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  1. #1
    Silverobama is offline Key Member
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    best gift and important quality

    My friend Rachel suggested that I should use some different topics for our English club (English club meeting).

    Rachel: Maybe next time you can use some different topics?
    Silver: Good idea. But I can't think of anyone. I actually didn't even prepare for the one tonight.
    Rachel: I have two.
    Silver: Okay, tell me.
    Rachel: What is the best gift you have ever received? What do you think is the most important quality of a friend/partner?

    Are the two topics suggested by Rachel natural?

    My version: What's the best gift you've ever received? What are some important qualities of a friend/partner?


  2. #2
    jutfrank's Avatar
    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: best gift and important quality

    The first is fine. The second should be ... in a friend/partner.

    Thanks for providing some good context.

    Remember that anyone is only for people, so it should be any in the second line.
    Last edited by jutfrank; 13-May-2021 at 12:48.

  3. #3
    jutfrank's Avatar
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    Re: best gift and important quality

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    ... or any.
    That's what I meant to write. (In fact, I'll edit my post.) It goes with the plural topics in the previous line. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Silverobama is offline Key Member
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    Re: best gift and important quality

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    The first is fine. The second should be ... in a friend/partner.

    Thanks for providing some good context.

    You're welcome. I'll try to make it better in future threads.

    Remember that anyone is only for people, so it should be any in the second line.
    I shouldn't have added my versions. In order to make sure that I understand you correctly. Would you please tell if the following sentences are what you meant?

    1) What do you think is the most important quality in a friend/partner?
    2) What are some important qualities in a friend/partner?

    I just want to keep one of them. Which one do you prefer?

  5. #5
    jutfrank's Avatar
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    Re: best gift and important quality

    I don't prefer either one of them because they have quite different meanings. Are you asking people to offer just one quality or several? Does it matter that people try to rank these qualities in order of importance? Decide what exactly you want people to do, and then ask whichever question best elicits that.

  6. #6
    Silverobama is offline Key Member
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    Re: best gift and important quality

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I don't prefer either one of them because they have quite different meanings. Are you asking people to offer just one quality or several?

    Several.

    Does it matter that people try to rank these qualities in order of importance?

    Yes.

    Decide what exactly you want people to do, and then ask whichever question best elicits that.

    May I have your version?
    Much appreciated!

  7. #7
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: best gift and important quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    My friend Rachel suggested that I should use some different topics at our English club (English club meeting).

    Rachel: Maybe next time you can use some different topics?

    Silver: Good idea. But I can't think of anything. I actually didn't even prepare for the one tonight.

    Use anything, any, or one. Anyone is a person, not a topic.


    Rachel: I have two.

    Silver: Okay, tell me.

    Rachel: What is the best gift you have ever received? What do you think is the most important quality in a friend or partner?

    Are the two topics suggested by Rachel natural?

    Almost. See the corrections.


    My version: What's the best gift you've ever received? What are some important qualities in a friend or partner?

    You're right, you've is more natural than you have. (You have isn't bad, though.)
    There!
    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. #8
    jutfrank's Avatar
    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: best gift and important quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    May I have your version?
    You can do this yourself. This is a simple task, well within your capabilities. Form a question that asks the club members to do exactly what you want them to do.

  9. #9
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: best gift and important quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    . . . I just want to keep one of them. Which one do you prefer?
    They're both fine. As Jut says, one asks for the one most important quallty, the other asks for several.

    Neither is better. They're just different. So decide which conversation you want to have, and have it. Either way, it will be a good discussion.
    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.

  10. #10
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    Re: best gift and important quality

    You could ask "What qualities do you look for in a friend or partner?" Most people will naturally list the qualities in order of importance.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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