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    • Join Date: Aug 2005
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    #1

    Elephant questions (why not)

    Hey everybody - I have recently been employed by a cultural fund that has asked me to translate information about elephants into "easy-to-understand" English for kids.

    I have simplified my writing skills to the max (without resorting to baby talk), but I am still uncertain about a couple of expressions ... since I have never been to Africa.

    Do you say "Elephants live in the savanna" or "on the savanna". I can't visualize a savanna, but am guessing "on" since it is open and flat.

    Also, I assume we capitalize "Elephant" when defining the species specifically, i.e. "The African Elephant has large ears", whereas we would use a small "e" when speaking in general terms, i.e. "There are actually two species of African elephant".

    This one bugs me - do we use present or simple past here (after a brief reference to the elephant acts of ancient Rome):
    "This _______ how these circus acts as we know them today got started."

    Sorry for tossing so many questions into the ring this time - I just found out today I had a short deadline.

    Appreciate any help I can get.

    Thanks,
    Bill


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #2

    Re: Elephant questions (why not)

    1: Elephants live on the savannah

    2: I don't think it's necessary to capitalize "elephant". Indian elephant/African elephant is normal usage.

    3: This ___is____ how the circus acts as we know them today got started." For a children's book, I feel this would be more suitable.


    • Join Date: Aug 2005
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    #3

    Re: Elephant questions (why not)

    Thanks a lot for the help.

    True, it seems illogical that "elephants" should be capitalized. But when I checked Wikipedia, all the species were capitalized.

    Would it be an error to have it capitalized? I'm nervous as heck about this because this work is apparently going to be published in leaflet form. Yikes ...


    • Join Date: Feb 2007
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    #4

    Re: Elephant questions (why not)

    Hi there, I think that you would use a capital E. I have 3 kids of my own and have read many books and generally i find when defining an animal capitals are used.


    • Join Date: Aug 2005
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    #5

    Re: Elephant questions (why not)

    Great, thanks.

    By the way - not to tire you good people out - does anyone have any links relating to English punctuation? My major problem at the moment is placing commas in the right place(s) in sentences. I have a tendency to insert them between clauses (primarily before the words "but" and "because"), but I've also been told that you can omit it in front of conjunctions.

    Any links would be highly appreciated right now as I realize it would take a year to explain the ins and outs of English punctuation!

    Bill

    • Member Info
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      • Interested in Language
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      • British English
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    • Join Date: Nov 2002
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    #6

    Re: Elephant questions (why not)

    A handy reference might be the Times Online Style Guide: Times Online - Online Specials - look under P and go to punctuation.
    I'm not a teacher, so please consider any advice I give in that context.


    • Join Date: Aug 2005
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    #7

    Re: Elephant questions (why not)

    Thanks a lot Red5. I'll check it out immediately!

    Bill

    • Member Info
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      • Interested in Language
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    #8

    Re: Elephant questions (why not)

    You're welcome.
    I'm not a teacher, so please consider any advice I give in that context.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
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    #9

    Re: Elephant questions (why not)

    A list of other style guides can be found in our very own ESL Web Directory at: http://www.usingenglish.com/links/Writing_Skills/Style/
    I'm not a teacher, so please consider any advice I give in that context.


    • Join Date: Aug 2005
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    #10

    Re: Elephant questions (why not)

    I'll pretend not to be embarrassed about not being familiar with it.
    Thanks again!

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