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  1. Member
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    #1

    All the lights in our flat turned off

    This is a test question with its reference answers.

    Complete the following passage with the words given. Each can be used only once.

    A. downstairs; B. discovered; C. answered; D. invitation; E. advantage

    Everything was black! All the lights in our flat turned off, including the TV. Mum took out the candles and Dad went to see what was going on. One (1) advantage of living in a tall building is that you always have help nearby. So I went to our next-door neighbour, Mr Smith. With a candle in his hand, he (2) answered the door. Uh-oh! He didnít have lights either. I (3) discovered that all the buildings in our neighbourhood were dark. Our neighbours went (4) downstairs and began chatting outside. They were not worried at all.

    (from the English test paper, Senior High School Entrance Examination, 2018, Shanghai, China)

    There are some sentences which I donít think are well-written. Here are the sentences and my versions. Iíd like to hear your comments and suggestions.

    1. Everything was black!
    My version: Itís dark everywhere in my home.

    2. All the lights in our flat turned off.
    My version: All the lights in our flat went our.

    3. You always have help nearby.
    My version: You can always get help nearby.

    4. He didnít have lights either.
    My version: He didnít have electricity either.

    5. I discovered that all the buildings in our neighbourhood were dark.
    My version: Later, I realized that our whole neighbourhood was out of power.

  2. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: All the lights in our flat turned off

    All five original sentences are fine as they are.

    Your minor changes to 2, 3, and 4 are fine, too.

    You've changed 1, and 5 quite significantly, without improvement. Your version of 1 is wrong (it should be was, not is), but even with was, it's worse.


    Why have you attempted to improve this text? It does seem to have been written by a native speaker. Did you not think so?

  3. Senior Member
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    #3

    Re: All the lights in our flat turned off

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondcutter View Post
    This is a test question with its reference answers.

    Complete the following passage with the words given. Each can be used only once.

    A. downstairs; B. discovered; C. answered; D. invitation; E. advantage

    Everything was black! All the lights in our flat turned off, including the TV. Mum took out the candles and Dad went to see what was going on. One (1) advantage of living in a tall building is that you always have help nearby. So I went to our next-door neighbour, Mr Smith. With a candle in his hand, he (2) answered the door. Uh-oh! He didn’t have lights either. I (3) discovered that all the buildings in our neighbourhood were dark. Our neighbours went (4) downstairs and began chatting outside. They were not worried at all.

    (from the English test paper, Senior High School Entrance Examination, 2018, Shanghai, China)

    There are some sentences which I don’t think are well-written. Here are the sentences and my versions. I’d like to hear your comments and suggestions.

    1. Everything was black!
    My version: It’s dark everywhere in my home. OK or Everything went black/dark.

    2. All the lights in our flat turned off.
    My version: All the lights in our flat went out. OK.

    3. You always have help nearby.
    My version: You can always get help nearby. OK, but I like the original.

    4. He didn’t have lights either.
    My version: He didn’t have electricity either. OK. 50/50.

    5. I discovered that all the buildings in our neighbourhood were dark.
    My version: Later, I realized that our whole neighbourhood was out of power. Yours.
    My AmE choices.

  4. Member
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    #4

    Re: All the lights in our flat turned off

    In the past, I only knew we can say ‘People turn lights off’. Now I know we can also say ‘Lights turn off’, which means ‘Lights go out’. Am I right?

  5. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: All the lights in our flat turned off

    People can turn lights on and off. But lights don't turn off. Lights do go out though if you lose power.
    Not a professional teacher

  6. VIP Member
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    #6

    Re: All the lights in our flat turned off

    When the tornadoes this past Memorial Day (May 27th) missed my house by half a mile, I was surprised that our power didn't go out immediately. It did go out shortly after the tornado passed, but then the lights came back on. They were flickering and strangely dim, though, so I measured the voltage. Instead of the usual 120 to 125 volts, we were only getting 95.

    It was around one AM when I went out to the back porch to see if I could see any damage. Marble-size hailstones were scattered around, but the barn, all the trees, and the neighbors' houses and barn looked OK. I noticed a bright light to the south and wondered if someone had installed a particularly obnoxious security light. The power went out, and stayed out, soon after we went back to bed around 2:30 AM.

    It wasn't till the next afternoon that I realized that the bright glow was the hot wire of the distribution line arcing to ground. The arc was consuming so much power that it was pulling the voltage down 25%.

    We're usually the last to get our electricity restored. This time we were among the first 5,000. Fifty thousand customers had to wait as long as two weeks; our lights were back on after only fourteen hours.

    I've tried to demonstrate various ways to talk about electricity and power failures. I hope it's useful.
    I am not a teacher.

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