I'm an ESL teacher and many of my students are Korean and Japanese. For some reason they frequently use the expression, "In the case of..." to start sentences.
Example: In the case of her, she would rather go to the park.
In the case of me, I usually stay at home if it's raining.
In the case of studying, I'm really diligent.
I would say: (In her case), she would rather go to the park.
In my case, I usually stay at home.
When it comes to studying, I'm really diligent.
I don't think any of the first three example sentences sound right. I want to give my students an example of when they CAN start a sentence with "In the case of".
My question is: Do we only use this expression when we're talking about a real "case" like when it refers to legal matters? Example: "In the case of Saunders versus Lane, the judge declared a mistrial."
It just seems weird to me to use "In the case of..." to discuss casual topics. What do you think?
Any suggestions about how I could explain the function of the expression?
I assume that, since Japanese has topic-orientated sentences, rather than subject-orientated, this construction is closest to their way of thinking.
"Watashi wa, (Concerning me) .... I am happy today." Some other languages use this construction too:
Topic, <topic particle>, information about topic.
This not how we think or talk in English. We do not need to state the topic first, and then elaborate on it. Giving them an example of the right way to speak like this is simply avoiding the issue. The right approach is not to use it at all, since it does not generate proper colloquial English sentences.
Instead of "In the case of me, I usually stay at home if it's raining." explain to them that in English, we say simply, "I usually stay at home if it's raining". Encourage a conversation. When someone begins with "Concerning rain, ..." or "In the case of rain, I ..." stop them; emphasise that they do not need to restate the topic. Encourage variations:
"What I like to do when it's raining is to ...."
"The last time it rained heavily, I ... "