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  1. #1
    cantia is offline Newbie
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    Default non-native writers

    Hello.
    In English, when writing a short story for instance,
    does it sound weird and "non-English" if you write a sentence like "He cleaned his house", as opposed to "He cleaned up his house", or "She has already saved enough money for a car" , as opposed to "... saved up"?
    what I`m asking is, is usage of phrasal verbs necessary to avoid sounding foreign?
    and for the matter how can you tell when what you`re reading doesn`t sound like something a native might write?
    for instance, would you be able to tell I wasn`t a native speaker based on the way this question sounds?

  2. #2
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: non-native writers

    Quote Originally Posted by cantia View Post
    In English, when writing a short story for instance,
    (1) does it sound weird and "non-English" if you write a sentence like "He cleaned his house", as opposed to "He cleaned up his house", or "She has already saved enough money for a car" , as opposed to "... saved up"?
    (2) what I`m asking is, is usage of phrasal verbs necessary to avoid sounding foreign?
    and for the matter how can you tell when what you`re reading doesn`t sound like something a native might write?
    (3) for instance, would you be able to tell I wasn`t a native speaker based on the way this question sounds?
    1. I don't clean my house or clean it up, though I may spring-clean it.
    2. Most serious writers avoid phrasal verbs to a certain extent, I feel. We can often tell a non-native speaker by inappropriate use of phrasal verbs and idiomatic expressions.
    3. I couldn't tell from your post that you were not a native speaker apart from the question about cleaning a house.

  3. #3
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    easybreakable is offline Member
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    Exclamation Re: non-native writers

    This is a good thread, I have always wondered about that.

    I write poetry and I used to stay online many hours surfing some poetry sites, I remember once I used the word "whom" when I was chatting with one of the poets, he was so surprised and asked me directly whether I was native speaker or not... I think speaking too formal might indicate that we are not native speakers, and at the same time it's a bit risky using slang or phrasal verbs without much experience

  4. #4
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    Default Re: non-native writers

    Quote Originally Posted by easybreakable View Post
    I write poetry and I used to stay online many hours surfing some poetry sites, I remember once I used the word "whom" when I was chatting with one of the poets, he was so surprised and asked me directly whether I was native speaker or not... I think speaking too formal might indicate that we are not native speakers, and at the same time it's a bit risky using slang or phrasal verbs without much experience
    To answer the question that you did not ask, but cantia did, I couldn't tell from your post that you were not a native speaker. I thnk I'd be inclined to surf some poetry sites if I were surfing for many hours, but some may be appropriate for you and some native speakers would say for many hours

    Strictly speaking formal should be formally. Some native speakers would say formal, but they would generally give the impression of not being too well educated. As you would not, I think, give that impression, this could jar a little.

  5. #5
    easybreakable's Avatar
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    Default Re: non-native writers

    If speaking formal means that I'm an educated and serious person, then I'd love to give such impression.

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