1. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Would you please do me a favour and further improve a sentence? Thanks.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by ohmyrichard, Dec 1, 2012.

    Just now my student texted me asking about how to improve her sentence, which she would like to use in her writing assignment. The sentence goes as follows:

    I still remembered 2008, an eventful year, has witnessed life teemed with miracles that we could survive all disasters occurred frequently with powerful will and extraordinary courage.

    The following is my revision:

    I still remember 2008, an eventful year, which witnessed life teeming with miracles proving/demonstrating that we can survive all natural disasters occurring frequently with our powerful will and extraordinary courage.

    I am sure that there is still lots of room for improvement regarding my revision, but I do not know how to further improve it except that I faintly sense that there is the redundancy problem with the part of "our powerful will and extraordinary courage". Would you please help me to make the sentence sound natural? Thanks a lot.
    Richard
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The first version makes no sense at all to me - I can't even parse it. So I don't know what the student is trying to say. I can't say whether your revision captures the intended meaning or not.

    But I CAN say that this is definitely a sentence that desperately needs a serious rewrite.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are too many thoughts for one sentence; it needs to be multiple sentences.

    I still remember 2008. It was an eventful year, one teeming with miracles. It demonstrated that with will and courage, we can survive natural disasters.

    That fixes grammatical issues, but there are still plenty of problems. Miracles are things that happen without human intervention; they're not the same as "will and courage". "Teeming" is for things that move, metaphorically if not literally, and therefore doesn't work well for me with "miracles".

    Another possibility is:

    I still remember 2008. The events of that year demonstrated humanity's will and courage in the face of natural disaster.


    I think I'd need to see more of the piece to really decide how to rewrite this sentence.
     
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  4. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thanks a lot for your revisions. By the way, I like your second revision very much.

    Thanks a lot for your revisions.
    The student is not yet finished with the writing assignment. When she is, I will give it to you and ask you to revise it for us. By the way, currently I like your second revision very much.

     
  5. the antithesis
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    the antithesis Member

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    I still remember 2008, when life teemed with miracles and proved that we can survive all natural disasters with will and courage.

    I find it interesting that most thus far kept or incorporated parts of the phrase "an eventful year" when it was the easiest and most obvious cut to make.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    richard...
    here's one way to keep it all in one sentence that reads more easily and makes sense:

    more paring could be done, but this is the most that can be retained effectively, imo...
     
  7. ZarisRedmist
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    ZarisRedmist Member

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    "I still remember 2008, an eventful year, which witnessed life teeming with miracles proving/demonstrating that we can survive all natural disasters occurring frequently with our powerful will and extraordinary courage."

    'I can still remember 2008, that year, that year was teeming with miracles demonstrating how the human race can survive the slew of natural disasters becoming so frequent that only our will, and courage could stand above in that turbulent time.'

    I don't know if that is something you were looking for but I think it sounds a lot better; I think that the problem was you tried to make the sentence too complex sometimes simpler is better. Hope this helps!
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how is adding 12 words making it simpler? :confused:
     
  9. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    I agree with you that "sometimes simpler is better". Thanks for your advice and revision.

    Thanks a lot, maia.

     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not maia, but "teeming with miracles" doesn't work for me, because I'm unable to form a mental image of miracles as living or even moving things, or in fact as "things" at all - a miracle requires more than one entity, and the passage of time, and so I just can't form that mental picture.

    I'm going to go on to give examples of uses of the word.

    The below are completely straightforward uses, that don't stretch the definition at all:

    The cake was teeming with ants.
    Her parlor was teeming with cats.
    The street was teeming with sports fans, as the game let out.

    The below stretches the definition:

    The room was teeming with chairs.

    This would be a humorous (perhaps failed humor) image intended to suggest that there are so many chairs, so erratically placed, that it's as if they're a crowd of living things.

    Another stretch:

    My brain was teeming with ideas.

    This metaphorically equates ideas with living creatures.
     
  11. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    It sounds as if you are trying to convey that 2008 was full of great stories of remarkable people doing extraordinary things in the face of uncertainty and disaster.

    I agree with Chicken that 'teeming' is a poor choice of words.

    Also, I don't know the context, so I'm not sure about using the word 'still', as in 'I still remember...'. If the student was talking about a similar year that was more current, than this would make sense. Such as:

    "2012 was a tough year for China, but I still remember 2008, when..."

    It just seems that most people would remember four years ago.

    The part about miracles is really bothering me. There were events that happened in 2008, that facilitated amazing, unexplainable things. It bugs me to say, 'In 2008, there were a lot of miracles.' It just seems too undefined to create an unknown number of miracles the same way someone would say, 'In 2008, there were a lot of tornados.'

    I don't know, I would have to completely do a massive rewrite to make it sound alright. Something like:

    Something like that, but it would have to be broken up a lot and some of the descriptors changed or removed.

    ~ J. J.
     
  12. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    The frequent natural disasters have a powerful will?

    Perhaps

     
  13. the antithesis
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    the antithesis Member

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    The sentence describes a year teeming with miracles and natural disasters. I think the reader will think that was an eventful year without needing to be told so.

    Your student can put that in the sentence if they really want to, but it isn't necessary.
     
  14. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    After this post, I'm unsure why the discussion is ongoing -- this is elegant and concise.
     
  15. ZarisRedmist
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    ZarisRedmist Member

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    even though I added words to the sentence it makes it easier for almost any reader to understand what the sentence is supposed to truly mean if this sentence is to do what I believe its supposed to be which would be the grabber sentence that gets the reader's attention then if you make it simple enough for any reader to understand the higher your chances are of getting that reader to actually pick up and read your story and want to continue reading because it isn't difficult to understand and you don't have to try to decipher the sentence's true meaning which would drive readers away in my opinion
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    richard...
    'teeming' may indeed be a stretch, but to me falls within the 'literary license' exception, so i wouldn't worry about using it, as it does convey the idea that there were a slew of 'miracles' that year...

    if you want to try something else, you may want to consider 'was rife with'... i doubt any of those agin 'teeming' can find anything to dislike there...

    zaris...
    sorry, but i find your explanation yet another example of too long and too convoluted to be coherent...
     
  17. the antithesis
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    the antithesis Member

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    Fixed that for you.
     
  18. MJE
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    MJE New Member

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    'I still remembered 2008, an eventful year, has witnessed life teemed with miracles that we could survive all disasters occurred frequently with powerful will and extraordinary courage.'

    It seems like the writer is trying a bit too hard in this sentence and would perhaps benefit from using more than one sentence to accomplish her aim. I assume she's trying to say that the year 2008 , has witnessed miracles etc. which in the way she's done it, does not come off well at all.
     
  19. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thank you, the antithesis. Indeed, there is the redundancy problem with that part of the sentence.
     
  20. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Yes, you said it. My student tried to cram too much information into one sentence.
     
  21. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    "I still remembered 2008, an eventful year, has witnessed life teemed with miracles that we could survive all disasters occurred frequently with powerful will and extraordinary courage."

    This made vague sense to me but suffers from a number of problems as well as grammar, including the fact that the connections between actions and subjects are unclear, the tenses are mixed, and it's too much for one sentence. My take would be:

    "I still remember 2008. A year in which I witnessed terrible disasters. And a year in which I saw that with a strong will and great courage we could survive them."

    Bear in mind that I don't know the backstory, i.e. was their more than one disaster. I'm just trying to work with what was written. I've also changed some words, teeming for many and added terrible. It sounds perhaps a little more dramatic than intended, but I think it conveys what was meant. The most important thing to my mind was to connect actions and subjects more correctly. Years don't witness anything. This piece is about what one person witnessed / recalled about that time in my view. I would also change survive if I was writing it, to something like overcome or get through.

    Hope it helps.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  22. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Hi,Greg. Thank you very much for your revision and explanation!
    Richard
     
  23. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    You guys are the greatest. I can't thank you enough. Wish you all the best in life.
    Richard
     
  24. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Hi,everyone. The following is the final draft my student has got with my help. But I'm sure there are still problems in it which I as a non-native speaker have no way to detect. Please point out any mistakes in this draft so that I can also improve my English through reading your proof reading and taking your advice. Thanks.

    Titile: My Understanding of Happiness
    Recently the survey titled “Are you happy?” conducted by CCTV(China Central Television Station) has drawn enormous attention from the Chinese public. Some people interviewed at random think entering university is happiness, and some other respondents say having a lot of money is happiness. This survey has triggered a heated discussion online where Chinese netizens(Chinese Internet users) also give diverse answers to this same survey question. But as for me, living a simple life is happiness.

    In my view, happiness is not material possession but a mental state of satisfaction and contentment which often comes from simple things in life. For example, we Chinese, me included, customarily feel very happy when our families of two or more generations have a dinner together. Besides, I think of sitting alone in the sunshine, listening to a graceful song or reading an enlightening book as happiness. Although these are small and simple things in life, I still gain happiness from doing them alone or together with others. In addition, to my understanding, sometimes overcoming adversity also gives us a sense of happiness, although paradoxically in quite a poignant way. I still remember in 2008, an eventful year, we the Chinese people were confronted with many misfortunes. For example, as a result of a horrendous earthquake which hit central China, many people were separated from their family members and relatives and many people lost their loved ones to the natural disaster. We can imagine how emotionally difficult it was for those who survived to meet again under those circumstances. However, I found all the survivors and their family members returning home from afar felt unspeakably happy when reunited. They hugged each other tight as if they owned the whole world. The moment that they met, happiness was there. I realized through them that we should treasure everything in our life and that being alive to live with the people that we love is the greatest thing in this world.
    .
    As is seen to me, happiness may be much simpler than we imagine. We should cherish every moment we spend with our families and friends and every minute of our life.
     
  25. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's quite good... i only see three minor things needing a change:

    ...it's a very moving piece and very good advice... you are such an excellent teacher... your students are extremely lucky to have someone who works so hard on being sure he is teaching another language accurately...

    love and hugs, maia
     

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