Teacher asked Kevin what he was going to do

Bassim

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I am wondering if my sentence sounds natural. Would you please correct my mistakes?

Teacher asked Kevin what he was going to do twenty years hence, and he replied he was going to be a rich man cruising on his yacht or serving a lengthy sentence.
 

emsr2d2

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I am wondering if my sentence sounds natural. Would you please correct my mistakes?

The teacher asked Kevin what he [STRIKE]was going to do[/STRIKE] thought he would be doing in twenty years' time. [STRIKE]hence[/STRIKE] [STRIKE]and[/STRIKE] [STRIKE]he[/STRIKE] Kevin [STRIKE]replied[/STRIKE] told him/said he [STRIKE]was going to[/STRIKE] thought he would either be [STRIKE]a[/STRIKE] rich, [STRIKE]man[/STRIKE] spending his time cruising on his yacht, or serving a lengthy prison sentence.

See above.
 

Bassim

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I am wondering if it would be possible to dispense with one or both "thought" in my sentence and write it like this:

The teacher asked Kevin what he would be doing in twenty years's time. Kevin told him he would either be rich, spending his time cruising on his yacht, or serving a lengthy prison sentence.
 

emsr2d2

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You can certainly dispense with the first "thought", although that leaves a question which suggests that the speaker believes that Kevin knows for certain what is to come. Kevin, of course, can't be absolutely sure what is to come so I would stick with the second "thought" because Kevin can only give his opinion or speculate on what he'll be doing.
 

GoesStation

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Kevin told him he would either be rich, spending his time cruising on his yacht, or serving a lengthy prison sentence.

There's a problem with the way the choices are offered in this sentence. Can you see what it is?
 

Bassim

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GoesStation,

I have to admit that my knowledge of English is still limited, but let me guess where the mistake is. Maybe it is wrong to mix "rich" with "cruising" and serving."

What about this version?

Kevin told him he would either be spending his time cruising on his yacht as a rich man, or serving a lengthy prison sentence.
 

GoesStation

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Kevin told him he would either be rich, spending his time cruising on his yacht, or serving a lengthy prison sentence.

GoesStation,

I have to admit that my knowledge of English is still limited, but let me guess where the mistake is. Maybe it is wrong to mix "rich" with "cruising" and serving."

What about this version?

Kevin told him he would either be spending his time cruising on his yacht as a rich man, or serving a lengthy prison sentence.

I think you spotted the weakness. The proposed sentence read like Kevin was pondering three options: 1) being rich, 2) cruising on his yacht, or 3) being in jail. Your new revision clarifies his thoughts.
 

emsr2d2

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Interesting. I thought you meant that he would be either "rich and cruising on a yacht" or "rich but in prison". I figured he would be in prison for some kind of fraud that had made him very rich but then he'd got caught.
 

Bassim

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My sentence is probably unclear because of the lack of my knowledge of English. I imagine a sentence in my mind, but sometimes I am not able to precisely describe what I want to say. This often make me frustrated, because I feel that sentence is not as good as it should be, but I am unable to correct it or find a better phrase myself. In this case, my initial thought was that Kevin would be either rich, cruising on his yacht, or destitute in prison, but I was unable to express that in correct English.
 

emsr2d2

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In this case, my initial thought was that Kevin would be either rich, cruising on his yacht, or destitute in prison, but I was unable to express that in correct English.

You expressed it perfectly in this post! ;-)
 

Bassim

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emsr2d2,
I expressed myself well in the above post probably because I subconsciously know that you are hawk-eyed, and you were going to spot any mistakes I made. So I have to be attentive. But as you can see I my original sentence, I have forgotten to use "the" before "teacher", which I can only explain by my carelessness. I have noticed that if I do not sleep at least seven hours in the night, my concentration fails and also the quality of my writing worsens.
 

emsr2d2

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Your English is never bad. Like you said, it's usually just carelessness. A lack of sleep has the same effect on all of us! All I can suggest is that, in future, you make sure you get plenty of sleep and read your posts at least three times before you actually post them.
 
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