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    #1

    silence

    Hi forum,
    I'd appreciate it very much if you could help me with these "silence" things:

    -----------------------------------------------------------google hits
    1. keep silence ---------------------------------------------------435,000
    2. maintain silence;------------------------------------------------ 34,200
    3. maintain your silence; ------------------------------------------1,250
    4. maintain the silence; --------------------------------------------37,600
    5. keep a silence; --------------------------------------------------12,600
    6. keep your silence; -----------------------------------------------9,590
    7. keep the silence; -------------------------------------------------652,000
    8. keep a strict silence; ---------------------------------------------1,300
    9. He has so far kept a dignified silence on the subject; ---------2,440
    10. I wished sleep would make her keep silence. ----------------9


    Some natives told me that 1, 5, 6, 7 are wrong, which I "take leave to doubt". I googled them and kept the hits down beside them. What's the present situation of these "silences"? Did 1,5,6,7 only exist in "ancient times"? And what about 8, 9, 10?


    Many many thanks in advance.
    Last edited by henz988; 20-Jun-2009 at 00:11. Reason: present and archaic

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    #2

    Re: silence

    Hello Henz,

    When you google phrases to assess their frequency, it's worth going to the last page of returns, to see what Google says.

    With "keep the silence", for instance, you'll find something like:

    "Results 751 - 751 of about 706,000 for "keep the silence". "

    Followed by: "In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 751 already displayed."

    In other words, Google has decided that the other several hundred thousand hits are duplicates, cached versions, or quotes of one another.

    To answer your question, I would say that all of those variants might be used; though #5 has a poetic or Biblical air, and few opportunities would arise for #6 or #10.

    Best wishes,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

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    #3

    Re: silence

    When you google phrases to assess their frequency, it's worth going to the last page of returns, to see what Google says
    An excellent tip!
    And thank you for your explanation.
    Last edited by henz988; 20-Jun-2009 at 00:53.

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    #4

    Re: silence

    You're welcome!

    I should add that tolerance of each of these forms would vary greatly, from speaker to speaker; it would depend on background, familiarity with different kinds of literature, etc.

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

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