Chinese learns English

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Saint, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. Saint Valued Senior Member

    I made him cry OR I made him cries?
    Can you please help me carry the tables? OR
    Could you please help me carry the tables?
    Using "could" sounds more politely?
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  3. Saint Valued Senior Member

    I love eating grapes OR
    I love to eat grapes?

    Both are correct?
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  5. Saint Valued Senior Member

    I read that "shall" has been obsolete to indicate future tense, it has been generalised to use "will" for present future tense.

    I had better go to school today OR
    I have better go to school today ?

    In my OXFORD Advanced Dictionary, it only shows "had better".
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  7. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Your Oxford is correct.
  8. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Yes, but slightly different. I'm not a language expert but to me the difference is this:
    "I love eating grapes" is something you might say when you are eating grapes.
    "I love to eat grapes" is something you might say when you are not eating grapes at that moment.
  9. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Which and that are similar in usage?
    The car which he drives belongs to his father.
    The car that he drives belongs to his father.
  10. Saint Valued Senior Member

    nearby vs near by:

    Every Sunday I attends a nearby church.

    The beach is quite near by.
    Do you live near by?
  11. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Is it good or bad to use abbreviation in writing?
    Like vs, e.g., etc.

    Or is it more preferably to write in full words of "for examples", "and so on".
    (Can I start a sentence with OR ?)
  12. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

    Use abbreviations judiciously. Be certain you understand exactly what they mean. Frequently they are misused/abused by writers who don't fully understand their meaning.

    i.e = "id est"; latin for "that is"

    etc. = "et cetera"; latin for "and other-things"

    et al. = "et alia"; latin for "and other-people"; (also "et aliae", "et alii"; feminine plural and masculine plural, if referring to a group of women, or a group of men)

    e.g. = "exempli gratia"; latin for "for the sake of an example"

    see: alii
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    cry. Your clue is that "him" is in the accusative case and therefore cannot be the subject of a verb, so the verb "cry" does not have to be inflected for third-person singular.
    "sounds more polite. Yes. "Can you" sounds more like an order, whereas "could you" sounds more like a question.
    Yes, although as Enmos says, there is a subtle difference in meaning.
    Yes. In formal speech the future tense is I shall, we shall, you will, he will, they will, but today most people always say "will."

    Reversing "shall" and "will" puts the verb in the imperative mode, i.e., a command or a promise.
    • "I shall go to school tomorrow," just a statement. "I will go to school tomorrow," perhaps you have been sick and you are determined to resume normal life in the morning.
    • "You will not commit adultery," an observation implying that I am familiar with your habits and your moral standards and I know you won't do it. "You shall not commit adultery," is the Seventh Commandment (or Sixth depending on the particular translation of the Bible), God telling you that you had better not do it or he will make you regret it for all eternity.
    • "Immigrants will be free to come to America," merely a (not necessarily accurate) observation of how America and its people have historically treated immigrants. "Immigrants shall be free to come to America," a promise by a political candidate to allow immigrants to come here and do the work that our children refuse to do, or never learned how.
    That phrase is an idiom, and you just have to memorize an idiom, rather than trying to understand how it came to be that way.
    Similar, but not identical.
    In this case they mean the same thing. This is not always true, but I can't think of a good example right now. It's also permissible to say "The car he drives...," but you have to be very careful that omitting the conjunction does not change the meaning of the sentence, or just make it hard to understand.
    It is perfectly fine and most of us write that way. Just remember to use the period(s), such as vs. instead of the way you wrote it. If you go to Great Britain you'll have to learn to leave the periods out: Mr Smith, Dr Jones, etc were all here. But in America we put them in.
    "More preferable," and the "of" shouldn't be there. And it's "for example," not "examples." The only reason you would choose the full words is that you are writing dialog, actually quoting speech. No one says "e.g.", although people often say "i.e." You have to be careful to understand contemporary usage. Of course these are Latin abbreviations. If the abbreviation is English, such as Mr. for Mister, then it's okay to write it the short way, even in a direct quote.

    The same is true for etc., even though it's Latin, because we actually say et cetera more often than "and so forth."

    Make sure you understand the difference between i.e. and e.g., and that will make you smarter than most Americans.

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    I.e. is Latin id est, which means "that is." If I say, "You're in America now, i.e., the United States, so stop using British slang," I mean that "America" and "United States" are equivalent. E.g is Latin exempli gratia, which means (not quite literally) "for example." So if I write (I wouldn't speak this way) "No matter where you go in America, e.g., New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, you will be welcome." I am not saying that New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are America. I'm giving them as examples of American places.
    If you're trying to learn proper English, you should not do that. But as you have surely noticed, in colloquial speech and writing we do it all the time. It's not truly a sentence, merely a dangling clause.
  14. Saint Valued Senior Member

    The spelling of English words is also a problem to foreign learner like me.
    We read stuff from British and American writers.
    Their spelling for some words are different.
    For us, we mix up those spellings and do not use certain choice of spelling consistently.
    For example,
    mold, mould
    recognise, recognize
    maneuver, manoeuvre
    color, colour

    And many else.
  15. birch Valued Senior Member

    this doesn't make sense, does it? since 'had' is past tense.
  16. Saint Valued Senior Member

    "Had better" is an idiom.
  17. keith1 Guest

    I'd use "I'd".
    And when one has many acceptable alternatives, no one alternative may be "best" or "better".
    If the writer is trying to transport the reader to an old english moment, the reader may appreciate the candelabra, old english Scrooge/Marley shtick.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2011
  18. Saint Valued Senior Member

    I ask him to put the plates on the table OR
    I ask him put the plates on the table.
  19. keith1 Guest

    I ask him, "put the plates on the table..."
  20. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    The first.

    Surely if you're writing as a quote/ speech then it would be
    I ask him, "Will/ would you put the plates on the table?"
  21. keith1 Guest

    He replied, exhausted, "Can I just drop the guy-dam plates on the table, or must I wait for the artistic license to expire!" He seemed overly-agitated for one not even remotely close to a table, at the time.
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    "is a problem for a foreign student like me." Don't forget the indefinite article.
    "by British and American writers."
    "Their spelling of some words is different." Spelling is a singular noun (you didn't write "spellings") so it must take a singular verb.
    This sentence is awkward. This is an instance where, if you find just the right word, it becomes easier. "We are confused by the different spellings, so we do not choose one way consistently."
    First, you need to choose whether you want to conform to British or American rules. There are both British and American companies in Malaysia, so your choice probably depends on whom you work for. Adopt the standards of the documents your company publishes.

    Once you make that choice, a few simple rules will solve most of these problems, but not all of them.
    • American -ize, -ization: Specialization. British -ise, isation: Specialisation.
    • American -or: Flavor. British -our: Flavour.
    • American -er, Center. British -re, Centre.
    • American period after abbreviations: Mrs. etc. British no period: Mrs etc
    Of course there are other individual differences that don't fall into any category. American mold, aluminum; British mould, aluminium. Usually but not always, the spelling with more letters is the British version.

    We have an entire thread on the difference between American and British English. In many cases we use different words, such as American wrench, truck vs. British spanner, lorry. You should read this one.
    "And many others" or "and many more."
    In this case the phrase is an idiom that has to be learned as is, with no explanation. It's a remnant of a more complex construction from a time when English grammar was more complicated. I suspect that "had" in this usage is the subjunctive mode rather than past tense. We now only use the subjunctive in one specific construction: "If I were king/president/smarter/etc."
    After a request, command, etc., the requested verb has to be in the infinitive mode with "to." "I want you to come over here." "He'd like us to stop leaving work early." "God commands us not to kill each other." "The instructions directed me to heat the water before adding the noodles."
  23. Saint Valued Senior Member

    I think the opposite is true.
    American rules prefer to use -ise.

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