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    #1

    Doctor Li is giving a talk about health to the students

    Dear teachers and friends,

    I
    m writing this post to ask for your help. I dont think the English books used by local middle school students are well-written. I want to write to the authority here and tell them that, hoping that they will choose some better books in the future. I have to explain the reasons to them. Here is a passage from the book for the eighth graders, which I find very contrived. First I try to point out the problems in my opinion. Then I wonder if you could tell me whether my ideas are right or not. With your help, I think I could write a convincing letter to the local educational authority.

    (Doctor Li is giving a talk about health to the students.)
    You need to have healthy eating habits. Breakfast gives you enough energy for the morning. So dont go to school without it. Fruit and vegetables are good for your health, but fast food, like potato chips, will make you fat and unhealthy. So eat the right food to keep you healthy.

    Playing sports can also help you keep fit. But sometimes accidents can happen, so try to stay safe when you play them. It
    s necessary for you to learn about first aid. Then you can help yourselves or others if an accident happens.

    Happiness is important for your health. It is the best medicine. When you are ill, try to be happy and you
    ll feel better. On the other hand, you may feel ill if you are always unhappy. So, be happy to be healthy.You must stay away from smoking and drinking. Many students think its cool to smoke and drink. But they dont know smoking or drinking can cause many illnesses. You should say no to smoking and drinking.

    My corrections:
    1. As a talk or speech, it should have a beginning and ending. For example,
    Hi, everyone. Im very glad to have a chance to talk about health with you and Thats all for my speech. Thank you for listening. Do you have any questions?

    2. Doctor Li should use words like
    firstsecondthird and so on to join his speech.

    3. The second paragraph is rather stilted and has too many wording repetitions. I rewrite it as follows:
    Playing sports can also help you keep fit. But sometimes there may be accidents, so try to be careful when you exercise. Its necessary for you to learn about first aid. With the knowledge of it, you can help yourselves or others when an accident happens.

    4. In paragraph 4, Happiness should be changed to To have a good mood.

    What do you say, dear teachers and friends?


    Thanks a lot in advance.
    Last edited by touchstone; 08-Feb-2017 at 10:43.

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    #2

    Re: Doctor Li is giving a talk about health to the students

    1 is optional, though something that indicates that it is a speech would help to clarify the type of text. 2 might help in terms of clarity, but it is, again, optional. The second paragraph is a bit stilted for me. I disagree about changing happiness to to have a good mood.

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    #3

    Re: Doctor Li is giving a talk about health to the students

    Quote Originally Posted by touchstone View Post
    Dear teachers and friends,

    I
    'm writing this post to ask for your help. I don't think the English books used by local middle school students are well-written. I want to write to the authority here and tell them that, hoping that they will choose some better books in the future. I have to explain the reasons to them. Here is a passage from the book for the eighth graders, which I find very contrived. First I'll try to point out what I think are the problems, in my opinion. Then I wonder and I would appreciate it if you could tell me whether my ideas are right or not. With your help, I think I could write a convincing letter to the local educational authority.

    (Doctor Li is giving a talk about health to the students.)
    You need to have healthy eating habits. Breakfast gives you enough energy for the morning, so dont go to school without having a good breakfast. it. Fruit and vegetables are good for your health, but fast food, like potato chips, will make you fat and unhealthy. So eat the right foods to keep you stay healthy.

    Playing sports can also help you keep fit. But sometimes accidents can happen, so try to stay safety is very important in sport. when you play them. It
    s necessary for you to learn about first aid. Then you can help yourselves or others if an accident happens.

    Happiness is important for your health. It is the best medicine. When you are ill, try to be happy and you
    'll feel better. On the other hand, you may feel ill if you are always unhappy. So, be happy to be healthy. You must stay away from cigarettes and alcohol. smoking and drinking. Many students think its cool to smoke and drink. But they dont know smoking or drinking can cause many illnesses. You should say no to smoking and drinking.

    My corrections:
    1. As a talk or speech, it should have a beginning and an ending. For example,
    Hi, everyone. Im very glad to have the chance to talk about health with you and Thats all for my speech. Thank you for listening. Do you have any questions?

    2. Doctor Li should use words like
    firstsecondthird and so on to join his speech.
    [Or other linking/transition words/phrases]

    3. The second paragraph is rather stilted and has too many wording repetitions. I rewrote it as follows:
    Playing sports can also help you keep fit. But sometimes there may be accidents, so try to be careful when you exercise. It's also necessary for you to learn about first aid . With the knowledge of it, to you can help yourselves or others when an accident happens.

    4. In paragraph 4, Happiness should be changed to To have a good mood.

    What do you say, dear teachers and friends?


    Thanks a lot in advance.
    See above as well as post #2.

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    #4

    Re: Doctor Li is giving a talk about health to the students

    The language there is little stilted but, given that it is a formal address to a group of students, it is much better than what I have seen in some coursebooks written by non-native speakers. As teechar has shown, there are more natural ways of expressing some of these thoughts, but the original is fairly sound.

    If that passage is the worst example you can find in the book, then I don't think you have a strong case to take to the authorities.

    Books by native speakers published in Britain, the United States, Australia, etc, may be more up-to-date in their presentation of how young native speakers communicate. They are not necessarily better for learners whose main reason for learning English is to communicate with business colleagues, many of whom are themselves not native speakers of English.

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    #5

    Re: Doctor Li is giving a talk about health to the students

    Thanks so much for your kindness and patience, Tdol, Teechar and Piscean. Your replies help me greatly.

    The passage in the original post may not be the worst one. I haven
    t finished reading the series of textbooks. But Ive found some dialogues which are very artificial and dull too, and maybe have some mistakes. Here are three examples.

    Dialogue 1.
    (The telephone rings while Jane is practicing the violin.)
    Janes mother: Hello!
    Maria: Hello! This is Maria speaking. May I speak to Jane?
    Janes mother: Hold the line, please.
    (Jane answers the telephone.)

    Jane: Hello, Maria!
    Maria: Hello! What are you doing, Jane?
    Jane: I
    m practicing the violin.
    Maria: What were you doing at this time yesterday? I called you to go to the English Corner but no one answered.
    Jane: This time yesterday? Oh, I was taking a shower.(Thats the end.)

    I know the writers aim is to present past continuous tense and compare it with present continuous tense, but its too man-made and boring, which cant interest students at all. Whats more, it seems ridiculous for Maria to call Jane just to ask her what are doing now and what were you doing this time yesterday. Itll be a little natural for Maria to say a few more words: I see. Well, are you free tonight? Id like to ask you to see a movie with me.

    Dialogue 2.
    Jane: Listen! What sweet music! Do you like it?
    Li Ming: Yes, I do. I usually listen to music in my free time.
    Jane: What kind of music do you like?
    Li Ming: Its hard to say. I used to enjoy pop music, but now I like folk music.
    Jane: Do you like classical music?
    Li Ming: No, I dont like it at all. Its too serious. How about you?
    Jane: Well, classical music is not my favorite, but I dont mind it. I hate listening to rock music.
    Li Ming: Why?
    Jane: I think it
    s too noisy.

    1)
    Jane asks, What kind of music do you like? Li Ming answers, Its hard to say. I think Li Mings answer is too contrived. Teenagers usually speak directly, especially when asked about their likes and hobbies.

    2) Li Ming says the reason why he dislikes classical music is that its too serious. I dont think its a good reason. Not all classical music is serious.

    3) Jane says , Well, classical music is not my favorite, but I dont mind it. In my opinion, people dont mind something negative. For example, when asked, Do you smoke? you may answer, No, I dont, but I dont mind it. Classical music is not something negative.

    Dialogue 3.

    Jane: What were you doing at this time last night?

    Michael: I was watching a Harry Porter movie.

    Jane: I saw it last week. It
    s wonderful.
    Michael: I dont agree.
    Jane: Why? Isn
    t it interesting?
    Michael: No, I dont think so. I think it is just so-so. But I enjoy the music. It is very pleasant!
    Jane: I agree with you. Do you like Harry Porter? I think he is cute.
    Michael: I don
    t know about that, but I think he is very brave.
    Jane: Hmm, you are quite right.


    I have two questions about this dialogue. First, I wonder if it
    s OK to use cute to describe a teenager. I have the impression that people usually say a cute little baby. Second, I dont know about that seems too ambiguous. Does it mean I dont agree here?

    Dear teachers and friends, I would appreciate it if you could answer my questions and tell me whether my ideas are right or not.

    Thanks a lot in advance.
    Last edited by touchstone; 09-Feb-2017 at 04:01.

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    #6

    Re: Doctor Li is giving a talk about health to the students

    Cute is widely used in AmE to describe attractive young women and girls. It doesn't seem out of place for a teenage girl to describe a teenage boy that way.

    "I don't know about that" is a natural way to say "I'm not sure I agree."

    Calling classical music too serious seems completely natural for a teenager.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: Doctor Li is giving a talk about health to the students

    Quote Originally Posted by touchstone View Post

    I know the writers aim is to present the past continuous tense and compare it with the present continuous tense, but its too man-made artificial and boring , which cant interest and is not likely to engage students at all [I think you're being overcritical; I think that dialogue is okay.]. Whats more, it seems ridiculous for Maria to call Jane just to ask her what are doing now and what were you doing this time yesterday [Again, I disagree; I don't see any problem with that.]. It would ll be a little more natural for Maria to say a few more words: I see. Well, are you free tonight? [Possibly.] Id like to ask you to see a movie with me. [Now that's unnatural!]

    Dialogue 2.
    Jane: Listen! What sweet music! Do you like it?
    Li Ming: Yes, I do. I usually listen to music in my free time.
    Jane: What kind of music do you like?
    Li Ming: Its hard to say. I used to enjoy pop music, but now I like folk music.
    Jane: Do you like classical music?
    Li Ming: No, I dont like it at all. Its too serious. How about you?
    Jane: Well, classical music is not my favorite, but I dont mind it. I hate listening to rock music.
    Li Ming: Why?
    Jane: I think it
    s too noisy.

    1)
    Jane asks, What kind of music do you like? Li Ming answers, Its hard to say. I think Li Mings answer is too contrived. Teenagers usually speak directly, especially when asked about their likes and hobbies. [Again, there's nothing wrong at all with that dialogue.]

    2) Li Ming says the reason why he dislikes classical music is that its too serious. I dont think its a good reason. Not all classical music is serious. [But Li Ming didn't say it was all serious!]

    3) Jane says , Well, classical music is not my favorite, but I dont mind it. In my opinion, people dont mind something negative. For example, when asked, Do you smoke? you may answer, No, I dont, but I dont mind it. Classical music is not something negative. [No, you're wrong on that one. It doesn't have to be a negative thing that people don't mind.]

    Dialogue 3.

    Jane: What were you doing at this time last night?

    Michael: I was watching the latest Harry Porter movie.

    Jane: I saw it last week. It
    s wonderful.
    Michael: I dont agree.
    Jane: Why? Isn
    t it interesting?
    Michael: No, I dont think so. I think it is just so-so. But I enjoyed the music. It is very pleasant!
    Jane: I agree with you. Do you like Harry Porter? I think he is cute.
    Michael: I don
    t know about that, but I think he is very brave.
    Jane: Hmm, you are quite right.


    I have two questions about this dialogue. First, I wonder if it
    s OK to use cute to describe a teenager. I have the impression that people usually say a cute little baby. Second, I dont know about that seems too ambiguous. Does it mean I dont agree here? [Refer to the comment by GoesStation above.]
    Note my suggested amendments to dialogue #3.

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    #8

    Re: Doctor Li is giving a talk about health to the students

    Dear teachers and friends,
    The following passages are taken from the textbook for the ninth graders in the series mentioned in the OP, which are two speeches made by two students at their junior middle school graduation ceremony. Id like to know if they are well-written or not. Thanks a lot in advance.

    Passage 1
    Hello, everyone! I feel so excited and so happy. We have had three fantastic years in Beijing International School. We have studied and lived together like a happy family. Weve had a lot of fun together, too. Ive learned a lot from you all, my dear teachers and friends. As is known to all, Everything comes to him who waits. So, if I want to succeed, I must study hard. Well say goodbye to each other soon. Ill never forget you. I hope your friendship will last forever. Im sure it will be more and more valuable as time goes by. So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you all and wish you success in the future.

    Passage 2
    Good morning, my dear teachers and friends! I have many unforgettable memories of the past three years. I got along well with my classmates. We helped and learned from each other. To my great joy, I won the Excellent Student Award in my class. Thanks to my teachers and my parents, Ive made so much progress. You know, There is no royal road to learning. So, I will keep on working hard to realize my dream. I love our teachers, our friends and our school very much. I will miss you all. Thanks a lot.
    Last edited by touchstone; 20-Mar-2017 at 12:49.

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    #9

    Re: Doctor Li is giving a talk about health to the students

    I don't see any glaring errors or major problems with the above.

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    #10

    Re: Doctor Li is giving a talk about health to the students

    They seem to me to be perfectly acceptable English versions of what a Chinese student might say in that situation.

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