What should be changed in the following sentences:
I have received your letter with the information about my son. Thank you very much for informing me as it is a great problem (i think - A SERIOUS ISSUE) and I have to take measures immediately as the personality of a child is forming (I think - IS FORMED) at school. First of all, I was shocked by the news that my son has stole (I think - HAD STOLEN but what if it was a one-time-only thing) things from the bags of other people, secondly, I can not believe that he began smoking! (maybe HE HAS STARTED OR BEGUN SMOKING).
Thank you in advance for your help.
You are expressing shock at what you've been told, but what are you trying to communicate back to the school? If the measures that you are going to take immediately concern the school, perhaps you should inform them of that?
The idea behind this letter is that a parent receives a letter from the school where his/her child studies informing him/her that the child had been caught red-handed stealing cigarettes from a teacher's handbag.
You are asked to write a letter to the school.
What you see posted is one of the letters my students composed. The reason I picked this one is that I am not comfortable with the phrase - the personality of a child is foming - I consider it to be wrong.
Thanks for your time and help.
Yes, it's a strange sentence. But it's not incorrect. The personality of the child is forming.
There are arguments about when a person's personality has completely formed (if it ever does), but generally, children are held to have some plasticity until they leave their teenage years. That's why children are not dealt with as harshly by the law, because there is still a chance that a severely conduct-disordered child might not turn out to be a psychopath.
Still, I personally believe that a child's personality is usually fixed by about age 7.
What don't you like about the sentence?
That is exactly what my students tried to prove to me - the personality is forming because that child has not grown up to be an adult.
Obviously, I am a stick-in-the-mud teacher. This time I failed to see this subtle sub-idea. Glad my students did.
So, I have nothing against this sentence.
Now, if it is not too much of a problem for you, with Christmas approaching and so on, how would you change this letter to sound more native?
Usually when I receive a comment from a native speaker, I either print it out and we analyze it in class or I upload it to my groups' web pages on Engrade - Free Online Gradebook
It is a great site for creating virtual classes, storing and retreiving info, exchanging e-mails, uploading home assignments and what not.
If you wish to take a look, I can send you a link.
Thank you very much indeed.
It's not so much that I think it sounds non-native; it's just the wrong response to a letter from a school telling you that your child is stealing cigarettes from a teacher's bag.
It's inappropriate for a parent to claim that it's the shool's place to form the child's personality. It's inappropriate to tell the school that you don't believe them, without further evidence.
So, I can't write this in more native terms, because I don't know how a person who thinks that way would express themselves, or what they are trying to say.
Thank you very much indeed for your help.