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  1. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Apr 2005
    • Posts: 449
    #1

    Just another English-bogged day

    I'm trying to describe what happened to me today, and have some questions. If you'd be kind enough to spare a few minutes to read the quoted, and possibly answer my questions I'd be very grateful.



    Today was just another day to get humiliated by my own English.

    My parents run a convenience store and I work there and take care of English phone calls we get at the store. I also make all phone calls spoken in English.
    The store has a security system, and when one of us opens the store, the person needs to turn it off from outside using a remote control. We have an alternative of just getting in and punch in the password from the keypad inside, but then the alarm blares the moment we get in, and it doesn't stop until we enter the password twice.

    Dad thought the system's very inconvenient, and wanted me to phone the security company to change it so that whoever opens the store can get in without using the remote control, and punch in the password within the specified threshold, after which point the alarm blares.

    So I did phone the company. My job was to get dad's demands across clearly to them, in English, with utmost efficiency. And I did quite well the first time. I told them dad wants the security system changed as explained above, and to renew the contract because he took over the store only recently. The person on the other end said he will send someone on the coming Tuesday, and that the person will call me beforehand to specify the time of his visit.

    So far so good, right? well, Tuesday came, and we got no call. Dad got angry and had me call the company again. And that's when I ran into this thick wall of 'English is my second language'.

    The person on the phone this time wasn't the same person I spoke to days ago. I was taken by surprise and started stuttering, since I didn't expect I had to explain the whole thing all over again.

    "I... made... a... call... a few days ago... about... ur... changing the... ur... security system... and... ur... the person on the phone said... um... he will send someone on Tuesday'

    Argh!! what am embarrassment, what frustration, failing miserably on English as basic and daily as phone conversation!

    I have coloured certain parts for the questions, which will be written in respective matching colours.


    0. Could you proofread this, and correct any mistakes?

    1. So I messed up badly. Just because the person on the phone wasn't the person I spoke to before, my brain wimped out. If you were me, what would you have said on the phone?

    2. You may be able to shorten this into one sentence. I just don't know how. How would you write this if you were me?

    3. Should I omit 'a', change it to 'the', or should I just leave it? I wouldn't use 'the', but I may consider omitting 'a'... what do you think?

    4. Here, what I'm trying to say is, when you get in initially the alarm doesn't blare. But if you don't enter the password within a certain time limit from the point of entry, the alarm kicks in. Did I use the right phrase the right way? or would you have written otherwise?

    5. I told them = I told the company. I believe 'the company' is singular. However I often refer the company as 'them', which is plural, because I was under the impression that a company comprises a group of people. Can I do that, or have I been using wrong English?

    6. Should I drop 'to'? I put it in because the sentence starts with 'dad wants the security system...' and didn't have 'to' there.

    7. Am I using the phrase the right way?


    I thank you very much, for your patience. I wish I knew how to organize my questions better, but this is as good as I can do right now. OH AND LET ME KNOW IF YOU'RE COLOUR BLIND, I'll come up with something else.
    Last edited by HaraKiriBlade; 24-May-2005 at 23:02. Reason: Colour not legible enough

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,842
    #2

    Re: Just another English-bogged day

    Today was just another day to get humiliated by my own English.

    My parents run a convenience store and I work there and take phone calls in English.
    The store has a security system, and when one of us opens the store, the person needs to turn it off from outside using a remote control. We have an alternative of just going in and punching in the password on the keypad inside, but then the alarm blares the moment we get in, and it doesn't stop until we enter the password twice.

    Dad thought the system very inconvenient, and wanted me to phone the security company to change it so that whoever opens the store can get in without using the remote control, and punch in the password within the specified time period, after which point the alarm blares.

    So I did phone the company. My job was to get dad's demands across clearly to them, in English, with the utmost clarity. And I did quite well the first time. I told them dad wants the security system changed as explained above, and to renew the contract because he took over the store only recently. The person on the other end said he will send someone on the coming Tuesday, and that the person will call me beforehand to specify the time of his visit.

    So far so good, right? Well, Tuesday came, and we got no call. Dad got angry and had me call the company again. And that's when I ran into this thick wall of 'English is my second language'.

    The person on the phone this time wasn't the same person I spoke to days ago. I was taken by surprise and started stuttering, since I didn't expect I had to explain the whole thing all over again.

    "I... made... a... call... a few days ago... about... ur... changing the... ur... security system... and... ur... the person on the phone said... um... he will send someone on Tuesday'

    Argh!! what am embarrassment, what frustration, failing miserably on English as basic and mundane as a phone conversation!

    [img]../images/spacer.gif[/img]


    1. So I messed up badly. Just because the person on the phone wasn't the person I spoke to before, my brain wimped out. If you were me, what would you have said on the phone?

    2. You may be able to shorten this into one sentence. I just don't know how. How would you write this if you were me?
    No need to go into the details- all calls covers incoming and outgoing.

    3. Should I omit 'a', change it to 'the', or should I just leave it? I wouldn't use 'the', but I may consider omitting 'a'... what do you think?
    A

    4. Here, what I'm trying to say is, when you get in initially the alarm doesn't blare. But if you don't enter the password within a certain time limit from the point of entry, the alarm kicks in. Did I use the right phrase the right way? or would you have written otherwise?

    A bit wordy- you could say that the person going in should have enough time to enter the password before the alarm rings

    5. I told them = I told the company. I believe 'the company' is singular. However I often refer the company as 'them', which is plural, because I was under the impression that a company comprises a group of people. Can I do that, or have I been using wrong English?
    In BrE, it is very common to use the plural, less so in the USA. I'm not sure where Canada falls on this one. To me it's fine.

    6. Should I drop 'to'? I put it in because the sentence starts with 'dad wants the security system...' and didn't have 'to' there.
    I'd use 'to' there.
    7. Am I using the phrase the right way?
    Yep


    Last edited by Tdol; 25-May-2005 at 09:42.

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