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    #1

    Cool Really? They are not acceptable?

    I was reading a model article for IELTS writing task 1 the other day when a native speaker approached me and commented that that piece of writing wasn't any good.

    The article reads

    "The diagrams illustrate the life cycle of the butterfly and the production stages of silk cloth. In the life cycle of the silkworm, eggs are first produced by the moth..."

    He commented that

    1) "illustrate the life cycle of the butterfly" should be "butterflies"

    2) "the production stages of silk cloth" and "in the life cycle of the silkworm" are something the native speakers wouldn't say.

    Was his comments right? I kind of disagree... Love to hear your views

    Thanks a million!

  1. SlickVic9000's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Really? They are not acceptable?

    (Not a Teacher)

    I'm not sure I can comment on the first correction since I don't know what the diagrams look like, but I don't see what's so wrong with the original phrase that it warrants changing. I disagree with his second assessment. Those statements sound fine. They're a bit high brow, but it sounds like a scholarly article to me.
    This guy's just to trying impress somebody.
    Last edited by SlickVic9000; 11-Sep-2012 at 06:58.

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    #3

    Re: Really? They are not acceptable?

    It reads like typical and very poor academic writing.

    In other words, as long as it passes peer-review muster in entomology circles, it'll be published, its target audience will have no problems with idiom, and its scientific value will be beyond our evaluation here.

    But don't kid yourself that it's good style. Actually those sentences are unnecessarily abstract, chock-full of run-on nouns, passive where they should be active, and active where they should be passive.

    It's good scientific writing. But it's terrible English.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Really? They are not acceptable?

    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    It reads like typical and very poor academic writing. [...] Actually those sentences are unnecessarily abstract, chock-full of run-on nouns, passive where they should be active, and active where they should be passive.

    It's good scientific writing. But it's terrible English.
    I think those are very harsh words about "The diagrams illustrate the life cycle of the butterfly and the production stages of silk cloth. In the life cycle of the silkworm, eggs are first produced by the moth...". That brief extract seems harmless to me.

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    #5

    Re: Really? They are not acceptable?

    Thanks for your reply

    Could you please explain clearly what's terrible there? Much obliged if you can as I am going to take IELTS fairly soon.

    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    It reads like typical and very poor academic writing.

    In other words, as long as it passes peer-review muster in entomology circles, it'll be published, its target audience will have no problems with idiom, and its scientific value will be beyond our evaluation here.

    But don't kid yourself that it's good style. Actually those sentences are unnecessarily abstract, chock-full of run-on nouns, passive where they should be active, and active where they should be passive.

    It's good scientific writing. But it's terrible English.

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    #6

    Re: Really? They are not acceptable?

    He is wrong on every count!

    Your sentences are perfectly correct as they stand. (And just for good measure, I would say that your choice of 'the butterfly' rather than 'butterflies' - a general, rather than specific, use of the definite article - sounds a good deal more scientific!)

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    #7

    Re: Really? They are not acceptable?

    The minimal necessary changes: "stages of silk-cloth production" and "the moth first lays eggs".

    Run-on noun phrases: "life cycle of the butterfly", "life cycle of the silkworm". Those are tempting phrases, but "life cycle" may be poor diction. A cycle implies coming back to the starting point. Do the butterfly and silkworm really finish their life as eggs?

    Questionable logical sequence: "life cycle of the butterfly" -- "stages of silk-cloth production" -- "life cycle of the silkworm". Silk-cloth? Really? Perhaps silk-thread? Humans manufacture silk-cloth from silk-thread, which they harvest from the silkworm. Which do you have in mind? If it's really silk-cloth, you are talking about, why are you bringing it up right between the stages of silkworm and butterfly life?

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Really? They are not acceptable?

    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    Run-on noun phrases: "life cycle of the butterfly", "life cycle of the silkworm". Those are tempting phrases, but "life cycle" may be poor diction.
    Poor diction?
    A cycle implies coming back to the starting point. Do the butterfly and silkworm really finish their life as eggs?
    That is the sort of pedantry my octogenarian English master used to come out with fifty years ago. 'Life Cycle' is a commonly used and recognised phrase, the meaning of which is clear.

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    #9

    Re: Really? They are not acceptable?

    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    passive where they should be active, and active where they should be passive.
    There's one active and one passive verb and I don't see why either should be reversed. How would are illustrated improve things?

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