



Last edited by ominous; August 2nd, 2011 at 7:33 am.
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  #33  
Old August 2nd, 2011, 4:20 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ominous View Post
Q. Identify the option that contains an awkward expression or a error in grammar.
The question contains an error in grammar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ominous View Post
(a) Angela Rixon is a celebrated author of books about animals. (b) Her interest in animals, however, extends beyond authorial one. (c) She also works as a professional animal photograher for naturalist magazines. (d) So, she often goes on photographic safaris through Africa and South America.
I would say the answer is (b). "extends beyond authorial one" sounds really strange & doesn't make a lot of sense to me. (Though, I'm afraid I don't really know how to explain it beyond that, in this case.)

...Though, I also consider that use of "so" to begin the sentence in (d) to be a bit awkward/weird. I would rather write (c) and (d) as one sentence: "She also works as a professional animal photographer for naturalist magazines, so she often goes on photographic safaris through Africa and South America."


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  #34  
Old August 2nd, 2011, 4:50 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
And it's "diamond", not "dimond"

The reason you can say "I gave the ring to her" but not "It cost fifty dollars to me" is because the "her" in "I gave the ring to her" is in the dative case/is an indirect object (the direct object is "the ring" and the subject is "I"), whereas the "me" in "It cost me fifty dollars" is in the accusative case/is a direct object (the subject is "It"). Hope that helps.
I was wondering about that, so I went to my favorite source in such matters: the OED2. Here's what it says about "cost" (the verb):

Quote:
The construction of this verb is idiomatic, and for its analysis it is necessary to go back to Latin. Hoc constitit mihi tribus assibus was literally 'this stood (to) me in three *****'. The dative of the person has in Eng. become an indirect object, to never being expressed; the Lat. locative (ablative or genitive) of the amount or price became a simple object in French, and remains an adverbial object in English, in never being expressed. Hence a natural tendency to view the noun expressing the price as a simple object, and the verb as transitive. That it is really yet intransitive is shown by the fact that it has no passive either with the price or the indirect object as subject; 'this cost me nothing' cannot be changed into 'nothing was cost me by this', or 'I was cost nothing by this'. The adverbial adjunct may also be expressed by an adverb as much, little, more, less, dear(ly (cf. L. carius constat): even here the tendency is to look upon much, little, etc. as adjs. used substantively.
In plain English, the word "cost" (which came from Latin constare) originally had no simple object. It had an indirect object (the person who incurred the cost) and what would in English be a sort of prepositional phrase (the quantity of the cost). A similar construction that persists to the modern day in English is, "He wrote (to) me a check in the amount of thirty dollars." However, for "cost," the "to" indicating the indirect object is no longer idiomatic English.

Additionally, as others have indicated, "cost" is an irregular verb whose past tense is also "cost."

Finally, if you bought a diamond ring for fifty dollars, I'd take a close look at that diamond.

EDIT: Oh seriously, CoS? *sigh* The word in asterisks is, of course, a synonym for donkeys.

And now, for something a bit older...
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellatrix93 View Post
Had this question in my exam today:

I want to buy a new villa, so I . . . . . save a lot of money.

Among the choices are both, 'am going to' and 'will'. I wonder which one of them is the correct choice and why. I never knew there was a difference between the two..
Wow, that's pretty subtle. I think the correct choice is "am going to." The reason, believe it or not, is that comma.

With the comma there, the subordinate phrase "so I ... save a lot of money" is non-restrictive. That is, it does not identify why you want to buy a new villa; rather, it simply comments on a consequence of your wanting to buy a new villa.

Now, how does that help you decide which of the two is the right choice? The difference between them is that "I am going to save a lot of money" could mean either a determination or intent to save money ("I shall save a lot of money") or a simple future event ("I will save a lot of money"), whereas "I will save a lot of money" can only be the latter. But the simple fact of your wanting to buy the villa will not save you the money; saving the money is not a simple future event in that chain of causality. Rather, your wanting to buy a villa (which is expensive) causes you to need to save a lot of money. That is a determination of yours, which can, of the two choices, only be expressed by "I am going to save a lot of money."

To perceive how subtle this problem is, native English speakers should note that if the comma is removed, the more natural formulation switches to "I will save a lot of money" because the subordinate clause is now restrictive; it identifies the purpose of buying the villa. I'm not sure why buying a villa would cause you to save a lot of money, but that's the way the construction works. (Maybe your existing villa is costing you too much money for upkeep.) "I am going to save a lot of money" would also work, but is less idiomatic, because it has this extra connotation of determination or intent.

As yet a further indication of the problem's subtlety, let us replace the independent clause with "I am buying a new villa." Now, both constructions are valid, with or without the comma. Without the comma, both constructions indicate that the purpose of buying the villa is to save money; with the comma, both constructions indicate that the consequence of buying the villa will be a money savings. ("A savings"? Yup, that's idiomatic English.) Of the four, the least idiomatic is "I am buying a new villa so I am going to save a lot of money" (for essentially the same reason as mentioned in the preceding paragraph).

That is one nasty question.


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  #35  
Old August 2nd, 2011, 3:17 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Here is the same type of the question.

Identify the option that contains an awkward expression or an error in grammar.

(a) According to a recent productivity study at Harvard, taking a nap at work may be a productive thing to do. (b) Thirty people in the study were tested four times a day on how quickly they could process information. (c) It was found that the people who napped for half an hour during the day did better than those who stayed awake the whole day. (d) Indeed those who did not take a nap showed a decline of 50% in their ability to process information.


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  #36  
Old August 2nd, 2011, 4:41 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ominous View Post
Here is the same type of the question.

Identify the option that contains an awkward expression or an error in grammar.

(a) According to a recent productivity study at Harvard, taking a nap at work may be a productive thing to do. (b) Thirty people in the study were tested four times a day on how quickly they could process information. (c) It was found that the people who napped for half an hour during the day did better than those who stayed awake the whole day. (d) Indeed those who did not take a nap showed a decline of 50% in their ability to process information.
Hunh. Well, the only thing I see is that in (d), the "Indeed" should be followed by a comma. See http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents...ve_Adverbs.pdf for a brief discussion of why.

Aside from that, there are some other places in the paragraph where text could be deleted for concision, but I see no other errors as such. Anyone else?


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  #37  
Old August 2nd, 2011, 7:48 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ominous View Post
The question that really bites me.

Q. Identify the option that contains an awkward expression or an error in grammar.

(a) Angela Rixon is a celebrated author of books about animals. (b) Her interest in animals, however, extends beyond authorial one. (c) She also works as a professional animal photograher for naturalist magazines. (d) So, she often goes on photographic safaris through Africa and South America.
It's true that (b) is incorrect, it should say an authorial one (although I don't know a lot of people who use the word authorial).

As for the newer one:

Quote:
Identify the option that contains an awkward expression or an error in grammar.

(a) According to a recent productivity study at Harvard, taking a nap at work may be a productive thing to do. (b) Thirty people in the study were tested four times a day on how quickly they could process information. (c) It was found that the people who napped for half an hour during the day did better than those who stayed awake the whole day. (d) Indeed those who did not take a nap showed a decline of 50% in their ability to process information.
I would also argue that (b) is an awkward expression, but that might be because I am used to a scientific writing style. I would write it as:

In the study, thirty people were tested...

The way it is now could mean that there were more than 30 people in the overall study, but only 30 were tested four times a day.


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  #38  
Old August 2nd, 2011, 10:38 pm
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by featherfish81 View Post
I would also argue that (b) is an awkward expression, but that might be because I am used to a scientific writing style. I would write it as:

In the study, thirty people were tested...

The way it is now could mean that there were more than 30 people in the overall study, but only 30 were tested four times a day.
I'd have gotten rid of "in the study" altogether, although your interpretation did not occur to me. But I think the rest of the paragraph argues against it. I think "in the study" can be safely deleted. I'd also delete "It was found that people" in favor of just "Subjects."


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  #39  
Old August 3rd, 2011, 3:45 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTung View Post
Quote:
Identify the option that contains an awkward expression or an error in grammar.

(a) According to a recent productivity study at Harvard, taking a nap at work may be a productive thing to do. (b) Thirty people in the study were tested four times a day on how quickly they could process information. (c) It was found that the people who napped for half an hour during the day did better than those who stayed awake the whole day. (d) Indeed those who did not take a nap showed a decline of 50% in their ability to process information.
Hunh. Well, the only thing I see is that in (d), the "Indeed" should be followed by a comma. See http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents...ve_Adverbs.pdf for a brief discussion of why.

Aside from that, there are some other places in the paragraph where text could be deleted for concision, but I see no other errors as such. Anyone else?
I agree.

From where I sit, that paragraph reads quite naturally.


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  #40  
Old August 3rd, 2011, 7:07 am
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Re: The Improve Your English Thread v4.

With regard to the second question, my book says the answer is (c). The book argues that "it" in (c) refers to "the study" so, the sentence should be like "It found that the people who napped for half an hour during the day did better than those who stayed awake the whole day."
Anyway, I'm not quite convinced.


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