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    #1

    attempts to survive in the face of the shortcomings of welfare system leaves

    I've recently read in a magazine for learners of English text like that:

    "It has never been easy being a single parent. Today's pace of life, and attempts to survive in the face of the shortcomings of the welfare system leaves little room for extra duties."


    The article wasn't written by a native speaker that's why I'm in doubt if the text is correct and natural?

  1. Eckaslike's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: attempts to survive in the face of the shortcomings of welfare system leaves

    A grammar expert will be able to tell you if it works for them.

    However, as a first language speaker and reader, on first reading I thought they seemed alright. But that was because I was reading them as separate sentences. When I read them together they then didn't feel right to me. I think it's because the first sentence deals with the past, but the next sentence immediately jumps to how things are today. For me, it is the connecting of the two sentences together which causes the problem.

    I think the second sentence works better starting with something like, "However, today's pace of of life, and........". This, makes the reader feel that things have changed since the time mentioned in the first sentence.

    It also feels that it might be a "lead on sentence", if that's the right term, where the two sentences would, if rewritten, probably work better as one.

    If it does not conflict with the context of what has gone on before, I would set the first sentence in the present as well:
    "It's not easy being a single parent; today's pace of life, and attempts to survive with limited help from the welfare system, leave[s] little room for extra duties."

    I think I have another reason the second sentence may seem odd. It doesn't need an "s" on "leaves". It's talking about two things "today's pace of life and ....limited help from the welfare system....leave little time....".

    "Today's pace of life leaves little room": would work as only one thing being discussed.

    The original second sentence seems quite long for what it is actually saying.

    Others may give a more grammatically correct sentence, and additonal thoughts, but that is how it seems to me.

    What were your thoughts about why it may not work?
    Last edited by Eckaslike; 12-Jul-2015 at 17:38. Reason: Punctuation and new ideas.

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    #3

    Re: attempts to survive in the face of the shortcomings of welfare system leaves

    The second sentence would read better to me without the comma after life and with a plural verb:

    Today's pace of life and attempts to survive in the face of the shortcomings of the welfare system leave little room for extra duties.


    The pace of life today also reads more naturally to me. Given that the person is clearly alive, efforts might work better than attempts.

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    #4

    Re: attempts to survive in the face of the shortcomings of welfare system leaves

    What about today's pace of life? Should it be "fast pace of life"?
    I agree that "efforts" is more postive than "attempts".
    I am not a teacher.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: attempts to survive in the face of the shortcomings of welfare system leaves

    I think it is understood that today's pace of life is fast, but I am not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: attempts to survive in the face of the shortcomings of welfare system leaves

    Saying it's fast is unnecessary IMO.

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    #7

    Re: attempts to survive in the face of the shortcomings of welfare system leaves

    Thanks for all your answers. In my opinion the comma after word "life" is not necessary. I also think that the first and second sentence should be in Present Simple Tense and should be "shortcoming", not "shortcomings". "The pace of life today" seems to be more natural in English but in Polish we say "today's pace of life", so I think that's why the author who is not a native speaker used it.

  3. Eckaslike's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: attempts to survive in the face of the shortcomings of welfare system leaves

    Having reviewed other comments, I agree that the second comma splits the sentence unnecessarily.

    I think the difference may be that using something like, "Today's pace of life is so fast sometimes, it leaves me exhausted.", is possibly something more commonly found in the spoken language. I know I've used it, although I agree that "The pace of life today" certainly reads better and looks better on the page.

    Concerning use of the word "fast" in this context I agree with Matthew and Tdol. The word "fast" is not really necessary because the meaning is strongly implied by the context. When I think of the phrase, "The pace of life today", I have never heard anyone say that sort of phrase to mean that life is so slow nowadays. In this setting, "pace" almost always acts as an abbreviation of "fast pace".

    "shortcoming", not "shortcomings":
    I think in this case it should actually be "shortcomings" if you are going to use that word in the sentence. The failings, or shortcomings, discussed are many in the subject.

    I you were talking about one failing it would be a "shortcoming", if you are talking about many they would be "shortcomings". Again you will often see this word combined with the word "multiple". e.g. "There were multiple shortcomings regarding health and safety at the cement works.".

    I was trying to think of a natural sentence where I might use "shortcoming" instead, and I can't. In my experience it is so frequently found as a plural that its use is almost like a fixed phrase, "[multiple] shortcomings", probably because it is used to make the point that something is not just bad, it is really very bad indeed. (I'm sorry about the weird examples, it's just how my mind works!).
    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dict...sh/shortcoming

    This is a great question kompstar. Thanks for posting it.
    Last edited by Eckaslike; 13-Jul-2015 at 21:28.

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