[Essay] The reason why I write essays is ........

shimacatu_sa

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Hi, could someone please check my essay below?

I am not a student, so the essay is neither for homework nor exam. The reason why I write essays is to improve my English so that I can sound more natural in both speaking and writing. I am trying to find my own style that I feel comfortable with, just like the one I have in my native language. While natural, clear, and pleasant English is my goal, I would rather sound casual than too rigid or formal. I'd appreciate any advice and suggestions you could give me.


I became a member of Using England.com at the beginning of this year and started asking questions on the forum a couple months ago. I am so glad that I did. Not only have I learned a lot from the advice teachers gave me, but also from other learners' Q & A's. They have become my valuable source of knowledge. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the fellow learners' contributions.

I believe that we, all learners, should change our learning methods and goals as our English improve. So now, I am focusing on expanding expressions, including synonyms. My English often doesn't come across due to my pronunciation or poor expression. When that happens, I'd like to rephrase it rather than freeze up. Knowing several ways to say the same thing should also help me find my style in English. It's always nice to have options whatever you do. Learning English has become one of my hobbies. I wish I had liked studying this much when I was young. I still have a long way to go, but it will never too late to learn something new every day.


Questions about bolded words:

1. Is the plural form "improve" OK? Does it have to be "improves"? English is an uncountable noun, and I thought "our English" can be considered plural.

2. Is "can" in the above sentence appropriate? I thought about using "could" instead, but if " 'our English' can be considered plural" is a general truth, it might be OK to use "can" as well. Do I have the two options there?

Thank you.
 
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tedmc

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Hi, could someone please check my essay below?

I am not a student, so[STRIKE] the[/STRIKE] this essay is neither for homework nor exam. The reason why I write essays is to improve my English so that I [STRIKE]can[/STRIKE] sound more natural in both speaking and writing. I am trying to find my own style that I feel comfortable with, just like the one I have in my native language. While natural, clear, and pleasant English is my goal, I would rather sound casual than too rigid or formal. I'd appreciate any advice and suggestions you could give me.


I became a member of Using England.com (it is usingenglish.com) at the beginning of this year and started asking questions on the forum a couple months ago. I am so glad that I did. Not only have I learned a lot from the advice the teachers gave me, but also from other learners' Q & A's. They have become my valuable source of knowledge. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate [STRIKE]the[/STRIKE] fellow learners' contributions.

I believe that we, all learners, should change our learning methods and goals as our English improve. So now, I am focusing on expanding expressions, including synonyms. My English often doesn't [STRIKE]come[/STRIKE] get across due to my pronunciation or poor expression. When that happens, I'd like to rephrase it rather than freeze up. Knowing several ways to say the same thing should also help me find my style in English. It's always nice to have options whatever you do. Learning English has become one of my hobbies. I wish I had liked studying this much when I was young. I still have a long way to go, but it [STRIKE]will [/STRIKE] is never too late to learn something new every day.


Questions about bolded words:

1. Is the plural form "improve" OK? Does it have to be "improves"? English is an uncountable noun, and I thought "our English" can be considered plural.
Being uncountable, "English"is singular. You can use plural if you say "as our standards of English improve".

2. Is "can" in the above sentence appropriate? I thought about using "could" instead, but if " 'our English' can be considered plural" is a general truth, it might be OK to use "can" as well. Do I have the two options there?
It is either "is plural" or "isn't plural, so the question of "can" which implies "possibility" does not arise.

Thank you.

I can't find many mistakes in your essay. It is clear, pleasant to read and and you have expressed yourself well. I think you are on the right track towards achieving your goals in learning the language.
 

shimacatu_sa

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tedmc, thank you for taking the time to edit my essay. I really appreciate your advice. Please let me ask you a few more things as to my initial two questions.

1) I now understand that I cannot use "English" alone as plural, and I need to add some words to make it plural. So it has to be either "our English improves" or "as our standards of English improve". Can I use "as our English skills improve" as a synonym for "as our standards of English improve" in this context?

2) I am afraid I am not sure what you meant by "the question of "can" which implies "possibility" does not arise". If you meant that "our English" cannot be plural, and therefore the question I asked was invalid, I understand that. What I wanted to know was "agreement of tenses". I was wondering if the verb "thought" could be followed by either "can" or "could" in that structure provided the context is right.



Thank you.
 

tedmc

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tedmc, thank you for taking the time to edit my essay. I really appreciate your advice. Please let me ask you a few more things as to my initial two questions.

1) I now understand that I cannot use "English" alone as plural, and I need to add some words to make it plural. So it has to be either "our English improves" or "as our standards of English improve". Can I use "as our English skills improve" as a synonym for "as our standards of English improve" in this context?

Yes, you can.

2) I am afraid I am not sure what you meant by "the question of "can" which implies "possibility" does not arise". If you meant that "our English" cannot be plural, and therefore the question I asked was invalid, I understand that. What I wanted to know was "agreement of tenses". I was wondering if the verb "thought" could be followed by either "can" or "could" in that structure provided the context is right.

The question is whether "English" is singular or isn't, rather than a question of whether it "can" or "could" be considered singular or plural.
"Thought" can be followed by either "can"(to talk about something factual as you said) or "could"(called back-shifting of tense). When you use "could", it does not mean the thing that you refer to does not hold true at the present time.





Thank you.
.
 
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shimacatu_sa

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tedma, thank you for answering my questions. I understand it well now.

How nice it is to have my English corrected. I had used the phrase "My English doesn't come across" for years, and no one told me about the mistake. Maybe they didn't want to hurt my feelings or my expression was still understandable to them. But I really needed this to be pointed out.

Thank you, I learned a lot from this thread.
 

probus

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As regards the title, in my opinion the best usage is

"The reason I write ..."

"The reason why I ... " is stylistcally inferior I think.
 
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tedmc

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As regards the title, in my opinion the best usage is

"The reason I write ..."

"The reason why I ... " is styllistcally inferior I think.

Yes, I agree. The "why" is redundant.

It's "stylistically".
 
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