- For Teachers
Is this grammatically correct to say "The harmony of the colors of the rainbow"? To me, It sounds stupid. Maybe it's better to say "The harmony of the rainbow colors". Which one is grammatically correct and which one is used in everyday English?
Thanks in advance.
We do not use expressions like that in real life situations or casual conversation.
We might use it as a line of poetry or in an exercise in creative writing.
And this easily scares many learners, me included! It's been a while I feel all disappointed with my learning. I feel most of my sentences are unnatural, and even after 10 years of learning I still make ridiculous mistakes!
Indeed, I'm beginning to accept that learning a language can never be satisfactory if you really love that language! It even hurts at times...
Last edited by Mehrgan; 04-Feb-2013 at 22:51.
I think the problem is that in a foreign language, when you become quite proficient, it's tempting to try to use more and more complicated and flowery language on the assumption that it is somehow more impressive, or on the assumption that native speakers use complicated constructions and vocabulary. That is simply not the case. Most native speakers say what they need to say with as few words as possible, as quickly as possible, and as simply as possible.
With your example, if I were writing a poem or similar, then I might say "The harmony of the hues of the rainbow is pleasing to my eye".
If I'm talking to my friends, I'd say "I really like the way the colours of the rainbow go together". Informal, simple and easy to understand.
Last edited by emsr2d2; 04-Feb-2013 at 23:15. Reason: Typo
Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.
This is a gross over-simplification, but you will have noticed the problem we have in this forum when somebody from another culture asks us to correct, for example, a letter of admiration from a student to an admired teacher. We sometimes find this very hard, because a native speaker would simply not write the sort of flowery letter we are asked to correct.
The best advice I can give to learners is to read as much as they can, both fiction and non-fiction, and listen to as much English as they can on the radio, on television and in films. Try to notice how plain the language is compared to that of other cultures known to you.
I should add to my last post that there are differences between the varieties of English I mentioned, and also within each variety. Speakers of British English, particularly those as ancient as I, tend to prefer understatement. It appears to me that speakers of American English, particularly younger ones tend to prefer hyperbole.
I used to distress American trainees when commenting on lessons of theirs that I had observed by answering their eager 'How was it?' with 'Not bad'. With the right expression, that can mean 'very good' in BrE. Many of my American trainees understood it to mean 'not good'.
Despite this, my feeling is that Americans, while accentuating the positive more than we British, are as uncomfortable with flowery language as we are.