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  1. #1
    alex_se's Avatar
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    Default Please help me assess a small essay

    Dear teachers,

    Below is a short essay written by a 16-year-old Chinese high-school student. I personally think it is neat and well organized despite some small impropriate words, while some of the others won't agree with me. They simply think that there are too much Chinglish in it, in other words, not with good command of idiomatic English. So i'll appeciate it if you would render some professional comments.


    The topic of the essay is "life and dream", max length 300 characters.

    “Between living and dreaming there is a third thing. Guess it.” Antonio Machado wrote. The answer would vary from person to person. For me, the answer is believing, believing in one self, believing in a bright future. In other words, my guess is optimism.

    Everybody lives, and lives are invaluable. However, life is not the most pleasant gift to everybody. Where people live, where there are agonies. Buddha asserted, “Life means suffering.”, and William Goldman wrote, “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.” Pessimists who hold these quotes as their most valued mottos never dream, except for nightmares. They merely live. They disdain, hate, and fear what are waiting for them in the future. Optimists, on the contrary, have faith in their lives and themselves. They believe in and dream of tremendous futures, and would do anything they can to strive for them. I can’t say that I am an optimist in every second. However, I agree that “the world is a beautiful place and worth fighting for”, and I think it also worth dreaming in.

    When I was a ninth grader in middle school, I faced a dilemma of high school application choice. High School Affiliated to Fudan University, one of the best high schools in China, was my dream school. The problem was: applying for my dream school in the “early decision” process might result in a failure to be admitted by another less desirable but also qualified school. When I was making the decision, almost everyone around me suggested I should give in, because it was so difficult to get into the school that I desired. After a long-lasting conflict in my mind, I decided not to renounce my dream, and believe in myself, and applied for my dream school. The result turned out to be a triumph, and I won my chance to keep dreaming in that school.

    Between living and dreaming there is a third thing, for me that is believing. I believe that there is a better world waiting for me in the future, and I would definitely fight for it.

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help me assess a small essay

    I agree with you. Ignoring the occasional inappropriate word or phrase, I think that this is a mature piece of work.

    Even if there were no inappropriate words or phrases, I would not believe that this had been written by a British or American student, but that is not because of any Chinglish. People from different cultures express ideas in different ways. So, I feel that that if this is not fully 'idiomatic English', this is not because of mistakes as such, but because of the thought processes.

    If the student has lived in China all her/his life, then s/he has a very sound command of English indeed. If a student of mine produced a piece of work like that, I would be very happy.

  3. #3
    alex_se's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help me assess a small essay

    Many thanks, Fivejedjon.

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