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    #1

    Punctuation? Missing verb? What is the mistake in the sentence?

    Dear all,
    I found this forum while I was searching for some grammar rules on the internet and I hope you can give me some advice.
    I was filling out my CELTA pre-interview task and I was doing just fine, killing grammar mistakes question after question and feeling confident.
    But then, just when it was going oh so well, I stumbled on it: the feared-by-all-students TRICKY QUESTION!!!
    So now I am stuck! I have completed all of my task, a part from the following question:

    In a restaurant, guest to waiter:
    “Bring me a coffee!”

    I need to find the mistake in it.
    I have been working on it for the past three days and I am still not sure about what is wrong about it, as articles are missing, but the verb is missing too and punctuation doesn't seem to be right either. Also, it's a direct speech, so I'm wondering whether some grammar rules don't apply in this case.
    Here are some mistakes I thought about:
    - the verb "to say" is missing and it should be 'guest says to waiter'
    - you should put a comma before quotation marks and not a colon, so it should be 'guest to waiter, "Bring me a coffee!"'
    - it should all be on the same line, the reported speech doesn't need to go on a new line.

    Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find specific and clear explanations about this. For example, according to oxforddictionaries.com, you can only put a comma in front of the quotation marks when introducing a direct speech, but according to other grammar books or websites, it is ok to use the colon as well. As for the missing articles and verb, apparently it is ok to omit them in this case, because it is the introduction of a direct speech and not a normal SVO sentence.

    I hope you can shed some light on this or give me a hint.

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by sayurichan; 04-Apr-2015 at 09:17.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Punctuation? Missing verb? What is the mistake in the sentence?

    In my opinion there is absolutely nothing wrong with "Bring me a coffee." The worst that can be said about it is that it is not courteous in some contexts. But it is perfectly normal and correct usage.

    Even if I were inclined to be rude to that particular waiter, I would think twice lest he spit in the coffee before bringing it to me

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    #3

    Re: Punctuation? Missing verb? What is the mistake in the sentence?

    Good morning probus and thank you for your reply.
    I agree with you, I don't think there's anything wrong with "Bring me a coffee!" (a part from the fact that the guest is being rude! :P).
    I think the mistake is in the sentence above ('In a restaurant, guest to waiter:'), but I'm not sure what it is.


  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Punctuation? Missing verb? What is the mistake in the sentence?

    I'm sorry but we can't help you with a CELTA pre-interview task. The selectors want to know the level of your English, not ours! Good luck with your tasks and with your interview.

    Thread closed.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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