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  1. #21
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Help me with the tense

    [QUOTE =david11;848491

    There is a lot of cultural difference but I prefer to stick to my culture. [/QUOTE]

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    I think that it is wonderful that you thank the teachers for their hard work. (Some thread

    starters do not thank the people who try to help them.)

    I think that it is wonderful that you use the words "sir" and "ma'am."

    I do not understand why some teachers are upset by these words.

    I think that they should feel honored.

    BUT they are the teachers; we are the learners.

    So we must do what they tell us.

    (P.S. When you meet English-speaking adults, I hope that you will continue

    to address them as "sir" and "ma'am." Most of them will appreciate this mark of

    respect and formality.)

  2. #22
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Help me with the tense

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    I do not understand why some teachers are upset by these words.
    It's not a question of being 'upset'. When I was teaching in 11-16 schools, in England, I preferred to be addressed as 'Mr X' or, 'sir'.I felt that a certain distance between young people and their adult teachers was appropriate, especially as the teacher in these circumstances has a far wider role than just being facilitator of learning of a subject.

    However, once we move into the field of adult education/training, then teachers are very often just facilitators. Except in the specialist field of the subject, they have no more knowledge than many of their learners; indeed, they may have less, and/or less experience of life in general. They may very well be less intelligent than their learners.

    In Britain, though less so in the United States, I believe, the use of 'sir/madam' often has overtones of address to some form of superior. I, for one, have no wish to be thought of as a superior when I am working with adults on improving their language. If I have demonstrated my knowlege of my subject, and ability in teaching it, then I hope they will respect that, just as I respect their knowledge and experience in their fields, but this does not require 'sir/madam' from either of us

    There is also the point that in many cultures and languges, a word such as 'monsieur' (French) or 'pane' (Czech) is used as a polite form of address without any implications of coming from an inferior position. This is not always the case in British English.

    I understand why people from other cultures find the British way strange at first, but I do sometimes find it difficult to understand why some people find this particular aspect so hard to accept once it has been explained. When I am in another country, I try to use the courtesy patterns of the country; if I can speak the language, I use the 'monsieur/pane/senor' form of address when it is appropriate. Similarly, I hope that when people address me in my language, they will use the appropiate form of address. In this English language forum, that form of address is nothing at all or our username. I am not upset if somebody addresses me as 'sir' because they initially think that that is polite. I am upset if they continue to do so after I have asked them not to. That is not courtesy.
    Last edited by 5jj; 26-Jan-2012 at 12:35. Reason: typo

  3. #23
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Help me with the tense

    Quote Originally Posted by ngoc_lan View Post
    I often catch the phrase "to be to + Verb" in some English newspapers published in my country, Vietnam. What does it mean and are there any equivalent structures?
    Is it natural if I use it in spoken/written English?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) It is always a pleasure to share ideas with such a serious (and courteous) learner

    as you.

    (2) The be + infinitive construction is called the "COMPLEMENTARY INFINITIVE." When

    you get time, you may wish to check some good books or the Web for more details.

    (3) I found an excellent explanation in Mr. Michael Swan's very popular Practical

    English Usage (Entry number #90, not page number, in my 1995 edition). If you have a

    newer edition, check the index for "infinitive." Publisher: Oxford University Press.

    (4) Mr. Swan tells us that this kind of "structure" is used "in a formal style."

    (a) His example: The President is to visit Nigeria next month. [We ordinary people

    would say "will visit."]

    (5) He says that this structure/construction is also used "to give orders."

    (a) His example: You are to do your homework before you watch TV. [I guess we

    would ordinarly say to our naughty child: "Do your homework ...." I guess that the

    complementary infinitive is stronger.]

    (6) Mr. Swan also reminds us that be + passive infinitive is also used "in notices

    and instructions."

    (a) His example: This cover is not to be removed. [I guess that such a notice is

    stronger and more "official" than only "Don't remove this cover."]

    If you have further questions about this kind of construction, just start a new

    thread, and the great teachers here will answer you.

  4. #24
    ngoc_lan is offline Member
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    Re: Help me with the tense

    Thanks a lot. Your answers are very informative and helpful.
    I've learned English for only several years and now I have to learn more to take an entrance exam to university. I hope to receive more help from you so that I can do my best in the next exam.
    I also hope to receive answers from you for my next thread!

  5. #25
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Help me with the tense

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I am upset if they continue to do so after I have asked them not to. That is not courtesy.
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) "Ask Amy" is a personal advice column that runs in some American newspapers.

    (2) Today "Amy" said that children should address adults with a title + last name.

    (3) Then, she adds:

    "But if they do so and the adult says, 'I'd prefer it if you call me Stanley,' then

    they should pay attention to and respect that person's wishes."

  6. #26
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Help me with the tense

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    "But if they do so and the adult says, 'I'd prefer it if you call me Stanley,' then they should pay attention to and respect that person's wishes."
    Amy seems to be saying what I have been saying since soon after I joined this forum.

  7. #27
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    Re: Help me with the tense

    Quote Originally Posted by david11 View Post
    We would definitively get dismissed from college, If we address them(teachers) by their name.

    There is a lot of cultural difference but I prefer to stick to my culture. At the same time I would not embarrass you by addressing you what you not prefer.

    Thank you 5jj.
    You are not using his real name, in any case. You are using his nick. A nick is an artifical name that one chooses to use and to be called on the internet. It is the correct form of address on any site that uses nicks.
    The other point is that if you going to stick blindly to what your culture has taught you, why are you learning English?

  8. #28
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    david11 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Help me with the tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    The other point is that if you going to stick blindly to what your culture has taught you, why are you learning English?
    Sticking blindly? I am not sticking blindly to my culture. I am sticking to what I feel correct. Is respecting others is such a big fault?.However,I have changed the way of addressing as 5jj asked.So,I can't be blamed for embarrassing others by addressing them respectfully.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    why are you learning English?

    I don't understand you point. The parser has a different stand from you.So,if I go with what parser has said then what I do is also a part of English culture.By the way, Since I am learning English I don't need to follow whatever its culture says. Even you yourself may find some of its culture unacceptable.If following my culture offends anyone then I have to change it.I don't think being polite and respecting others is such an offence that makes one to be blamed for his culture.


    P.s I am not going to address anyone sir or madam as 5jj asked but in this post I am just expressing what I feel is right.
    Last edited by david11; 27-Jan-2012 at 11:33.

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