1. Adhulari
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    Adhulari Member

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    Grammar English grammar test help

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Adhulari, Nov 20, 2015.

    Because I'm moving to the UK soon, I am taking an IELTS test. When I took the placement test to determine my current level, I scored 94% (which really bugged me, of course, because I was really aiming for 100%) .
    Anyway, I was viewing the correct answers to my mistakes and I'm really confused. Could someone help me out?

    I had to fill in the gaps. One of the sentences:
    Is there a post office near here?’ ‘I’m not sure, but I think _______.’
    I could choose from four answers, one of which was "so". That's the one I picked but it was incorrect. The right answer was: "it is".
    This doesn't make sense to me. If I could have written the answer myself I would have gone for "there is". Why is it "it is" in this case? It seems like it doesn't match the questioning sentence, but is it an expression or something?

    Then there was this one.
    The policeman will explain _______ a hotel.
    My answer: where you can find
    Correct answer: where can you find

    How does that make sense??

    The last incorrect one was this:
    Most English people prefer tea _________ coffee, don’t they?
    I would have picked "over" but that wasn't an option. I chose "on" because I really had no idea. The correct answer was "to".
    Would it be wrong to use over?

    Any help with these questions would be very much appreciated! Don't want to sound like a complete retard when I arrive in the UK :nosleep:
     
  2. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    1/ It sounds like they're answering the question Is the post office near here? When the answer ...I think it is would be appropriate. If the question was as you've written it, then ...I think so is fine - although another of the answers you eschewed might have been "correct".

    2/ You're right, they're wrong.

    3/ Most English people prefer tea over coffee... is more typically American...I would always prefer something to something else...but over isn't wrong. Although I might favour my son over my daughter. (Not true, in case either of you is reading!)
     
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  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You're correct. Using "it is" would only work if they were talking about a specific post office ("the post office"). So something like this would work:
    It doesn't make sense. Your answer is correct.

    Using "over" is perfectly acceptable. So is "to."
     
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  4. Adhulari
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    Adhulari Member

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    Thanks :) I find the distinction between American and British English really difficult. I hear both so I tend to just mix them up.

    Glad to hear I'm not going crazy. I've half a mind to complain to them about it because, you know, I really wanted a good score... but I'll handle this in a mature and non-petty way and accept my score.

    ...Even though I'm boiling with rage inside :supermad:
     
  5. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure I'd take advice on anything to do with tea from somebody whose location is Boston...
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    One does tip things over the side of a ship. I'm left to wonder if there isn't a connection. :whistle: :-D
     
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  7. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    Two bad issues with the test layout, one legit error by omission of acceptable alternatives. I dislike multiple choice questionnaires for several reasons - this being one of them.

    Oh and Wreybies, hehehe.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I second @thirdwind's comments.

    Is there a post office near here?’ ‘I’m not sure, but I think _______.’
    So or there is. Definitely not it is.

    where can you find: No
    That one sounds like a non-native English speaker wrote the answer, unless that's a British wording, but it still wouldn't make your answer wrong.

    Tea on coffee: No

    So you got one wrong, and the test had two wrong. Bet they didn't have a native English speaker read over the test.
     
  9. Adhulari
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    Adhulari Member

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    Thanks everyone. Luckily this was just the placement test, so I hope these kind of mistakes aren't in the actual test. I can't really imagine that there will be. It's a pretty big, internationally recognized test so they would probably get in trouble for mistakes like that.
    I just really want to do well... it will affect which jobs I can get in the UK. It makes me so nervous :(
     
  10. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whether you see accepting your score as mature or not, I'd say you have a duty to point out these ridiculous errors.
     
  11. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    To clarify:
    [Person A] Is there a post office near here?
    [Person B] I’m not sure, but I think _______.

    *Possible answers discussed:
    I’m not sure, but I think so.
    Valid. An informal way of expressing uncertainty while retaining a belief to the contrary.​
    I’m not sure, but I think it is.
    Valid, but more formal. It places emphasis on the uncertainty versus an inclination to the contrary.​
    I’m not sure, but I think there is.
    Awkward because "there is" not a proper end to a sentence. Reads like an incomplete thought. Example "I think there is [one/a post office] <direction or relative location.>"
    In all honesty, the "I'm not sure, but" is entirely useless here. The responses show different hidden hierarchies in relative confidence and likely formality. Personally my rule seems to fall on:
    With friends - "I think so."
    In a professional setting "I think it is."
    This might be the reason why the latter example was "correct" despite both being perfectly valid examples. Still... very annoying, but I would not personally argue this question unless you wanted to cause problems. Stick to the clear error if you are going to object. Then, and only if they value your opinion, try to clarify why a valid informal expression is an option for this question in the first place.

     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    This option isn't valid. It would be a valid answer to "Is the post office near here?" but it's not a valid answer to "Is there a post office near here?

    Samples where the wrongness is hopefully clearer:

    Is there a taxi stand at the airport?
    I'm not sure, but I think it is.

    Is there a vegetable sink in your kitchen?
    I'm not sure, but I think it is.

    Is there a chain lock on your door?
    I'm not sure, but I think it is.
     
  13. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    I just realized how awkward it sounds, but it is used and maybe it is because I work with a lot of ESL people that it does not bother me anymore. When used to general proximitiy, it sounds better to me, but that is because it comes up with "Is the bathroom near here?" and the response is typically, "I think it is." rather than "I think so."

    Gah... this is like "ain't" to me now. ChickenFreak is correct in general. While I frequently encounter it, does not mean it is proper. Not British English either.
     

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