1. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    sentence error

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by ohmyrichard, Oct 7, 2008.

    Hi, everyone. I came across a sentence in a test this morning, which goes, "The first twenty to thirty pages of James Joyce would give any reader a big headache. Fortunately, the rest pages are not that hopelessly difficult." The test taker is required to copy the original sentence with errors corrected if there's any. I would like to change it to "The first twenty to thirty pages of the work by James Joyce would give any reader a big headache. Fortunately, the rest of the book are not that hopeless difficult." But I am not sure of this revision. I remember Ulysses---the whole of it---is a big headache for most of us, so I will not say "The first twenty to thirty pages of Ulysses by James Joyce would give any reader a big headache. Fortunately, the rest of the book are not that hopelessly difficult." Have you got a better revision?
    Thanks.
     
  2. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    "The first twenty to thirty pages of James Joyce would give any reader a big headache. Fortunately, the rest of the pages are not that hopelessly difficult."

    or you could say...(using my own attitude about James Joyce)

    "The first twenty to thirty pages of James Joyce suck. Fortunately, the rest of the pages suck less." LOL
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    "The first twenty to thirty pages of James Joyce's Ulysses would give any reader a double migraine. Fortunately, the rest of the book is somewhat less agonizing."

    I also found Joyce a less than pleasant read. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one, although I always suspected that the English teacher who assigned it secretly agreed with me.
     
  4. Milady
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    Milady Contributing Member

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    Your revision:

    The first twenty to thirty pages of Ulysses by James Joyce would give any reader a big headache. Fortunately, the rest of the book are not that hopelessly difficult.

    If you're saying "Rest of the book", then that "are" should be an "is". It should only be an "are" if you are saying "the rest of the pages".

    Thus: The first twenty to thirty pages of Ulysses by James Joyce would give any reader a big headache. Fortunately, the rest of the book is not as difficult

    OR

    The first twenty to thirty pages of Ulysses by James Joyce would give any reader a big headache. Fortunately, the rest of the pages are not as difficult.

    Stylistically, I'd go with the first one ;).
     
  5. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thanks, NaCl. Did you mean that "of James Joyce" does not need to be changed to "of the work by James Joyce" or "of Ulysses by James Joyce" or "James Joyce's Ulysses"? But I am not clear about the meaning of "of James Joyce". Does it mean "the book the sentence writer is now reading"?
     
  6. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Your two revisions are of course correct in grammar, but does the message conveyed in the two versions really apply to Ulysses? Actually this was the reason why I dared not use "Ulysses" in my revision. I still believe that the whole of Ulyssess is something terrible.
     
  7. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is the correct sentence:

    "The first twenty to thirty pages of James Joyce would give any reader a big headache. Fortunately, the rest of the pages are not that hopelessly difficult."

    Your initial sentence said nothing about the specific book, Ulysses, and Joyce wrote many short stories which, collectively, represent the same writing style. My response reflected the more general impression of Joyce as an author.

    Your latter sentence in the original post was, "The first twenty to thirty pages of Ulysses by James Joyce would give any reader a big headache. Fortunately, the rest of the book are not that hopelessly difficult."

    It should read as follows: "The first twenty to thirty pages of Ulysses, by James Joyce, would give any reader a big headache. Fortunately, the rest of the book is not that hopelessly difficult." This correction recognizes that "book" is singlular, requiring the appropriate verb tense. (Just as Milady stated.)
     
  8. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    The "message" in both of her revisions is clear . . . Ulysses is simply an annoying book to read. (To tell the truth, it always amazes me when Joyce's name is included with lists of the true great authors in literature.)
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    since you're only told to correct the grammar, not the review of jj's work, you can't go further than fixing the wording to make it grammatical...

    salty's first example of the correction is the correct one, with 'of the' inserted where it was missing...

    to change 'pages' to 'book' is not correcting an error, but revising the sentence and not what you were instructed to do... part of scoring well on a test is following directions!... and the directions said nothing about 'revision'... only 'errors corrected'...
     
  10. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know you didn't ask for any correction of your own grammar in the OP, but since you are an English teacher in China, I feel compelled to point out that your sentence of instruction for the test is also incorrect. It should read: "The test taker is required to copy the original sentence with errors corrected if there are any."

    The verb relates to the plural noun "errors", and should reflect the tense appropriately. If you want to keep "there's", then you would need to change "errors" to singular; "the error".
     
  11. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thanks for pointing out my mistake. Thanks.
    Richard
     
  12. EyezForYou
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    Richard, I think you should do your own homework.
     
  13. Iris Reola
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    Iris Reola Member

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    Wouldn't "as" be a better word there? It is a comparison between the "first twenty to thirty pages" and the "rest of the pages", so it makes more sense to me if "that" is changed to "as".
     
  14. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Yes, I must do my homework. I have never stayed in an English-speaking country for some time. I lack the linguistic intuition that native speakers have and some advanced non-native learners have developed. I always view myself as a co-learner of my students' and I strongly believe that no learner of English can claim that he or she knows everything about the Englsih language. It is also my strong belief that modesty helps me to make progress.
    Thanks again for reminding me.
     
  15. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    In context, just saying the author's name may not be the best formal grammer, but in conversation it's perfectly okay. We would know from the conversation what specific book the speaker/writer is refering to. When they refer to James Joyce as a noun, they really do mean the specific book they are talking about, or could even mean his work in general. People say Shakespeare all the time when they are really refering to his plays. I can't remember the last time I heard someone say, "Shakespeare's plays."
     
  16. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I wouldn’t change it to book because you destroy the parallelism.

    The first twenty to thirty pages of James Joyce would give any reader a big headache; fortunately, the rest of the pages are not that hopelessly difficult.

    That is how I would rewrite it to correct any errors, but I think the book title should be mentioned, and also either headache should be changed or difficult should be changed to maintain parallelism.

    The first twenty to thirty pages of James Joyce’s Ulysses would give any reader difficulty; fortunately, the rest of the pages are not that hopelessly difficult.

    This also maintains more parallelism. On both sides of the sentence it is the same now, pages and pages, difficulty and difficult. You could also go with headache and agonizing as cog did.
     

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