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  1. #1
    Tan Elaine is offline Key Member
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    Default composition for correction

    Hi fellow members,

    Could someone go through my composition and correct it for me. Many thanks for your guidance?


    It was Mother’s Day. It is a special day for all mothers and I decided to do some of the housework in order make her happy,

    It was seven in the morning. I was going to give Mother a surprise by making breakfast for my family. I poured each of them a cup of fresh milk and spread butter and jam onto every slice of bread. After that, I woke everyone up and told them to get themselves ready for breakfast. Mother was pleased with the breakfast that I had prepared for the family. However, my sister said that she wanted ‘kaya’ on her bread. I obliged her by spreading ‘kaya’ on another two slices of bread.

    When we had had our breakfast, I swept the floor, which delighted Mother. She said that she would give me a surprise for all the work I had done to make her happy on Mother’s Day. When I had finished sweeping the floor, I washed my hands. Soon after, Mother handed me an envelope. I opened it in her presence and was glad that it contained ten dollars. I kissed her and told her that I was glad that she appreciated the work I had done.

    At about one, while Mother was preparing lunch, I helped her to wash the vegetables and shell the prawns. Suddenly, the tip of the head of one of the prawns pierced one of my fingers. Some blood oozed out of the cut. I felt a sharp pain. Mother washed the cut and put a plaster on my finger. She then told me to leave everythng to her.

    The housework I did earlier and my cut made me realise that it was not easy to be a housemaker. Thus, I have made up my mind to help Mother to do the housework whenever I am free to lessen her workload.
    Last edited by Tan Elaine; 20-Jan-2009 at 16:16.

  2. #2
    Tan Elaine is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: composition for correction

    Hi felllow members

    Could someone please edit the composition for me?

    Many thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Tan Elaine; 20-Jan-2009 at 16:16.

  3. #3
    abaka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: composition for correction

    Again, your grammar and idiom is excellent (! ), and I have only minor corrections, of typos perhaps, and suggestions for style.

    It was Mother’s Day. It is a special day for all mothers and I decided to do some of the housework in order to make *her happy.
    * "Her" clearly refers to your mother, but formally its antecedent is missing. May I suggest my mother or, if the word "mother" seems too often put here, mine.

    It was seven in the morning. I was going to give Mother a surprise by making breakfast for *my family. I poured **each of them a cup of fresh milk and spread butter and jam onto every slice of bread. After that, I woke everyone up and told ***them to get themselves ready for breakfast. Mother was pleased with the breakfast that I had prepared for the family. However, my sister said that she wanted ****‘kaya’ on her bread. I obliged her by spreading ‘kaya’ on *****another two slices of bread.

    *Here I think it's better to say for our family: is your family not as much your mother's family as yours?
    **Who "they" are is obvious, but formally "them" lacks an antecedent. Everyone would be perfect, but you use it in the next sentence. May I therefore suggest I poured cups of fresh milk and spread butter and jam onto every slice of bread. That you did this for each member of your family is clear from the context, and every phrase I try to express this meaning explicitly seems a little clumsy.
    *** You are repeating "them". Perhaps told them to prepare?
    ****Of course "kaya" is not an ordinary English word, but to put it in quotes emphasizes somehow a foreignness that I think might be inappropriate for such a universal domestic scene. Whether to mark borrowings by quotes, italics or not at all is a matter of taste and has been a matter of long-standing controversy among the purists. I would strongly suggest omitting the quotes.
    *****There is no error here, but on two more is the usual idiom and seems better stylistically; perhaps because "another" has the an for singular, and then you say two.

    When we had had our breakfast, I swept the floor, *which delighted Mother. She said that she would give me a surprise for all the work I had done to make her happy on Mother’s Day. When I had finished sweeping the floor, I washed my hands. Soon after, Mother handed me an envelope. I opened it in her presence and was glad that it contained ten dollars. I kissed her and told her that I was glad that she appreciated the work I had done.
    * Is "which" the floor? I suggest: ...the floor. This...
    ** This construction is very formal in acknowledging your gladness. May I suggest: as she watched. It contained ten dollars! I was so happy. By saying "happy" rather than "glad", you also avoid the repetition in your next sentence.

    At about one, while Mother was preparing lunch, I helped her to wash the vegetables and shell the prawns. Suddenly, the tip of the head of one of the prawns pierced one of my fingers. Some blood oozed out of the cut. I felt a sharp pain. Mother washed the cut and put a plaster on my finger. She then told me to leave everythng to her.

    The housework I did earlier and my cut made me realise that it was not easy to be a housemaker. *Thus,I have made up my mind to help Mother to do the housework whenever I am free to lessen her workload.

    * "Thus" properly means "in this way"; "therefore", "for these reasons". The choice is yours, but I think "for these reasons" is better here, because to make up your mind is not equivalent to doing house chores. On a different point, you have already introduced a sentence with an adverb or adverbial phrase many times. Perhaps it would be better to put the adverb in the middle: I have therefore made up my mind.

    ________

    Again, please don't let the amount of red discourage you. Most of those points are really suggestions to think about, rather than corrections of obvious error.

    Alex
    Last edited by abaka; 24-Jan-2009 at 21:06. Reason: added last sentence

  4. #4
    Tan Elaine is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: composition for correct

    Many thanks, Alex, for your constructive suggestions. I deeply appreciate the great effort you have put in to help me.

  5. #5
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    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: composition for correct

    May I add one thing? Say:
    The housework I did earlier and my cut made me realise that it is not easy to be a homemaker.
    The choice between is and was is a choice between two entirely different sentences. Examples:
    It was not easy to be a homemaker. (In the 1800s? The 1950s?)
    It is not easy to be a homemaker. (Today)

  6. #6
    Tan Elaine is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: composition for correct

    Thanks, RonBee

    The choice between is and was is a choice between two entirely different sentences. Examples:

    It was not easy to be a homemaker. (In the 1800s? The 1950s?)
    It is not easy to be a homemaker. (Today)

    That means I've been taught the wrong thing by my teachers who told me that in such sentences either 'was' or 'is' can be used.

  7. #7
    abaka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: composition for correct

    Your teachers weren't wrong. The precise meaning often depends as much on the context as on the grammatical tense.

    The housework I did earlier and my cut made me realise that it was not easy to be a housemaker.

    This means that it was not easy to be a housemaker while you were (on Mother's Day, in the past) doing your housework. [ Or, as RonBee has said, even earlier than that, though there's nothing in the context to indicate when exactly if it's not Mother's Day.]

    The housework I did earlier and my cut made me realise that it is not easy to be a housemaker.

    Here, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that doing housework is not easy.

    Both are correct, depending on what you really want to say.

  8. #8
    Tan Elaine is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: composition for correct

    Many thanks, Ron Bee and Abaka, for your guidance.

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