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  1. #1
    ph2004 is offline Member
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    Default Are these 2 sentences correct English ?

    What about the next 2 sentences, are they perfectly normal English, or maybe they are understandable but not 100 % correct ?

    1) I'm living in Russia for already a few years.
    2) I did obtain a Bachelor's degree.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Are these 2 sentences correct English ?

    1) I'm living in Russia for already a few years.

    Verbs can convey meaning about 'time', and a period of time; and other words in a sentence give us more specific information about 'time'. So, in your sentence:

    I am living in Russia: this is Present Continuous tense.
    Compare it with Present tense:
    I live in Russia : this is a statement of fact. It is like a snapshot, an instant in time, 'at this very moment'. Other than that, it gives us no information about the past or the future.

    I am living in Russia : this tells us that it is an ongoing activity over a period of time without being specific about ‘how long’. It implies that ‘living in Russia’ started some time in the past, whether it is your first day as a new citizen of Russia; you have been there a year or ten years; and that this will continue, whether for another day, year or till death. This is unspecified. It just tells us that this is an ongoing thing.
    I might use this form if I was telling someone, “I am living in Russia at the moment, but next year I will be moving to Denmark.” My frame of reference is that ‘living in Russia’ is an ongoing activity for a while, and then a new ongoing activity will start, “I am moving to...”

    So, Present Continous tense is not specific about time, the total length of this time. So, let’s add some of the extra words from your sentence:

    “I am living in Russia for a few years.” Well, this now is more specific about the time period of this ongoing activity. Remember, it started some time in the past, continued to now, and will continue. So – some time in the past, you moved to Russia. You continued to live in Russia till this moment, and will continue to BUT intend to move. The total time of this period of activity in Russia will span ‘a few years’, from when you moved there in the past, till you leave some time in the future.
    BUT THAT WAS NOT YOUR INTENDED MEANING.
    ‘a few years’ was meant to refer to the time in the past when you moved there, just up to this moment – nothing about the future! But that contravenes the sense, the meaning given by the tense of the verb.
    To refer to a time period spanning the past, right up to this moment, we use another form of tense, the Present Perfect:
    “I have been living in Russia for a few years.” : I moved to Russia some time ago, and as of this moment, the total length of time from the day I moved there, till now, is ‘a few years’.
    So- Your sentence becomes:
    “I have been living in Russia for a few years already, and…”
    Or
    “I have already been living in Russia for a few years, so I am very familiar with…”

    ...which brings in a whole new ballgame, that of placement of adverbs!

  3. #3
    ph2004 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Are these 2 sentences correct English ?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    1) I'm living in Russia for already a few years.
    Message understood.

    2 more things about the first sentence :
    a) Is it "okay" to write "I'm" instead of "I am" or is this less "neat" ?
    b) And in the sentence "I have been living in Russia for a few years", where should one place the adverb "already" : "I have already been living in Russia for a few years" or is "I have been living in Russia for already a few years" better ?

    Over to Dr. David.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Use contractions in all informal speech, and often (with judgment) in semi-formal and maybe even formal speech, but not in formal letters or reports.
    You will notice, if you watch reality shows such as Judge Judy where you get quite a cross-section of society and can observe their conversational speech (they tend to have no idea how to act in a court!), they appear to either have never heard of contractions, or have such an abhorrence of them...
    So, together with bad grammar, one hears "I had came" instead of "I'd come" (or even "I'd came"). And it sounds as if they are emphasizing everything, as in '...but I had come - (I'm not lying!)" -

    With regard to placement of the adverb 'already', you have two choices:

    1. "I have already been living in Russia for a few years."
    2. "I have been living in Russia for a few years already."

    1. As in: you are talking to an unhelpful official about a delay in your application for Russian citizenship. He says, parrot-fashion, that 'one full year of residency is required for citizenship'. Exasperated, you splutter: "But I have already been living here for two years!"
    The official is talking about 'residency', living in the country, and so the placement of the adverb emphasizes that you already been in residency for that period, in fact, two years.)
    2. This would be used in such a piece of conversation:
    " I decided I'd take leave of absence from my job in Sydney, and spend two or three years seeing the UK and the Continent. Well, I've been living in the UK for two years already and only been to the Continent once, so it looks like it's going to be three or four!"
    Here, the emphasis is on the length of time you have planned, compared to the length of time you have already devoted just to seeing the UK.
    Note the construction : the place: "here/in the UK/in Russia" first; then, preposition 'for'+ time phrase ("for two years"); and then the adverb "(already").
    Last edited by David L.; 06-Jul-2008 at 16:34.

  5. #5
    Manal.n.d is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Are these 2 sentences correct English ?

    1) I'm living in Russia for already a few years.
    This sentence can be more accurately as:
    I have been living in Russia for a few years.

    2) I did obtain a Bachelor's degree.
    This sentence shows emphasis style in speech and it is correct that you emphasise you get A Bachelor's degree and it is better to specify you major ex,I did obtain a Bachelor's degree in English.

  6. #6
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    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Are these 2 sentences correct English ?

    [quote=Manal.n.d;317664]
    This sentence can be more accurately as:
    I have been living in Russia for a few years.
    You are missing a verb there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manal.n.d View Post
    [
    This sentence shows emphasis style in speech and it is correct that you emphasise you get A Bachelor's degree and it is better to specify you major ex,I did obtain a Bachelor's degree in English.
    You used the wrong verb there.


  7. #7
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    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Are these 2 sentences correct English ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ph2004 View Post
    I'm living in Russia for already a few years.
    David L explained it in detail, but absent context more likely is:
    I've been living in Russia for a few years.
    Use the adverb "already" to indicate that something is unexpecte or unanticipated. Example:
    A: Residency requirement is one year.
    B: But I've already been living here for two years.
    Quote Originally Posted by ph2004 View Post
    2) I did obtain a Bachelor's degree.
    That sentence if grammatically unobjectionable, but more likely is:
    A: I earned a Bachelor's degree at XYZ College.
    B: Really?
    A: Yes, really! I really did earn a Bachelor's degree.

  8. #8
    ph2004 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Are these 2 sentences correct English ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    A: I earned a Bachelor's degree at XYZ College.
    B: Really?
    A: Yes, really! I really did earn a Bachelor's degree.
    In a letter, can one simply write : I have a Bachelor's degree. ?

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