Hello.

Ok, I want to start by saying that I am from Poland. In our shops there are some books for learning English vocabulary that contain various essays on various topics. And the problem is that they were written by a polish woman. That's why I think there might be some mistakes in them. (I mean she wrote those books in a typical polish way - I mean the grammar may be correct but it looks like polish sentences just written with English words - I hope you know what I mean Emotion: stick out tongue ). So I hope you can help me with some of my doubts. So I will write some sentences and maybe you can tell me if they are correct. (these will be random sentences out of the context so do not worry about it)

1. After completing my studies I worked as a teacher of French in secondary school.

(I think there should be “a” secondary school)

2. Whenever I come to her, she treats me to delicious cake

(I think it should be ...she treats me to some delicious cake.)

3. However, I have not decided yet if I will go back to Bristol

(I think it should be ... if I go to Bristol – in English “will” after “if” is not used)

4. She has green eyes, turned up nose and auburn hair.

(I think it should be: “a” turned up nose... or maybe when we’re naming things one after another we drop the articles??)

5. A few minutes later I am in bed already and I fall asleep so as to get up again in the morning.

(I think it should be:... I am already in bed... different sequence of the words)

6. At present I go to secondary school but I finish it in a year's time.

(I think it should be: ... I will finish it....)

7. I would like to get good marks as I know that my future depends greatly on the results of this final exam.

(I think it should be ...because I know... but maybe “as” is also correct)

8. I am in the fourth form and that is why I have to study a lot so as to pass the examination for the secondary-school certificate.

(I think it should be: ...study a lot to pass ..... or maybe “so as” is also correct)

9. Then I will be able to study at university.

(I think it should be: ... at a university.... but maybe with school names articles are dropped)

10. ... in the near future I will be taking the entrance examination to university and I am anxious to pass it (the same problem as in point 9)

11. For three years I have attended secondary school.

(the same problem as in no. 9)

12. One can find a full or part-time job at the chemist's, in a coffee shop or supermarket.

(I think it should be: ... in a supermarket, or it’s sth like in point 4)

13. They want to have the right people in the right places and that is why they take the advice of an interviewer who helps choose the best candidates.

(I think it should be: ...helps them choose.... or ...helps to choose...)

14. I am writing to apply for the position of sales manager which was advertised in the Daily News.

(I think it should be: ...position of a sales-manager...)

15.

a) Generally, all states require people to attend school, usually from seven to sixteen.

(I think it should be:...a school...)

b) First they attend junior high school and then senior high school (...I guess it should be... “a” junior high school and...”a” senior high school)

c) If students decide to stay at university two years longer..(...)

(I think it should be: at the university)

16.

a) At the age of five, children go to Infant School. At the age of seven they move to Junior School where they stay until they are eleven (I think it should be: ..an Infant School, and...to a Junior School)

b) They provide education of an academic type and many students go on to university upon graduation (I think it should be: ...go on to a university...)

17. a)However, I cannot study all the time and I try to spend my leisure in the best possible way.

(I think it should be:...my leisure time in the best way....)

b) In my school, pupils from the literary set often organize gatherings at which popular artists, journalists or authors talk about their life, professional careers, read extracts of their writings and give autographs.

(I think it should be ...their lives....)

c) I like falling asleep with the conviction that I did not waste my spare time.

(is “with the conviction” really used?, or maybe there should be “knowing”?)

18. I always do my homework on Friday so as to have more time to spare at the weekend.

(the same thing as in point 8, is “so as” still used or maybe it used to be)

19. Lately I have watched a very interesting and moving film entitled "Forrest Gump". The film was the screening of a novel written by Winston Groom. (this one I’m not sure about – it’s just that I couldn’t find anywhere in the net a phrase “a screening of ...”, but maybe it’s correct, or maybe there should be “adaptation”??)

20. Well, we offer a room with bath in a luxury hotel or in a cheaper second class hotel.

(I think it should be: with a bath....)

21. A private bathroom, colour TV, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities and telephone are standard.(I think it should be: ....a hairdryer.., ...and a telephone....)

22. If someone wants to study at university, he or she has to go to a big city.

(I think it should be: ..at a university, and instead of “he or she” there should be “they”)

23. a)Many of them feel lonely as it is rather difficult to strike up a friendship or close acquaintanceship in a big city.

(I think it should be: .. or a close acquaintanceship...)

b) They just claim that life in a big city has a different quality and it is never dull (I think it should be ..that the life in the big city...but I’m not sure)

24. Our flat has a long corridor which leads into all the rooms. The bathroom and the toilet are separate. The kitchen is spacious and comfortable. There we have a big table with some stools and very nice cupboards. (can we say “There we have...?”)

25. I am fed up with it all. (I think it should be: I’m fed up with all of this.)

26. Heavy smog which hangs over such industrial areas as Silesia, Łódź or Cracow is a result of an unforeseeing communist policy which totally disregarded ecology (there is no such word as “unforeseeing”, the closest one is unforeseen but it would be misused here anyway, I think it should be: ... of an improvident communist policy...)

27. We can no longer afford to throw away non-disposable containers or packages or soon there will be no meadow, no beach, no lake, no space free from the debris of man. (I ‘ve never heard or seen anybody use “debis of man”, and I don’t even know what to put there to correct it)

28. Wales is the smallest land of the United Kingdom. It is situated on the south-west coast of Great Britain. It has considerable variety. (I think that the second sentence is incomples, hence incorrect. I think there is alwats “variety of sth”, so I think it should be ... It has “a” considerable variety of attractions) )

29. Although it is difficult to gain an idea of the United States as a whole, it is its diversity that makes this country unique and beautiful. (I think it should be: ....get the idea...).

30. a)Tiredness is a general weakening of the endurance of a person's system due to physical or emotional strain (Can we say “weakening of the endurance?” or is it incorrect?)

b) If people feel tired for much of the time, are down in spirits, low in energy, they should probably change their lifestyle (I think it should be: ....most of the time...).

31. Whenever we are ill or when we have to spend long hours on a train or bus, books seem to be irreplaceable. (I think it should be: ... on a train or a bus....)

32.a) Computers are having an enormous impact on science and technology. (Shouldn’t there be “Computers have..”?)

b) Also data gathering, testing and analysis have been improved by computer use. – ( shouldn’t there be.. the computer use?)

33. Society must acknowledge that responsible safety in traffic depends on learned behaviour.

(I think it’s incorrect. Can we say “responsible safety”? or maybe there should be “our safety” or “the safety”)

34. Moreover, children should be subject to some form of safety education as survival in modern traffic conditions demands a mass of knowledge and a variety of skills which are frequently tragically taken for granted. (I think it should be: ... a subject to some...)

35. They are not only the victims of the HIV virus but also the victims of a society which is very often not tolerant enough to accept them. (I think it should be: ...of the society...)

36. It can be argued that everyone should be given the right to decide about his or her life and death. (the same thing as in point 22, I think it should be: their life and death.)

37. a)Society seems to be very severe on criminals. However, people do not always realize that they are themselves to blame because on one hand they cannot eliminate such social injustices which lead to crime as overcrowding, penury or broken homes and on the other hand they are too liberal in treating criminals as heroes and glorifying them in the mass media

(I think it should be: ...they are to blame.. or ...they are the ones to blame.... and .....such social injustice which leads to “a” crime as... )

b) Why should man take part in such a cruel practice as depriving someone of his life?

(I think there should be:...why should a man....)

c) Finally, human life is of outstanding value and no man has the right to deprive another man of this value. (I think it should be: ....of an outstanding value....)

38. a)Man was a master and a ruler at home and his wife was dependent on his will. Therefore, she had to be a good mother, cook and submissive slave. (I think it should be: a cook and a submissive slave)

b) At the same time she proves that even having more duties and less physical strength than a man, she is still able to be a successful mother, housewife and career woman. (I think it should be: a housewife and a career woman.)

39. ....and the danger of turning the world into a desert because of too rapid an exploitation of the earth's natural resources. (I think that “an” shouldn’t be there at all)

40. The HIV virus perishes outside the human system and that is why it is not possible to get infected by touching, kissing, the bathtub or kitchen utensils (I think it should be ...“a” bathtub...)

41. ....but it has also enormous possibilities in the medical field (I think it should be: it also has... – word sequence)

42. Apart from the fact that experiments on human embryos is also a big risk that something may go wrong, resulting in deformity or serious medical disorders, and bio-genetic errors are irreversible.

(here is sth like “experiments (...) is”, I guess “experiments (...)are” is incorrect either so maybe it should be “...that conducting experiments (...) is also a big risk”?)

43.a) Still, most of us are scared of death, even if we believe in an after-life. (I think it should be: in after-life without “an”)

b) Many people take years to get over the depression and deep sorrow at the loss of a child, mother, brother or friend (I think it should be: ...a mother, a brother or a friend...)

44. Young people usually hitch-hike from place to place, carrying only a rucksack with a tent, air mattress and a few clothes. (I think it should be: “an” air mattress)

45. Well, when the weather is fine I sometimes cycle or roller skate in a nearby park, and if it rains I go to a swimming pool or tennis court. It varies. (Can we really say: “It varies?”, shouldn’t there be “That depends”?)

46. Of all my relatives, I like my aunt Alice the best. (I think it should be: I like my aunt Alice best.)

47. She dresses in rather an old-fashioned way but she is always smart and neat.

(I think it should be: she rather dresses in an old-fashioned way....)

48. The tragedy at Chernobyl has also demonstrated that...(I think it should be: the tragedy of Chernobyl, or ...the tragedy in Chernobyl....)

So there is quite a lot of it. I don’t even know if these are all incorrect but I’d like to be sure. Thank you for all your help. I really appreciate it. Greetings.
This is far too much for one post. In the future put only five in a single post. Otherwise, other forum members will find the task too daunting, and won't reply.

I'll do the first 10, and maybe others will continue.

1. After completing my studies I worked as a teacher of French in a secondary school.

(I think there should be “a” secondary school)

... as a French teacher in a high school. (AmE)

Even this is possible: ... as a high school French teacher.

2. Whenever I come to her, she treats me to delicious cake

(I think it should be ...she treats me to some delicious cake.) Either way is OK.

3. However, I have not decided yet if I will go back to Bristol

(I think it should be ... if I go to Bristol – in English “will” after “if” is not used)

Not true. This is an indirect question, and 'will' after 'if' is fine.

What would be wrong is this: *I will see the house where I was born if I will go back to Bristol.

4. She has green eyes, a turned-up nose, and auburn hair. (Red comma optional.)

(I think it should be: “a” turned up nose... or maybe when we’re naming things one after another we drop the articles??)

5. A few minutes later I am in bed already and I fall asleep so as to get up again in the morning.

(I think it should be:... I am already in bed... different sequence of the words)

Either way is OK.

6. At present I go to secondary school but I finish it in a year's time.

(I think it should be: ... I will finish it..)

At present I am going to [high school /secondary school], but [I'll be finishing / I finish / I'll finish] in a year.

7. I would like to get good marks as I know that my future depends greatly on the results of this final exam.

(I think it should be ...because I know... but maybe “as” is also correct) Both OK.

8. I am in the fourth form and that is why I have to study a lot so as to pass the examination for the secondary-school certificate.

(I think it should be: ...study a lot to pass ..... or maybe “so as” is also correct) Both OK.

9. Then I will be able to study at university.

(I think it should be: ... at a university.. but maybe with school names articles are dropped)

at university BrE / at a university AmE

10. ... in the near future I will be taking the entrance examination to university and I am anxious to pass it (the same problem as in point 9) Same explanation.

CJ
11. For three years I have attended secondary school. OK, but for three years at the end is more common.

(the same problem as in no. 9)

12. One can find a full or part-time job at the chemist's, in a coffee shop or supermarket.

(I think it should be: ... in a supermarket, or it’s sth like in point 4) Both ways are OK.

13. They want to have the right people in the right places and that is why they take the advice of an interviewer who helps choose the best candidates.

(I think it should be: ...helps them choose.. or ...helps to choose...)All three ways are OK.

14. I am writing to apply for the position of sales manager which was advertised in the Daily News. OK.

(I think it should be: ...position of --a-- sales-manager...) No. Noun phrases that indicate roles and titles don't take an article.

15.

a) Generally, all states require people to attend school, usually from seven to sixteen. OK.

(I think it should be:...--a-- school...) No. The idiom for being placed in some instructional setting is 'to attend school'. (No article.)

b) First they attend junior high school and then senior high school OK. (...I guess it should be... “a” junior high school and...”a” senior high school) And no again.

c) If students decide to stay at university two years longer..(...) OK. BrE.

(I think it should be: at the university Only in AmE.)

16.

a) At the age of five, children go to Infant School. At the age of seven they move to Junior School where they stay until they are eleven (I think it should be: ..an Infant School, and...to a Junior School) As above.

b) They provide education of an academic type and many students go on to university upon graduation (I think it should be: ...go on to a university...) As above.

17. a)However, I cannot study all the time and I try to spend my leisure in the best possible way.

(I think it should be:...my leisure time in the best way..) Both OK.

b) In my school, pupils from the literary set often organize gatherings at which popular artists, journalists or authors talk about their life, professional careers, read extracts of their writings and give autographs.

(I think it should be ...their lives..) Both OK. I prefer lives too.

c) I like falling asleep with the conviction that I did not waste my spare time.

(is “with the conviction” really used?, or maybe there should be “knowing”?) Both OK.

18. I always do my homework on Friday so as to have more time to spare at the weekend. OK.

(the same thing as in point 8, is “so as” still used or maybe it used to be)

19. Lately I have watched a very interesting and moving film entitled "Forrest Gump". The film was the screening of a novel written by Winston Groom. (this one I’m not sure about – it’s just that I couldn’t find anywhere in the net a phrase “a screening of ...”, but maybe it’s correct, or maybe there should be “adaptation”??)

I would have written, I recently watched a very interesting ... The film was an adaptation of a novel ...

What you have here is not wrong, however.

20. Well, we offer a room with bath in a luxury hotel or in a cheaper second class hotel.

(I think it should be: with a bath..) Yes. I would have written a bath.

CJ
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
21. A private bathroom, colour TV, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities and telephone are standard.(I think it should be: ..a hairdryer.., ...and a telephone..)

It should be: Private bathrooms, colour TVs, hairdryers, tea and coffee facilities and telephones are standard. As you aren't talking about one specific case, you use the plural throughout.

22. If someone wants to study at university, he or she has to go to a big city.

(I think it should be: ..at a university, and instead of “he or she” there should be “they”)

If someone wants to study at university, they have to go to a big city. No, it's just "at university", or "go to university". You're right about "they" though.

23. a)Many of them feel lonely as it is rather difficult to strike up a friendship or close acquaintanceship in a big city.

(I think it should be: .. or a close acquaintanceship...)

Many of them feel lonely, as it is rather difficult to strike up a friendship or a close acquaintanceship in a big city. A comma after "lonely" is needed, to make the sentence easier to read and understand. You're right about "a close acquaintanceship", however.

b) They just claim that life in a big city has a different quality and it is never dull (I think it should be ..that the life in the big city...but I’m not sure)

They claim that life in a big city has a different quality and is never dull. You can get rid of the "it" subject, as it's unnecessary. Life in the big city works as well, but both are correct. Your way is slightly more slang-like.

24. Our flat has a long corridor which leads into all the rooms. The bathroom and the toilet are separate. The kitchen is spacious and comfortable. There we have a big table with some stools and very nice cupboards. (can we say “There we have...?”)

Our flat has a long corridor which leads into all the rooms. The bathroom and the toilet are separate, and the kitchen is spacious and comfortable. In there, we have a big table with some stools and very nice cupboards. No, you can't say "There we have" without sounding as if you're translating in your head. Say "in there", or "in that room".

25. I am fed up with it all. (I think it should be: I’m fed up with all of this.)

I'm fed up with everything. The "it" or the "all of this" is unnecessary, and native speakers wouldn't say it.

26. Heavy smog which hangs over such industrial areas as Silesia, Łódź or Cracow is a result of an unforeseeing communist policy which totally disregarded ecology (there is no such word as “unforeseeing”, the closest one is unforeseen but it would be misused here anyway, I think it should be: ... of an improvident communist policy...)

Heavy smog, which hangs over such industrial areas such as Silesia, Lodz or Cracow, is a result of a communist policy which totally disregarded ecology. Yes, completely misused.

27. We can no longer afford to throw away non-disposable containers or packages or soon there will be no meadow, no beach, no lake, no space free from the debris of man. (I ‘ve never heard or seen anybody use “debis of man”, and I don’t even know what to put there to correct it)

We can no longer afford to throw any indisposable containers or packages, or soon there will be no meadow, beach, lake or any other space free from the debris of man. Debris of man is acceptable in English. However, non-disposable is not a word, use indisposable. Also, don't repeat the "no" every time in a list.

28. Wales is the smallest land of the United Kingdom. It is situated on the south-west coast of Great Britain. It has considerable variety. (I think that the second sentence is incomples, hence incorrect. I think there is alwats “variety of sth”, so I think it should be ... It has “a” considerable variety of attractions) )

Wales is the smallest country in the United Kingdom. It is situated on the south-west coast of Great Britain. Saying something is the smallest "land" is incorrect, it sounds robotic and un-English. It has considerable variety of what?

29. Although it is difficult to gain an idea of the United States as a whole, it is its diversity that makes this country unique and beautiful. (I think it should be: ..get the idea...).

Although it's difficult to summarise the United States as a whole, it is the country's diversity that makes it unique and beautiful. The whole sentence doesn't work, it just isn't fluent English. Instead of get the idea, use "summarise" or "generalise", and specify the subject in the second clause.

30. a)Tiredness is a general weakening of the endurance of a person's system due to physical or emotional strain (Can we say “weakening of the endurance?” or is it incorrect?)

Tiredness is a general weakening of the endurance of a persons system, due to physical or emotional strain. You can say it, but you shouldn't. Instead, use this:

Tiredness is the loss of strength and energy resulting for physical and emotional strain.
31. Whenever we are ill or when we have to spend long hours on a train or bus, books seem to be irreplaceable. (I think it should be: ... on a train or a bus..) No. You can "borrow" the preceding 'a' on 'train', so that "on a train or bus" already means "on a train or (on) (a) bus")
32.a) Computers are having an enormous impact on science and technology. (Shouldn’t there be “Computers have..”?) No. It's two slightly different things. 'are having' during the entire current period of time we are now living through - nowadays; 'have' in general, at all times.
b) Also data gathering, testing and analysis have been improved by computer use. – ( shouldn’t there be.. the computer use?) No. 'use' is uncountable in this context.
33. Society must acknowledge that responsible safety in traffic depends on learned behaviour.
(I think it’s incorrect. Can we say “responsible safety”? or maybe there should be “our safety” or “the safety”) No. It's OK.
34. Moreover, children should be subject to some form of safety education as survival in modern traffic conditions demands a mass of knowledge and a variety of skills which are frequently tragically taken for granted. (I think it should be: ... a subject to some...) No. The idiom is 'to be subject to'. The use of that idiom in this sentence is a bit strange, but it's correct.
35. They are not only the victims of the HIV virus but also the victims of a society which is very often not tolerant enough to accept them. (I think it should be: ...of the society...) No. It's a desciption of a certain kind of society, not a reference to a particular, specific society. You need 'a'.
36. It can be argued that everyone should be given the right to decide about his or her life and death. (the same thing as in point 22, I think it should be: their life and death.) Your version is also good.
37. a)Society seems to be very severe on criminals. However, people do not always realize that they are themselves to blame because on one hand they cannot eliminate such social injustices which lead to crime as overcrowding, penury or broken homes and on the other hand they are too liberal in treating criminals as heroes and glorifying them in the mass media
(I think it should be: ...they are to blame.. or ...they are the ones to blame.... and .....such social injustice which leads to “a” crime as... ) It is 'they are to blame', but 'themselves' is added as an intensifier. It's not a problem to add this kind of emphasis. You can change 'injustices ... lead' to 'injustice ... leads', but you can't add 'a' before 'crime'. 'crime' is uncountable here.
b) Why should man take part in such a cruel practice as depriving someone of his life?
(I think there should be:...why should a man....) Your version is also correct, but has a different meaning. 'man' is 'all mankind'; 'a man' is one individual.
c) Finally, human life is of outstanding value and no man has the right to deprive another man of this value. (I think it should be: ..of an outstanding value..) No. I don't know why exactly, but 'an' won't work.
38. a)Man was a master and a ruler at home and his wife was dependent on his will. Therefore, she had to be a good mother, cook and submissive slave. (I think it should be: a cook and a submissive slave) As above, 'a' on the first item of the series is "borrowed" into the rest of the items in the same list.
b) At the same time she proves that even having more duties and less physical strength than a man, she is still able to be a successful mother, housewife and career woman. (I think it should be: a housewife and a career woman.) As above.
39. ....and the danger of turning the world into a desert because of too rapid an exploitation of the earth's natural resources. (I think that “an” shouldn’t be there at all) No. It's correct. We use the indefinite article in that pattern, especially with 'too' and 'so'. too cold a day; so boring a lecture.
40. The HIV virus perishes outside the human system and that is why it is not possible to get infected by touching, kissing, the bathtub or kitchen utensils (I think it should be ...“a” bathtub...) Your version is also correct. When we use 'the' in cases like this, it refers to the specific instance most familiar to the speaker and/or listener. For example, "If you can't walk, take thebus" means to take that specific bus in your own town that gets you where you need to go. You're right that 'a bus' is also possible and perhaps more logical, but 'the' is also correctly used in these cases. [Note that the sentence is structured badly, however, as it seems to conjure up the image of kissing the bathtub, which is rather odd to say the least. Emotion: smile ]

CJ
CalifJim The HIV virus perishes outside the human system and that is why it is not possible to get infected by touching, kissing, the bathtub or kitchen utensils (I think it should be ...“a” bathtub...) Your version is also correct. When we use 'the' in cases like this, it refers to the specific instance most familiar to the speaker and/or listener. [Note that the sentence is structured badly, however, as it seems to conjure up the image of kissing the bathtub, which is rather odd to say the least.]
CJ
Hi,

"...to get infected by touching, kissing, lying inside the bathtub or sharing eating utensils."

I think the meaning should be clearer now.

Regards
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Hi,

41. ....but it has also enormous possibilities in the medical field (I think it should be: it also has... – word sequence)

Both are OK. 'Also has' is more common.

42. Apart from the fact that experiments on human embryos is also a big risk that something may go wrong, resulting in deformity or serious medical disorders, and bio-genetic errors are irreversible.

(here is sth like “experiments (...) is”, I guess “experiments (...)are” is incorrect either so maybe it should be “...that conducting experiments (...) is also a big risk”?)

The whole sentence is a disaster. It has no subject or main clause.

43.a) Still, most of us are scared of death, even if we believe in an after-life. (I think it should be: in after-life without “an”)

No. 'An afterlife', suggesting this is anew concept to the reader. Ot 'the afterlife', suggesting the reader is already aware of the concept.

b) Many people take years to get over the depression and deep sorrow at the loss of a child, mother, brother or friend (I think it should be: ...a mother, a brother or a friend...)

Both approaches are possible.

44. Young people usually hitch-hike from place to place, carrying only a rucksack with a tent, air mattress and a few clothes. (I think it should be: “an” air mattress)

Yes.

45. Well, when the weather is fine I sometimes cycle or roller skate in a nearby park, and if it rains I go to a swimming pool or tennis court. It varies. (Can we really say: “It varies?”, shouldn’t there be “That depends”?)

It's written as casual English (that's why 'well' is there).

The reader is expected to figure out that the rather vague 'it' means something like 'what I do each day'.

In such a context, the word 'varies' is OK.

'That' is not a natrural word choice, but you could say 'It depends'.

46. Of all my relatives, I like my aunt Alice the best. (I think it should be: I like my aunt Alice best.) Both versions are acceptable.

47. She dresses in rather an old-fashioned way but she is always smart and neat.

(I think it should be: she rather dresses in an old-fashioned way..) <<< No good.

It's fine as written. 'Rather' is placed to modify 'in an old-fashioned way'.

48. The tragedy at Chernobyl has also demonstrated that...(I think it should be: the tragedy of Chernobyl, or ...the tragedy in Chernobyl..) All 3 are correct. 'At' is the natural choice. 'Of' is OK. 'In' sounds a bit odd and uncommon.

Clive