Results 1 to 8 of 8

Hybrid View

Previous Post Previous Post   Next Post Next Post
  1. Banned
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Belgium
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines

    • Join Date: Feb 2017
    • Posts: 235
    #1

    There were only 2 geese

    Which of these are correct when talking about a petanque (=boules) game in a park with no spectators except for 2 geese?

    There were only 2 geese watch us play.
    There were only 2 geese waching us play.
    There were only 2 geese watch us playing.
    There were only 2 geese waching us playing.
    There were only 2 geese attending our petanque game.
    There were only 2 geese to attend our petanque game.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
    Moderator
    Other
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,062
    #2

    Re: There were only 2 geese

    The only ones watching us play were two geese.

    Only two geese were there to watch us play.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Key Member
    Other
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jan 2009
    • Posts: 4,832
    #3

    Re: There were only 2 geese

    1. They all make it sound like you were expecting more geese. How disappointing!

    2. Spell out ​two.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  4. Moderator
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 15,124
    #4

    Re: There were only 2 geese

    Quote Originally Posted by AirbusA321 View Post
    Which of these are correct when talking about a petanque (=boules) game in a park with no spectators except for 2 geese?

    There were only 2 geese watch us play.
    There were only 2 geese watching us play.
    There were only 2 geese watch us playing.
    There were only 2 geese watching us playing.
    There were only 2 geese attending our petanque game.
    There were only 2 geese to attend our petanque game.
    See above. While the ticked sentences are OK with my corrections, there is really no reason to use there were in them.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
    Moderator
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 51,318
    #5

    Re: There were only 2 geese

    I'm slightly confused by GoesStation's response. If you remove "There were" from the ticked sentences, you're left with:

    Only 2 geese watching us play.
    Only 2 geese watching us playing.
    Only 2 geese attending our petanque game.

    All three are incorrect without "There were". In order not to use "There were", you would have to say:

    Only two geese were watching us play.
    Only two geese were watching us playing.
    Only two geese attended our petanque game.

    The third isn't very natural because it suggests that the geese came specifically to watch, even that they bought tickets! Having said that, geese don't actually watch people play sports.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. Moderator
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 15,124
    #6

    Re: There were only 2 geese

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I'm slightly confused by GoesStation's response.
    There was some imprecision in my response. I meant to suggest that the ideas would be better expressed in a way that did not begin with "there were".
    I am not a teacher.

  7. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Key Member
    Other
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jan 2009
    • Posts: 4,832
    #7

    Re: There were only 2 geese

    But I said above, it still sounds like you were expecting more than two geese! How many geese did you expect?

    As Barb has suggested, I think you mean:

    - No one was watching except two geese.
    - No one was watching except a pair of geese.
    - No one was watching except a couple of geese.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 17-Mar-2017 at 23:52.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  8. Skrej's Avatar
    Key Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: May 2015
    • Posts: 2,963
    #8

    Re: There were only 2 geese

    Maybe it's not about the numbers, but the lack of diversity in the audience. There were only two geese watching, when we really expected at least some squirrels, starlings and maybe even some wrens. No surprise on the lack of rooks, however, as they rarely leave the chessboards.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •