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  1. Key Member
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    #1

    The defending champions crashed out of

    Hi.

    Are the following sentences natural? Will native speakers use them?

    1) The defending champions crashed out of the World Cup on Thursday as debutants Slovenia won the swim-or-sink game 3-2 to book a second round ticket in Johannesburg.
    2) They invoked help in their desperate situation.


    The first one is from a Chinese-English website, I think it's okay in BrE but I'm not sure. Those authoritative sources about English in China are not always trustworthy because the editors don't correct them. The textbooks of the schoolkids are an example. The second one is from my notebook.

  2. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The defending champions crashed out of

    The first one is pretty good, but in my opinion has one little defect that makes it unnatural. "Sink or swim" is a stock phrase indicating a must-win situation. I've never seen or heard it reversed as "swim or sink." I don't think a native speaker would ever say that. The rest of that one is pretty standard sports-reporter stuff.

    The second one is similarly almost perfect. I don't think "invoke" really fits perfectly there. Why not "called out for" or "craved" or "begged for"?

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    #3

    Re: The defending champions crashed out of

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    The first one is pretty good, but in my opinion has one little defect that makes it unnatural. "Sink or swim" is a stock phrase indicating a must-win situation. I've never seen or heard it reversed as "swim or sink." I don't think a native speaker would ever say that. The rest of that one is pretty standard sports-reporter stuff.
    I appreciate your help, probus.

    I wonder if the first one is good now if it's written in the following way.

    The defending champions crashed out of the World Cup on Thursday as debutants Slovenia won the sink-or-swim game 3-2 to book a second round ticket in Johannesburg.

    As for the second, I'll use your suggestions. But should it be "craved for help" or "craved help"? I think it should be "craved for help". Please enlighten.
    Last edited by Silverobama; 08-Aug-2020 at 10:10. Reason: adding questions

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    #4

    Re: The defending champions crashed out of

    I don't think "craved for help" is appropriate in an urgent situation. To crave is to desire, which is not something you would do or express when you are desparate. You would more likely call out/cry out/shout/summon for help in that situation
    Last edited by tedmc; 08-Aug-2020 at 05:55.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

  5. teechar's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: The defending champions crashed out of

    I agree that you need sink or swim in the first.
    I also agree that the second is vague and unnatural; "invoke" definitely doesn't work, but "cried out for" might.

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    #6

    Re: The defending champions crashed out of

    Quote Originally Posted by teechar View Post
    I agree that you need sink or swim in the first.
    I also agree that the second is vague and unnatural; "invoke" definitely doesn't work, but "cried out for" might.
    Yes, I agree with probus' reply. I wonder if you can help me with my questions in #3.

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    #7

    Re: The defending champions crashed out of

    Who are they invoking for help? God, or a supernatural deity? If so, '... they prayed for help ...'

    If all you did was reverse 'swim-or-sink', then it's fine.

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    #8

    Re: The defending champions crashed out of

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    Who are they invoking for help? God, or a supernatural deity? If so, '... they prayed for help ...'

    If all you did was reverse 'swim-or-sink', then it's fine.
    Rover, context matters. I don't know who they are invoking for help but I was told the sentence is a bit formal. Then probus gave me three perfect answers. However, my question has nothing to do with whether "invoke" is okay or not. I wonder if "craved help" here is okay or I should use "craved for help".

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    #9

    Re: The defending champions crashed out of

    "Craving" or "craving for" help is not right here. ted and teechar are correct.
    I don't like "to book a second round ticket in Johannesburg." Are they in Johannesburg? Usually, you book a ticket to somewhere, and if you're already there, why do you need a ticket. If the next game was in Capetown, say, you could say "to book a ticket for the second round in Capetown", or "to book a ticket to Capetown". But I'm not an expert on sports talk.
    Invoke doesn't sound right either.

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