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  1. #1
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    A few exam questions

    Hi,

    I would like to ask you guys a few questions about the exam I took lately. We had the upportunity to check our marked exams last Saterday. After that I still have some questions running throught my mind.

    1) a fill-in exercise; We got a sentence where we had to fill in the correct missing word. Behind each sentence we had a description and according to this description we had to look for the missing word ... easy.
    -> Don't ... my patience. -> the word we had to fill in was "try". I didn't know this one, just couldn't come up with the word so I went for an alternative namely; "Don't put my patience to the test".

    My question is whether this is a good solid alternative. According to what I know, as far as my feelings go and to what I have heard... it is !

    2) Written exercise; Pushing the evelope, is an idiom. I know it for years and used it in a paragraph that I wrote. The sentence was: "Since the arrival of digital photography you (as a photographer) have been able to push the evelope."
    I was taking here about the technical aspect of photography. And what I want to stress is -> pushing the bounderies, looking for the limit of what is possible.
    My question; Is this correct ? Because, my teacher (who is native American) underlined it and marked it with a question mark because she didn't know it.

    Last thing:

    I'm not a big writer, writing is not my cup of tea! The problem I have is, that I just write very neutral. I lack fluency. Is there a way how I can improve my writing skills ? I'm much more of a speaker than a writer.
    The problem I suffer in English is the same as in Dutch. Lack of fluency.

    Please correct my mistakes in this message if you like (if there are any)

    Thanks in advance

    Johan

  2. #2
    Horsa is offline Senior Member
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    Re: A few exam questions

    1) a fill-in exercise; We got a sentence where we had to fill in the correct missing word. Behind each sentence we had a description and according to this description we had to look for the missing word ... easy.
    -> Don't ... my patience. -> the word we had to fill in was "try". I didn't know this one, just couldn't come up with the word so I went for an alternative namely; "Don't put my patience to the test".
    My question is whether this is a good solid alternative. According to what I know, as far as my feelings go and to what I have heard... it is !
    I would prefer 'Don't test my patience.' but your alternative is OK except that it doesn't fit in the gap so would be wrong in the test.

    2) Written exercise; Pushing the evelope, is an idiom. I know it for years and used it in a paragraph that I wrote. The sentence was: "Since the arrival of digital photography you (as a photographer) have been able to push the evelope."
    I was taking here about the technical aspect of photography. And what I want to stress is -> pushing the bounderies, looking for the limit of what is possible.
    My question; Is this correct ? Because, my teacher (who is native American) underlined it and marked it with a question mark because she didn't know it.

    I am British and I have never heard of the idiom 'pushing the envelope' either. Where did you learn it? 'pushing the boundaries' is, of course, fine.

    As for fluency written or spoken practice is the answer. I found that my written Russian improved no end through 'chatting' on ICQ. Mainly because I had to answer immediately and couldn't keep referring to a dictionary.

  3. #3
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    Re: A few exam questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Horsa View Post
    1)
    I am British and I have never heard of the idiom 'pushing the envelope' either. Where did you learn it? 'pushing the boundaries' is, of course, fine.

    Horsa,

    First of all, thanks for your input.
    Don't put my patience to the test You are right about that my alternative doesn't fit the sentence, but on the other hand I'm satisfied that it is correct.
    In this case I didn't get a point for my answer...darn

    Pushing the evelope: Means pushing the bounderies or to go to the limits, to do something to the maximum possible. This idiom is mentioned in the list of idioms on this site as well.
    The first time I heard it was in the movie Top Gun, which I saw over and over again as a child. I have seen it at least 10 times
    English Idioms Beginning With 'P' - UsingEnglish.com

    Thanks and have a nice rest of the day

    Johan
    Last edited by Johan[@CLT]; 20-Feb-2008 at 14:38.

  4. #4
    Horsa is offline Senior Member
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    Re: A few exam questions

    Well there you go you taught me something! Thanks! I guess it's an American idiom or maybe I've been out of the UK for too long.

  5. #5
    RedMtl's Avatar
    RedMtl is offline Member
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    Smile Re: A few exam questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Horsa View Post
    Well there you go you taught me something! Thanks! I guess it's an American idiom or maybe I've been out of the UK for too long.
    Pushing the envelope is definitely heard in America. I don't even hear it much in Canada, but living so close to the USA, I do hear it often in news broadcasts hailing from there.

    The meaning can easily be inferred, though, and is as stated in the earlier posts.

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