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    #1

    Question find mistakes in sentences

    Hello!
    As preparation for an exam I have to find mistakes in about 500 sentences. There are still about 10 left in which I don't know what the mistake is and I would be very grateful if somebody could help me with some of them.
    Thanks a lot!
    Doctors say that many people still suffer from diphtheria in our countries.
    A lot of developing countries are now producing their own consumption goods.
    They have shut the road for repairs.
    He looked at me so insistently that it obliged me to say something.
    A part of the soldiers had no rifles.
    A man was killed and five other people were wounded in the accident.
    He claims that the crime rate has increased since capital punishment was abandoned.
    The company will not accept to buy new machines.
    The actions that we do every day are made easier by computers.
    Today many doctors advise to live in the country rather than in polluted cities.
    She is clearly the most appropriate person for the job
    At his arrival in Vienna, he was surprised not to find his friends.
    To the attention of Mrs H.Greaves, Principal.


    • Join Date: Mar 2006
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    #2

    Re: find mistakes in sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    Hello!
    As preparation for an exam I have to find mistakes in about 500 sentences. There are still about 10 left in which I don't know what the mistake is and I would be very grateful if somebody could help me with some of them.
    Thanks a lot!
    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    Doctors say that many people still suffer from diphtheria in our countries.
    "Doctors say that many people still suffer from diphtheria in THEIR countries."
    The pronoun refers back to 'many people', so it must be in the third person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    A lot of developing countries are now producing their own consumption goods.
    It should be 'consumer goods', not 'consumption goods'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    They have shut the road for repairs.
    There is nothing wrong with this sentence in my opinion. Presumably, whoever set the question would prefer 'closed the road', but they are incorrect. "They have shut the road..." is perfectly acceptable grammatically.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    He looked at me so insistently that it obliged me to say something.
    The verb should be 'obligated' rather than 'obliged'. For example:
    1) "John obliged me by saying something."
    2) "John obligated me to say something."

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    A part of the soldiers had no rifles.
    It should be either "A proportion of the soldiers had no rifles" or "A part of the soldiery had no rifles."

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    A man was killed and five other people were wounded in the accident.
    Grammatically, 'in the accident' does not distribute back over the other two clauses. You should say "A man was killed in the accident, and five other people were wounded." I would say this is overly fussy though - the quoted sentence is commonly used, and would not cause ambiguity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    He claims that the crime rate has increased since capital punishment was
    abandoned.
    I see nothing wrong with this sentence at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    The company will not accept to buy new machines.
    "The company will not accept that it has to buy new machines."

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    The actions that we do every day are made easier by computers.
    I see nothing wrong with this sentence either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    Today many doctors advise to live in the country rather than in polluted cities.
    It should be 'living in the country'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    She is clearly the most appropriate person for the job
    Again, I see nothing wrong here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    At his arrival in Vienna, he was surprised not to find his friends.
    "Upon his arrival..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinka
    To the attention of Mrs H.Greaves, Principal.
    "For the attention of..."

  1. AlainK
    Guest
    #3

    Re: find mistakes in sentences

    Hello,

    One thing I like in these forums are that the people who post messages are from different countries and speak different languages.

    It can be very interesting to see how culture can change our interpretations of a sentence or a phrase that seems very clear in another language (I've just read nyggus's post about "conflict of interest", and "conflit d'intérêt" in French -not sure you can read the accented characters, but that's a detail- means exactly the same both in English and in French).

    Here, for instance :

    "Doctors say that many people still suffer from diphtheria in our countries" would seem correct to me, if I lived in a developing country : is there a context ? If not, I would say either "our" or "their" is acceptable, although a further sentence tends to imply that the person who wrote these sentences doesn't consider him-/herself as a citizen of a developing country.

    "A part of the soldiers had no rifles" In French, we would say "Une partie des soldats...", which I would simply translate by "Some of the soldiers..." because it sounds more natural to me (we don't have some/any/no in our language)

    What I mean to say is that we tend to reproduce both the way our our own language works when we try to speak English, and it's even more difficult when we try to help people express what, after all, can be very different in their native language because of cultural factors...

    Very profound thinking

    (I know it's not, but I haven't been around for some time, and it really struck me as something obvious, and I just felt like saying that )

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    #4

    Re: find mistakes in sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by AlainK
    "Doctors say that many people still suffer from diphtheria in our countries" would seem correct to me, if I lived in a developing country : is there a context ? If not, I would say either "our" or "their" is acceptable, although a further sentence tends to imply that the person who wrote these sentences doesn't consider him-/herself as a citizen of a developing country.
    Alain, hi again! In fact, I think this sentence would be correct only if you and people you would say it to lived in developing countries (so, there would have to be more developing countries than just one).

    Take care,
    Nyggus

  2. AlainK
    Guest
    #5

    Re: find mistakes in sentences

    Yep!...


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    #6

    Re: find mistakes in sentences

    I'd say you were both right. I must plead guilty to actively searching for possible grammatical errors in most of the questioner's examples. I do find it strange that EFL teachers should present such trifling 'errors' when there are more than enough real examples to teach. Of what benefit is it to students to learn slight nuances in technical grammar, which are so obscure as to be undetectable to the majority of native speakers?

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    #7

    Re: find mistakes in sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa
    I'd say you were both right. I must plead guilty to actively searching for possible grammatical errors in most of the questioner's examples. I do find it strange that EFL teachers should present such trifling 'errors' when there are more than enough real examples to teach. Of what benefit is it to students to learn slight nuances in technical grammar, which are so obscure as to be undetectable to the majority of native speakers?
    Coffa, not only do I think that there is no benefit to students to solve such problems, I think that it may make some harm as well! It is difficult to solve problems that have several possible solutions; a bigger problem, however, is when a teacher states that one of several possible correct solutions is fine. Then, what can you do?
    Best,
    Nyggus

  3. AlainK
    Guest
    #8

    Re: find mistakes in sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa
    (...) I do find it strange that EFL teachers should present such trifling 'errors' when there are more than enough real examples to teach. Of what benefit is it to students to learn slight nuances in technical grammar, which are so obscure as to be undetectable to the majority of native speakers?
    I couldn't agree more.

    But on the other hand, you should imagine the pressure we get from our pupils?... Not to mention the colleagues who speak of "preserving the 'purity' English language". What a joke: as if English needed us to be pure

    I do support "globish", global English. It has always been a powerful current in cross-cultural environments to use a form of language that could be understood by the majority of people in a specific environment (lingua franca, pidgin, ...) Today, it's globalization, whether you want it or not, you must speak English.

    And if what you say is interesting enough, you can always make yourself clear even if your grammar is not perfect. As I often say, I took kids from the suburbs on their first trip abroad, (you know, the ones they showed burning cars on TV). Not only were they so nice you couldn't believe it, but it was evident that communicating was not basically a matter of grammar : some of those who would get the worst maks at their tests, and couldn't speak English in clas, made friends. Because they were friendly kids, they were curious and interested in the others, thay had a positive look on what they discovered.
    Others were "very good pupils", but they were so uptight that they didn't even understand what people meant when they were asked "Salt, or vinegar?..." and were too shy to ask what it meant.

    In fact, a lot of people leaned English speaking with non-native speakers : when my nephew goes to the USA, he tries a lot of different foods because most of the people who work for his company are not from America.

    Still, it's important for teachers to understand the logics of the English language : you can only make things simpler when you have a fairly good understanding of how a language works.

    Also, I love French, my native language. Reflecting on the English language helps me getting deeper into the the knowledge of my own tongue. I'm getting old, but as long as I can learn something, I feel I am still young at heart...

    ( Wow, that was a very long post: see you in two months' time...)


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    #9

    Re: find mistakes in sentences

    Absolutely, Alain.

    The greatest obstacle to language learning in my experience is the fear of failure, and over-exposure to grammatical orthodoxy is the surest way of learning that fear. For example, I learned an enormous amount of French grammar at school, not to mention Latin, English and German grammar. It got to the point where I effectively felt that a language (apart from my own, of course) was a kind of intellectual 'puzzle' to be solved, rather than a means of communication. I became quite peeved at 16 when my young French student teacher informed me that knowing the correct placement of grave accents and circumflexes was not quite as important as being able to ask for a coffee and croissant in a cafe. It was not until I had to make myself understood asking for directions to Lyons in a small French village that I really appreciated her advice.

    I have since seen numerous examples of personality and perseverance producing quite extraordinary fluency in people who would recoil in horror at being asked to learn the conjugation of irregular verbs or the correct usage of the subjunctive mood.

    Nevertheless, it can be very satisfying to understand the mechanics of such a wonderful creation as a language - how it works, how it moves, and how it interacts with other, apparently incongruent, languages. These aspects are beautiful, and they can only but help you learn and appreciate how to communicate, provided you keep your eyes on the prize - and that is that language is a tool we designed to allow us to to exchange ideas.

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