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A native speaker of English needed


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#1 legotrainfan

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 11:27 PM

Hello folks!

I'm an English teacher. However, I'm not perfect and I don't know everything. What I want to say is that sometimes correcting my students' essays costs a lot of time because they use words, structures and phrases where I'm not a hundred percent sure if they are wrong or not. It's often quite time-consuming to find out the answer by consulting dictionaries, grammar books and checking several websites on English. So my question is if there is a native speaker of English whom I could sometimes ask about certain structures and grammar here? That would speed up my corrections and I'd be very grateful for someone's help. I'd absolutely prefer a native speaker of English who teaches English themselves. A native speaker of English who has studied/is studying another language would also be fine, because such people are usually aware of the subtleties of languages.

By the way, I've recently signed up at a forum which focusses on English. There I can also post questions, but I find the forum's layout a bit confusing. It'll take some time till I have got used to it. If anyone fulfills the above mentioned criteria, I'd be glad to get some help from time to time!

Thanks!
[...]
I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
From: "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by W.B. Yeats


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#2 prateek

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 11:41 PM

I'd be happy to help from time to time, but I'm no English major or anything, so I might not be the best choice. If no one else offers, feel free to contact me :classic:

#3 legotrainfan

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 12:00 AM

Thanks prateek!

...a native speaker of English who has minored or majored in their mother tongue would also be fine.
[...]
I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
From: "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by W.B. Yeats


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#4 sok117

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 05:32 AM

It may be easier to, instead of having a direct contact, just post your English questions in this thread, and that way anyone with an answer could be able to quickly post it, and others could agree or correct it, cause a second opinion is always nice.  I know if I saw a question that I could easily answer, I would, and I bet a lot of the English speaking people on this Forum would love to help you.
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#5 Sisco

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 06:58 AM

I think that Sok's idea is a good one. There are many people willing to help you here, and a second opinion is always a good thing.
I'm also a writer, so I can pop in here and help from time to time. I'm learning Spanish, so I know the subtleties of languages. I also help many of my friends with editing and proofreading. I'd be glad to help. You may get a Southern accent from time to time, though! :tongue:
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#6 legotrainfan

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 02:02 PM

Prateek has been so kind and already replied to my post. Since you suggested posting my questions here, I'll gladly do so.

Prateek, you don't have to answer here. I have already got your answers (Thanks!), but I'm not going to mention them here so that everyone's unbiased. So here they are:

I have never been there yet.
=> I'm not sure if you can use "never" and "yet" in the same sentence. It may be correct, but I'm not sure. I'd either use "never" or "yet". (I've never been there. Or: I haven't been there yet.)

They told them not to meet each other.
=> I'd cross out "each other".

Our football team was very successful in the last years.
=> I'd use HAS BEEN instead of WAS. (Be careful: Here the writer was just obliged to write a meaningful sentence with "successful", so there is no specific context that would connect the sentence with the past.)

When I'm long abroad, I am often homesick.
=> I'd say: When I'm abroad a long time, ...

They don't like the style of the other. (Here the writer wants to say that he doesn't like her style and the same way round.)
=> I'd say: They don't like each other's style.

He puts his old clothes in front of the window. (That's from the plot of a play. Actually he puts his old clothes on the ground of the garden of his girlfriend. She is in the house on the first floor (UK first floor) and sees what he is doing through the window.)
=> Is it ok to use IN FRONT OF here? If not, is there a better version without changing the original sentence too much?

Thanks a bunch, guys! I'm looking forward to getting your replies!

Edited by legotrainfan, 08 January 2011 - 06:06 PM.

[...]
I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
From: "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by W.B. Yeats


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#7 Eskallon

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 01:13 AM

Quote

I have never been there yet.
=> I'm not sure if you can use "never" and "yet" in the same sentence. It may be correct, but I'm not sure. I'd either use "never" or "yet". (I've never been there. Or: I haven't been there yet.)

Nah, it is wrong in this case and the person just needs to remove the 'yet'.

Quote

They told them not to meet each other.
=> I'd cross out "each other".

You don't have to cut out the 'each other' and it makes perfect sense with it, you could argue about the formality of the text but I would say it is fine.

Quote

Our football team was very successful in the last years.
=> I'd use HAS BEEN instead of WAS. (Be careful: Here the writer was just obliged to write a meaningful sentence with "successful", so there is no specific context that would connect the sentence with the past.)

I agree that it needs 'has been', however the word 'years' also needs either removel of the 's' or a time phrase after the word 'last'-Ie the word couple or few...

Quote

When I'm long abroad, I am often homesick.
=> I'd say: When I'm abroad a long time, ...

Yes, what you said is much better English :thumbup:

Quote

They don't like the style of the other. (Here the writer wants to say that he doesn't like her style and the same way round.)
=> I'd say: They don't like each other's style.

Again what you said is fine or you can say 'They don't like the style of each other'

Quote

He puts his old clothes in front of the window. (That's from the plot of a play. Actually he puts his old clothes on the ground of the garden of his girlfriend. She is in the house on the first floor (UK first floor) and sees what he is doing through the window.)
=> Is it ok to use IN FRONT OF here? If not, is there a better version without changing the original sentence too much?

What the writer says here implies that the clothes would be left inside the house, they need to specify where the clothes are being kept exactly, which is in the garden so I would think this is more fitting for the situation: He put his old clothes in the garden, in view of the window.

I hope my comment's help :classic:
Eskallon

#8 Rufus

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 02:59 AM

To add to what Eskallon has said:

Our football team was very successful in the last years.
=> I'd use HAS BEEN instead of WAS. (Be careful: Here the writer was just obliged to write a meaningful sentence with "successful", so there is no specific context that would connect the sentence with the past.)


This depends on the meaning.  As Eskallon said, it needs 'in the last few years', but:
'Our football team was very successful in the last few years' suggests they are not successful now;
'Our football team has been very successful in the last few years' suggests they weren't successful before.  Both are correct.

When I'm long abroad, I am often homesick.
=> I'd say: When I'm abroad a long time, ...

What you say is more modern; the original is perfectly correct but sounds old-fashioned.

He puts his old clothes in front of the window. (That's from the plot of a play. Actually he puts his old clothes on the ground of the garden of his girlfriend. She is in the house on the first floor (UK first floor) and sees what he is doing through the window.)
=> Is it ok to use IN FRONT OF here? If not, is there a better version without changing the original sentence too much?

This depends on the context.  From what you say, 'He puts his old clothes in view of the window' might be better.

View PostEskallon, on 09 January 2011 - 01:13 AM, said:

I hope my comment's help :classic:
Please excuse my friend and his misplaced apostrophes!

#9 legotrainfan

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 03:26 PM

Thank you very much for your help, guys!

Languages are tricky, because there're many varieties of them (depending on where the speaker of a a language lives).

I sometimes use google.co.uk and search for the structures I am not sure of. I just put them in quotation marks and click on "results from the UK". This often helps. I also looked for "never been there yet" and this structure seems to exist as well as "in the last years" in combination with the present perfect tense, though both sound a bit odd. Indeed, I have to admit for me "in the last FEW years" would definitely sound better!

I usually use Google UK to make sure that I won't get results that were written by speakers of another language than English. Of course, this is no guarantee that a structure found by Google UK is really that of a native speaker of English, but it's definitely more likely.

Thanks again!
[...]
I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
From: "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by W.B. Yeats


Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

#10 legotrainfan

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 09:48 AM

Dear native speakers of English,

I need your opinion again!

Some questions:

He gave him a very good medicine.
=> Can you say this? Is medicine countable? I'd say: he gave him SOME very good medicine.

She was at the beach. She walked along.
=> Can you use "walked along" without an object? If not, where would you insert the personal pronoun "it"? => She walked it along. OR She walked along it. (The first one sounds much better, the last one very strange.)

She went on a beach.
=> I'd say: She went TO the beach. OR: She walked ON/ALONG the beach.

We have a lot of visitors now.
=> OK or do you have to say "we are having..."? Or are both tenses possible?
[...]
I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
From: "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by W.B. Yeats


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#11 Rudders

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 10:13 AM

Some questions:

He gave him a very good medicine.
=> Can you say this? Is medicine countable? I'd say: he gave him SOME very good medicine.

"he gave him SOME very good medicine" is grammatically correct.

She was at the beach. She walked along.
=> Can you use "walked along" without an object? If not, where would you insert the personal pronoun "it"? => She walked it along. OR She walked along it. (The first one sounds much better, the last one very strange.)

I can't think of any situation where we'd say "She walked it along" except maybe if talking about walking an animal, "she grabbed the horses reins and walked it along the footpath".

We wouldn't really use "She walked along." on it's own, even "She walked along it." would be too short a sentence... I'd say "she walked along the beach" or "when she got to the beach she walked along it" or you could say "she walked along looking in all the windows". Basically I think you need to say where she walked or what she's doing while walking.


She went on a beach.
=> I'd say: She went TO the beach. OR: She walked ON/ALONG the beach.

I'd say either of yours would be correct

We have a lot of visitors now.
=> OK or do you have to say "we are having..."? Or are both tenses possible?

Normally you'd say either "We have a lot of visitors" in present tense or "we are having a lot of visitors tonight/tomorrow" in a future tense.

Although you could say "We have a lot of visitors now, could you come back later?". "We have a lot of visitors now." doesn't sound right as a standalone sentence.


From a native English speaker in England. (I've had to be so careful typing this out so as not to mislead anyone) :sweet: .

#12 legotrainfan

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 03:53 PM

Thanks a lot!
[...]
I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
From: "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by W.B. Yeats


Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

#13 Omicron

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 06:51 PM

View PostRudders, on 08 May 2011 - 10:13 AM, said:

He gave him a very good medicine.
=> Can you say this? Is medicine countable? I'd say: he gave him SOME very good medicine.

"he gave him SOME very good medicine" is grammatically correct.
Personally I'd take out very. It is a word that isn't even needed in the sentence.

"He gave him some good medicine."

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#14 Pandora

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 09:49 PM

Not wishing to muddy the waters, but a few additions:

View Postlegotrainfan, on 08 May 2011 - 09:48 AM, said:

Dear native speakers of English,

I need your opinion again!

Some questions:

He gave him a very good medicine.
=> Can you say this? Is medicine countable? I'd say: he gave him SOME very good medicine.


You can say "a very good medicine".  Medicine, in this sense, is viewed as an item, thus can be singular or plural.  Therefore, both statements are correct.  You can also have "some very good medicines".  The "very" here helps distinguish between "good" and "better" (i.e. "very good".)


She was at the beach. She walked along.
=> Can you use "walked along" without an object? If not, where would you insert the personal pronoun "it"? => She walked it along. OR She walked along it. (The first one sounds much better, the last one very strange.)


There is nothing wrong with your initial statement, but it sounds poetic, rather than conversational.  We would say, "She walked along it".

She went on a beach.
=> I'd say: She went TO the beach. OR: She walked ON/ALONG the beach.


Indeed, "She went to the beach", "She walked on/along the beach" are both fine.  Similarly the phrase "Welcome at Eurobricks", would be more naturally said as "Welcome to Eurobricks".

We have a lot of visitors now.
=> OK or do you have to say "we are having..."? Or are both tenses possible?


Technically, both are correct, however we would say "We have a lot of visitors now" rather than "are having".  The initial statement is fine as a stand-alone statement.  Conversationally, we might say "We have a lot of visitors at the moment/ right now" and (as has already been said) "We are having a lot of visitors later" or "We will be having a lot of visitors later".

Hope this helps.
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#15 The Crazy One

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 10:52 PM

View PostOmicron, on 08 May 2011 - 06:51 PM, said:

Personally I'd take out very. It is a word that isn't even needed in the sentence.

"He gave him some good medicine."

-Omi


I think it does work. It is there to emphasise the adjective 'good'. In a sense, adjectives aren't needed in a sentence, but they are the only way to describe or emphasise.

Read it like this: 'I gave him some very good medicine'. By adding a verbal stress on the word 'very' the sentence has a better shape and makes it sound more natural. Though it is rather down to personal choice.

#16 Omicron

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 11:17 PM

View PostThe crazy one, on 08 May 2011 - 10:52 PM, said:

I think it does work. It is there to emphasise the adjective 'good'. In a sense, adjectives aren't needed in a sentence, but they are the only way to describe or emphasise.

Read it like this: 'I gave him some very good medicine'. By adding a verbal stress on the word 'very' the sentence has a better shape and makes it sound more natural. Though it is rather down to personal choice.
True.

Only reason why I advised against it is because it is too much word clutter, which can be a bad thing even though the sentence is correct.

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#17 legotrainfan

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 04:58 PM

Would you say:

We all can swim.

Or: We can all swim.

I'd tend to put "all" after the modal verb "can." Or can you say it either way?


Edit: Oh, sorry for posting this here! I don't know how it happened, but I wanted to post it in the threat that I had startet: A native speaker of English needed from time to time. If a moderator could move it there, I'd be glad. Don't know why I was so inattentive as to post it in the wrong place! Sorry again!

Edited by legotrainfan, 15 May 2011 - 10:54 AM.

[...]
I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
From: "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by W.B. Yeats


Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

#18 TheBrickster

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 02:55 PM

View Postlegotrainfan, on 14 May 2011 - 04:58 PM, said:

If a moderator could move it there, I'd be glad. Don't know why I was so inattentive as to post it in the wrong place! Sorry again!
Post moved.

#19 roamingstudio

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 03:15 PM

View Postlegotrainfan, on 14 May 2011 - 04:58 PM, said:

We all can swim.

Or: We can all swim.

We can all swim
All of us can swim

#20 Legoless

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 04:28 PM

View Postroamingstudio, on 15 May 2011 - 03:15 PM, said:

We can all swim
All of us can swim
We can all swim- all of us can swim doesn't sound right. I couldn't quote the rules of English grammar (I found that an exceedingly dull subject at school) but I am a native speaker so I generally know what looks and sounds right without knowing the reasons why!

#21 Pandora

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 11:14 PM

View Postlegotrainfan, on 14 May 2011 - 04:58 PM, said:

Would you say:

We all can swim.

Or: We can all swim.

I'd tend to put "all" after the modal verb "can." Or can you say it either way?
We all can swim is correct but less natural.  Might be said in response to the question "Can we all swim?" where one would put emphasis on the word "can".

Similarly, We can all swim.  (Question would be "Can you all swim?")

It really depends on the meaning of can in the phrase; whether it means skilled, allowed, or physically able as that changes the word order, to some extent.
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#22 Legoless

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 10:00 PM

View PostPandora, on 15 May 2011 - 11:14 PM, said:

We all can swim is correct but less natural.  Might be said in response to the question "Can we all swim?" where one would put emphasis on the word "can".

Similarly, We can all swim.  (Question would be "Can you all swim?")

It really depends on the meaning of can in the phrase; whether it means skilled, allowed, or physically able as that changes the word order, to some extent.
Blimey, I think he was asking about grammar not philosphy  :tongue:

And for some light relief-

#23 legotrainfan

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 04:46 PM

Which one's correct?

A) They played soccer till the evening.
B) They played soccer till evening.
=> I'd say it without the definite article "the".

Is there a difference between saying:
1. On which continent does he live?
2. On what continent does he live?
For me both are fine and mean the same. What do you think?
[...]
I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
From: "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by W.B. Yeats


Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

#24 Rufus

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 06:17 PM

View Postlegotrainfan, on 25 May 2011 - 04:46 PM, said:

Which one's correct?
A) They played soccer till the evening.
B) They played soccer till evening.
=> I'd say it without the definite article "the".
Either is acceptable; the second sounds a little less awkward.  But a British person would say 'football' rather than 'soccer' :wink:

View Postlegotrainfan, on 25 May 2011 - 04:46 PM, said:

Is there a difference between saying:
1. On which continent does he live?
2. On what continent does he live?
For me both are fine and mean the same. What do you think?
The former is correct.  The latter is often used colloquially, but is grammatically incorrect.  'Which' should always be used when there is a choice between a finite number of discrete, stated alternatives:  'Which LEGO set should I buy?'; 'Which flavour ice cream would you like?'.  'What' is used where the question doesn't specify an object:  'What should I buy?'; 'What would you like for dessert?'

These examples show that choice (2) in your statement would be doubly incorrect (I'm afraid :blush: ) as the abstract form of that question would of course be 'Where does he live?'

#25 rriggs

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 06:26 PM

View Postlegotrainfan, on 25 May 2011 - 04:46 PM, said:

Which one's correct?

A) They played soccer till the evening.
B) They played soccer till evening.
=> I'd say it without the definite article "the".

Is there a difference between saying:
1. On which continent does he live?
2. On what continent does he live?
For me both are fine and mean the same. What do you think?
I pretty much agree with Rufus on each of these.  The use of "until" rather than "till" would sound nicer and would certainly looks better when written down: "They played football until the evening"

Cheers

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