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ADVANCED

WRITTEN
ENGLISH
Robin Macpherson

&
WYDAWN ICTWO NAUKOWE PWN
WARSZAWA 2 0 0 4

ijekt okladki i stron tytulow ych Maryna Wisniewska


lak to r Barbara Wewior
daktor techniczny Leonard Zielinski

Table of Contents

jpyright by R obin M acpherson


arszaw a 2001

BN 83-01-13575-1

ydawnictwo Naukowe PWN SA


1-251 W arszawa, ul. Miodowa 10
L: (O-prefiks-22) 695 43 21
ks: (O-prefiks-22) 826 71 63
mail: pwn@pwn.com.pl
ww.pwn.pl

Preface...........................................................................................

Glossary of C oncepts.................................................................

Vocabulary..................................... *...........................................
Lexical Choice Involving Parts o f Sp eech .........................
Nominalisations..................................................................
Adverbs vs. Verbs..............................................................
Proper Adjectives...............................................................
Adjectives vs. Prepositional Modifiers.............................

19
19
19
22
24
25

Frequent Problems with Specific Lexical Item s...............


B elong.................................................................................
G e t.......................................................................................
Emerge, Happen, Occur, Prove, Turn O u t..........................
Namely and Related Expressions.......................................
Easy, Difficult, Possible, Impossible.................................
Value....................................................................................
C itizen.................................................................................

27
27
28
30
32
34
36
37

Selected Structural Peculiarities..............................................


Appositions I .......................................................................
Appositions II: Appositions vs. Prepositional Structures
Because in Negative Sentences.........................................
Being and Having...............................................................
Be + fo-infmitive...............................................................
Comment Clauses with A s................................................ .
Complements and the Verb To B e.....................................
Constructions with As and Than.......................................

39
39
43
47
50
54
55
57
61

Gerunds.........................................................................................
M o st...............................................................................................
O f -.Many of..., Most of..., Some of... etc.....................................
Problems with Negative Sentences ............................................
Relative Clauses and the Comma...............................................
There..............................................................................................
What, Which etc............................................................................

64
66
67
69
73
77
83

tylistic D evices.....................................................................................
Cleft Sentences with the Pronoun I t ...........................................
Emphatic Word Order: Fronting ..............................................
I: Hardly, Only, Rarely, Scarcely etc..................................
II: With As and Though................................ ......................
Relative Clauses in Apposition..................................................

89
89
92
92
95
98

larity and S yn tax...............................................................................


Abrupt Sentence Endings............................................................
Coordination.................................................................................
I: Unjustified Change of Subject.......................................
II: Concord and Gender Bias..............................................
III: Absence of Parallel Structure........................................
IV: Unjustified Change of Person........................................
V: Dangling Participles.....................................................
Splices...........................................................................................
Unclear Antecedents I .................................................................
Unclear Antecedents II - The Pronoun I t ..................................
Un-English Syntax.......................................................................
I: Verb and Object.............................................................
II: Main and Subordinate Clauses......................................
III: Composite Attributive Expressions..............................
IV: Parallel Expressions.......................................................
V: Active vs. Passive...........................................................

103
103
106
106
108
112
117
118
119
121
123
126
126
127
129
132
134

Rhetorical Enhancers: Conjunctions and Discourse Markers.....


Concession and Contrast.............................................................
Similarity and Contrast.................................................................
Therefore and Related Expressions.............................................
In My Opinion... ............................................. .........................

136
136
141
145
148

Articles: A Few T ips................................................. ..........................

152

Punctuation...........................................................................................
(The Comma see Relative Clauses and the Comma..............
The Colon.................................................... .................................
The D ash.......................................................................................
Inverted Commas.........................................................................
The Semicolon.............................................. ................................

161
73)
161
165
168
172

Key to the Exercises.............................................. ...............................


In d e x .......................................................................................................

177
203

Preface

Glossary of Concepts

ie past decade has witnessed an unprecedented increase in the level of


lglish among non-native speakers. Having mastered the language to
legree which allows for essentially unimpaired communication in both
eech and writing, more and more learners are aiming to achieve a native:e competence. It is precisely these learners whose written English, adnced as it is, may still be marred by syntactical patterns that do not vio:e the grammatical rules in any obvious way and yet are alien to English
iom.
Advanced Written English focusses on sophisticated structures characristic of English at a high idiomatic level, since their complex character
d richness of nuance are a source of recurrent problems. Common as they
5, these problems are still generally overlooked by grammar books and
nee by the learner. It was my aim to draw the readers attention to these
oblem areas, which I have presented with detailed, step-by-step explana>ns, accompanied by exercises and a key.
Like my previous work English fo r Writers and Translators, this publition is addressed to advanced users of English, and the two books are to
large extent complementary in character. However, it must be stressed
at my presentation of the issues included in Advanced Written English
>es not in any way presuppose the readers knowledge of material disissed elsewhere. Nor is the reader required to adhere to the order of presitation as has been offered: the respective sections can be used independitly or combined in such a way as to answer individual needs, a feature
hich makes the book ideal both as a teaching aid and as reference material
r self-study. It is particularly recommended to teachers, translators, writs and journalists, as well as students of philology, teacher-training colges and those preparing for the CAE and Proficiency exams.
Gdansk, 2001

In this book a number of terms appear that might be unfamiliar to the reader:
adverbial (also - expression, - link, sentence - )
An adverbial is a word or phrase which functions as an adverb (e.g. by
contrast, fortunately, in fact, moreover, possibly, quite recently, therefore,
undoubtedly), giving us extra information about an action, happening or
state. An adverbial may introduce a sentence, but is not to be confused with
a conjunction (e.g. although, because, while etc.).

antecedent
This is the word to which a pronoun {he, she, it, who, which etc.) refers, e.g.:
1 . 1hejiarty was a great success - the guests really enjoyed it.

2. Anyone can join our club who is interested in poetry.

In 1 the expression The party is the antecedent of it; in 2 Anyone is the


antecedent of who.

apposition
Generally an apposition denotes a noun or noun phrase placed beside an
other in order to describe it, while being unconnected to it by any preposi
tion or conjunction, e.g.:
1. Joan, my wifes cousin, has just returned from America.
2. Jack is visiting Brighton, his hometown.

In 1 Joan is the grammatical subject of the sentence, while the phrase my


wifes cousin is an apposition; the phrase is in apposition to Joan. In 2
Brighton is the object of the verb phrase is visiting, while his hometown is in
apposition to Brighton.

ributive
attributive adjective occurs before the noun to which it refers. Compare
: following alternatives:
a. This is a dangerous road.
b. This road is dangerous.

a dangerous is in attributive position, while in b it is in predicative


sition. Most adjectives can be both attributive and predicative.

ixiliary verb
1 auxiliary verb is one like be, do, have or will which is used in combinan with another verb to make verb phrases, and especially to form tenses,
T *
5* *

Do you want another biscuit?


Mary is visiting her friends.

complement
Complement in the broad sense means something that is necessary to com
plete a grammatical construction. Here, however, it is used in a restricted
meaning to denote a noun or noun phrase that completes a predicate con
taining the verb to be:
1. Margaret is a librarian.
2. Peter was such a kindly m an.

In 1 and 2 a librarian and such a kindly man are complements of Margaret


and Peter respectively.

concord
Concord is the way a verb form changes according to whether the subject is
singular or plural (concord of number), or first, second or third person
(concord of person). Thus we say the boy is (singular) but the boys are
(plural); we say I am (first person) but he is (third person) etc.

John has gone to London.


Peter will miss the train.

eft sentence
cleft sentence is when special emphasis is given to one particular part of
sentence by means of it or what, e.g.:
1. W ho took the money? It was Peter that took the money.

conjunction
A conjunction is a word like and, but, although, because, if, whereas etc.
It can be used to link clauses together:
a. I arrived early, but John appeared much later.
b. I arrived early whereas John appeared much later.

(Cf. also adverbial and coordinate clause.)

2. W hat you need is a long holiday.

1 and 2 special emphasis is given to Peter and a long holiday respectively.

m m en t clause
ie following sentences contain comment clauses (underlined):
1. John was a pilot, so he claims, in the Battle of Britain.
2. She was, as she admits, too lazy to take the jo b seriously.

he types of comment clause discussed in this book are virtual parenthe<s - in the above examples the commas could almost be replaced with
rackets:
la . John was a pilot (so he claims) in the Battle of Britain.
2a. She was (as she admits) too lazy to take the job seriously.

coordinate clause
Compare the following sentences:
a. I arrived at the party early, hut John appeared much later.
b. I arrived at the party early, whereas John appeared much later.

In a the two clauses are grammatically equal (i.e. coordinate). In b, how


ever, the second clause is subordinate to the first: the second clause (whereas
John appeared much later) cannot function as a grammatically self-con
tained sentence, while the first clause (/ arrived at the party early) can.

coordination
Unlike coordinate clause, the term coordination in this book does not have
any specialised grammatical significance. The sections which are listed un11

r the heading coordination bring together problems involving formal con;tency and logicality in the construction of a given sentence.

iangling participle
dangling participle is a participle that, when referred to its grammati1 subject, gives nonsense, e.g.:
*Not knowing the British mentality, many things might seem
rather strange at first.

ere the participle not knowing has the grammatical subject many things,
hich makes the sentence nonsensical.

fronting
Fronting is when a part of the clause is brought to the front in order to give
it special emphasis, e.g.:
John loves Renaissance music. Baroque he absolutely hates,

gender bias
This expression denotes a tendency in grammar (not only English) to be
have as if all human beings were of the male sex. Compare the following
alternatives:
a. All people can become members o f our Society who wish
to deepen their understanding of Britains heritage.

efining relative clause {also: restrictive relative clause)


his is a relative clause which defines or identifies the noun it refers to, e.g.:
H eres the lady who owns that black tenier.

'Tot every lady owns a black terrier. Contrast non-defining relative clause.)

iscourse marker
, discourse marker denotes a large group of words and phrases which indicate
te relationship between what is being said and its context, and which often
:veal the speakers attitude to what he is saying (e.g. as a matter of fact, fortuately, frankly, obviously, possibly, on the other hand, strangely enough etc.).
llipsis
-llipsis is the leaving out of words when their meaning can be understood
:om the context. Compare the following alternatives:
a. On one side the passengers could see the bay,
and on the other they could see spectacular hills.
b. On one side the passengers could see the bay,
and on the other spectacular hills.

n b it is not necessary to insert the words they could see in the second part
if the sentence.
Jote:
'hroughout the book asterisks (*) have been used to indicate usage which is unacceptable,
ixtreme examples of incorrectness have been marked with double asterisks (**).

.2

b. Anyone can become a mem ber of our Society who wishes


to deepen his understanding of Britains heritage.

Sentence b means essentially the same as a, but the subject Anyone is singu
lar. The possessive adjective his refers to Anyone, even though both sexes
are clearly intended.

inversion
Inversion is when the verb comes before the subject, e.g.:
She is a smoker, as are most o f her friends.
{instead of: just as most of her friends are.)

In the underlined words the phrase most o f her friends is the grammatical
subject of the as-clause and governs the verb are.

main clause
Sentences often consist of a main clause and a subordinate clause, e.g.:
1. I ll do the job when I get there.
2 . Although the driver was drunk, the police let him go.

In 1 the main clause is I'll do the job, and in 2 it is the police let him go\ in
both 1 and 2 these clauses could form self-contained sentences, being gramma
tically complete. By contrast the clauses when I get there and Although the driver
was drunk could never on their own form grammatically complete sentences.

modifier
Cf. postmodifier
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ominal phrase {cf. noun phrase)


ominalisation
ominalisation means preferring nominal to verbal language in order to
onvey the message; more simply, it means using a noun to express someling which could also be expressed by means of a verb. For example:
a. M r Jones is an employee of the Town Council.
b. M r Jones is employed by the Town Council.

entence a uses the noun phrase (or nominal phrase) an employee, while
uses language which is more verbal.

on-defining relative clause {also: non-restrictive relative clause)


his is a relative clause which does not define or identify the noun or noun
hrase that it refers to (because we already know which person or thing is
leant), e.g.:

part of speech
A part of speech is a grammatical category of word, e.g. a verb, noun, ad
verb, adjective or conjunction.
participial postmodifier
This is when a word or phrase is modified by a participle or participial clause
that comes after it, e.g.:
1. Some o f the people accused were clearly innocent.
2. Various theories explaining this phenomenon have been advanced.

In 1 the participle accused modifies Some o f the people. In 2 the participial


clause explaining this phenomenon modifies Various theories. {Cf. also
postmodifier and prepositional postmodifier.)

possessive adjective {also: possessive)


My, your, her, our, their etc. are possessive adjectives.

Here is Pamela Jones, who owns that black terrier.

Contrast defining relative clause.)

ion-finite verb
s. non-finite verb is one that cannot on its own serve as a predicate in a
entence, e.g. smoking, been etc. The term refers especially to infinitives,
tarticiples and gerunds. (A finite verb is one that can serve as a predicate
n a sentence, e.g. smokes, is smoking, is expected, has been etc.)
loun phrase {also nominal phrase)
"his is a group of words which together behave as a noun, e.g. the previous
ditions, my nephews wife, the city o f Rome etc.
)arallel expression
Jarallel expressions are words, phrases and clauses in a parallel relaionship to each other, unlinked by any conjunction, but separated by
i comma:
*TV influences our feelings, emotions.

postmodifier
This is a word, phrase or clause that comes after the word or phrase which it
modifies, e.g.:
a. The house across the road is said to be haunted.
b. Last night there was a nightingale singing in the garden.
c. There are many reasons why foxhunting should be banned.

In a the prepositional phrase across the road modifies The house-, hence it is
also called a prepositional postmodifier. In b the participial phrase singing
in the garden modifies a nightingale-, hence it is also called a participial
postmodifier. In c the clause why foxhunting should be banned modifies
many reasons. (Cf. also participial postm odifier and prepositional
postmodifier.)

predicate
The predicate is the part of a sentence which tells us about the subject. For
example, in the sentence Marjory has just arrived, everything except Marjory
is the predicate. (Cf. also complement, non-finite verb.)

*We must face these problems, try to understand them .

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15

>redicative
V predicative adjective is one that is placed after the verb to be, to look,
o seem etc., as in the following examples:
This road is dangerous.
You look tired.

If. attributive.

prepositional postmodifier
fhis is when a word or phrase is modified by a prepositional phrase that
:omes after it, e.g.:
the man on the moon
the house across the road

Here the prepositional phrases on the moon and across the wad modify
he man and the house respectively. (Cf. also postmodifier and partici
pial postmodifier.)

proper adjective
European and American are examples of proper adjectives. A proper ad
jective is formed from a proper noun (e.g. Europe, America).
proper noun
This is a type of noun that designates a particular person, place or thing, e.g.
Charles, Europe, Buckingham Palace. Typically it begins with a capital let
ter. (Cf. proper adjective.)
register
Register denotes a variety of language employed in a particular situation.
For example, in private a politician or chairman of the board might talk
about tackling specific problems, but in front of the television cameras he
will express the intention of addressing those problems. Addressing is of
a more formal or higher register than tackling.
sentence adverbial (cf. adverbial)

16

splice
By splice is meant an element in the middle of a sentence whose relation
ship whether to the preceding or subsequent part of the sentence is uninten
tionally obscure, as in the following example:
*Like Mother Teresa, devoting herself to the poor and dving.
Lady Diana also made caring for them her principal work.

subordinate clause
Cf. also main clause and coordinate clause
transitive
This is a category of verb that is able to take a direct object, e.g. eat (a biscuit),
give (a present), throw (a stone).

Vocabulary
Lexical Choice Involving Parts o f Speech

Nominalisations
English often displays a strong tendency to prefer verbal rather than nomi
nal constructions in order to express its meaning. This may be illustrated
by means of the following alternatives:
la . *We humans do not have any influence on our death. Those who wish
to live a long time often die in their 30s, while those who do not care
about longevity tend to live to a ripe old age.
lb . We humans do not have any influence on how and when we die....

Of the two formulations our death (la ) and how and when we die (lb ) only
the latter is in keeping with English idiom.
Let us now consider the following four sentences:
2a.
2b.
2c.
2d.

All our efforts are aimed at the improvement of quality.


All our efforts are aimed at the improving of quality.
All our efforts are aimed at improving quality.
All our efforts aim to improve quality.

In the first sentence improvement is a noun pure and simple, albeit one
that is derived etymologically from the verb improve. To many English
people the sentence would sound highly formal, even unnatural. In terms
of register it might be found in an annual report, or in a statement delivered
by a president or chairperson on a highly formal occasion.
19

The second sentence (2b) contains the gerund improving preceded by


article the and modified by the preposition of. It is less formal than the
st sentence.
The third sentence (2c) again contains the gerund improving, which is
llowed by the direct object quality. It is even less formal than the second
ntence.
The fourth sentence (2d) uses a very different structure, namely the
finitive to improve, governed by the verb aim. Of all the sentences it is
e least formal of all.
The four sentences represent a gradation: from the formal to the inforal, and from nominal to verbal structures. Sentence 2a represents a style
' writing that is frequently felt to be alien to English idiom.
5

uggested Exercises (1):

ewrite the sentences below using verbal structures to replace or modify


ie italicised words. Avoid using gerunds wherever possible. Example:
a. The existence o f this tendency is beyond all doubt.
b. It is beyond all doubt that this tendency exists.
1. An answer to this question is not simple.
2. Our foundation invites you to participation in a correspondence course.
3. TV is not only an ideal source of information but the easiest way o f manipu
lation as well.
4. It is enough to get on a bus to be a witness o f many discussions about politics.
5. The purpose of the course is the preparation ofxhe students fo r a conscious
and critical use o f the language.
6 . The Royal Family was opposed to the K ings marriage to a divorcee.
7. Such a man is an unsuitable representative o f a country and its people.

13. For those people who do not happen to be the lucky owners o f a car, trains are
the easiest and quickest m eans of travelling.
14. The improvement and more intensive utilisation o f the railways would have
the effect of a significant decrease in traffic congestion.
15. The failure o f the engine persisted, and we thought we would be stuck there.

The importance of paraphrasing will be familiar to any experienced trans


lator. Let us look at the following sentence, which is an extreme but not
infrequent example of translationese:
3a. *The knowledge of the principles of correct usage
o f a language is very important.

Characterised by three o/-phrases one after the other, the sentence is all too
typical of a text that has been translated into English mechanically and
without any attempt to make the end product truly readable. Of course
there are various ways in which the above sentence may be improved and,
by implication, the mistake which it exemplifies avoided. Here are just two
possibilities:
3b. In any language it is very important to know
the principles that determine correctness o f usage.

3c. Knowing the principles determining correct usage is very important in


any language.

Suggested Exercises (2):

Rewrite the following sentences using verbal structures to replace or


modify the italicised words:
1. One shortcoming of globalisation is the danger of domination o f small
countries by multinational concerns.

8 . Another m istake often made by parents is lack o f trust in children.

2. A teacher m ust be capable o f fairjudgem ent o f students as individuals.

9. The attaining o f Enlightenment is the wish o f every Buddhist.


0. A good teacher must be patient, as the necessity o f repeating the same
information several times over is quite common in this job.

3. Such problem s are a consequence o f unawareness o f the full significance o f


the situation.

1. Poles may be critics o f priests and question some of the C hurchs teachings,
but they love the Pope.
2. Unfortunately some teenagers stop their development at the stage o f adoles
cence.

4. The factors determining life expectancy can easily be identified by means o f


a comparison o f the present century with form er epochs.
5. The theme of this essay is the computers invasion o f every sphere o f our
private domain.
6 . With the decline of established values people seem to have lost the feelin g o f

the necessity o f doing good deeds.

>0
21

. The incredible sharpness o f the senses o f cats makes them react to paranor
mal phenomena.
. W e run a serious risk of a loss o f our traditional, rather conservative values.
The new developments in archaeology resulted in the consideration o f the
possibility o f coexistence o f groups o f people as reflected through numerous
ancient cultures.

Yet notwithstanding all the above remarks, nominalisation remains an


mportant stylistic option for any serious writer of English. Let us compare
he following two alternative sentences:
4a. TV can lead to family life becoming impoverished.
4b. TV can lead to the impoverishment of family life.
5a. If there is an emergency, call 999.
5b. In the event o f an emergency call 999.

vVhich of the two we prefer will be largely determined by our sense of


egister, the second of each being more formal than the first. This diffeence of register is especially obvious in 5a-b: if, as is likely, the context is
m official notice in a telephone booth, then only 5b will be appropriate.
And if we compare the following two sentences:
6 a. Pharaoh was chastised because he refused to release the Israelites.
6 b. Pharaoh was chastised for his refusal to release the Israelites.

we see that the first sentence uses a verbal construction which is rather
simplistic and more appropriate for a childrens tale, while the latter might
3e considered typical of any adult context.

l a . Although the artists works apparently enter the surrealist


convention, they are closer to the poetry of childrens dreams.
lb . Although the artists works appear to enter....
2a. This castle was supposedly built by Ulrich von Falkenberg
around 1440.
2b. This castle is supposed to have been built by....

In each of the above alternatives, the second (lb , 2b) would be widely
considered to be more in keeping with English idiom.
It is especially at the beginning of the sentence that English often pre
fers a verbal construction where other languages might use an adverbial
expression. Compare the following alternatives:
3a. Possibly he will be there tomorrow, but it is far from certain.
3b. It is possible that he will be there tomorrow....
4a. Undoubtedly there have been huge changes in public awareness
o f the environment. Evidently the environment has become
a key concern.
4b. There can be no doubt that there have been huge changes in
public awareness of the environment. It is evident / obvious that
the environment has become a key concern.
5a. To begin with, the writer discusses new developments in
e-commerce and the Internet, giving a detailed presentation
of the current situation. N ext he examines how advances
in information technology will affect our lives.
5b. The writer begins by discussing new developments...
He goes on to examine....

In each of the above alternatives, the latter (3b, 4b, 5b) would be widely
considered to be more typical of English idiom.
Sometimes, however, a verbal construction and an adverbial expression
are equally possible. Compare the following:

Adverbs vs. Verbs

6 a. Each lesson was crammed with theory. As a result

students attended classes reluctantly.


6 b. ...As a result students were reluctant to attend classes.

In the previous section it was pointed out that English often displays a striking
tendency to favour verbal rather than nominal constructions in order to ex
press its meaning. The same predilection, albeit less marked, is also to be
found when there is a choice between a verbal construction and an adverbial
expression. This may be illustrated by means of the following alternatives:
22

7a. The new proprietors have decided to specialise in conferences


and training courses. Obviously they have not forgotten
about individual clients, who will be as welcome as always.
7b. .. J t goes without saying that they have not forgotten about
individual clients....

23

8 a. Our physical surroundings exert a considerable influence on

our attitudes. Apparently city life is much more attractive


for those who are tired of life in the country.
8 b. ...It would appear that city life is much more attractive for those
who are tired of life in the country.

;n in cases where both verbal and adverbial options exist, it is important


emember that the former may well be more appropriate to the particular
itext.
cording to, In accordance with
elated problem involves the excessive use or misuse of the expressions
wording to and in accordance with. Compare the following alternatives,
which the second is preferable by far:
la . According to Catholic dogma the Pope is infallible.
lb . Catholic dogma holds that the Pope is infallible.
2a. In accordance with my personal experiences I believe that
life in the country can offer many attractions.
2b. M y personal experiences have taught me that....

Suggested Exercises (3):

Improve or correct the following sentences:


1 . Philadelphia is one of the biggest American cities.

2. The various European cultures have been intermingling for thousands of


years.
3. Such an observation is certainly true of the Polish young generation.
4. The Spencers are one of the most aristocratic British families.

Of course, there is a place in the English language for proper adjectives,


as in the following examples:
The Chinese economy grew by one percent last month.
The British attitude to tradition is unlike any other.
The strikers have brought the French transportation system to a standstill.

But above all, it simply cannot be taken for granted that a proper adjective
in the native language is to be rendered by the corresponding grammatical
form in English. Since the rules governing use are elusive, the only advice
is to proceed carefully.

3a. In accordance with an old belief fresh air, forests and fields
have a positive influence.
3b. It is an old belief that fresh air....
4a. Freud came up with a theory according to which dreams mirror
the passions which are concealed in the subconscious.
4b. Freud came up with a theory which holds that dreams mirror....

roper Adjectives
frequent error of non-native writers of English is to use proper adjeces where English would prefer nouns (European vs Europe, British vs
itain etc). Contrast the following sentences:
a. ^Blackpool has one of the most magnificent British beaches.
b. Blackpool has one of Britains most magnificent beaches.
c. Blackpool has one o f the most magnificent beaches in Britain.

ily b and c are really in accordance with English idiom.

Adjectives vs. Prepositional Modifiers


English sometimes uses a prepositional postmodifier where other languages
may prefer an adjectival expression. Compare the following alternatives,
of which only the second (lb ) is standard English:
la . Mary has a golden heart,
lb . Mary has a heart of gold.

This observation does not, however, imply that the use of an adjective
instead of a prepositional postmodifier is generally less typical of English;
the choice is simply dictated by idiom, on a case-by-case basis. The fol
lowing instances merit attention:
2. The cafe was a meeting place for many literary figures.
3. The Poet Laureate is a renowned man of letters.

25

"he above sentences exemplify set phrases. Thus we say literary figure
>ut man of letters. By contrast figure of letters is not English, while
literary man is highly informal at best.
The point can be further illustrated by means of the following altemaive sentences:
4a. Many Cubans dream of escaping communist reality.
4b. Many Cubans dream of escaping the reality of communism.

n the above alternatives there is no obvious difference of meaning: they


vould appear to reflect differing stylistic preferences and are equally
:orrect. The important thing to remember is that what in other languages
s expressed adjectivally may need to be rendered quite differently in
inglish.1

Suggested Exercise (4):

'n the following sentences choose the most appropriate alternative:


I. Such a child will never listen to any critical words / words o f criticism.
>. That was the moment Eastern Europe embarked upon its democratic path /
path to democracy.

Frequent Problems with Specific Lexical Items

Belong
The verb to belong is frequently a cause of problems. It is used to express
membership of a clearly defined family, class or community, as in the fol
lowing examples:
Tigers belong to the cat family.
English belongs to the Germanic group of languages.
The composer belonged to a secret organisation.

Note how in each of these examples the subject (tigers, English, the com
poser) belongs to something that is grammatically singular (the cat fa m
ily, the Germanic group o f languages, a secret organisation). The verb to
belong cannot be used as a synonym of to be one o f . Consider the fol
lowing alternatives:
i. *The Habsburgs belong to Europes most ancient dynasties.
ii. The Habsburgs are one of Europes most ancient dynasties.
iii. The Habsburgs are among Europes most ancient dynasties.
iv. The Habsburgs rank (are to be ranked) among etc.
v.
The Habsburgs are to he numbered (counted) among etc.

Sentence i is simply un-English.


Suggested Exercises (5):

Correct the following sentences, rephrasing them in any suitable manner:


1. Dunes belong to the characteristic features of the Baltic littoral.
2. These monuments belong to those most often visited by lovers of art.
3. Frankly, the Joneses do not belong to those people who have fastidious tastes.
4. According to the latest computer-based analyses the B M J belongs to the top
three most prestigious journals in the world.
1 One aspect of the above phenomenon relates to the use of proper nouns and adjectives
(European versus of Europe etc), discussed above, p. 24f.

5. Visiting the poor and chairing various charity organisations belonged to her
m any duties.

27

Sensitivity, intelligence and tolerance also belong to the qualities o f a good


teacher.
Health and happiness belong to the most precious things in life.
The m urder m ysteries of Agatha Christie belong to the most popular books
ever written.
Diet belongs to the most crucial factors in human longevity.

6. obtain
a. There is no better way than TV of getting information on recent events.
b. There is no better way than TV of obtaining information on recent
events.

7. possess
a. Few of the village doctors have got adequate medical equipment.
b. Few of the village doctors possess adequate medical equipment.

*et
et is the most overused verb in the English language, often being used
here other verbs are more suitable. In all except informal contexts its
/erase generally creates an impression of slovenliness, and its misuse leaves
1 impression of illiteracy. Look at the following sentence pairs, in each
f which the word get is replaced by an alternative:
. acquire
a. Many politicians have got a reputation for corruption.
b. M any politicians have acquired a reputation for corruption.

. become
a. Getting acquainted with other cultures broadens the mind.
b. Becoming acquainted with other cultures broadens the mind.

. derive
a. It is from there that he gets most of his income.
b. It is from there that he derives most o f his income.

. grow
a. W hen one considers all these contradictions, one simply gets confused.
b. W hen one considers all these contradictions, one simply grows
confused.

. have
a. M y grandmother has got a special way o f dealing with unwelcome
guests.
b. M y grandmother has a special way of dealing with unwelcome guests.

In the above examples each of the first sentences (a) is informal or con
versational, while each of the second (b) is characteristic of more serious
writing.

Suggested Exercises (6):

Replace get in the following sentences (in some o f them a verb other than
those listed above may be possible):
1. Politicians often try to get access to television-studios.
2. A good psychologist has got intuition.
3. All too easily people get lazy and prefer sitting in their armchairs.
4. One gets the impression that the world is m oving ever faster.
5. Many people desire to get truly educated.
6 . A mature person never tries to get out of facing the consequences o f his

actions.
7. The paparazzi will chase anybody to get some interesting and sensational
material.
8 . People may get anxious because o f these economic problems.

9. One can easily get something interesting for oneself out of the programme
offered.
10. Ethical standards have got a historical aspect to them.
11. The older one gets the wiser one becomes.
12. It is possible to get a great deal o f satisfaction from reading books.
13. When trains are delayed for so long people often get furious.

29

zmerge, Happen, Occur, Prove, Turn Out

d. Sadly the dog proved (to be) vicious and had to be put down.
e. That argument proved to be the last straw: John left home.
(= Later on it became clear that that argument had been the last straw.)

Tiese verbs are very often confused, since their meanings largely overlap.
. happen
his verb emphasises the element of chance and fortune. The following
entences exemplify various constructions with this verb:
la. He happens to have the same birthday as myself.
(= It is an interesting coincidence that he has..)
lb. It so happens that he has the same birthday as myself.
2.

This equipment will be of use to you wherever you happen to be.


(= wherever you may be)

3.

He is, as it happens, a member of our club.


(= It is a remarkable coincidence that...)

4.

Tt quite often happens that the schools heating system breaks down.

!. occur
"his verb has two principal meanings that are very different from each
tther.
1. When did this event occur? (= take place)
2. It just did not occur to him that his best friend had
let him down. (= He did not realise...)

sf.B. In neither of these two meanings is occur interchangeable with the


'erbs prove and turn out, being quite distinct from them. The phrase *It
)ccurs that... does not exist.
f. prove, turn out
rhese two verbs differ especially in terms of register. Prove is more fornal. In the following sentences prove and turn out are interchangeable,
lepending on the degree of formality:
a. The new secretary proved (to be) incompetent.
b. That battle proved (to be) decisive. (= Later on it became clear that
that battle...)
c. The supplies that they had prepared proved (to be) inadequate.

50

N.B.
After prove the verb to be can often be left out (especially when followed
by an adjective, as in examples a-d.). This omission is not generally possi
ble with turn out:
a. The new secretary turned out to be incompetent.
(Not: *tum ed out incom petent)

b. The film turned out to be awful and we left halfway through.


(proved awful is more formal and much less likely.)
c. He turned out to he a gifted artist.
(proved to be is much more formal.)

4. It turns out that..., It emerges that..., It transpires that...


These phrases generally mean It becomes apparent that.... The first of
the three is much more common than the other two:
a- It often turns out that our dreams have little to do with reality.

Transpire and emerge are used especially when a secret, above all a scan
dalous secret, comes to light. Transpire is of a higher register than emerge.
b. From my talks with the new chairperson it emerges that the firm is
on the verge of bankruptcy.
c- It now transpires that the director has been embezzling money
for many years.

Suggested Exercises (7):

Fill the gaps in the following sentences:


1 . Such mistakes can som etim es--------- fatal.

2. Yesterday I ----------to meet M r Jones at the post office. He had some


amazing news about our common friend.
3. His attitude----------to be incompatible with his daughters.
4. From evidence that has newly come to lig h t----------the Rosenbergs were
indeed Soviet spies.
5. Generally such children----------to be completely maladjusted.

31

6 . --------- the number o f accidents at that nuclear plant is out of all proportion

7.
8.

9.
10.
11.

to its size.
M alaria----------especially in warmer climates.
Before TV was discovered family members had more time for each other.
N ow adays,----------we are more interested in the lives of our favourite TV
characters.
We all know those evenings w h e n ----------we have nothing to do but sit in
an armchair and read a book.
The subject----------more complicated than I thought.
When she finally did contact her parents i t ----------that her father had died
a few months earlier.

Namely and Related Expressions


The adverb namely is generally used to introduce short phrases, as in the
following examples:
1. Let me focus on a key issue facing Europe nowadays,
nam ely expansion of the EU.
2. Let us turn to a problem that so fascinated Freud,
nam ely the way dreams reflect our subconscious.

In addition namely may be used to introduce a clause involving a nonfinite verb:


3. Both parents and teachers have the same task to perform
nam ely to educate a rising generation.

In this last example, but not in 1-2, which is is also possible instead of
namely.
3a. Both parents and teachers have the same task to perform,
which is to educate a rising generation.

A recurrent error is to write sentences of the following types:


4. *This paper will be examining one of the greatest
modem health hazards, which is air pollution.

32

5. *Kurt claimed that in life there is something that goes beyond


money and fame it is freedom and independence.

In both of the above sentences the word namely should be substituted:


4a. ...namely air pollution.
5a. ...namely freedom and independence.

Namely is seldom used to introduce a sentence, the following passage


exemplifying a recurrent error:
6 . *Our language has recently been deluged with English borrowings.

Namely a man selling drugs is a dealer, someone who constructs


new buildings is a developer, while McDonalds and Kentucky
Chicken are examples of fast foods.

In the above example Namely is impossible and needs to be replaced by


Thus.
Other related phrases, include in other words, to be more specific, and
that is to say (often shortened to i.e.). It is important to remember that
namely is not used very frequently in contemporary English, other options
being preferred.
Namely and i.e.
These two expressions differ in one other important respect. While both
aim to clarify, only namely makes the meaning more specific. Compare
the following:
a. This summer we visited Stonehenge and Avebury, i.e. two prehistoric
sites.
b. This summer we visited two prehistoric sites, nam ely Stonehenge and
Avebury.

Suggested Exercises (8):

How can the following sentences be best completed?


1 . In any family business the board of directors has only one prim ary goal,

the wellbeing of the whole clan.


2. There is one city in Central E urope,----------Berlin, where Europes postwar
divisions have been most clearly highlighted.

33

Although M r Jones knows what his daughters interests are, he does not treat
them seriously.----------he does not help Amy to develop her interests, but
rather tries to project his own ambitions onto her.
The healthiest way to eat fruit is the opposite of the conventional w a y ,-----one should have it before the main meal, rather than after.
Man has another feature that animals la c k ,----------the possibility of rising
above the instincts.
Natural aptitude is indispensable for being a good teacher.----------it is not
enough to possess a knowledge of a particular subject.
Let us focus on the most important benefit of living in the country, ------- th<
abundance of fresh air.
The Princess also mentions some of the g o ssip .----------she notes that a book
by an erstwhile friend of hers is to a great extent fantasy.
The Governm ent has always pursued the same judicious foreign policy,
--------- to promote good neighbourly relations.

2c. *Our secret code is possible to decipher.


2d. Our secret code is impossible to decipher.

Most English people would reject 2c as being ungrammatical, whatever


the context; in addition, some would also avoid using 2d in written con
texts.
The following variant of this construction is also used,involving
a subject of the infinitival clause being introduced by fo r (sentences 3a
and 3b):
3a. It is easy (difficult / possible / impossible) for the Enemy
to decipher our secret code.
3b. It is not possible for anyone to achieve this goal.

A typical mistake, if we turn to 3b, is to write a sentence such as the fol


lowing:
3c. *This goal is not possible to achieve by anybody.

asy, Difficult, Possible, Impossible


iese words may govern infinitival constructions, but these must be in the
tive, not the passive voice:
orrect:

Suggested Exercises (9):

Construct sentences from the following elements, modifying them where


necessary, e.g.:
a. Such information + BE + impossible + to obtain from any book.
b. It is impossible to obtain such information from any book.
1. Such prosperity + BE + impossible + to achieve within a few years.

With the Internet the world has become easier to comprehend,

2. If hope + BE + possible + to market, it would have a value higher than


diamonds.
3. The area is w et and therefore + difficult + to plough.

tcorrect:
With the Internet the world has become easier to be comprehended.

4. These things are priceless but + possible + to obtain for free.


5. These things + BE + not possible + to experience until recently.

asy and difficult, possible and impossible share one particular construcon involving the infinitive. Compare the following sentences.
1. It is easy / difficult / possible / impossible to decipher our secret code.

2a.
2b.
4

Our secret code is easy to decipher.


Our secret code is difficult to decipher.

6 . Skiing + BE + almost impossible + anyone + to learn at such an age.

7. Such books BE + not easy + to read.


8 . Such bad memories + BE + impossible + to erase within a short time.

9. Ethnic conflicts are inherently intractable and + impossible + to solve only by


bombing.

35

ralue

Citizen

his word is also often misused, as in the following examples (la and 2a):

This word generally has a very restricted technical meaning, occurring pri
marily in legal contexts:

la . *Human life is the greatest value, and doctors should stop at nothing
to preserve it.
lb . Nothing is more valuable than human life, and doctors should
stop at nothing to preserve it.
2a. *We underestimate many values in our lives. The m ost important
ones, like health and peace o f mind, cannot be purchased at any
price.
2b. W e underestimate the importance of many things in our lives.
Those like health and peace of mind cannot be purchased at any price.

1. All British citizens aged 18 or over have the right to vote.

Citizen also has the meaning of city dweller, as in the following sen
tence:
2. Citizens of Philadelphia have a wide variety of cultural events
to choose from.

This second example would, however, strike many, if not most English
people as very stiff and formal, and needs rewriting:

i lb and 2b the word value has been replaced by a paraphrase, while in


b the paraphrasing has even necessitated rewriting the following senjnce.
Often, thus, the use of value is either unnecessary or inappropriate.
)ther expressions (e.g. thing, element, aspect, quality, blessing, benefit
tc.) or even paraphrases should also be considered.

Thus, citizens can very often be circumvented by such expressions as lo


cal people, people who live in that place, inhabitants, townsfolk,
the general public, ordinary people etc.

iuggested Exercises (10):

Suggested Exercises (11):

7ind better alternatives to the word value in the following sentences, para
phrasing wherever appropriate:

Paraphrasing where necessary, fin d better alternatives to citizen in the fo l


lowing sentences, in which the word is typically misused:

. Are we really able to find any positive values among all those shown on TV?
Literature still has a number of values that cannot be replaced.
i. Our ancestors were able to preserve the m ost important values of culture,
despite all the wars and calamities.
L People often have fight for such priceless values as freedom and peace.
i. E uropes traditional music, legends, literature and art are eternal values which
are respected by all cultured people.
3. For many a clear conscience is the most important value in life.

36

People in Philadelphia have a wide variety of cultural events


to choose from.

1.

Country life is often despised by citizens who feel superior to villagers.

2.

This question is of interest both to specialists and to average citizens.

3.

For long JFK s memory was revered and American citizens did not subject
his lifestyle to close scrutiny.

4.

The Internet could change the lives o f citizens as much as the telephone,
the radio and the TV have done.

5.

An hours walk in the open will guarantee a satisfactory level o f fitness for
the average adult citizen.

37

5. An Englishman in Amsterdam will have little difficulty in communicating


with the local citizens.
7. These old traditions strike us as being increasingly exotic, just as they do
western citizens.
8 . Politicians should be role models for ordinary citizens.
9. M any o f the citizens o f Rom e live elsewhere during the summer months.
0. Hundreds of years ago the Latin language was widely known and spoken
among educated citizens o f our country.

Selected Structural Peculiarities

Appositions (I)
An apposition (literally placing at) occurs, for example, in the following
sentence:
Maijorie, my nephews wife, runs a boutique.

The noun phrase my nephews wife is in apposition to Marjorie. In


other words, an apposition is when a descriptive word or phrase is con
nected to the word or phrase that it describes without the use of conjunc
tions or prepositions. Appositions do, unfortunately, tend to be a thorn in
the flesh for many non-native writers of English, since meaning, punctua
tion, and the use of the article all come into play. Let us consider the fol
lowing sentence:
la . W hen the cup final was held between two arch-rivals.
Celtic and Rangers, many people expected trouble.

In sentence la the phrase Celtic and Rangers is obviously in apposition


to the phrase two arch-rivals. The sentences structure could be made much
clearer by inserting the word namely.
W hen the cup final was held between two arch-rivals,
namely Celtic and Rangers, many people expected trouble.

The following (lb ) is an alternative formulation:


lb . W hen the cup final was held between the two arch-rivals
Celtic and Rangers, many people expected trouble.

39

le crucial thing is that an article (the) has been added and the punctuation
is been reduced (one comma has disappeared).
While both la and lb are primarily about peoples fears, there is a sigficant difference in nuance: la informs us about the existence of Celtic
id Rangers, and that they were arch-rivals at that time (thus implying that
e might not necessarily have known).
lb , by contrast, makes no such implication about the readers knowlIge. Although the article is used (the two arch-rivals), lb does not imply
iat arch-rivals on the one hand ox Celtic and Rangers on the other have
reviously been mentioned.
Note that in sentence la the phrase two arch-rivals can hardly be fol>wed by any punctuation other than two commas. Here are two typical
~rors of punctuation:
i. with dashes:
lc . *When the cup final was held between two arch-rivals
- Celtic and Rangers - many people expected trouble.

/hile not absolutely wrong, the punctuation of lc is acceptable only in


ighly informal contexts.
ii. with colon:
Id. *When the cup final was held between two arch-rivals:
Celtic and Rangers, many people expected trouble.

Tie mistake exemplified by Id is far worse because the apposition Celtic


nd Rangers is in the middle of a sentence and separates the subordinate
lause (When...) from the main clause (many people...). Thus the colon
ffectively chops the sentence up into 1) a subordinate clause, and 2) an
pposition + main clause.
The next example conforms to the same pattern as la-b:
2a. A Danish thinker, S 0 ren Kierkegaard, is sometimes regarded
as a forerunner of existentialism.
2b. The Danish thinker S 0ren Kierkegaard is sometimes regarded
as a forerunner of existentialism.

n these two sentences a difference of nuance may again be discerned: 2a


uggests that the reader is perhaps not so likely to have heard of
Cierkegaard, and hence the tone is strongly didactic or expository; 2b is
K)

altogether more neutral, making no assumptions about the readers level


of education.
A further example is essentially the same:
3a. England is bounded on the west by three Welsh counties: Gwent,
Powys, and Clywd.

3b. England is bounded on the west by the three W elsh counties (of)
Gwent, Powys, and Clywd.

Again 3a assumes that the reader may not have known that Gwent,
Powys, and Clywd were Welsh counties, and hence the tone is markedly
didactic. By contrast, 3b is not didactic: it makes no assumptions about the
persons knowledge.13a is slightly different from la and 2a: a colon has
been substituted for the comma. The reason for this is that the apposition is
not sandwiched between two clauses, but instead concludes the sentence.
Finally there is one tendency, typical of journalism, to favour structures
exemplified by lb , 2b and 3b, but without the initial article the:
4. NATO spokesman Jaimie Shea was in no doubt
where the real blame for the incident was to be placed.

The above examples point to patterns of usage, rather than any gram
matical rules as such. Of course, usage varies widely depending on subjec
tive considerations of what feels right, and in practice both types (a and
b) may often be used interchangeably, without any obvious difference of
nuance. The pattern illustrated in the type b sentences does, however, have
one important advantage: it involves little or no punctuation, and hence
might be considered more elegant.
Additional Note:

Consider the following alternative sentences, involving a one-word appo


sition to a pronoun:
a. This is an event that we, Britons, will always remember.
b. This is an event that we - Britons - will always remember.
c. This is an event that we Britons will always remember.

Only the final sentence is typical of English punctuation. (Cf. also below,
pp. 165f).
Nor does the use of the article (the three...) imply that Welsh counties have already
been mentioned.

41

Suggested Exercises (12):

Rewrite the following sentences in their optimalform, making all necessary


changes (punctuation, word order, articles etc):
1. Our company owns a/the Dutch publishing house Polkadot.
2. Benjamin Disraeli a/the British PM played a crucial role in the crisis.
3. The book describes the relationship between Humbert Humber a/the writer
and a precocious teenager.
4. Mikhail Gorbatchev a/the Soviet politician also describes these events.
5. From my window I have a spectacular view of an/the extinct volcano
Shavnabada, which forms part of the central mountain range.
6 . The above journals are complemented by a/the monthly bulletin Forthcoming
Publications.
7. Viking comes from an/the old Nordic word vikingr meaning pirate.
8 . The P easants Revolt was led by a/the man of humble origins W at Tyler.

9. Using e-mail I can communicate with Richard, my Australian friend, within


a few seconds.
10. A poll conducted by Newsweek an/the American magazine also gave the
same results.
11. Juvenal a/the Roman poet once said that the supreme good is a healthy
mind in a healthy body.
12. Taking a/the double name John Paul II, he soon established a reputation for
him self as a defender o f freedom, offering great moral support for a/the trade
union Solidarity.
13. Not only does the President face a charge of sexual harassment by Paula
Jones a/the form er Arkansas State employee, but he has also had an
extramarital affair with M onica Lewinsky a/the 21-year-old White House
intern.
14. A/The name Iron Curtain was given to the Elbe frontier.
15. Orphee, conceived and directed by Jean Cocteau a/the great French
playwright, is a case in point.
16. Today demonstrations will be taking place across Serbia in the framework of
Alliance for Change a/the mass movement.
17. Spiritual regeneration is a recurrent theme in nineteenth-century literature.
Thus the protagonist (Raskolnikov) of a/the novel by Dostoyevsky Crime
and Punishment undergoes something of a spiritual rebirth.
18. I would like to quote the words of a song by Iron Maiden, a/the British
heavy-metal band.

42

19. The Pope John Paul II has tried to continue the work of John XXIII a/the
great reformer and an/the enlightened conservative Paul VI.

Appositions (II):
Appositions vs. Prepositional Structures
A special type of de facto apposition is used for towns, cities, districts,
landmarks, islands etc. It is typically expressed by the pattern the...of.
Compare the following alternatives:
a. The Cotswolds area has many picturesque towns. One charming spa,
Cheltenham, is especially worth visiting.
b. ...The charming spa of Cheltenham is especially worth visiting.

Both a and b have the same meaning. In the first alternative, Cheltenham
is technically in apposition to One charming spa. The second alternative
is especially typical of English idiom, conforming to a well-established
pattern that is found with various categories of proper nouns:
I. Towns and Villages:
1. The city of Rome is situated on the Tiber.
2. The town of Monmouth is the gateway to Wales.
3. The village of Tintagel is associated with King Arthur.
4. Today the Pope is visiting the Baltic port of Szczecin.

All the above sentences contain nominal phrases characterised by the pat
tern the...of... In each instance two nouns are linked by of to form a whole:
thus in 1 the phrase the city would be incomplete without of Rome
(the sentence refers to all of Rome, not just to one part);1 similarly in
4 the Baltic port and Szczecin are identical the phrase does not imply
any distinction between, say, a port of Szczecin and the rest of that city.
1
Phrases like the city o f Rome are not to be confused with the phrase the City o f Lon
don, which means one particular part of London - the ancient heart of the city where the
Bank of England, the Tower, and St Pauls Cathedral are to be found.

43

t is im p o s s ib le to le a v e t h e o f o u t a n d to w r ite **the city Rome, **the

Confer also the following sentence:

own Monmouth etc.


Let us look at the following alternatives:
a. The next conference will take place in Aberdeen, Scotland.
b. The next conference will take place in the Scottish city of Aberdeen.

The difference between a and b is one of register: a is typical of the lan


guage of official circulars and application forms, while b is typical of jourlalism and more general contexts.
Sentence b implies that Aberdeen is not a capital city. Were E dinburgh
o be substituted for A berdeen, a different construction would be necessary :
c. The next conference will take place in the Scottish capital Edinburgh.
d. The next conference will take place in Scotlands capital Edinburgh .1

n other words, the Scottish capital of Edinburgh is


impossible.This
iistinction, exemplified by sentences b - d , is generally applicable to the
;ities and capitals of other countries.
II.a. Counties, Kingdoms, Duchies:
1. The County of Gwent was formed from several smaller counties .2
2. The kingdom of Wessex was the focus of resistance to the Vikings.
3. Long ago the Duchy of Burgundy was very powerful.

tn 1 the C o u n ty o f G w en t forms a whole: the county would be incomDlete without of Gwent; the same goes for the k in g d o m o f W essex and
'he D u c h y o f B u rg u n d y etc.
b. Provinces and Federal States:

Here usage tends to vary from case to case:


1. The American state o f Texas is especially prosperous.
(not: **The American state Texas)
2a. The province of Kosovo has a Moslem majority.
(not: **the province Kosovo)
Also: 2b. Elections have been held in Yugoslavias troubled Kosovo province.
1 Note how commas have been left out between capital and Edinburgh. (Many native
writers of English would consider them clumsy and unnatural.)
2 But: Marlborough County, Orange County - American usage.

44

3. The conference will take place Under the patronage


of the Tourist Board of the Province of Pomerania.
(not: **the Pomeranian Province)
III. Landmarks, Monuments etc.:

Here again it is a question of established usage:


1. The Dungeness headland can be seen for miles.
(not: **The headland Dungeness....)
2. The Gower peninsula lies SW of Swansea.
3. The Dartmoor National Park continues to attract many tourists.

Islands:
Here usage is divided:

but:

The island o f Iona; the island of Elba etc.


The Isle o f Lewis, the Isle o f Wight, the Isle o f Man etc.
Bardsey Island, Long Island, Lundy Island.

Roads:
Again usage tends to vary from case to case:
1. London is connected to Birmingham by the M l motorway.
(preferable to: the motorway M l)
2. The Berlin-Hanover autobahn is one of the busiest in Europe.
(preferable to: The autobahn Berlin-Hanover)
3. He was the designer and constructor of the Callao-La Oroya
railway line.
(not: **the railway line Callao-La Oroya)

Contrast:
The city is served by the international highways E75 and E71.

Hotels:
In Britain Hotel generally comes at the end of the name:
The Savoy Hotel is in London .1
1 Hotel Savoy sounds Continental.

f. Dates:

ere again usage is divided:


1.
at:

In each o f th e ab o v e p a irs, h o w e v e r, th e la tte r


O ne sp ec ia l c a se co n c e rn s brothers:

1. The Brothers Karamazov was Dostoyevskys last work.

The year 1989 saw the fall of the Berlin Wall,

2. The month of May is especially beautiful.

. Miscellaneous:

(b) is m o re fo rm al.

2. The brothers Grimm were philologists and collectors of fairy tales,


b u t:

3. Did you ever meet the Marx brothers?

VI. Epithets:

ook at the following list of items:


1. T h e W atergate A ffair led to N ixons resignation.
2. T h e Dreyfus Case had a sensational outcome.
3. The results were deciphered on a Sum al PE2 m inireader.
4. Our department is currently planning a NL/UK study tour.
5. L O T Polish Airlines operates regular flights to London.

Tie phrases emphasised in heavy print have one pattern in common: the
lore specific element comes first and the less specific element comes secnd. Thus English idiom does not favour: **the Affair Watergate, **the
ase Dreyfus, **a minireader Sumal PE2, **a study tour NL/UK, **Polish
drlines LOT, etc.
Consider too the following sentence:
6 . Our promotional material, presently available on the off-line system ,

will soon be available on the on-line system.


(not: **the system off-line etc.)

Despite the above pattern (1-6), usage is not consistent. In the followng examples there are two possibilities:

Peter the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Charles the Fat, Ethelred the Unready etc.
Zorba the Greek, Vlad the Impaler, Edward the Confessor, Dolly the Sheep
etc.
Suggested Exercises (13):

Select the most appropriate alternatives:


1. Our company operates in accordance with the IRCA Code of Conduct / the
Code of Conduct IRCA.
2. Our firm plans to incorporate the ISO 9000 series / the series ISO 9000.
3. The textbook conforms to the requirements of the EUREKA programme / the
programme EUREKA.
4. The conference will be held at the Holiday Inn hotel / the hotel Holiday Inn.

5. Roderick drives an E-type Jaguar / a Jaguar E-type / a Jaguar type E.


6 . The network is fully integrated with the P asTel system / the system P asTel.

7. The doctor discovered unusual T-cells / cells T.


8 . The consortium is modernising the Paris-Berlin line / the line Paris-Berlin.

9. The Niagara Falls / The Falls Niagara are the highest in the world.
10. The St Bruno Foundation / The Foundation St Bruno enjoys great prestige.

a. The Windows 2000 computer system is a great advance on previous ones.


b. The computer system Windows 2000 is a great advance on previous ones.
a. Today an international consortium unveiled the Mars 2000 project.
b. Today an international consortium unveiled the project Mars 2000.
a. He appeared on BBC s Panorama programme.
b. He appeared on BBCs programme Panorama.

Because in Negative Sentences

a. The signal originates from the M31 Galaxy.


b. The signal originates from Galaxy M31.
a. The astronauts plan to link up with the Discovery space shuttle.
b. The astronauts plan to link up with the space shuttle Discovery.

16

Negative sentences with because are often a source of confusion, the rea
son being that they fall into two totally different categories.
47

Type I:
l a . I did not invite M r Fortune because he is a bank manager.
(I invited him because I genuinely like him.)

In this first type the speaker denies an imputed motive for his action, while
giving what he claims to be the real reason. In such cases it is often possi
ble to rewrite the sentence as follows (although the word order would then
be unusual):
lb . I invited M r Fortune not because he is a bank manager....

In other words, the &ecawse-clause is dependent upon not, instead of upon


the previous clause.
Type II:
2. A: Why didnt you invite M r Fortune?
B: I didnt invite him because he was going away for the weekend.

This second type of because-clause explains the whole preceding clause,


and is not really dependent upon any one word. Here is another way of
writing the sentence:
The reason I didnt invite him was that he was going away for the weekend.
In sentences la-b Mr Fortune was invited, while in 2 he was not.
Now let us look at the following example:
3a. *Some children are, of course, especially difficult. The teacher
should not be strict with such pupils because their personalities
are slow to m ature.

Any experienced teacher of English would immediately recognise such


writing, for the simple reason that the second sentence is ambiguous. Is the
sentence an example of type I or type II?
Let us interpret the sentence in question as being type I:
3b. ...The teacher should not be strict with such pupils iust because
their personalities are slow to mature.... (i.e. the teacher should
be strict with them for some other reason.)

Note how the insertion of ju s t makes the meaning of the sentence much
clearer.
48

If, however, the sentence is type II, then its clarity would be much en
hanced by changing because into since:
3c. ...The teacher should not be strict with such pupils,
since their personalities are slow to mature ....1

Another option is a reformulation which dispenses with the becauseclause and turns it into an independent sentence:
3d. ...The teacher should not be strict with such pupils.
After all, their personalities are slow to mature....

This, however, does not exhaust the possible options for cases of type
II. Let us look at a modification of an earlier example:
4. A: Why didnt you invite M r Fortune?
B: I didnt invite him for the simple reason that he was
going away for the weekend.

In fact, the phrase fo r the simple reason that and its more formal variant
the reason being that are useful especially in such contexts, where it is
necessary to avoid ambiguity.
In sentences of type II one other useful construction is also possible in
some cases. Compare the following alternatives:
5a. *The EU does not promote conformity because it appreciates
the unique features of each nation.
5b. The EU does not promote conformity, appreciating as it does
the unique features of each nation.

Unlike 5a, sentence 5b is unambiguous; in addition it is much more in


keeping with English idiom and more elegant than 5a.
Additional Note:

A typical source of the infelicity or ambiguity described above is when


both the because-clause and the preceding clause are negative. Compare
the following alternatives:
6 a. *People do not socialise any more because they do not have the time.
6 b. People do not socialise any more for the simple reason that

they do not have the time.


1 Note also the addition of a comma.

49

7a. *We city-dwellers cannot take a breath of fresh air


because there is no fresh air in the cities.
7b. We city-dwellers cannot take a breath of fresh air
simply because there is no fresh air in the cities.
7c. We city-dwellers cannot take a breath of fresh air,
for there is no fresh air in the cities.

Sentence 6b is preferable to 6a, while 7b-c are preferable to 7a.1

Suggested Exercises (14):

Find a better alternative to because in the following sentences:


1. Dolphins do not have a language in the real sense of the word, because
a language is more than just a collection of sounds.
2. The media do not create culture as such, because their only goal is to make
maximum profits.
3. Films are easier to watch than books to read. They do not require our imagina
tion because everything is shown us.
4. In the twenty-first century there is no place for schools that teach only
academic knowledge, because it is not enough. Schools must have other
objectives as well.

Being and Having


When they are present participles, the words being and having nearly
always express a causal relationship. Look at the following sentences:
la . Being old and tired, Arthur decided it was time to resign.
2a. Having these unique advantages, Oxford and Cambridge will surely
appeal to many tourists.

In sentence la Being has the meaning of Since he was, Seeing that he


was, As he was etc, while in 2a H aving has the meaning Since they
have, Seeing that they have, As they have etc.
1 If sentences 7b-c were spoken, heavy stress would be placed on the word is.

50

The point at issue becomes clearer if one compares the following sen
tences:
3a. *Cumbria, being a region of mountains and lakes, lies south of Carlisle.
3b. Cumbria, which is a region of mountains and lakes, lies south of Carlisle.
3c. Cumbria, a region of mountains and lakes, lies south of Carlisle.
4a. *Shivering and having a temperature I went to the party.
4b. Although I was shivering and had a temperature, I went to the party.

The participles being and having should express a causal relationship, yet
it is obvious that this is the case neither in 3a (being') nor in 4a (having)',
it is not possible to rewrite the sentences so:
*Cumbria, since it is a region of mountains and lakes, lies south of Carlisle.
Seeing that I was shivering and had a temperature, I went to the party.

Thus, only 3b-c and 4b render the presumed meaning. By contrast, 3a and
4a, are not even English.
The same pattern emerges if we compare the following alternatives, o f
which only options 5b-d are correct:
5a. *School is a formative time for most of us. Being at school,
we meet many interesting people.
5b. ...While being at school we meet many interesting people.
5c. ...While at school we meet many interesting people.
5d. ...While we are at school we meet many interesting people.

In other words the being of 5a needs to be converted into clauses with


while (5b-d).
And finally compare the following alternatives, of which only option
6b is correct:
6a. *At Ascot you will see men having lots of money accompanied
by beautiful and glamorous escorts.
6b. At Ascot you will see men with lots of money accompanied
by beautiful and glamorous escorts.

Thus having has been replaced by the preposition with.

Suggested Exercises (15):

Replace the participles being and having in the following sentences, rear
ranging them where necessary:
51

1. Nowadays it is difficult to find anybody not having a TV set.


2. Young people being in love have been the subject of many works of literature.
3. Cheltenham has long been known as a spa having a distinctive microclimate.
4. In the course of the years the duchesss smile, being initially warm and
natural, froze into a studied, official one.
5. A range o f hills being o f pivotal importance is the Pennines.
6 . Having enormous wealth Hughes had no one who truly loved him and he was

generally miserable.
7. Being 70 Mann crossed the Pyrenees on foot to escape arrest.
8 . She was frequently told about Charles affair by people having a hostile

attitude towards her.


9. It is simply incredible that the government of a country being a member of
the EU could be taken over by a party of the Far Right.
10. M arilyn M onroe died being a young attractive woman.
11. Having few resources and poor equipment, our farmers are still able to cope.
12. Being intelligent and good-looking, the deceased was not a happy person
owing to family tensions.
13. M other Teresa visited many people being in need.
14. Having no formal education, Albert possessed a remarkable talent for
teaching.
15. Such lack o f self-confidence as the princes is not unusual for a person being
so young and having a high social position.
16. B eing so fragile and small compared to the great universe, man can yet
achieve so much.
17. On every shift of the airport fire-brigade there is at least one rescue worker
having a specialised medical training.
18. People being under the influence of alcohol do not have the right to use our
facilities.
Additional Note 1:

Compare the following alternatives, which are equally correct:


l a . Being old and tired, Arthur decided it was time to resign,
l b . Arthur decided it was time to resign, being old and tired.

The construction is the same whether the being-clause comes before or


after the main clause.
52

Now compare the above with three alternative sentences (all correct),
where the participle having is used:
2a, Having these unique advantages, Oxford and Cambridge
will surely appeal to many tourists.
2b. Oxford and Cambridge will surely appeal to many tourists,
having as they do these unique advantages.
2c. Oxford and Cambridge will surely appeal to many tourists,
having these unique advantages as they do.

As can be seen from sentences 2b and 2c, the construction needs to be


modified slightly if the fcaving-clause comes after the main clause. (For
more details about this construction, cf. also p. 97.)
Additional Note 2:

The above remarks do not apply to legal English, which is governed by


conventions of its own, as in the following examples:
i) being
I, Peter Jones, residing at 35 Upper High Street, Manchester,
being of sound mind and memory, do hereby make, publish
and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament....

While sound mind and memory is an indispensable precondition for the


making of a valid will, it is not the reason for the will. The being-clause
might be paraphrased in non-legal English as:
...who am of sound mind and memory....

Alternatively the participle would be left out altogether:


...of sound mind and memory....

ii) having
The contract was signed on 16* February 1999 between
Abacus International, having its seat in London,
represented by Mr John Evans, hereinafter referred to
as the Employer, and Ms Mary Parsons, hereinafter
referred to as the Employee.

53

\gain in non-legal contexts some other formulation would be expected,


;.g.:
...between Abacus International, which has its seat in London....

)r even:
...between the London-based Abacus International....

fhis last formulation (London-based) is typical of journalistic contexts.

2c. ...but still much needs to be done.


2d. ...but still much will have to be done.
3a. *We are all to benefit from globalisation in many different ways.
3b. We will all benefit from globalisation in many different ways.

Sentence la is possible only in a context where the police are actually


being commanded or reprimanded by someone in authority over them. As
for 2a and 3a, it is again difficult to imagine any context where they might
be possible, since neither of them appears to involve either a command or
any official arrangement.
Suggested Exercises (16):

Be + fo-infinitive

Find a better alternative to is or are in the following sentences:


1. In such families money is to compensate for the lack of parental affection.

[n the present tense be + fo-infinitive is generally used for the following


functions:

2. That is why a politician is to respect the same values whether in private or in


the limelight.

1. As a command:

3. Some would argue that censorship is to protect society from destructive


influences.

You are to clean the house and after that prepare things
for our arrival, (i.e. These are our instructions / orders.)

4. Nowadays children at school often prefer to watch a film based on the


particular book that they are to read.

2. As an official arrangement:
Later this year the Prime Minister is to visit Norway.
(i.e. This is what has been planned and scheduled.)

Generally this construction may not be used as an alternative to is ex


pected to, is intended to, is meant to, is supposed to, is there to, needs to
etc.
A number of especially typical and frequent mistakes can be illustrated
by means of the following alternative sentences:
la . *The police are to protect people, and not to add to the problem,
lb . The police are supposed to protect people....
lc . The police are there to protect people....
Id. The police exist to protect people....
2a. *The Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have been making
much progress, but still much is to be done.
2b. ...but still much has to be done.

54

Comment Clauses with As


A frequent source of ambiguity arises from the inappropriate use of com
ment clauses like as he claims, as they remark etc. A typical error is exem
plified by the following passage:
la . The teachers at that school have very unorthodox ideas.
Giving complete freedom is the only way, as they insist,
to bring up the young.

If we employ phrases like as he says, as she states, as he argues etc, the


usual implication is that our own standpoint is identical to that of the per55

on who is speaking or stating or arguing. If that is not our intention, varius alternatives are at hand:
lb . ...Giving complete freedom is the only way,
so they insist, to bring up the young.
lc . ...Giving complete freedom is the only way,
they insist, to bring up the young.
Id . .-They insist that giving complete freedom
is the only way to bring up the young.

It is especially when the comment clause appears at the beginning of the


entence that it may sow confusion, as in the following passage:
2a. Owing to his numerous journeys the lama is
unable to say where his real home is. As he claims,
his tranquil mind is his most important home.

Vgain, the wording is suggestive of a lack of critical distance on the part of


he writer, who gives the impression of being a disciple or adherent of the
ama.
If that is not the case, then here too the sentence can be rephrased in a
variety of ways:
2b. ...His tranquil mind is, so he claims, his most important home.
2c. ...His tranquil mind is, he claims, his most important home.
2d. ...He claims that his tranquil mind is his most important home.

Suggested Exercises (17):

Change the following sentences in the manner exemplified in 1-2 above.


One o f them is similar to 3 and cannot be changed:
1. As it is widely assumed, this cataclysm destroyed the entire Minoan civilisa
tion in a single day.
2. The Princess emphasised again and again how lonely she had felt. As she
remarked, the best way to dismantle a personality was to isolate it.
3. As the lama stressed, his mental state was founded on the desire that all
people should find enlightenment.
4. As it seems, dishonesty is sometimes justified.
5. You re not being fair. As she points out in her report, the resources assigned to
her were quite inadequate.
6 . As she put it, the relationship between her husband and Camilla had appalled

her from the very beginning.


7. As you claim in your article, nuclear energy is the only feasible option. Then
why is the disposal of nuclear waste proving so difficult, if what you say is true?
8 . Her deep love o f her spiritual m entor inclined her towards, as she called it,

free and wholehearted dedication to the poorest o f the poor.


9. I had to stay at home because, as they assumed, I was too young for such a
long journey.

In the following example, by contrast, the context makes it obvious that


i sentence beginning with an as-clause is quite appropriate:
3. The defendant is clearly innocent of the charges.
As he says, he was not even in town on that day.

The sentence implies that the defendant was not in town that day, and that
10 one disputes the fact.
To summarise, if our standpoint is not identical to that of the person that
,ye are referring to, if we do not necessarily endorse his or her opinions,
hen the use of phrases like as he says, as they insist etc. can be highly
confusing, and especially when they begin the sentence. Sometimes they
ire hardly English in any context at all.1
1
The comment clause as he put(s) it is an exception, in that it tells us nothing about the
standpoint of the writer. It is, however, found generally in mid-sentence, seldom or never at
he beginning.

56

Complements and the Verb To Be


In English, with very few exceptions, the complement comes after the sub
ject, and not before. Thus, one says Mary is a teacher, not **A teacher is
Mary or **A teacher Mary is. As for the exceptions, they can be divided
into two groups:
A Exclamations and Questions
What a glutton he is! (Exclamation)
What kind of land is Tierra del Fuego? (Question)

B Emphatic Deviation from the Expected Word Order


57

Compare the following:


As I am a dream enthusiast, I find dreams more interesting
than books or films. (Normal word order)
Dream enthusiast as I am, I find dreams more interesting
than books or films. (Emphatic deviation)

Sentences rarely occur where the complement precedes the grammatical


subject, and which are neither exclamations nor questions.1
Just as the complement cannot, except in a very few constructions, come
before the subject, so the verb to be agrees only with the subject and almost
never with the complement. Compare the following sentences:
l a . *Many people often bring up their children far too strictly.
A good illustration of that are my parents,
lb . ...A good illustration of that is my parents.

Since in English grammar the subject generally has to come first, it follows
that in la and lb the grammatical subject is A good illustration o f that,
while my parents is the complement. And since the verb to be must agree
with the grammatical subject, it follows that the verb required should be
singular, not plural, and hence la is ungrammatical. Sentence lb is gram
matically correct, but it is clumsy since the predicate (is my parents) is
shorter than the subject, causing the sentence to read abruptly (see below,
p. 103).2 Hence the best thing is a complete reformulation:
lc . ...A good illustration of that is provided bv my parents.
Id . ...M v parents are a good illustration of that.

Of course, it may be pointed out that in Id the subject is plural while the
complement is singular, and hence the sentence might be considered awk
ward. Even so, Id reads much better than lb , since the predicate (are a
good illustration o f that) is longer. Finally there is one other possibility,
which is unproblematic:

Additional Note 1:

In highly informal contexts there is one construction where the verb to be


is occasionally found agreeing with the complement and not with the sub
ject. Compare the following alternatives:
2a. All they want are more job opportunities.
2b. All they want is more job opportunities.
3a. What everyone in Jerusalem desires are guarantees of access
to the Holy Sites.
3b. What everyone in Jerusalem desires is guarantees of access
to the Holy Sites.

Sentences 2a and 3a may be found in conversation and informal contexts,


but elsewhere would be considered ungrammatical. By contrast, 2b and
3b, are awkward: they resemble lb in that the grammatical subject is
singular while the complement is plural.1With a little ingenuity, howev
er, the difficulty can be circumvented altogether, perhaps in the following
way:
2c. All they want is to be given more job opportunities.
3c. W hat everyone in Jerusalem desires is guaranteed access
to the Holy Sites.

Suggested Exercises (18):

Correct the following sentences, paraphrasing them when necessary:


1. The first thing that visitors to Australia notice are the birds.
2. What distinguishes doctors from others are their professional ethics.
3. Yet another sign of the countrys poverty are the beggars who throng the
streets and train stations.
4. Our long-term goal are bilateral relations such as exist between Germany and
France.

le . ...M v parents provide a good illustration of that.


1 For more examples, cf. English for Writers and Translators, s. Emphasis.
2 If, however, the complement were made longer, the sentence would be much less
awkward:
A good illustration of that is my parents, grandparents and more distant relatives.

58

J For the sake of grammatical clarification 2b might be rewritten as:


All that they want is more job opportunities.
3b may be rewritten as:
That which everyone etc.

59

Some people seek the meaning of life in religious devoteeism. Another group
of people whose aim is to possess wisdom are philosophers.
Another proof of the villas late occupation are the pavements of mosaic and
m arble fragments indiscriminately mixed.

Sometimes when the sentence is reformulated, it is necessary to introjce a completely new verb (e.g. lc , le , 2c). Compare also the following
tree sentences:
4a.
4b.
4c.
4d.

*One of the principal sources of information are books.


One of the principal sources of information is books.
Books are one of the principal sources of information.
Books constitute one of the principal sources of information.

sntence 4a is ungrammatical, 4b is grammatical but highly awkward, while


c and 4d are grammatical and read naturally. In other words, the verb
institute functions as an alternative to the verb to be. Obviously the verb
not to be overused.

Constructions with As and Than


I.

Absence of the pronoun it

The conjunction as may mean either just as or seeing that, a distinc


tion which may determine the choice of grammatical construction. A com
mon grammatical problem involves sentences like the following (1-3), in
all of which as has the meaning just as:
1. As can easily be noticed by any visitor to London, public transport
leaves much to be desired. (Not:
if can easily be noticed....)
2. As was emphasised above, creating a proper atmosphere at home
is vital for a childs wellbeing. (Not: **As it was emphasised above....)

The same pattern is also to be found in subordinate clauses that come


after the main clause, as in the following examples:
3a. Euthanasia implies dying with dignity, as is the right of every human
being. (Not: **as it is the right....)

uggested Exercises (19):

eformulate the following sentences using a suitable alternative (e.g. con


st of, constitute etc.) to the verb to be:
One of the citys greatest attractions and for which you should devote at least
a day in order to see its spectacular displays are the Botanical Gardens.
A nother interesting instance of bad parents are people who are completely
absorbed in their careers.
The whole area is charming, but the greatest attraction are the tall cliffs jutting
straight into the sea.
additional Note 2:

'ompare the following alternatives:


5a.
5b.
5c.
5d.

*Another example of such literature can be Animal Farm.


Another example of such literature is Animal Farm.
Animal Farm is another example of such literature.
Animal Farm may serve as another example of such literature.

.gain, 5a is unidiomatic, 5b is clumsy (a short predicate after a longer


abject), while 5c-d are optimal.
0

3b. Euthanasia implies dying with dignity, as becomes every human being.
(Not: **as it becomes....)

The construction is also sometimes found with as... as....:


4. The Pentagon is not as impregnable as is generally supposed.
(Not: **as it is....)

The construction is also sometimes found with than:


5. Nowadays more crimes are being committed than was the case
in former times. (Not: **than it was....)

Here are some more phrases (discussed below at p. 84) which use the same
construction:
as can be exemplified, illustrated etc. by....
as can be noticed, observed, seen etc. in....
as is (has been, will be etc.) argued, demonstrated,
proved, shown, suggested etc.
as is obvious from....
as is/was the case with ....1
1 For this phrase see below, p. 142

61

as is the fact that....


as is true of....

.B.

he structure occurs especially with the verb to be. This verb may be either
1 simple form (e.g. as is obvious...) or in passives containing the auxiliary
erb to be. In this latter case the verb to be occurs either on its own (e.g. as
as emphasised above) or with modals (<35 can be noticed).
)

Tie phrase as often happens tends to be overused:


6 . As often happens in family life, money was the cause o f their discontent.
(Better: As is often the case ....)1

I. As + inversion

s. rather similar structure involving as (meaning just as) occurs with the
erbs to be and to do. Compare the following alternatives:
7a.
7b.
7c.
7d.

She is a smoker, like most of her friends.


She is a smoker (as most of her friends are).
She is a smoker - and so are most of her friends.
She is a smoker, as are most of her friends.

8 a.
8 b.
8 c.
8 d.

She smokes, like most of her friends.


She smokes (as m ost o f her friends do).
She smokes - and so do most of her friends.
She smokes, as do most of her friends.

The above sentences (7a-d, 8a-d) are different ways of saying virtually the
;ame thing. In 7c and 7d the words and so are and as are are interchangeible; similarly, in 8c and 8d the words an d so do and as do are inter
changeable.
1 The phrase as it often happens... is an entirely different construction. Contrast the

neanings of as in the following two sentences:


a. As often happens in times of war, the civilians were suffering the most.
(Not: **As it often happens....')
b. Great ingenuity is needed to counteract smuggling, as it often happens under
cover of darkness.
[n sentence b, as is causal, meaning since or seeing that, while it is just a simple pro
noun, referring to smuggling.
62

The concluding clauses of 7b-c and 8b-c are especially typical of informal
contexts, while 7d and 8d are especially characteristic of sophisticated writ
ten English.

Suggested Exercises (20):

Complete the following sentences:


1. The generals offensive ended in fiasco, a s ----------his attempt to withdraw
his forces.
2. A s --------- ascertained much later, the poison had been administered to
prince by one o f his slaves.

the

3. Ours is a country of contrasts, a s ----------be inferred from the landscapes and


the character o f the people.
4. They believed, a s --------- m ost people around the year 1000, that the end of
the world was coming.
5. Ethel looked rather the worse for drink, a s ---------- most o f the people there.
6 . This phenomenon is not as widespread a s ---------------------- usually imagined.
7. A s ---------become apparent from this sordid scandal, society tends to judge
a politician by his or her private life.
8 . A s ---------shown by recent events, style is everything and competence

nothing.
9. In our country religion and church-going are taken very seriously, a s ---------seen on Sundays.
10. The judge, a s ----------been expected, refused to admit the charge.
11 . I thought he wanted to mug m e ,----------all too often happens in my

township.
12. This strange picture of our country is very widespread in the West, a s ---------illustrated by the case of an acquaintance of mine from the New W orld
who was amazed to see we had cellular phones.
13. Rick would smoke one cigarette after another, a s ----------common in such
circles.
14. A s ----------once happened ten years before, John was suddenly called upon
to stand in for his boss.
15. Throughout the world computers seem to be dominant, a s ----------noticed in
almost every field of human life.
16. Such a policy cam only bring disaster, a s ----------observable in the streets of
our cities.

63

17. The marriage was a m ost splendid affair, a s ----------been expected given
the wealth of the two families.
18. Goering comported him self with as much dignity a s ----------humanly
possible, given the circumstances of the case.
19. The ju d g e s conviction of the opposition leader is indeed remarkable,
a s ---------- the fact that most of the defences witnesses have been murdered.
20. The Portuguese president refused the invitation to the Vienna Carnival Ball,
a s ---------- some other statesmen.
21. The patriotic aspect is also very important, a s --------------be illustrated by
nineteenth-century Polish literature.
22. Next we have the pessimists who - a s --------- typical of pessimists - argue
that everything is going from bad to worse.
23. The case was referred, a s ----------proper, to a higher authority.
24. Far from becoming more original a s ----------their intention, such teenagers
simply end up as cheap copies of Madonna, Kate Moss or the Spice Girls.
25. A s ----------widely realised, trains are one of the safest means of travel.
26. Curie discovered that certain of the compounds show higher levels of
radioactivity th a n ----------previously been supposed.

Gerunds
The... of...
Gerunds are a frequent source of problems. Consider the following alter
native sentences:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.

Education implies constantly broadening ones horizons.


*Education implies constant broadening ones horizons.
Education implies constant broadening of ones horizons.
*Education implies the constant broadening ones horizons.
^Education implies a constant broadening ones horizons.
Education implies the constant broadening of ones horizons.
Education implies a constant broadening of ones horizons.

Sentence a is the least formal and sentence g the most formal. Sentences b,
d and e are ungrammatical.
64

When the gerund is used, more formal English generally requires that it
be preceded by the definite or indefinite article (a ! an, the)-, if the gerund
is preceded by an article, it has to be separated from its object by the pre
position of, which is why sentences d and e are ungrammatical. Sentence c
is questionable since it is a mixture, or confusion, of a on the one hand and
f and g on the other.
The construction exemplified by sentence a (i.e. without article + of) is
most often used in informal contexts. If the gerund has a direct object (in
sentence a, ones horizons), then the gerund may be qualified by an adverb
(constantly), but not by an adjective (constant), which is why b is ungram
matical.
Some non-native writers of English do, however, have difficulties when
they wish to make clear who or what is performing the action that is ex
pressed by the gerund. Compare the following alternatives:
a. The fact that Slovenia achieved its objective of independence
encouraged other republics in Yugoslavia to break away.
b. Slovenias achieving its objective of independence
encouraged other republics in Yugoslavia to break away.
c. *Achieving bv Slovenia its objective of independence
encouraged other republics in Yugoslavia to break away.
d. *The achieving bv Slovenia its objective of independence
encouraged other republics in Yugoslavia to break away.
e. The achieving bv Slovenia of its objective of independence
encouraged other republics in Yugoslavia to break away.

Sentences a and b are correct, while c and d represent a grammatical


mistake that is frequently met with. The construction exemplified by sen
tence e is, at the very least, clumsy in the extreme and best avoided.
Suggested Exercises (21):

Rewrite the following sentences inform al English, correcting them where


necessary:
1. There should be strict controls on manufacturing such articles.
2. The Council cannot tolerate killing unarmed civilians by paramilitaries.
3. A special term exists for this manipulating public opinion: TV diplomacy.
4. The Institute prompted the setting up two research stations.

65

Most
A recurrent error is to write sentences containing a phrase consisting of the
most + adjective. Consider the following alternatives:
a. Comfort and affluence are most important in life.
b. *Comfort and affluence are the most important in life.
c. Comfort and affluence are the most important things in life.

Sentence a can have two meanings, depending on the context.


i. Comfort and affluence are extremely important in life.
ii. There is nothing more important in life than comfort and affluence.
Sentence c is entirely unambiguous, having the meaning of ii above.
Sentence b, by contrast, is both ungrammatical and incomprehensible, since
it is a confusion of two different structures.
Suggested Exercises (22):
C orrect th e fo llo w in g sen te n c e s:
1. Violence is a great problem nowadays. But the most frightening is the fact that
those who commit the most brutal crimes are often children and teenagers.
2. In such situations we must remember that the most important is not to lose our
heads.
3. What is the m ost visible for anyone com ing to London is the amount of
traffic.
4. In friendship the most crucial is to forget your own needs.
5. What is the most remarkable about these two celebrities is that they live
relatively normal lives.
6 . If one is to remain healthy, fresh air and outdoor sports are the most important,

to say nothing of a proper diet.


7. Work, though very important, should not be the most important for us.
8 . Breaking off diplomatic relations with that country and recalling ambassadors

are the most appropriate at this moment.


9. In a few days from now many thousands o f young people will be converging
on Taize to talk, sing and make new friends. But the most important is that
they all believe in God.

66

Additional Note:

An analogous error involves best, worst etc. Compare the following sen
tences:
a. People seem to take each other more and more for granted. Worst of all
is that they have grown used to this pattern o f behaviour.
b. ...*The worst of all is that they have grown used to this pattern of
behaviour.
c. ...The worst thing of all is that they have grown used to this pattern of
behaviour.

Sentence b is ungrammatical, being again a confusion of a and c.

Of (iMany of..., Most of..., Some of... etc.)


A most frequent mistake involves expressions beginning many of, most
of, some o f etc. Compare the following alternatives:
la . Most countries have similar problems,

lb. *Most of countries have similar problems,


lc . Most of the countries have similar problems.

Sentence la is grammatical, but lb is not. l c would also sound un-English


except in very specific contexts, such as the following:
Id. Among EU member states France, Germany, Italy and Spain have
particularly high rates o f unemployment. But most o f the countries
have similar problems.

In the second sentence of Id what the phrase most of the countries really
means is most of the countries that belong to the EU or most of the coun
tries in the EU. Thus the structure represented by lc is generally possible
only when modified by a further postmodifier (e.g. most o f the countries in
the EU). or when that postmodifier is understood from the context. Howev
er, it is important to note that even in Id Most countries would also be possi
ble, with the intended meaning most of the countries in the EU.1
1
That the countries of the EU rather than other countries are meant, would be clear
from the context.

67

The above observations also apply to other quantifiers (primarily: any,


many, no / none, one, several etc.). Of the following alternatives 2b is
ungrammatical, while 2a has the best chances of being correct no matter
what the context:
2a. Several questions were left unanswered.
2b. *Several of questions were left unanswered.
2c. Several of the questions were left unanswered.

To summarise, sentences lb and 2b are ungrammatical. Moreover, un


less you are very sure about how to use the definite article, it is perhaps
safest to use the option represented by la and 2a (most countries, several
questions, some people, many possibilities etc.).

Problems with Negative Sentences


Negative sentences frequently pose a problem for non-native writers of
English. If we turn an affirmative sentence into a negative one, then the
following modifications are common:
I: Optional

1:
and > or
Affirmative:
la . Some people are very smart when it comes to making
a good impression and getting what they want from others.

Suggested Exercises (23):

For each o f the following sentences choose an option that is most likely to
read correctly irrespective o f the context:

Negative:
lb . Some people are not very smart when it comes to making
a good impression or getting what they want from others.

1. Some o f parts / Some parts / Some of the parts of our brain are much more
complex than others.

2:

2. None of parents / No parent / None of the parents is / are able to avoid such
mistakes.

Affirmative:

not to mention > to say nothing of

3. M any years of totalitarianism left peoples lives much the poorer. Any of
human values / Any human values / Any o f the human values was / were
destroyed by an inhuman system.
4. One of such organisations / One such organisation is regularly in trouble with
the authorities.

2a. Our colleague enjoys high esteem as a teacher and role-model,


not to mention her long list of scientific publications.

Negative:
2b. Our colleague does not enjoy high esteem as a teacher or role-model,
to say nothing of her failure to publish anything.

5. Hardly any of such children / Hardly any such child stands / stand a chance of
developing in a normal way.
6 . M ost of Americans / M ost Americans / M ost of the Americans possesses /

3:

possess guns.
7. The story can be found in one o f books / one book / one o f the books o f the
Bible.
8 . She was known to all of people / all people / all of the people as M other

Teresa.

just as > any more than


Affirmative:
3a. Our Chief Accountant is very obliging, just as his colleagues are.

Negative:
3b. Our Chief Accountant is never obliging, any more than his colleagues
are.

68

69

Negative:

4:
greatly > to any great extent / degree

6 b. No visitor, least of all from W estern Europe, will notice


these subtleties .1

Affirmative:
4a. M r Jones greatly impressed his listeners.

7:

Negative:

as well as > let alone

4b. M r Jones did not impress his listeners to any great degree.

So far we have been talking only about tendencies, and the modifica
tions outlined above ought not to be considered in any way obligatory.
Thus as an alternative to 3b the following sentence is also possible, al
though some would consider it clumsy:
3c. Our Chief Accountant is never obliging, just as his colleagues are not-

Affirmative:
7a. I have seen John and Peter as well as Tom.

Negative:
7b. I have not seen John or Peter, let alone Tom.

8:

And similarly, an obvious alternative to 4b is the following:


4c. M r Jones did not greatly impress his listeners.

entirely / completely

not at all

Affirmative:
8 a. Jack and Jill are entirely compatible.

II: Non-Optional

Negative:

By contrast, the following modifications are generally indispensable


if English idiom is not to be violated:
5:

8 b. Jack and Jill are not compatible at all.


8 c. Jack and Jill are not at all compatible .2

9:
as well / too > either

Affirmative:
5a. As our tourist will discover, telephones generally function properly.
Public transport is an attractive feature of our daily life as well.
5b. ...Public transport is an attractive feature of our daily life too.

Negative:

considerably to any considerable extent / degree


Affirmative:
9a. He influenced political developments quite considerably.

Negative:
9b. He did not influence political developments to any considerable extent

5c. As our tourist will discover, telephones do not generally function prop
erly. Public transport is not an attractive feature of our daily life either.
1 The following option also exists, but some would find it highly informal:

6:

6c. No visitor - and especially not from Western Europe - can fail to notice

especially let alone / least of all


Affirmative:
6 a. Every visitor, especially from Western Europe, will notice

these subtleties.

70

these subtleties.
Notice the dashes instead of the commas.
2 The sentence Jack and Jill are not entirely compatible has a very different meaning:
it implies that they are at least to some extent compatible.

71

Suggested Exercises (24):

B. Turn the following sentences into the negative form:

A. Complete the following sentences:

1. Our new secretary is very hard-working, and she proves to be very competent
as well.

1. Jack looked worn out, and he was not exactly impeccably dressed---------2. Many cannot afford basics like food or clothes,----------going away on
holiday.

2. The turmoil on the Japanese markets has considerably affected the economic
situation of neighbouring countries.
3. Joan has a talent for teaching as well as for getting her knowledge across.

3. He saw that the cell-door was open. There were no warders around---------4. The importance of health cannot be underestim ated,----------peace of mind.

5. The Firm became increasingly hostile towards her, and she found she could
no longer rely on her friend s---------6 . Such parents fail to realise that buying expensive toys has nothing to do with

lo v e ,----------the fact that their children are deprived of any understanding of


what love really means.
7. She said she never thought she would become fam ous,----------in her seven
ties.
8 . Let us think of all those great scientists who came from poor homes and had

no money even for b ooks,------------------- tuition.


9. In the film true love wins, for money has no power over it in this fictional
w o rld ----------it does in reality.
10 . I dont see things that way, and many other people wouldnt see it that

w a y ---------11. M oney will not buy us health ,---------happiness.


-

12. Ants never seem to be tire d b ees, which ceaselessly collect nectar
and pollen.
13. Life there cannot exactly be riveting,--------- for an ambitious type of man.
14. Arabella loved her fiance dearly, just as her parents did, but was unable to
take his ideas seriously,----------------------------------- her p aren ts------15. There is no reason for the W est to do business with this dictator,----------one
who is accused of such human rights abuses.
16. The Pope was not afraid of waging a war against com m unism ,-------------he
hesitates to express his disapproval of capitalism.
-

17. Not every family, a n d those with several children, can meet the costs
of studies.
18. The authorities cannot even afford to heat existing classrooms in winter,
build new ones.

Relative Clauses and the Comma


Defining and Non-Defining Relative Clauses
Compare these two sentences:
la . The US president, who is in supreme command of A m ericas armed
forces and nuclear arsenal, is de facto the most powerful man in the
world.
lb . The US president who made such remarks was Lincoln.

The first sentence refers to US presidents in general. This type of rela


tive clause is often referred to as non-defining or non-restrictive. Com
mas are indispensable with such types of relative clause.
The second by contrast refers only to one US president. The relative
clause tells us which US president is meant. Here commas Eire impossible.
This distinction is scrupulously observed by writers of English, and is
one of the most important rules of English punctuation. For those learners
of English who are uncertain which type of relative clause they are dealing
with two tips may prove especially useful.
Tip Number 1: Inserting an apposition
Let us take the following sentence:
2a. *In the seventh century much of Tibet converted to Buddhism
which came from India.

Here it is possible to insert an appositional phrase:


2b. In the seventh century much of Tibet converted to Buddhism,
a religion which came from India.

72

73

The fact that such an insertion is possible shows that the relative clause is
non-restrictive, and that a comma is therefore necessary in 2a:
2c. In the seventh century much of Tibet converted to Buddhism,
which came from India.

Now let us take the following sentence:


3a. *Napoleon was exiled to St Helena where he was to spend
the rest of his life.

Here we see that we can make a similar insertion:


3b. Napoleon was exiled to St Helena, a place where he was
to spend the rest of his life.

Again, the fact that such an insertion is possible shows that the relative
clause is non-restrictive, and that a comma is therefore necessary in 3a:
3c. Napoleon was exiled to St Helena, where he was to spend
the rest of his life.

One last example:


4a. *Roumania is trying to modernise its economy which is
still recovering from long years of neglect.

Here again an insertion is possible:


4b. Roumania is trying to modernise its economy, one which is
still recovering from long years of neglect.

Again, the fact that such an insertion is possible shows that the relative
clause is non-restrictive, and that a comma is therefore necessary in 4a:
4c. Roumania is trying to modernise its economy, which is
still recovering from long years o f neglect.

Tip Number 2: Turning the relative clause into a coordinate clause


Look at the following two sentences:
5a. *My brother has just arrived at Brighton which he finds most agreeable.
5b. My brother has just arrived at a place which he finds most agreeable.

Sentence 5a (but not 5b) can easily be turned into a coordinate clause with
and:
5c. My brother has just arrived at Brighton, and he finds it most agreeable.

74

As in Tip Number 1 the fact that such a rephrasing is possible suggests


that the relative clause in 5a is non-restrictive in character, and hence
requires a comma:
5d. My brother has just arrived at Brighton, which he finds most agreeable.

N.B.
Only in the defining or restrictive type of sentence can that be substitut
ed for who or which:
lc . The president that made such remarks was Lincoln.

Suggested Exercises (25):

Supply commas and correct the word that wherever necessary (sometimes
no changes are required):
1. Tourists may well be charmed by their visit to our country where remarkable
customs are still to be found.
2. The most important organisation is the EU that now comprises 15 members.
3. This is the question that I am going to examine in this essay.
4. The ties between man and nature that were very close until the nineteenth
century can no longer be restored.
5. The life that our cat leads is one of luxury.
6 . Even in the economically most developed countries where it might seem that

everyone lives in affluence there are people whose standard of living is low.
7. The organisation that they belong to will soon be banned.
8 . Those that take themselves too seriously will have a rude awakening.
9. There are times in life when we are faced with two simple alternatives.
10. Even now England has a number of old traditions an example of which is
November 5 when children bum a dummy.
11. They were ready to counsel anyone that approached them.
12. Europes paparazzi some of whom even disturbed her last moments must
take much of the blam e for the princesss death.
13. China is the country where paper, silk and gunpowder were first m anufactured.
14. Becoming poor is not a punishment: it is simply life that is often cruel and
full of injustices.
15. Those that were brought up with such attitudes expect the state to provide
everything.

75

6 . There were a number of factors that aggravated the situation.

7. Everything began in the early 50s when the foundations for the EU were
being constructed.
8 . The politicians that I have been discussing are all too typical of our country.
9. The situation that faces us is highly alarming.
0. The European Commission to which member-states send delegates meets in
Strasbourg.
1. M ost o f the unemployed are genuine cases, but everyone knows that there are
also many people that prefer just sitting at home instead of looking for work.
2. Napoleon that is remembered today as one of Frances greatest men was
actually a Corsican.
3. Global warming will have especially serious consequences in Central Africa
where m alaria already reaps a grim harvest.
4. The cultures that I have attempted to describe above declined for reasons that
have yet to be satisfactorily explained.
5. Their marriage that used to be considered so stable has now come to an end.
6 . Those doctors who went on strike were bitterly criticised by those others
who remained at their posts.
7. He was one of the paparazzi that were arrested at the scene of the accident.
8 . Paper, silk and gunpowder were first manufactured in China where recorded

history reaches back 5000 years.


additional Note:
i a small number of cases (much less than 5 percent) involving the defiite article, both types of relative clause may be possible without any real
hange of meaning. Compare the following alternatives:

6 a. The Iron Curtain, which once divided Europe, still exists in the minds

of some.
6b. The Iron Curtain that once divided Europe still exists in the minds of
some.

But a more likely explanation for sentences like 6b is that the pattern the...
that... (discussed below, p. 155f.) is becoming increasingly fashionable
in British English, not least because it does not involve any punctuation.
6b is more typical of contemporary journalism.

There
There is also a regular source of related problems, since it is used for two
distinct words, each of which has its own distinct functions:
a) as a spatial expression:
Where is our taxi? Look, there is our taxi you see it coming?

b) as an introductory subject of sentences:


There
There
There
There

are too many tourists here.


might be a bus later.
seems to be no alternative.
is much to be said for this approach.

The following remarks relate only to the latter.1


I. Without participles

There occurs with a very limited number of verbs:


1. with the verb to be
There is beautiful weather today. (= The weather is beautiful today.)
There are many explanations for this. (= Many explanations exist for this.)
There have been many attempts to climb that mountain.
(= People have made many attempts to climb that mountain.)

loth 6a and 6b are correct. Some would argue that in 6b the phrase The
vn Curtain has ceased to have the status of a proper noun, as in the second
f the following alternatives:

Sometimes, however, the /Aere-construction is not the most appropriate


one. Let us look at the following alternative sentences:

7a. Susan, who lives across the road, is getting married next week.
7b. The Susan that lives across the road is getting married next week.
(i.e. not the Susan that works with me at the office).

1 Many English people pronounce the two words differently: /6e9(r)/ for the spatial
expression and /d9(r)/ for the introductory subject of sentences.

77

la . Sadly, there are two different faces of our country,


lb . Sadly, our country has two different faces.

**There exist valid reasons.


Valid reasons do exist.

2a. There are certain advantages to this style of life.


2b. This style of life does have certain advantages.

**There remain two problems.


Two problems remain.

While sentences la and 2a are grammatical, they are uncharacteristic of


sophisticated written English: the tfiere-construction should not be used if
a more obvious alternative is a simple rephrasing involving the verbs to
have, to possess etc.

5. with verbs that describe an arrival (appear, arise, arrive, come, emerge,
enter, follow etc.), especially in a highly formal or literary context.
i)

Last week there arose new doubts concerning the veracity of the
document.

iii)

One day there arrived a huge parcel from abroad.

iv)

There may come a time when we will need their help.

2. with modals + the verb to be


There must be a way out of here.
There might be numerous reasons for this.
There would have been a disaster if you had done the cooking.
(= A disaster would have happened if...)

3. with to seem or to appear + the verb to be


There appears to be no obvious solution.
There seem to be few restaurants here.

4. with verbs that describe a state (exist, live, remain etc.), especially in
a formal or literary context.
i) There exist valid reasons why foxhunting should be banned.
There exist some grounds for optimism that the conflict will soon be
resolved.
ii) In this house there had once lived an eccentric millionaire.
iii) There remain two problems that no one seems able to solve.

Notice how in the above examples the underlined construction serves to


focus the readers attention on the actual subject of the sentence (valid
reasons why..., some grounds fo r optimism..., an eccentric millionaire, two
problems that no one...). In most of the above examples this subject is
rather lengthy, containing a postmodifier (...why foxhunting should be
banned, ...for optimism that the conflict will soon be resolved, ...that no
one seems able to solve). If these postmodifiers were removed, the thereconstruction would be much less likely, indeed hardly possible. Compare
the following alternatives, the second of each being much closer to Eng
lish idiom:
78

Gradually there appeared some clouds of dark and ominous aspect.

ii)

v)
vi)
vii)

Out of the mists there emerged a band of men wearing balaclavas.


Suddenly there entered a clown of the most bizarre appearance,
There followed a long, painful silence.

As in section 4 all the examples again involve real subjects that consist
of several words, and nearly all contain postmodifiers (... o f dark and om
inous aspect, ... concerning the veracity o f the document, ...from abroad,
... when we will need their help, ... wearing balaclavas, ... o f the most bi
zarre appearance). The tfiere-construction serves to focus the readers at
tention on the actual subject of the sentence (some clouds o f dark and om
inous aspect, new doubts concerning the veracity o f the document etc.).
Note that this construction generally occurs only in the simple present
or simple past. The following sentences are hardly possible:
** There are arising new doubts....
** There has arrived a huge parcel....
** There has emerged a band of men....

Suggested Exercises (26):

Make the following sentences more idiomatic, rephrasing them in whatever


way seems necessary:
1. Most of us wonder whether there are more positive or negative aspects of
watching TV.

79

2. W hen people of different nations meet, there may develop a discourse


between them.
3. Owing to this there prevails a maritime climate in our part of the world.
4. There must have been a cause of such a situation.
5. W hen there appeared this slanderous article, he was absolutely speechless.
6 . There often occur serious problems if proper precautions are not taken.

7. They do not realise that there exists such a problem.


8 . Recently there has emerged a debate on this particular issue.
9. W hile there are many adherents of the traditional method of learning, open
and distance learning are becoming more fashionable.
10. If these two problems can be overcome, there will appear possibilities of
real development.
11. In the last few years there have also arisen doubts about the benefits of
genetically modified crops.
12. One should stress that there are numerous pros and cons of this reform.
13. As a result of the changes we see that there is no longer free education. Of
course some will argue that there are good aspects of paying for education.
14. Doctors have no right to harm society in this way, for there are already too
many victims of this strike.
15. Obviously, there are sometimes arbitrary or unjust redundancies.
16. These examples show that there are actually positive role models for
thousands of young people.
17. As we approach the new millennium, it seems obvious that there have
appeared significant changes and improvements in the way we live.
18. Those years were crucial for music. There emerged reggae, heavy metal,
techno and rap.
II. With participles

There + the verb to be + subject + participle


Look at the following alternative sentences:
la . Theres a storm approaching.
lb . A storm is approaching.
2a. Last night there was a nightingale singing in the garden.
2b. Last night a nightingale was singing in the garden.
3a. There have been many people killed on our roads.
3b. Many people have been killed on our roads.

80

4a. At present there are thousands of people emigrating to the States.


4b. At present thousands of people are emigrating to the States.

In each of the above alternatives the first is much more informal than the
second. Note in sentences 2a, 3a and 4a the lengthy subject, containing
a postmodifier consisting of a participle + prepositional phrase (... a night
ingale singing in the garden. ... many people killed on our mads. ... thou
sands o f people emigrating to the States'l. It is precisely this lengthy and
composite subject that tends to characterise the construction, la being
an exception.
III. There + passive verb + subject

Let us look at the following passage, which exemplifies a frequent mis


take:
la . *The chapter examines the latest advances in physiotherapy.
There are also discussed the various methods of treatment currently
available.

The second sentence is ungrammatical, since it is a confusion of two dif


ferent words: there meaning in that place and there as a kind of intro
ductory subject in sentences beginning there is, there are, there seems etc.
The sentence needs to be corrected, one possibility being:
lb . The chapter examines the latest advances in physiotherapy,
as well as the various methods of treatment currently available.

In fact the passive construction is generally only found with verbs of


seeing, observing etc., and then only in formal or literary contexts:
2. Strange portents had preceded the disaster. Indeed, there had been seen
hosts joining battle in the skies....

The above example may at least convey some idea of how rare the con
struction in question actually is.
Suggested Exercises (27):

Improve or correct the following sentences, rephrasing them in whatever


way seems necessary:
1. There have been planned no more staff meetings for the foreseeable future.

81

2 . I am going to consider whether there should be established any limits to such

3.
4.
5.
6.

interference in private affairs.


There has even been coined a special term for this kind of thing.
The conclusion is inescapable: there ought to be formed organisations
devoted to the needs of such social groups.
There have been found no written accounts of this event in the records of
other civilisations.
Every year there are murdered innocent people, their only crime being an
inappropriate appearance or unacceptable views on life.

4. On the western edge of the Nile delta there is the city of Alexandria.
5. At a right angles to the square there is the tow ns most famous monument.

What, Which etc.

7. Fortunately, there are being invented more and more ways of dealing with
such problems.

These words tend to give rise to a number of recurrent problems among


foreign users of English (below, Types A-D):

IV. Omission of there (with expressions of location)

T y p e A:

After a composite adverbial expression of place there is often unneces


sary, even clumsy, as in the following alternatives:

Incorrect:

la . Next to the school there is a chapel dating from Victorian times.


lb . Next to the school is a chapel dating from Victorian times.

The omission of there is especially typical when we are describing a


location, and for which we use not only to be but also other verbs (to lie, to
rise, to stand, to tower, to be found, to be situated etc.). Here is another
example:
2a. To the left, only a few metres away from me, there stood the National
Gallery, while over to my right there towered Nelsons Column.
2b. To my left, only a few metres away from me, stood the National
Gallery, while over to my right towered Nelsons Column.

a. **Hay-on-Wye is surrounded by hills, what gives rise to a special


microclimate.

Correct:
b. Hay-on-Wye is surrounded by hills, and this gives rise to a special
microclimate.
c. Hay-on-Wye is surrounded by hills, which gives rise to a special
microclimate.
d. Hay-on-Wye is surrounded by hills, a circumstance that gives rise to a
special microclimate.

In sentence d other nouns are, of course, possible instead of circumstance,


e.g. feature, peculiarity etc. (This structure is also discussed below, p. 98.)

Again, 2b is preferable to 2a.


Suggested Exercises (29):
Suggested Exercises (28):

Try to improve the following sentences in the same way:


1. Beyond the picturesque town of Penzance there is the westernmost point of
Great Britain.
2. Adjacent to the Grand Hotel there is the Sopot pier, extending 512 metres.
3. Ahead of them, clearly discernible on the horizon, there were the Pillars of
Hercules.

82

Rewrite the following sentences in a way exemplified in d above. Example:


a) She shook the Queens hand without waiting to be addressed.
This speaks volumes about her manners.
b) She shook the Queens hand without waiting to be addressed,
behaviour which speaks volumes about her manners.
1. M r Jones is an avid football-fan, and that is often a cause o f arguments.
2. They watch soap operas every day, and that is certainly a waste of time.

83

3. John said he would fight for custody of the children. This he justified by
saying that Jane was unsuited as a mother.
4. The Joneses have different social backgrounds. That seems to influence
the relations between Mrs Joness parents and their own son-in-law.

2. People in our country tend to be very hospitable - this is something that


visitors will easily notice.
3. In extreme cases love may demand the sacrifice of life. This was the case with
Romeo and Juliet.
4. The government does not attach much importance to the teaching profession.
This is obvious from the teachers wages.

Type B:
Sometimes, however, different structures are needed from the ones pre
sented above. This is especially the case when certain verbs are involved.
These may be classified as:
i) verbs of illustrating, exemplifying etc.
ii) verbs of seeing, noticing, observing etc.
ii) verbs of arguing, establishing, proving, showing etc.:
i. Even when natural ability is absent, hard work can often produce results,
as can be illustrated (exemplified) by the case of M r X, my maths
teacher.

In the above sentence *what can be illustrated would hardly be English;


which can be illustrated, though not exactly wrong, would be considered
clumsy by many.
ii. Many Americans are enthusiastic churchgoers, as can be seen (observed,
noticed) on Sundays.

In the above sentence *what can be seen would hardly be English; which
can be seen, though not exactly wrong, is best avoided. For more details
of this as-construction, cf. p. 6 If.
iii. Wales has a great tourist potential, as I am going to show in this essay.
In the above sentence *what I am going to show would hardly be Eng
lish; which I am going to show, though not exactly wrong, is best avoid
ed.

5. Life expectancy and life style are closely related. This has been established
beyond all doubt by an immense num ber of scientific studies.

Type C:
This type involves phrases containing evaluative adjectives like impor
tant, significant, worse etc.
Incorrect:
a. *A teacher needs three qualities: a positive attitude to others, an ability
to empathise, and - what is important - a certain degree of intelligence.

Correct:
b. A teacher needs three qualities: a positive attitude to others, an ability to
empathise, and - more importantly - a certain degree of intelligence.
c. A teacher needs three qualities: a positive attitude to others, an ability to
empathise, and above all a certain degree of intelligence.

Incorrect
*what is (more) important
*what is (more) interesting
*what is (more) obvious
*what is significant
*what is more worrying
*what makes matters worse

Correct
more importantly
interestingly (enough)
(more) obviously
significantly
more worryingly
making matters worse

Suggested Exercises (30):

N.B.
The phrase what is worse is often used in an inappropriate manner.

Rewrite the following sentences in the way suggested above:

Clumsy:

1. Dreams are closely related to reality. This can be illustrated by the fact that we
often dream about people and places we know.

84

*There are people who buy such magazines and, what is worse, believe
the things they read there.

85

Better:
There are people who buy such magazines and, worse still, believe
the things they read there.

In reality, phrases like worse still, even worse or making matters worse
are much more common.
Suggested Exercises (31):

In the following sentences supply the gaps in the way indicated above:
1. Such people live in their own little world, blind to what is happening all
around them a n d ,--------- , unable to express their emotions.
2. Pensioners are faced with extreme poverty.----------, these people can do
nothing about their predicament.
3. This suggests that she was not a conscientious teacher a n d ,----------, not a
successful one.
4. Education has become a means to an e n d ;----------, it is no longer free of
charge.
5. TV often monopolises our lives a n d ,----------, we rarely realise it.

Type D:
This type of mistake is similar to type C, but the structures required for its
correction are to some extent different:
Incorrect:

*What is even more depressing,


*What is most ironic,
*What is remarkable,
*What is striking,
*What is worth mentioning ,1
*What needs to be emphasised,

N.B.
The phrase what follows expressing a logical relationship is rare in the
extreme. Compare the following alternatives:
Incorrect:
la . *They will be more able to cope with their disabilities and,
what follows, to lead happier lives.

Correct:
lb . They will be more able to cope with their disabilities and,
consequently, to lead happier lives,
lc . ...and, bv implication, to lead happier lives.

Incorrect:
2a. *Nowadays it is fashionable to call human wickedness a kind of
illness. What follows, the criminal is essentially absolved from
his actions, requiring a doctor rather than a prison warder.

Correct:
2b.

...It follows from this that the criminal is essentially absolved from
his actions, requiring a doctor rather than a prison warder.

a. *M ans activities are ruining our ecosystem. What is especially


alarming, not even huge oceans are completely safe.

Correct:
b. W hat is especially alarming is that not even huge oceans etc.

Complete the following sentences using the words in block capitals:

c. It is especially alarming that not even huge oceans etc.


d. It is an especially alarming fact that etc.
e. The most alarming thing is that etc.

1. IRONIC the Party was abolished by the man whom it had once expelled in
disgrace.

Here are some other examples of such incorrect phrases (all typically fol
lowed by commas):
*What is astonishing,
*What is curious,

86

Suggested Exercises (32):

2. The defendant stands accused of the aforementioned charges. STRIKING


he does not consider his actions to be at all criminal.
1 Of course the problem can also be circumvented by the use of discourse markers such
as curiously, ironically, remarkably, sadly etc.

87

3. W ORTH MENTIONING George always put other people first and him self
last.
4. REM ARKABLE they do not overestimate their financial situation.
5. CURIOUS people often behave in an irrational way when confronted by
TV-cameras.
6 . IM PORTANT dreams reveal the stresses with which people are not able to
cope in reality.

Stylistic Devices

7. STRIKING many companies claim that it is impossible to sell their products


without resorting to such methods.
8 . EXTRAORDINARY no more than a century ago the extended family was the

rule rather than the exception in most of Europe.

Cleft Sentences with the Pronoun It


This construction is widely used in emphasising the importance of certain
words. Compare the two following sentences:
la . Knowledge of a foreign language broadens ones mental horizons,
lb . It is knowledge of a foreign language that broadens ones mental
horizons.

As can be seen, the second clause of lb resembles a defining relative clause.


Before the word that it is not possible to insert a comma.
One advantage of using this construction is that it enables a distinction
to be brought out with considerable clarity:
lc . Reading things in translation has only a very limited value.
It is knowledge o f a foreign language that truly broadens
ones mental horizons.

In fact lc (but not la ) is virtually an implied negative:


It is knowledge of a foreign language (not reading things in translation )
that truly broadens....

Another advantage of the cleft construction is that the emphasis or focus


can easily be shifted in accordance with what the writer considers to be
especially important. Thus sentence lb has focussed on knowledge o f
a foreign language, but a different focus is also possible:
Id. It is ones mental horizons that knowledge
of a foreign language broadens.

89

In other words, lb and Id focus on differing elements of la and in effect inter


pret the sentence in different ways. The construction enables us to change the
focus of the sentence in accordance with what we consider to be important.
Moreover the construction can also be used not only with nominal expres
sions (knowledge of a foreign language, mental horizons etc.) but also with
prepositional or adverbial ones, as in the following alternative sentences:
2a. George Orwell wrote Animal Farm in 1945.
2b. It was in 1945 that George Orwell wrote Animal Farm.
3a. Paula married a film star quite recently.
3b. It was quite recently that Paula married a film star.

As can be seen from Id, the construction can also be used unchanged with
a plural expression. Compare the following alternatives:
4a. Not only Liverpudlians are proud of the Beatles: the fact is that Paul,
John, George and Ringo were a peculiarly British phenomenon.
4b. It is not only Liverpudlians that are proud....

N.B.
i)
In sentence 4b the verb of the that-clause agrees with Liverpudlians and
not with it: i.e. the verb (are) is in the plural.
ii)
With sentences like 2, 3 and 4, where the focus is on people, who is possi
ble instead of that:
2c. It was George Orwell who wrote Animal Farm in 1945.
3c. It was Paula who married a film star quite recently.
4c. It is not only Liverpudlians who are proud of the Beatles....

iii)
This type of cleft sentence cannot be used to focus on the complement of
a verb:
Salman Rushdie is a controversial figure.
N ot: **It is a controversial figure that Salman Rushdie is.

iv)
When the sentence refers to the past, then it is is likely to change into
it was:
90

5a. In 1825 Sopot became a spa. But above all the interwar period left its
mark on the towns appearance.
5b. ...But it was above all the interwar period that left its mark on the
tow ns appearance.

Suggested Exercises (33):

Convert the following sentences in the same way (italics have been given
fo r guidance). Example:
a. On the foundations o f our childhood memories we build
all the subsequent stages.

b. It is on the foundations of our childhood memories that we build


all the subsequent stages.
1. Owing to his highly developed brain man is able to learn many difficult things.
2. The psychiatrist explained that while he was always careful to listen to each
patient carefully, the body language told him most.
3. The existence o f a common threat cemented the military alliance.
4. In 1998 the courses in investment banking were especially popular, but in
1999 the courses in derivative instruments drew the most participants.
5. During those years of tyranny personal contacts and not ones abilities
brought success in many spheres of life.
6 . Impeccable behaviour in private life makes a politician worthy o f the respect
and trust of others.
7. Especially while being abroad fo r some time one may begin to think uncon
sciously in the language of the foreign country. I had the opportunity to learn
the local traditions of Andalusia, and language made it possible.
8. N ot until the publication of his book was this theory called into question.
9. Some people identify wisdom with the knowledge that comes from books.
For others true wisdom may stem only from personal experience.
10. Unfortunately the good aspects of school are often forgotten. After all, we
remember most the moments o f horror before maths and the attempts to keep
our eyes open during biology lessons.

Additional Note:

Two rather similar structures are to be found with a number of widely


used phrases, especially typical of formal contexts (speeches, addresses
etc.):
91

A:

It is... that..
la . We hope that this conference will be a great success,
lb . It is our hope that....
2a. I am / We are convinced that this conference will be a great success.
2b. It is mv / our conviction that....
3a. We are deeply sad to announce the death of....
3b. It is with deep sadness that we must announce....
4a. W e heartily approve of and admire your endeavours....
4b. It is with heartfelt approval and admiration that we have been observing
your endeavours....

B:

It is my / our... to...
la . We have the pleasure to inform you that you have been awarded
the Nobel Prize,
lb . It is our pleasure to....
2a. I have the honour to welcome you to....
2b. It is my honour to....
3.

It is our great honour and pleasure to....

Emphatic Word Order (Fronting)

In each pair the second alternative is more emphatic, making use o f


the less likely syntactical pattern; it is also of a higher register. Note how
the word order has been inverted (we did > did we, one may > may one).
The structures exemplified above involve above all the following expres
sions:
I. Those with a negative or restrictive significance:
at no time
hardly (also: hardly ever; hardly... when..., hardly... before...)
in no way
little (usually with verbs of knowing etc.,
e.g. little does she know, little did he realise etc.)
neither... nor...
never again, never before, never-once
no sooner... than...
not (also: not even once, not until etc.)
not only... but also (cf. also below p.l 13, Coordination III)
nowhere
only (also: only after, only if, only then, only when etc.)
on no account
rarely
scarcely
seldom
under no circumstances
II. Others:
so
such

I: Hardly, Only, Rarely, Scarcely etc.


When used sparingly, emphatic word order is a valuable tool for any writer
of English, both creating syntactic variety and broadening the range
of expressive possibilities. One very important syntactic pattern involves
a group of words and phrases, often with a negative or restrictive meaning.
Compare the following sentence pairs:
la . W e did not realise what had happened until later,
lb . Not until later did we realise what had happened.
2a. One may master this craft only through painstaking effort.
2b. Only through painstaking effort may one master this craft.

92

(For further details of this construction, see Part II of English fo r Writers


and Translators, Emphasis.)

Suggested Exercises (34):

Make the following sentences more emphatic (in some o f them words have
been italicised where the new sentence is to begin):
E.g. Such a complex organism has never before existed.
Never before has such a complex organism existed.
1 . I had seldom before seen such an expressive face.

93

2. Every one of us can derive such wisdom from reading books. (Such is...)
3. Such enormous progress in medicine has never before been achieved.

taking part in a foxhunt, *Never will I go to a football match etc. are


virtually impossible in contemporary British English.1

4. A real relationship can be established only by communicating in this way.


5. Such couples very rarely get married because they love each other.
6 . A teacher can vary his lessons and make them worth attending only by using

his inborn creativity.


7. The level of soccer violence in Argentina is such that a judge there has
recently banned all games for a month.
8 . In the worst scenario communication is abandoned and parents devote their

entire energies to attaining common material goals. (In the worst scenario not
only... )
9. One can appreciate the talent and writing skill of the author only by reading
his book or poem in the original.
10. She was so imaginative and creative that every class with her was different.
11. This knowledge not only imbues one with confidence but also helps one in
getting to know other cultures.
12. Talent must be accompanied by hard work, and it yields results only then.
13. There are grounds for saying that the pen is m ightier than the sword. (Not
without reason...)
14. The fans are so enthralled by their idol that they will follow him to the ends
of the earth.
15. Literature should serve useful purposes under no circumstances.
16. This scandal had no sooner been forgotten than another appeared.
17. The traces o f the First World W ar are nowhere more visible than in Northern
France.
18. You will be allowed to join our gathering only when your manners improve.
19. He stopped to think about the consequences of his deed hardly for a single
moment. (Hardly for...)
20. The princess had no idea of the terrible fate that awaited her. (Little did...)

II: With As and Though


Another frequently used structure involves the conjunctions as and though.
Compare the following alternatives:
la. Even though it may seem amazing, it is the simple truth,
lb. Amazing though it may seem , it is the simple truth,
lc. Amazing as it may seem, it is the simple truth.
In lb and lc the word order has been modified, with the predicative adjec
tive amazing made to begin the sentence. In lc the conjunction as is used
instead of though, with little or no discernible change of meaning (as is
here the equivalent of though). This modification of the usual word or
der is typical of a literary or formal register.
In addition there is an important variant, exemplified by the last of the
following series (2c):
2a. Though I like Amsterdam very much, I have no wish to live there.
2b. However much I like Amsterdam, I have no wish to live there.
2c. Much as I like Amsterdam, I have no wish to live there.
The pattern with much as generally involves verbs of liking and disliking
or other verbs of emotion:
3. Much as they dislike the situation, they m ust confront it somehow.

4. Much as we fear the consequences, we are determined to accomplish


our plan.

21. The explosion was of such force that several people were killed instantly.
(Such was...)
Additional Note:

In the above construction the words hardly and never are usually part of a
more composite expression (e.g. Hardly ever does the Prime Minister put
aside her mask o f hypocrisy). Thus sentences like *Hardly would I enjoy
94

1 There are very few exceptions:


i: The pattern never... again:
Never were the two lovers to see each other again.
ii: Rarely encountered rhetorical utterances:
Never was a greater fuss made about any man than about Lord Byron.

95

The construction exemplified by lc may, however, also convey a causal


relationship (seeing that, since), as in the following alternatives:
5a. Since I was tired, I soon fell asleep.
5b. Tired as I was. I soon fell asleep.

It may, of course, be legitimately asked how such a construction does


not give rise to confusion, since the conjunction as is capable of replacing
both since and though. The answer is simply that such ambiguity would be
dispelled by the context, or else by the insertion of additional words:
5c. Tired as I was, I still could not fall asleep.

In 5c the adverb still makes it obvious that the first clause is concessive
(Even though), and not causative (Since, Seeing that).
If we set aside the examples with much as and concentrate on the other
sentences (1 and 5), we will see that they involve the verb to seem (Amazing
though it may seem) or the verb to be (Tired as I was). It is precisely with
these two verbs that the emphatic construction most frequently occurs.
Very occasionally a noun phrase may be brought to the front, in which
case it generally appears without any article. Compare the following ex
amples:
6a. As I am a dream enthusiast, I confess I find dreams more interesting
than books or films.
6b. Dream enthusiast as I am, I confess I find dreams more interesting
than books or films. (Not: **A dream enthusiast...)

NB:
The construction(s) described above tend to be reserved for clauses which
have the same grammatical subject as the main clause:
Amazing as it may seem, it is the simple truth.
Tired as I was, I still could not fall asleep.

Thus sentences such as the following sometimes read badly:


*Tired as I was, John insisted on seeing me.

Suggested Exercises (35):

Rewrite the following sentences using the structures outlined above.


1. Though the countess was angry, she was tempted to laugh.
2. Since they are fascinated by these characters, children want to be like them.
3. Though most people might be unwilling to admit the fact, the world today is
ruled by the power of money.
4. Though this may seem cruel, the ability to speak a foreign language is
indispensable for any well-paid job.
5. Though he may be well prepared and competent, such a person will never
reach the level of the healer that has true vocation.
6 . Though there may be different sources of the tragedy, poverty has one face
for those who have experienced it.
7. There is a widespread belief that most things can be obtained for money.
Though this may seem sad, it is a fact that parents have a tendency to regard
love as a financial transaction.
8 . Being a good general, Hannibal made the most careful dispositions.
9. Since they are spoilt, such children cannot cope with the real world.
10. Nowadays people dream of living like the characters in Dynasty . Despite
their being inane, such soap operas flood our TV channels.
11. Though it might seem incomprehensible to us, the reclusive way of life is not
devoid of experience.
12. Though Moriarty was cunning, he was outwitted by the superior guile of
Sherlock Holmes.

A s with Fronted Transitive Verbs


A related construction involves the modification of an as-clause where
part of the verb, usually a transitive one, is brought to the front:
7a. As the President has many enemies, he seldom sleeps
in the same bed two nights in a row.
7b. Having many enemies as he does, the President seldom sleeps
in the same bed two nights in a row.

In sentences of this type (7b) the meaning is invariably seeing that or since,
and never even though. Generally the construction involves a verb which
takes a direct object (e.g. have). The as-clause and the main clause tend to
have the same grammatical subject. (For more details, cf. p. 53.)
96

97

Suggested Exercises (36):

Rewrite the following sentences using the structure outlined above.


1. As he has the most highly developed brain functions, man seems to be
completely different from the other primates.
2. Since it takes up so much time, television can be detrimental to family relations.
3. It will not be difficult for the twenty-first century to seem like an age of gold, as
it has such a terrible and bloody predecessor.
4. TV, which operates by means of visual images, is much more communicative
and fascinating than radio.
5. The publication constitutes an invaluable source of information, since it includes
many crucial discoveries.

Relative Clauses in Apposition


An earlier section (pp. 73-77) discussed the difference between defining
and non-defining relative clauses. In particular it was stressed that one of
the ways of distinguishing the latter from the former was by being able to
insert an apposition or appositional phrase. Thus, at the cost of repetition,
let us take the following sentence:
la.*N apoIeon was exiled to St Helena where he was to spend
the rest of his life.

The fact that it is possible to insert an appositional phrase


lb. Napoleon was exiled to St Helena, a place where he was to spend the
rest of his life.

shows that the relative clause of la (where he was to spend the rest o f his
life) is non-defining, and therefore needs to be preceded by a comma.
This insertion of an apposition remains a very useful technique when we
are dealing with non-defining relative clauses that conclude the sentence.
Let us take the following example:
2a. Englands culture is the product of its long years of history, which
have included several invasions and religious upheavals.

98

While sentence 2a is not incorrect, the relative clause might easily be recast
as a coordinate clause:
2b. Englands culture is the product of its long years o f history,
and these years have included several invasions and religious upheavals.

In other words the relative clause of 2a is almost as important as the main


clause. In such cases, the insertion of an apposition is often an excellent
way of formulating your meaning:
2c. Englands culture is the product o f its long years of history,
years which have included several invasions and religious upheavals.

The advantage of such an insertion is that it endows the whole sentence


with a certain poise by allowing the second clause to counterbalance the
first more effectively.
Similarly, if we look at the following sentence
3a. He succeeded in deciphering three o f archaeologys most perplexing
secrets, which had remained unsolved for ages.

we see that the relative clause could also be reformulated as a coordinate


clause:
3b. He succeeded in deciphering three of archaeologys m ost perplexing
secrets (these secrets had remained unsolved for ages).

Again, it can be greatly improved by means of the same appositional structure:


3c. He succeeded in deciphering three of archaeologys m ost perplexing
secrets, ones that had remained unsolved for ages.

An alternative would be:


3d. He succeeded in deciphering three o f archaeologys m ost perplexing
secrets, secrets that had remained unsolved for ages.

or even:
3e. He succeeded in deciphering three of archaeologys m ost perplexing
secrets, enigmas that had rem ained unsolved for ages.

Mastering this trick will make your writing easier and more pleasant to
read, as well as eliminating potential ambiguities. This is especially impor
tant when the relative clause has an unclear antecedent, as in the following
sentence:
99

4a. The sacked deputy prime minister rejects the accusations of perjury,
sexual m isconduct and financial impropriety, which he claims to be
politically motivated.

Presumably the which refers to accusations, yet the fact that the two
words are far removed from each other makes the sentence slightly awk
ward to read. It could be greatly improved by the insertion of an appo
sition:

6a. Many are unaware of the history of their country, which also adversely
affects their knowledge of other fields of education.

Here which refers not to one word, but to the entire previous clause, al
though that is not immediately obvious. Hence the following reformulation
would be a great improvement:
6b. Many are unaware of the history of their country, a fact which also
adversely affects their knowledge o f other fields of education.

4b. The sacked deputy prime minister rejects the accusations of perjury,
sexual misconduct and financial impropriety, accusations which he
claims to be politically motivated.

or even:
4c. The sacked deputy prim e minister rejects the accusations of perjury,
sexual misconduct and financial impropriety, charges which he claims
to be politically motivated.

And if we take another, more extreme example


5a.*Freedom has proved to be scary and to demand great responsibility
from our actions, which we are often afraid of.

we will see that which has no antecedent that is obvious at first sight. If,
as is most likely, which refers to responsibility, then the following would
be a great improvement:
5b. Freedom has proved to be scary and to demand great responsibility
from our actions, a responsibility which we are often afraid of.

Notice how besides a repetition of the word responsibility the indefinite


article has been added. This preference for the indefinite article a/an is
typical of the appositional structure that forms the subject of this section.
(Cf. also below, p. 157.)
If, however, the context of the sentence makes it abundantly obvious
what which refers to, it is still far better to insert an apposition, even if it is
only the word something:
5c. Freedom has proved to be scary and to demand great responsibility
from our actions, something which we are often afraid of.

The modified type of apposition shown by 3e and 4c (enigmas instead of


secrets, and charges instead of accusations) is especially useful when it
comes to the following kind of relative clause:
100

Suggested Exercises (37):

Improve the following sentences, inserting an apposition of some kind:


1. Susan considers the guide dog to be a m ost precious gift, which has changed
her life completely.
2. The plan involves an alternative to spending a prison sentence, which is open
to all women prisoners.
3. We do not notice the unique features of our everyday reality and mentality,
which would nonetheless surprise the first-tim e foreign visitor.
4. English people consume enormous quantities of tea, which has become
legendary.
5. Her relationship to Diana was very profound and heartfelt, which might have
been attributable to resemblances of character.
6 . The local roads are extremely bad when compared with those in Western
Europe, which makes it impossible to dispense with trains completely.
7. The manuscripts reveal a picture of the composer as endowed with
a marvellous lyrical talent, who builds up the emotional climate of the music
by means of the melodic line.
8 . This is a classic example of a family where a father wants to project his own
ambitions onto a child, which in the longer term may and often does prove
fatal.
9. M other Teresa was known for her loving heart, which did not distinguish
between nations and religions.
10. The face seems to express doggedness and harshness, which is strengthened
by the sinister glint in the eyes.
11. The vast majority of anaesthetists refused to continue working, which com
pletely paralysed the health system.
12 . Scholars also propound another theory, which is based on more conventional

argumentation.

101

13. They treat old people with respect, which is probably linked to the impor
tance attached to good manners.
14. M r and Mrs Jones have little job security and poor professional prospects,
which m ay disqualify them as potential foster-parents.
15. A visit to the harbour is always like a week in a health resort, where all my
senses may recuperate from the fumes and traffic of the city.
16. The extended family is not an anachronism. It is a cure for loneliness which
has developed along with humanity and m ust be continuously cultivated.
17. Our tourist is likely to stand in queues for hours while'clerks usually
fem ale - are varnishing their nails, reading magazines, drinking coffee,
guzzling cakes and gossiping about their bosss latest hair-do, which they
acquired during their years under the previous political system.
18. Owing to these childhood experiences she is unable to establish any satis
factory relationships with others, which leaves her a very unhappy person.

Clarity and Syntax

Abrupt Sentence Endings


A very common mistake is to end a sentence with an abrupt or otherwise
awkward word or phrase. One especially frequent variant is a very abrupt
predicate, as in the following sentence:
la.*T he problem of how best to divide up the profits arose.

Here the predicate arose consists of one word, coming after a subject o f
many words. Many British people would consider the sentence awkward
and difficult to read. Yet if the predicate were longer, the sentence would
be unobjectionable:
lb . The problem of how best to divide up the profits was discussed bv all
concerned.

Alternatively the sentence can be reorganised, for example in the follow


ing manner:
lc . The problem arose of how best to divide up the profits.

Now compare the following alternatives:


2a.*The following year R ussells most im portant contribution to science,
The Principles o f Mathematics, appeared.
2b. The following year saw the appearance of R ussells m ost important
contribution to science, namely....

Thus an abrupt predicate (appeared) has been avoided by means of a re


phrasing.
103

This technique of rephrasing is especially important for the avoidance


of an interminably long and composite subject preceding an abrupt predi
cate. Compare the following:
3a.*Through the influence of this school the cross-pollination of plants, the
introduction of chemical fertilisers, the concept of growing plants on
a commercial scale, the fundamentals of breeding cattle and horses,
as well as the introduction of professional accounting for agricultural
enterprises were effectively propagated.
3b. This school was responsible for the effective propagation of the cross
pollination of plants....

Most native users of English would find the second alternative incompara
bly easier to read.
If we look at the following sentence, we will again notice a short pred
icate preceded by a long subject:
4a.*According to scientists, the most important point of dissimilarity
between homo sapiens and the rest of the animal kingdom is speech.

Here the predicate is speech consists of two words, coming after a subject
of many words. The sentence needs reorganising:
4b. According to scientists, speech is the most important point....1

An especially common error is to put a short word or phrase at the end


of a list of longer words and phrases:
5.* Certain qualities are required in order to be successful in this job, e.g.
an ability to get on with people and listen to them, a sense of humour,
imagination, charm and wit.

Again the word order requires modification - perhaps by bringing forward


the underlined items and placing them before the longer ones.
A frequent type of related error is ambiguity of the following type:
6.* Cigarettes, not enough exercise and stress can shorten our lives
considerably.
7.* The striking farmers decided upon a strategy which consisted of
hampering the distribution of petrol and roadblocks.
1 An exception to the above remarks is the following pattern involving the adjective only:
The only thing that keeps the two warring factions from each others throats is the UN
presence.

104

Both sentences are ambiguous as well as being clumsy, the short under
lined phrases coming abruptly after longer elements. Sentence 6 is am
biguous because at first reading it looks as if the meaning is too little
exercise and too little stress. Sentence 7 is similarly unsatisfactory. Both
6 and 7 need to be read more than once before the most likely meaning
emerges.
A related mistake involves one particular type of composite genitive
expression. Contrast the following alternatives:
8a.*Computers have changed not only students but also teachers lives.
8b. Computers have changed the lives of both students and teachers.

Sentence 8a is unsatisfactory because lives is preceded by and part of


a long and composite genitive expression.

Suggested Exercises (38):

Improve the following sentences by changing the word order and if neces
sary by rephrasing them.
1. Another typical example of keeping local traditions in our country is Easter.
2.

Urgent action to improve this intolerable and inexcusable situation is neces


sary.

3. It was against this background that the idea of writing a m odem history of
England, highlighting the role of Parliament, emerged.
4.

Documentaries which focus on some aspects of m ans cultural and social


activities or those which examine the existence of some wild animals in their
natural habitats may broaden our minds.

5.

Opinions as to whether the private lives of politicians should be subject to the


same ethical rules as their public lives may differ.

6.

Many years have passed since the famous Round Table talks, which are
considered to have been the beginning of the end of communist domination,
took place.

7.

Observing five-year-olds who can only think about new com puter games and
who perceive reality only through a monitor screen, is sad.

8. From among these Th. M om m sens contribution in the field of textual criti
cism and epigraphy, R. Sym es work on the significance o f the prosopographical method, and A.H.M. Joness immense structuralist study o f the
later Roman Empire deserve particular recognition.

105

Additional Note:

A related error is to put an insignificant word or phrase at the end of


a sentence:
9a. *But it is simply not enough to know ones subject inside out, I suppose.

Such a sentence is impossible except in conversation, and obviously the


underlined phrase should go to the beginning.
9b. But I suppose it is simply not enough to....

3. The decisions that people make and the statem ents that are uttered are often
irrevocable.
4. Such students devote their whole free time to party activism , and it is fo r
them a kind of professional hobby which will later turn into a political career.
5. M other Teresa would give away all the money she had raised and never
count the cost, with public opinion m eaning nothing to her.
6. It is im possible for animals to com m unicate some special circum stances
that have never happened before.
7. It is only natural that many countries should adopt cultural im portations
that are perhaps more attractive or convenient for them.
8. Our tourist will have a hard time m aking him self understood in the street and
it will also be a struggle for him to arrange anything in our public institutions.

Coordination

9. H er activities were acknowledged by awarding her the Nobel Prize.


10. Should our country join the EU? I do not think so, and an attem pt will be
m ade to explain why.

I: Unjustified Change of Subject

11. Man has learned to solve many problem s, although there are some that have
yet to be overcome.

A very common error is to change the subject of the sentence when such a
change is unnecessary and even flies in the face of logic. Let us look at the
following example of such an error:

12. The princess gave to beggars what was superfluous to her.


13. W hen the average foreigner visits our deserted woods and forests, he m ight
think that we do not like trees or that going for walks is unpopular in our
country.

a. *When we form a judgem ent about other people we should always


consider their appearance, but at the same time externals must not
prevail in our assessment.

14. Sometimes in life we must sacrifice som ething in order to gain som ething
vital for us.

Here the real subject of the sentence is clearly we, and so it is not only
quite unnecessary but even confusing to switch the subject in the conclud
ing clause. The following improvement suggests itself:

16. A healthy way of life is greatly conducive to longevity, and it would be a


m istake to think that there are no connections between the two.

b. W hen we form a judgem ent about other people we should always


consider their appearance, without however being swaved by externals.

Suggested Exercises (39):

Improve the following sentences in the way suggested above:


1. W e had never before seen such beautiful stars. Hardly a word was spoken
since all o f us appreciated the wonderful view.
2. Good teachers are able to admit if any m istake was made by them.

106

15. Let m e focus on the products o f human thought, by which culture is m eant.

17. If anyone examines our history, it will become clear w hy w e have a deeply
ambiguous attitude to the West.
18. In the old days every child was brought up with a deep respect for m oral
values, and honesty, keeping o n es word, and respect for o nes elders w ere
the m ost highly prized qualities.
19. It is easy to convince oneself that everything is preordained and that there
is no point in trying to change it.
20. M ost people live their lives in the pursuit o f pleasure, which is the m ost
im portant thing for them.
21. Am ericans especially enjoy m eeting Europeans, and they should not think
twice about coming to the States.

107

Additional Note:
Of course, this need for coordination must not be taken to extremes. Some
times sentences read perfectly well even when there is a switch of subject
whose necessity is far from obvious. Let us compare the following sen
tence pairs, the first of which (a) is characterised by a subject switch and
the second (b) by coordination:
la . He spent most of his life in the country, where the majority of his
poems were written.
lb . He spent most of his life in the country, where he wrote the majority
of his poems.
2a. When we watch comedies we laugh, melodramas make us cry or feel
happy, horrors give rise to fear, and thrillers keep us on the edge of
our seats.
2b. Comedies cause us to laugh, m elodramas m ake us cry or feel happy,
horrors give rise to fear, and thrillers keep us on the edge of our
seats.

If one compares these sentence pairs, one sees that little if anything has
been gained by making all the clauses of each sentence start with the same
subject. In other words, it is doubtful whether lb represents an improve
ment on la , or 2b an improvement on 2a.

II: Concord and Gender Bias


Consider the following sentence:
a. A politician should not hesitate to resign if the public is scandalised by
his private life.

Many people would be at the very least unhappy with the language of
the above, since it gives the impression that all politicians are male, an
assumption which is as sexist as it is factually incorrect. One method of
avoiding this implication is to modify the sentence slightly:
b. A politician should not hesitate to resign if the public is scandalised by
his or her private life.

In practice, however, this formulation may also cause problems, as in


the following continuation of b:
108

** ...He or she should realise that his or her moral code is not as m uch
his or her own business as he or she might think.

In other words the option exemplified by b may result in language that is


inept to the point of being ridiculous.
In spoken as well as in informal written English, however, the follow
ing construction is gaining acceptance:
c.

A politician should not hesitate to resign if the public is scandalised by


their private life.

Here a phrase containing a plural possessive adjective (their private life)


refers to a noun which is singular (a politician). This construction will be
rejected by many people on the grounds of grammar, as well as on those of
formal-stylistic propriety (it is ugly). Indirectly, moreover, this construc
tion may give rise to other problems - for example, whether to use life or
lives in the above example.
Yet another alternative is to turn the subject of the main verb into a
plural:
d. Politicians should not hesitate to resign if the public is scandalised by
their private life.

This reads much more naturally, though again one must decide whether
life or lives is preferable.
To repeat, the effort to avoid gender bias (by finding an alternative to a)
often involves problems of its own. Yet with a minimum of ingenuity the
issue can be circumvented, as in the final option:
e. A politician should not hesitate to resign if the public is scandalised by
that persons private life.

Everyone, Anyone, No one, Someone etc.


One special case has to do with the words everyone, everybody, anyone,
anybody, no one, nobody, someone and somebody. Let us look at the fol
lowing options:
1.

Everyone is allowed to study whatever he wishes.

2.

Everyone is allowed to study whatever he or she wishes.

109

3. Everyone is allowed to study whatever she or he wishes.


4. Everyone is allowed to study whatever s/he wishes.

5. Everyone is allowed to study whatever they wish.


5a. Everyone is allowed to study the subject of their choice.
Option 1 is grammatically correct, but conservative. If the sentence re
fers to a group of people some of whom are female, it is also characterised
by gender bias.
Option 2 is fairer, though it may give rise to problems in the subsequent
discourse (as in b above). Of course Option 2 is not completely fair, since
it places the male pronoun he before the female pronoun she.
Option 3 is polemical in intent, as well as being stylistically objection
able: many would simply stop reading at this point.
Option 4 is possible in contexts that impose very limited stylistic or
formal demands on the writer, but many readers would find it slovenly.
Options 5 and 5 a have gained widespread acceptance, especially in rather
informal contexts, and have the advantage of not specifying the sex of the
person or people referred to. In other words, everyone, anyone etc. take a
singular verb (Everyone is...), but may be referred to by means of a plural
pronoun (they wish) or a plural possessive adjective (their favourite
subject). Many, however, would try to avoid using this construction, just
as they would never allow sentence c above.

One... one...
An important case concerns the pronoun one. If one has been used at
the beginning of the sentence, then in formal British English one is used
to refer back to it. Consider the following options:
a. If one believes in the evolution of the species, one regards m ankind as
part of the natural world.
b. If one believes in the evolution of the species, he regards mankind as
part of the natural world.
c. If one believes in the evolution of the species, he or she regards
mankind as part of the natural world.
d. If one believes in the evolution of the species, they regard m ankind as
part of the natural world.

110

Of the above alternatives only the first (a) is standard British English. The
second is American English. Sensitivities as regards gender bias make the
third (c) and fourth (d) options increasingly attractive to many. To many
ears the repetition one...one of the first option may sound unnatural, even
laboured, and perhaps the best advice is to try to avoid the construction
altogether, for example along the following lines:
e. B elief in the evolution of the species implies a recognition of mankind
as part of the natural world.

Suggested Exercises (40):


Fill in the missing spaces with one or more words:
1. A tourist who is in Scotland over Hogmanay should not be surprised i f -------invited to a friendly drink.
2. Each of us h a s ----------own life ,---------- perception o f the world.
3. As no one likes to be a mediocrity, everyone tries to be as successful a s -----can.
4. To continue ones education----------generally has to move to a bigger town
or city.
5. How can doctors judge whether someone is seriously ill if they do not have
the time to exam ine-------------------?
6. Every human being spends one third o f ----------life sleeping.
7. Individual academic success depends on the financial resources which each
student - or more lik ely ----------parents - has a t ---------- disposal.
8. If anyone thought this was going to be an easy operation,----------was m is
taken.
9. What determines whether someone is a good teacher or not is the presence of
qualities that allow ----------to fu lfil-----------duty satisfactorily.
10. If everyone is given the opportunity to develop ----------talents and to realise
----------ambitions, the whole country will prosper.
11. A m odem constitution guarantees freedom of worship for everyone irres
pective o f ----------religious beliefs.
12. Whoever goes to this film will see things that will d istu rb ----------.
13. A good teacher will always notice som eones effort and will never forget to
draw attention to some good points o f ----------performance.

Ill

14. The average adolescent takes everything----------sees on TV for granted and


takes fiction for reality.-------- - does not realise that a person who is kicked
or beaten cannot stand up as if nothing had happened.
15. The IM Fs policy has always been to help each country to develop---------economic system.
16. Anyone who considers----- : wise, by definition ceases to be wise.
17. The state should not ignore som eones misfortunes or refuse to h e lp --------to
im p ro v e------ lot.
18. It is very important that everyone should have access to nature, no matter
how b u s y ----------might be.
19. If doctors go on strike, someone somewhere may be denied help. I f ---------die(s), then it is the fault of doctors.
20. Faith is fundamental for all Christians. If one is a Christian,------------- believe(s) in Jesus and His Resurrection.
21. The average person has to work hard i f --------- w ant(s)---------- dream about
a big house to come true.
22. If anyone wishes to s e e ----------essay, please leave a message for me via the
secretary.
23. If someone has to choose between a train and, for example a bus, I am quite
sure th a t----------will choose the train.
24. W hen a customer buys a new c a r,----------expects satisfactory performance.

A:

both... and....
la . This observation applies both to material objects and spiritual values,
lb . This observation applies both to material objects and to spiritual values.

While la is not exactly wrong, very many native speakers of English would
feel that regularity of structure would require the repeat of the preposition to.
B:

not only... but also....


2a. Politicians are expected not only to be outstanding leaders but also
men of unblemished character.
2b. Politicians are expected to be not only outstanding leaders but also
men o f unblemished character.

In 2a-b the infinitive to be obviously has as its complement both outstand


ing leaders and men of unblemished character. While 2a is not absolutely
wrong, most English people would feel that at least in more formal writing
a clear parallelism of structure should be maintained.
Another recurrent error can best be illustrated by a juxtaposing of the
following alternatives:
3a. *Literature is beneficial in a variety of ways. It does not merely
instruct us but also preserves us from boredom.
3b. ...It not merely instructs us but also preserves us from boredom.

25. As long as a celebrity is aware o f ------------- impact on society and considers


----------responsible f o r ---------- actions,-----------influence upon the young
will not be dangerous.
26. In using this book of puzzles the re a d e r----------chooses the appropriate level
of difficulty.
27. These dangers may make it impossible for an individual to live i n ---------own community.
28. The surest way to lose a friend is to le n d --------- money.

Sentence 3a would be widely felt to be incorrect, the reason being that the
construction is again lop-sided.1
Another very common error involves the fronting of not only. Compare
the following sentence alternatives:

Ill: Absence of Parallel Structure

Only 4a and 4c are correct. By contrast 4b would feel lop-sided to most


native writers of English.

Another very common error is to write sentences where the necessary par
allelism of structure is absent and which hence appear lop-sided. The most
common manifestation of this kind of error involves the constructions both...
and..., not only... but also..., either... or... and neither... nor.... Here are
a few typical examples:
112

4a. Politicians should not only pass laws but also set an example for others.
4b. *Not only should politicians pass laws but also set an example for
others.
4c. Not only should politicians pass laws but they should also set an ex
ample for others.

1 The reader expects the second part of the sentence (preserves...) to be in some kind of
grammatical harmony with the first part (It does not...). If, however, the second part is
coordinated with the first part, that causes problems of its own:
3c. *...It does not merely instruct us but also preserve us from boredom.
Sentence 3c is simply un-English.

113

C:

either... or..., neither... nor....


5a. *There are two ways of achieving immortality: either become a hero
or a serial killer.

5b. ... become either a hero or a serial killer.


6a. *He was neither able to show his feelings nor to love his children.
6b. He was able neither to show his feelings nor to love his children.
Both correct versions (5b, 6b) are characterised by parallelism of struc
ture. The guiding principle is simply common sense.
Suggested Exercises (41):

Improve the following sentences:


1. TV gives us not only the latest news but also tells us about the surrounding
world.
2. The question either has no answer or it could be answered in various ways.
3. Not only do people often bear grudges against one another but also show
hostility to those who differ.
4. These films may not only become a source of nightmares, but they may also
desensitise children to suffering.
5. Not only are the young expected to maintain a pleasant home atmosphere but
also to attend to increasingly frail parents.
6. A good teacher should not only be a lecturer but also a role model.
7. Not only is m an able to create, but to destroy as well.
8. Bringing up children does not only mean providing them with food, clothes
and toys but also giving them attention.
9. Not only was M other Teresa widely recognised but also believed to be caring
and compassionate.
10. Let us hope that the new generation of TV-addicts will neither turn into mo
ronic characters from cartoon serials nor into crazed killers.
11. Voters choosing their candidate not only expect him to be a competent poli
tician but also a good man.
12. Life style does not only determine longevity but it also determines the quality
of life.
13. Such teenagers not only are unaware o f the evil they do, but they also ruin
what is left o f their young lives.
14. It is difficult to remain philosophical about both the good and bad things that
life brings.

114

15. Some people live so long that they not only have grandchildren but great
grandchildren as well.

Parallelism of Structure
If we look at the following sentence, we will again notice an absence of
parallelism in the form of a gratuitous repetition of about:
7. *1 have a cousin in America who never forgets about W elsh traditions,
St D avids Day, or even about the annual Eisteddfod.

The sentence can easily be corrected by removal of the underlined word.1


The following (8a) is yet another type of frequently occurring mis
take:
8a. *Nobody imagined that TV sets would be found in every house and
millions of people would be able to watch the same pictures.
8b. Nobody imagined that TV sets would be found in every house and that
millions of people would be able to watch the same pictures.

Here again common sense would suggest the insertion of that to bring
out the parallelism of structure (8b).

Parallelism of Grammatical Categories


The principle of parallelism can also be brought to bear on the following
sentence:
9a. *These problems are often caused by the rejection of the family or
losing a job.

Here the reader expects the noun rejection to be paralleled by another word
of exactly the same grammatical category. Instead what he gets is the ger
und losing. The sentence can be greatly improved by changing the gerund
into a straightforward noun:
9b. These problems are often caused by the rejection of the family or the
loss of a job.
1 The logical alternative, namely to repeat about before each nominal phrase, produces
a sentence that is impossibly cumbersome:
7a. *1 have a cousin in America who never forgets about Welsh traditions, about
St Davids Day, or even about the annual Eisteddfod.

115

Suggested Exercises (42):

Improve the following sentences, creating parallelism o f structure where


appropriate:
1. By introducing a common currency and elimination of international barriers
the countries of Western Europe became integrated in terms Of economics,
trade, and to some extent in terms of culture.
2. Democracy does not imply equality or being wealthy.
3. Everyone, whether unabashed atheist or Catholic clergy, speaks with one
voice on this issue.
4. Teachers are often too tired and busy to meet their students, help them, talk
to them, or even sometimes to prepare for lessons.
5. In the course of time they lost their independence, culture and their identity.
6. The question is whether these reforms will exacerbate social divisions and
will they harm the poor.
7. For a miracle to be truly valid, the cure must be immediate, absolute, and
m ust still be effective after ten years.
8. Are parents only to blame, or perhaps the fault lies with society as a whole?
9. M any young people squander their chances of educating themselves, finding
a jo b and, most importantly, of enjoying a high standard of living.
10. No conflict threatens the European and w orlds status quo to such a degree.
11. A proper diet, a balanced life style, practising sports and avoiding addictions
are associated with longevity.
12. In America petrol is relatively cheap, and the average American can afford to
buy much more petrol with his salary than the average man in Europe.
13. All things considered, the railway is neither better nor worse than driving a
car or going by bus.
14. She received the Nobel Prize for her research into methods of separation,
purifying and measurement of activity of radioactive elements.
Additional Note:

Of course, the desire for coordination should not be taken to extremes.


Obviously if the sentence reads well, that is the most important thing.
Compare the following cases:
l a . There will be an exhibition by artists both from England and from
abroad.
l b . ...from both England and abroad.
lc . .. .both from England and abroad.

116

2a. This guide will be useful to those who are involved in tourism in all its
forms - whether in the highlands or in the lowlands.
2b. ...whether in the highlands or lowlands.

While lc and 2b do not conform to the principle of coordination, they


come across as being perfectly natural.

IV: Unjustified Change of Person


Another common error is to switch pronouns or possessives without any
justification. Let us look at the following sentence:
a. *One should never ignore ones dreams, since they simply tell you the
truth about vour emotions.

In this particular example, there is no justification for one and ones to be


taken up by you and your. The most obvious improvement is to change you
and your.
b. One should never ignore ones dreams, since they simply tell one the
truth about ones emotions.

The other alternative is to change one and ones:


c. You should never ignore vour dreams, since they simply tell you the
truth about your emotions.

Of the above sentences a is absolutely wrong, but the alternatives b and c en


tail problems of their own. In b the repetition of one and ones several times
over sounds awkward and unnatural; in c, by contrast, the use of you and your
is informal and even colloquial. Best therefore to undertake a paraphrase:
d. Dreams should never be ignored, since they simply tell one the truth
about ones emotions.

Suggested Exercises (43):

Correct the following sentences, paraphrasing where necessary:


1. If one has decided to becom e a teacher and is strong enough to face up to
the everyday problem s of school life, it is a w orthw hile activity, as the
process of teaching is enriched by the gaining of experience and educating
yourself.

117

2. The things that we dream about seldom come true. Thus, if we dream about
the death of a relative, it does not have to mean anything. Or when you dream
about failing your exam, there is no need to panic.
3. Transmitted deliberately in the middle of a film, when your mind is stimulated
and very receptive to influence, these ads induce a state of stupefaction and
m ake us believe in a half-truth that is in fact a lie.
4. W e smoke too many cigarettes or else drink too much coffee or alcohol things that we consider to be useful as they help you either to work until late at
night or to defuse the tension after a hard day.
5. One can never fall asleep if you travel alone because either you will wake up
naked and all your baggage will be gone, or else you will not wake up at all.

V: Dangling Participles
A dangling participle is one that, when referred to its grammatical sub
ject, makes nonsense. Let us look at the following sentence:
la . *Not knowing British history, the phenomenon of devotion to the
m onarchy might seem rather anachronistic.

If we look at the participle Not knowing, we will see that its grammatical
subject is none other than the subject of the main verb, namely the phenom
enon o f devotion to the monarchy, although that was not what the writer
intended. There are several ways of correcting the sentence, two of the
most obvious being:
l b . To anyone not knowing British history the phenomenon of devotion to
the monarchy might seem rather anachronistic.
lc . Not knowing British history one might find the phenomenon of devo
tion to the monarchy rather anachronistic.

A closely related phenomenon involves a special type of clause begin


ning with when, while or though:
2a. *A num ber of problems are likely to present themselves while trying
to obtain a British visa.

Again the subject of while trying should be the same as the subject of the
main verb.1 The sentence needs reformulating:
1 In conversation, however, such a sentence would be acceptable.

118

2b. A num ber of problems are likely to present themselves to anyone


trying to obtain a British visa.
2c. One is likely to encounter a number of problems while trying to obtain
a British visa.

Suggested Exercises (44):

Correct the following sentences in any o f the ways suggested above:


1. Examining the influence of TV one important question arises.
2. When visiting B ritains former colonies it is still possible to come across
many residences in the neoclassical style.
3. Observing the sheer variety of opinions on the subject, it is hard to see even
the beginnings of any consensus.
4. Having attained such a rank, it is common practice to abuse the power and
status that go with it.
5. Though called an eater of tim e, I would go so far as to claim that TV is a
necessary source of information as well as entertainment.

Of course, there are a number of words and phrases in English that resem
ble participles, but are really conjunctions or discourse markers, and to which
the above remarks do not apply - for example: assuming, broadly speaking,
considering, depending on, failing that, generally speaking, including, judg
ing by, owing to, providing, seeing that, strictly speaking, supposing etc.

Splices
By splice is meant an element in the middle of a sentence whose relation
ship whether to the preceding or subsequent part of the sentence is ob
scure. Example:
a. *Like Mother Teresa, devoting herself to the poor and dving.
Lady Diana also made caring for them her principal work.

In this sentence it is unclear whether the subject of the participial clause


devoting herself to the poor and dying is Mother Teresa or Lady Diana.
119

If the subject of the clause is Mother Teresa, then the obvious correction is:
b. Like Mother Teresa, who devoted herself to the poor and dying,
Lady Diana also made caring for them her principal work.

And if the subject of the clause is Lady Diana, then the sentence might be
rewritten as follows:
c. Like Mother Teresa, Lady Diana also made caring for the poor and dying
her principal work, devoting herself to them.

Otherwise use an alternative conjunction:


c. Sympathy and patience are essential for a prospective teacher,
vet they are not enough to start working at school.
d. While sympathy and patience are essential for a prospective teacher,
they are not enough to start working at school.

Suggested Exercise (46):

Improve the following sentences:


Suggested Exercises (45):

Identify the ambiguous elements o f the following sentences. Make the sen
tences less ambiguous:

1. The only way to make money is to set up a private practice, however, only
some doctors are successful.
2. Many answers have been put forward. The question is a tricky one, however,
in this essay an attempt will be made to examine it.

1. People generally have very inconsistent attitudes to sports. While most people
adm ire sportsmen, watching them on TV, they all too rarely move from the
front of the screen.
2. W ith a freely elected government in office and the free market taking hold, at
long last, the country is looking forward to the kind of prosperity that the West
has long enjoyed.
3. Although it may at first be difficult to follow the gist, as many masterpieces
often use a very sophisticated language, the fact that you have read one such
work will give you a great deal o f satisfaction.
4. W hen the countries of the East started to turn towards democracy, freedom of
speech, press and conscience, the division into eastern and western Europe
still survived in peoples minds.
5. Anyone who wishes to become a successful practitioner, invests in his
education, never ceases to increase his qualifications, is devoted to all his
patients.

A related error involves the word however placed between two clauses:
a. *Sympathy and patience are essential for a prospective teacher, however,
they are not enough to start working at school.

The position of however in the above example also sows confusion, since
at a first reading it is not obvious that the word belongs to the second clause.
Best put a full stop after teacher:
b. Sympathy and patience are essential for a prospective teacher. However,
they are not enough to start working at school.

120

Unclear Antecedents (I)


A very common error is to use pronouns and possessive adjectives that are
ambiguous because they have no obvious antecedents, as in the following
example:
la. *Teachers should be ready to answer all kinds of questions from the
students. They may sometimes be really strange, but so can the students.

Here it is not immediately obvious that they refers to questions, and


hence the second sentence is unintentionally amusing. (The sentences need
to be reread for the most likely meaning to emerge.) A slight change of
pronoun makes the antecedent clearer.
lb. ...These may sometimes be really strange, but so can the students.
Alternatively, the word questions may be repeated:
lc. .. .These questions may sometimes be really strange....
Careless use of the possessive adjectives its and their may also give
rise to confusion:
121

2a. *Responsibility involves patience and an appropriate attitude to


students and their abilities. Unfortunately not every teacher is aware of
their existence.

Here it is unclear whether the phrase their existence refers to students, stu
dents abilities, or even patience and an appropriate attitude. Better would
be to rewrite the second sentence so as to make the antecedent explicit:
2b. ...Unfortunately not every teacher is aware of the existence of those
abilities.

A particularly widespread error is the use of the pronouns this and that
in a manner that may cause confusion, as in the following example:
3a. *Apart from providing recreation, books are a stimulus to our
imagination and creativity. W e cannot underestimate this.

Suggested Exercises (47):

Identify and eliminate the ambiguities in the following sentences:


1. M any people think that everything can be bought for money. Is this justified?
Or are the most important things in life outside the realm of money?
2. W e do not always remember that it is a great blessing when everyone in our
family feels all right. W e should appreciate this.
3. Commuter trains that link various suburbs seem to be the pet aversion of
countless multitudes. People complain that they are late, overcrowded and
dirty; in winter the windows leak, while in summer they are jammed.
4. Some may claim that our lives are governed by forces outside our control, but
this is simply not true.
5. W e often speak disparagingly o f people by comparing them to pigs, even
though they are known for their love of cleanliness.

Here it is far from clear what this refers to. If we go for the most likely
interpretation, then the following would be an improvement:
3b. ...We cannot underestimate this basic truth.1

In 3b the pronoun this has been turned into a phrase that is both explicit
and appropriately sententious.

Unclear Antecedents (II). The Pronoun It.

Another frequently encountered error is when the pronouns that and


this are used in a manner that is not so much obscure as clumsy, as in the
following example:

A frequent mistake is to use pronouns, especially it, without any clear an


tecedent. The result of such a mistake is to make the language ambiguous
and even unintelligible. Let us look at the following example:

4a. *Many well-to-do people are simply too lazy to study, or else regard
that as unimportant for their lives.

In 4a what that refers to is not immediately obvious, and hence needs to be


replaced by a more explicit expression, e.g. such an activity or the like:
4b. Many well-to-do people are simply too lazy to study, or else regard
such an activity as unim portant for their lives.

Of course the above examples are far from exhausting the possible ways of
circumventing such problems. Often it is only a matter of common sense
and developing a feel for language. Cf. also p. 123 (The Pronoun It),
below.

1. *To the southwest of Snowdonia National Park the mountainous terrain


gradually gives way to a hilly coastal belt, ending in the Lleyn
Promontory, which juts out into Cardigan Bay for some 20 miles.
I t is an area of remarkable scenic diversity.

The meaning of the second sentence can only be guessed at. Does the pro
noun it refer to Snowdonia National Park, the hilly coastal belt, the Lleyn
Promontory, or even Cardigan Bay? All these interpretations are possible.
Hence, it is necessary to rephrase the sentence by spelling out the real
subject:
la. The coastal belt is an area of remarkable scenic diversity.
lb. The Lleyn Promontory is an area of remarkable scenic diversity.
lc . The whole area is characterised by a remarkable scenic diversity.

1 The phrase this basic fact is equally possible.

122

In the last of the above alternatives, lc , a paraphrase has been used.


123

Yet even when the antecedent is perfectly clear, English very often avoids
it in favour of this, that, or some paraphrase. Compare the following alter
natives:
2a. Many long for a lasting peace settlement in the Middle East, but
whether it is feasible or not is a different matter.
2b. ...but whether that is feasible or not is a different matter.
2c. ...but whether such a thing / scenario is feasible or not is a different
matter.

In the last of the above alternatives, 2c, a paraphrase has again been used,
a stylistic preference that is very typical of more formal written English.

Suggested Exercises (48):

Can the pronoun it be replaced by something better in the following sen


tences? Occasionally a paraphrase o f several words may be necessary.
1. Fewer and fewer schools pay attention to artistic subjects, such as art, music
and craft. It is mainly because schools lack the most basic resources.
2. M ost o f the Teutonic castles lie within 30km of each other. It is supposed to
have something to do with the way the Teutonic Order communicated.
3. People often lose their heads when they are in large groups. It can also be
observed in many other species of the animal kingdom.
4. Ms Prithworthy had no talent for teaching, as her classes were dull and
boring. It made many students play truant.
5. By his own account, M r Jones remembers his daughter as being nicest at the
age of four. It speaks volumes about his possessive attitude.
6. Putting lives at risk is simply unacceptable, no matter whether a strike is
legal or not. Those doctors who forget about it should ask themselves
whether they have chosen the right profession.
7. W hether we lose our traditions in the face of Americanization depends on us.
But as far as I am able to judge, it is just impossible.
8. Our headmaster did not like boys looking like hippies, and he showed it on
every possible occasion.
9. People spend much of their lives in front of the TV, and there seems to be
nothing abnormal in it.
10. Peter travels around the world at least twice a year, but it does not seem to
tire him.

124

11. So far we have mentioned the Tower o f London, Buckingham Palace, the
Millennium Dome and the churches and museums. Impressive as it may
seem, it does not exhaust Londons attractions.
12. Rubbish is seldom collected and there are some forlorn buildings between the
castle and the main square. It is an eyesore, and not only for tourists.
13. Amy did not even try to understand her father or to point out what was
wrong. It could have given new life to their relationship.
14. Legal regulations should be introduced obliging firms to set aside some of
their profits for the further training of employees. It would make employers
more aware o f the importance of professional development.
15. Many people are prejudiced, but few are ready to admit it.
16. Parents imagine their child will be following their example. Unfortunately it
happens very rarely, as youngsters generally choose other people to imitate.
Additional Notes:

i.
A most frequent error is to use the phrase do it as a paraphrase of some
previous verb, as in the following instance:
*TV informs, but it does not always do it in an objective way.

In the above sentence it needs to change into so.

ii.
The phrases It is so and Is it so? are hardly typical of formal written English:
Compare the following alternatives:
a. ^Parents are no longer role models for their children. W hy is it so?
b. ...Why is that the case?

In written English the second alternative is infinitely preferable to the first.

iii.
The phrases *it is so because, *it is so since, *it happens so because, and
*it happens so since are hardly English. Compare the following alternatives:
a. *Our first-time foreign visitor is likely to have many surprises when he
crosses the border. It is so because our country was for many years
isolated from others.
b. ...This is because our country was....
c. ...the reason being that our country was....

Only b and c are correct.


125

7. The news is full of various conflicts tormenting now that continent.

IV.

The phrase *it means that is hardly English. Compare the following sen
tences:
a. *Dreams should be interpreted as signifying the opposite of what they
appear to signify. It means that if one dreams about winning money,
one will end up poor.
b. This means that.
c. What this means is that....

Of these alternatives, a is impossible.

8. A friend whom Diana had trusted made out of publishing untrue or half-true
stories about her a small fortune.
9. One may see here many interesting exhibits.
10. He says that while he likes the USA, he can do in Central and Eastern Europe
much more.
11. TV affects tremendously our lives.
12. M an usually considers him self superior, calling him self conceitedly homo
sapiens.
13. John realises perfectly well this fact.
14. If you were to ask such people, they would probably put after a m om ents
hesitation money at the top of their list of priorities.
15. We have improved considerably our safety precautions.

Un-English Syntax
I: Verb and Object
Generally English tries not to place any words between verb and object.
Compare the following alternatives:
l a . *We see very often such sights,
l b . W e very often see such sights.

Only lb reads like English.

Suggested Exercises (49):

Improve the following sentences:

II: Main and Subordinate Clauses


When the main clause of a sentence is preceded by a subordinate clause, it
is not likely to begin with anything other than the subject of the main verb.
Let us compare the following alternative sentences:
la . *Now that the bureaucratic problems have been overcome, this spring
theyll be getting married,
lb . Now that the bureaucratic problems have been overcome, theyll be
getting married this spring.

la is hardly English, since an initial subordinate clause (Now that the bu


reaucratic hurdles have been overcome) and the subject of the main verb
(they) are separated by the phrase this spring. If, however, we were to re
move the first clause, the second clause of la could remain unchanged:
This spring theyll be getting married.

1. Such eyesores represent generally the tasteless architecture of the past.


2. Few politicians enjoy in reality any privacy.
3. The young generation does have role models that influence profoundly
teenagers.
4. Those are the boys who killed in cold blood a two-year-old child.
5. A good teacher can make you adore for example physics, even if you loathed
the subject sincerely before.
6. They want for their children the best.

126

The same remarks might be made of the following alternative sentences:


2a. *Though we are aware that appearances can lie, in m ost cases it is
difficult not to judge by them.
2b. Though we are aware that appearances can lie, it is difficult in most
cases not to judge by them.

In 2a an initial subordinate clause and the subject of the main verb (it)
are separated by the phrase in most cases. If, however, we were to re127

move the though-clause, the second clause of 2a could remain un


changed:
In most cases it is difficult not to judge by them.

3a. *However eager our foreigner mav have been to visit our country, after
using anv means of public transport he will want to go back home.

Here the sentence is improved by changing the position of the second sub
ordinate clause:
3b. However eager our foreigner may have been to visit our country, he
will, after using anv means of public transport, want to go back home.

Suggested Exercises (50):

Improve the following sentences in the same way:


1. Although the RSC is perceived as exclusively producing Shakespeare, in fact
their programme includes classical theatre of all periods.
2. As we grow up and face more and more moral dilemmas, no longer can we
condemn such behaviour.
3. Had it not been for such events, perhaps we would now be living in a com
pletely different reality.
4. W hen we cross the threshold of parenthood, simultaneously we cross the
threshold of the generation gap.
5. W hile in the initial stages training was focussed mainly on traditional
banking, gradually the course came to include other areas.
6. Although the majority of people have chosen to live in small units, in some
regions there is still a tendency towards preserving extended families.
7. As I am not a music lover, frequently my dislike of concerts has led to
serious quarrels between us both.
8. Founded by 12 countries in W ashington in 1949, initially NATO was a mili
tary alliance against the USSR.
9. As most would agree, to a certain extent it depends on ourselves in what way
we are influenced by the mass media.
10. If a child is deprived of the possibility of imitating grown-ups, as an adult he
or she will probably find it difficult to perform the role of parent.
11. Although he offers a plausible theory, unfortunately he sometimes borders on
fantasy.
12. W hen it comes to politics, after many years of unbridled capitalism our
country seems finally to have established its own middle way.
13. Sad as it may seem, so far nothing has been done to eliminate this problem.

A main clause preceded by two subordinate clauses should be avoided


wherever possible:
128

Suggested Exercise (51):


Improve the following sentences:
1. Despite the fact that we had spent fifty years in a prison, when the walls
finally came down it turned out that the dream of instant paradise on earth had
not come true for everyone.
2. Although a dog may be cheerful and wag its tail, however much it tries it will
never laugh at our jokes or understand us.
Additional Note:

The problems discussed in this section are especially frequent with sen
tences beginning with although. Sometimes such a sentence may benefit
from a complete rephrasal. Compare the following alternatives:
a. *The Wettins are among Europes oldest dynastic families.
Although the end of their rule came with the revolution of 1918, despite
their dethronement the family continued to live in Saxony until 1945.
b. ...The end of their rule came with the revolution of 1918, yet despite
their dethronement the family continued to live in Saxony until 1945.

Ill: Composite Attributive Expressions


One particularly common error involves a composite expression being made
to function as a kind of attributive adjective, as in the following:
la . **The universitys tennis courts are part of the campus, while the
leaving much to be desired swimming pool is situated near the city
centre.

Here the phrase leaving much to be desired must go elsewhere, and the
sentence needs to be rephrased in accordance with English idiom:
129

lb . The universitys tennis courts are part of the campus, while the
swimming pool, one that sadlv leaves much to be desired, is situated
near the city centre.

3b. ...Young and hungry for knowledge, students are becoming increas
ingly critical of their teachers.

In 3b the sentence has become left-handed.1

The mistake exemplified by l a leaves at the very least an impression that the
writer is incompetent in English; at worst such writing becomes unintelligible.
Suggested Exercises (52):

Generally speaking, composite adjectives in the attributive position con


form to very few types, above all the following:
1. set phrase containing one or more nouns often linked by hyphens:
state-of-the-art technology
ton gue-in-cheek humour
a larger-than-life portrayal

2. adjective or participle preceded and modified by an adverb:


environmentally friendly technology
a rapidly falling rate of inflation
(but not: **a falling rapidly rate of inflation).

Whether a composite expression is acceptable is determined primarily


by usage. Thus, for example, we may say that an artists portrayal of his
subject is larger than life, and we may say that it is full of life. Yet
while it is correct to speak of a larger-than-life portrayal, it is hardly
possible to speak of **a full-of-life portrayal.
Thus, while many composite expressions may be perfectly acceptable
in the predicative position, they may be impossible in the attributive one.
Compare the following alternatives:
2a. *This is not only a controversial but also a difficult to define phenom
enon.
2b. This is a phenomenon that is not only controversial but also difficult
to define.

Only the second sentence, with difficult to define in the predicative posi
tion, is grammatical.
Syntactic errors involving composite attributive expressions can some
times be avoided by the addition of punctuation:
3a. *On our campuses things are beginning to change. Young and hungry
for knowledge students are becoming increasingly critical of their
teachers.

130

Identify the words in the following sentences that violate English syntactic
patterns; rewrite the sentences in correct English:
1. The famous, surrounded by parks Grand Hotel usually hosts international
pop-stars.
2. Development is hampered by the dominant everywhere bureaucracy.
3. The Popes remarkable and im possible to characterise personality works
wonders with various foreign dignitaries.
4. In our country such improving their qualifications teachers are very unique.
5. The Internet can be used to disseminate forbidden and often harmful in some
way material.
6. John was a sensitive, very easy to hurt individual.
7. This reasonable in its assumptions economic policy led to widespread
impoverishment.
8. Many city dwellers dream of living in a quiet, close to nature village with
fields, meadows and unspoilt by civilisation landscapes.
9. In their eyes Maureen is still a perfect, obedient to her parents daughter.
10. The located there Toyota factory is a principal source of employment.
11. Such immature idealists will one day become callous, egotistic and loving
only themselves people.
12. Looking at the littered with rubbish lawns and dilapidated houses, one m ight
suppose that our town has no future.
13. W inter is presaged by swarms of leaving for warmer climes birds.
14. The mentioned above history teacher was always making our lives a misery.
15. This scintillating and skilfully m anipulating the mass media m an is the
ultimate politician.
16. Parents often find it difficult to accept the growing with age independence of
their children.
17. Many factories are full of obsolete, imported from the former USSR technology.
1 This construction is dealt with in some detail in Part II of my English for Writers and
Translators (cf. Left- and Right-Handed Sentences).

131

18. To make matters worse, there have been complaints from dissatisfied with
their low salaries railwaymen, who are threatening to go on strike.
19. He was famous for performing the first in Britain heart transplant.
Additional Note:

Sometimes syntax may be violated by a common phrase like in my opin


ion. Compare the following alternatives:
4a. *Let me now turn to in mv opinion the most disturbing mistake made
by parents.
4b. Let me now turn to what is. in mv opinion, the most disturbing
mistake made by parents.
4c. Let me now turn to what is perhaps the most disturbing mistake made
by parents.

4a is wrong, while 4b and 4c are correct. In practice, 4c might be consid


ered a more idiomatic and natural alternative to 4b.

IV: Parallel Expressions


English does not generally express emphasis by juxtaposing two parallel
expressions which are unlinked by any conjunction and separated by a
comma. Compare the following alternatives:
l a . *We hate to tell our parents about our problem s, difficulties.
lb . W e hate to tell our parents about our problems and difficulties.

Sentence la completely violates English idiom, while lb is correct.


The most frequent form of stylistic error is that exemplified by la, i.e.
with two nominal expressions, but the error may also involve two predi
cate adjectives. Compare the following alternatives:
2a. *Feeling useless, helpless as she did severely undermined
the princesss mental health.
2b. Feeling useless and helpless as she did severely undermined
the princess s mental health.

Again, only 2b is correct.


But English idiom also generally avoids parallel expressions that con
sist of two clauses, as in the following:

132

3a. *Literature often illustrates certain basic truths, reveals important


mysteries.
3b. Literature often illustrates certain basic truths and reveals important
mysteries.

Again it is only 3b that is in conformity with English idiom.


When three expressions are brought together, the last of the three is
generally linked by and or or (X, Y and Z). An especially frequent error
among non-native writers of English is to confuse this structure with the
one exemplified by la:
4a. *Literature communicates feelings, experiences, and provides
important evidence of human thought.
4b. Literature communicates feelings and experiences, and provides
important evidence of human thought.

Of the above alternatives only 4b is correct.


There are few significant exceptions to the above remarks, cases where
it is sometimes possible to juxtapose two parallel expressions without
a conjunction. One is when the parallel relationship is underlined by means
of anaphora (rhetorical repetition). Compare the following alternatives:
5a. *Cumbria with its beautiful mountains, picturesque landscapes, has
long been a mecca for tourists.
5b. Cumbria with its beautiful mountains and picturesque landscapes has
long been a mecca for tourists.
5c. Cumbria with its beautiful mountains, its picturesque landscapes, has
long been a mecca for tourists.

Sentence 5a juxtaposes two parallel phrases (beautiful mountains, pictur


esque landscapes) in the same unidiomatic way already exemplified in la.
Sentence 5b, which like lb uses the conjunction and, is a more obvious
formulation. Sentence 5c, by contrast, joins the same parallel phrases sole
ly by means of rhetorical repetition of its. Yet while 5c is correct, it differs
from 5a and 5b by being of a far higher register, which narrows the range
of suitable contexts.
Another case involves clauses generally brief ones - that are virtually
self-contained sentences, and where some counterpoise is intended:
6. I travelled there by bus, Susan arrived by taxi.

In the above sentence a semicolon is, of course, equally possible.

133

Suggested Exercises (53):

Relatives are given us by God. Friends we can choose for ourselves.

Correct the following sentences:

John loves Renaissance music. Baroque he absolutely hates.

1. TV influences our feelings, emotions, changes our social attitudes.


2. There must be a good atmosphere in class, so that students can take part in
discussions, express their opinions on the subject.
3. M edical advances have saved countless lives. It is enough to mention the
transplantation of organs, the invention of the artificial heart.
4. M any people would prefer to lie, be dishonest, in order to avoid an unpleas
ant situation.
5. Sitting in front o f the TV causes headaches, backaches, and is bad for the eyes.
6. I am going to discuss the features of a perfect teacher, explain which of them
are inbom and which acquired.
7. O ur world will soon become more cohesive, standardised, and will be
governed by omnipresent commercial forces.
8. Fam ily life helps people to appreciate such things as love, friendship;
it teaches people how to respect others.
9. W e m ust face these problems, try to understand them.
10. The Internet informs us about the present as well as the past, gives us a clear
idea of what is going on in the world.
11. The roads here are narrow, full of holes, and are constantly undergoing
repair.
12. Each day the m inister has meetings, consultations, he sends letters and faxes.
13. It is impossible to improve the world without any profound changes in the
way we perceive, understand, and in the way we are educated.
14. The situation of complete misunderstanding, non-communication, leads to
deadlock.
15. O ften readers identify with literary characters, share their emotions. Indeed,
they sometimes even imitate them, copy their behaviour.
16. W e have similar views, interests; we listen to the same kinds of music, watch
Hollywood blockbusters.
17. There is seldom any clear rule, direction that we must take in life.

V: Active vs. Passive


In English syntax sentences seldom begin with the direct object, the few
exceptions being exemplified by the following:
134

In these exceptions, however, the direct object (Friends and Baroque re


spectively) is immediately followed by the subject (we and he). Contrast
this with the following alternative sentences, the first of each being com
pletely un-English:
la . **A great influence on Polish society has the Church,
lb .
The Church has a great influence on Polish society.
2a. **The directors childhood experiences reflects his latest film.
2b.
The directors childhood experiences are reflected in his latest film.
3a. **His literary talents ruined alcohol and drugs.
3b.
His literary talents were ruined bv alcohol and drugs.
4a. **King Philips political objectives realised his son Alexander the Great.
4b.
King Philips political objectives were realised bv his son Alexan
der the Great.

In lb grammar is restored by bringing the subject forward to the beginning


(The Church), the word order being subject + verb + object (a great influ
ence).
In 2b, 3b and 4b a different method is used: the word order remains essen
tially unchanged, but the verb-form has changed from active into passive
voice (are reflected, were ruined, were realised)-, what was the object (The
directors childhood experiences, His literary talents, King Philips politi
cal objectives) has now become the subject of the verb.

Suggested Exercises (54):

Rewrite the following sentences so as to make them English:


1. The high academic level of the book guarantee specialists o f international
standing, who are the authors of the respective sections.
2. The eastern edge of the Vistula delta form the Elbl^g Highlands and the
Lowlands of Warmia.
3. The material illustrates a set of twelve diagrams.
4. The decision to build the basilica made Abbot Quodvultdeus.
5. At the Olympic Games each country may represent only one man and one woman.

135

2a. M ost would dread such an outcome. On the other hand, some would
welcome it.
2b. M ost would dread such an outcome. Nonetheless, some would
welcome it.

Rhetorical Enhancers:
Conjunctions and Discourse Markers

In both 2a and 2b a semicolon - but not a comma - can be substituted for


the full stop.
Now compare these sentences with the following (2c-d), where although
is used:
2c. ** Most would dread such an outcome. Although some would welcome it.
2d.
Most would dread such an outcome, although some would welcome it;

Concession and Contrast

2c is ungrammatical, since although is made to function there as an adverb


introducing a self-contained sentence instead of as a conjunction intro
ducing a subordinate clause. In neither 2c nor 2d is a semicolon possible.

The following words and expressions are widely confused:

B:
although / though

Example:

A:

although / though

but, nevertheless, yet etc.

Example:
l a . Though it was raining cats and dogs, we decided to set out.
l b . It was raining cats and dogs, though we decided to set out.

The conjunctions though and although are used to qualify the main utter
ance of the sentence, which is generally the main clause. Thus in sentence
la the focus is on the second clause (we decided to set out), and in sentence
lb the focus is on the first clause (It was raining cats and dogs).
Yet is a stronger version of but:
lc . It was raining cats and dogs, yet we decided to set out.

Here, the second clause (yet we decided to set out) has received more em
phasis than the first clause.
A frequent grammar mistake is to make although function as an adver
bial link, as if it were like nonetheless, nevertheless, on the other hand
etc. Compare the following sentences (2a-b):
136

albeit

II
3a. We finally reached the summit, though we were utterly exhausted.
3b. We finally reached the summit, albeit we were utterly exhausted.
3c. We finally reached the summit, albeit in a state of utter exhaustion.

Strictly speaking, each of the above sentences is grammatically correct.


However, the structure exemplified by 3b is seldom met with in contem
porary British English. Albeit is much more formal than though.
Albeit serves to weaken the force of a preceding utterance. Compare
the following two sentences:
4a. This category of teachers, albeit small, is exceptionally harmful.
4b. This category of teachers, though small, is exceptionally harmful.

The second alternative is to be preferred to the first, since in 4a albeit does


not qualify the preceding words.1
1 By the same token while albeit may begin a clause, it hardly ever begins a sentence:
3d. ** Albeit we were utterly exhausted, we finally reached the summit.
3e.
Albeit in a state of utter exhaustion, we finally reached the summit.
Sentence 3d is un-English and 3e most unusual.

137

7. While many people have good job prospects, many more do not.

C:

whereas / while

by contrast

Look at the following sentences (5a-d), whose meaning and emphasis are
much the same:
5a.
5b.
5c.
5d.

John is helpful, w hile/w hereas Peter is not at all helpful.


John is helpful. Bv contrast. Peter is not at all helpful.
John is helpful. Peter, bv contrast, is not at all helpful.
W hile John is helpful, Peter bv contrast is not at all helpful.

5a-d all express a contrast between two equivalent ideas. The adverbial
by contrast is generally preceded by a full stop or semicolon, as in 5b
and 5c above. It can be sandwiched within the clause or sentence, as in 5c
and 5d.
A frequent grammatical mistake is to make while / whereas function as
an adverb:
5e. **John is helpful. Whereas Peter is not at all helpful.

The above mistake is similar to that exemplified by 2c (with although).

D:
while

whereas

There is sometimes a difference in nuance between these two conjunc


tions, which are widely regarded as interchangeable. Both can introduce
contrasts, but while is less emphatic, often meaning little more than and.
Compare the following alternatives:
6a. Lady Diana died in a car crash on 31 August, while M other Teresa
died of natural causes a few days later. The former dressed like a film
star, whereas the latter preferred a white sari to smart clothes.
6b. Lady Diana died in a car crash on 31 August, and M other Teresa died
of natural causes a few days later. The former dressed like a film star;
bv contrast the latter preferred a white sari to smart clothes.1

Except in legal contexts whereas does not generally begin the sentence in
contemporary English:
1 Of course, in 6a whereas is possible instead of while, and while is possible instead of
whereas, but they are not optimal.

138

8. While John is helpful, Peter is not at all helpful.

In these two examples, whereas would be highly untypical. While is


weaker than (al)though.
E:

despite

irrespective of

Example:
9. He was finally executed despite pleas for clemency.
10.
The soldiers killed everyone irrespective of age or sex.

Despite means notwithstanding. Irrespective of means without regard


for.
Suggested Exercises (55):

Supply the words in the following sentences, paying especial attention to


punctuation:
1. Only emergency cases underwent operations,----------others had to wait for
the strike to end.
2. Animals simply do what their nature tells them to d o ,----------humans are
able to curb their instincts, to think prior to acting.
3. Anyone will agree that there is some truth in the saying that the best things in
life are for fre e ,----------the terms best things in life and for free need to
be defined.
4. Thus I regard Nelson M andela as a very wise m a n .----------not only states
men and public figures need to display wisdom. This quality is also a pre
requisite for many other walks of life.
5. Without families and friends life seems incomparably sterile.----------we
often need to sacrifice a part of ourselves for the sake of relationships.
6. ----------more and more people are learning English, every country has its
own distinctive culture and traditions, which makes total integration unlikely.
7. ----------the good intentions of politicians the lot of the poor never changes.
8. ----------the outgoing prime
minister has always been scrupulous about
maintaining appearances, the new one is known for his highly abrasive style.
9. ----------all the girls had to be back home by ten, Peter by contrast could stay
out as long as he wanted.

139

10. W e acquire thought-pattems propagated by the m edia,---------unconsciously.


11. Ms K. urged me to apply for the A cadem y,----------Mr Z. congratulated me
on passing the entrance exams to university.
12. Recently there has been some rapprochement between the two presidents,
tentative.

Similarity and Contrast


The following are various words and phrases which may come in useful
for expressing similarities and differences:

13. Some of the unemployed showed real initiative,----------the others did no


thing but complain and wait for the state to help them.

1. as and like

14. It is possible for very elderly people to remain mentally alert----------------age.

When we wish to say that something is similar to something else, we may


use as and like depending on the grammar of the sentence. Like resembles
a preposition and is followed by a noun or pronoun:

15. To conclude, our society would certainly not like to become completely
A m ericanized,----------there are some people among us who would like that
to happen.
16. A silly Venezuelan series depicts the melodramatic and unreal lifestyle
desired by most frustrated housew ives.---------- , the young generation seeks
role models in the positively awful Beverley Hills 90210.
17. The poor are often unable to break out of this vicious circle,----------- the rich
do not seem to be willing to help them.
18. Frequent and bloody battles are to be found in both environm ents.----------it
is worth noting that animal conflicts do not take as heavy a toll as those
between human beings.
19. Children may even kill themselves trying to imitate Superm an.----------- to be
quite fair, not all TV programmes for kids are so terrible.
20. In causing the deaths of several patients,----------unintentionally, the doctors
went beyond the limits o f legal protest.
21. W omen are often banned from participating in politics,----------unofficially.

1. There will never be another singer like Elvis.


2. Like John, Peter has also been to Cambridge.

As is a conjunction; it introduces a clause, with a subject and a verb.


3. Julian loves going to the opera, as his father once did.

4. Jack emigrated to America, as his brother had done years before.


In 3 and 4 the use of like instead of as would be considered informal or
sub-standard by many.
2. as in, as with, as against
As is also used with nominal phrases, especially those introduced by the
prepositions in and with:

22. ----------not all mistakes may be avoided, making up for them is essential.

5. In cinema, as in literature, we can come across masterpieces.

23. H er M ajesty is not an intellectual and she avoids discussions that get too
ab stract.--------- she is beyond a doubt a highly intelligent woman and very
knowledgeable at that.

6. In 1917, as in 1789, a revolution was to change Europe.

24. Some people appear to be extremely intelligent,----------others only aspire to


be highly esteemed for possessing such characteristics.
25. W estern Europe was dominated by the Roman Catholic C hurch,------------- the
East was under the influence of the Orthodox Church.
26. In twenty countries some polio transmission has been recorded,----------- little.
27. Such stories,----------they throw no light on the sublimity of Hinduism, do
give an idea of the colourful background.
28. The Church has compensated some of the victims of priestly ab use,---------in return for a promise of silence.

140

As with often means just as I / you / we etc. have done with:


7. With this option, as with the other one, we must proceed very carefully.
8. As with the previous essays, this one is to be handed in by Friday morning.

As against means compared with:


9. John swam six lengths as against Peters twelve.

3. as in the case of..., as is (was) the case with


These expressions have very similar meanings and functions. As in the
141

case o f means for example, but with the special nuance and I myself
can think of one instance of this happening, namely....:
10. Tourists are sometimes attacked in our public places, as in the case of
a visiting American delegate who was robbed at the airport.

As is (was) the case with means as is (was) true o f :


11. Many people left the concert feeling very disappointed, as was the
case with my neighbour, who says he has never seen such a bad
perform ance.1

16. Hitherto my discussion has focussed on healthy economies. Let me


bv wav of contrast turn to one that is in deep trouble....

7. ju st as... so...
This construction is used to illustrate the parallel nature of two things. Just
as and so each begin a clause:
17. Just as the Serbs once made life miserable for the Albanians, so
the Albanians are now making life miserable for many Serbs.

In neither sentence 10 nor sentence 11 is as with possible.

8. if... then...

4. in contrast to and unlike

This construction is often used to juxtapose two things in order to empha


sise the latter:

These expressions are almost interchangeable. In contrast to is more formal:


12a. Unlike Peter, John loves the idea of travelling.
12b. John loves the idea of travelling - unlike Peter.
13a. John in contrast to Peter loves the idea of travelling.
13b. John loves the idea of travelling - in contrast to Peter.

5. on the contrary and by contrast


These expressions are regularly confused.
By contrast expresses a contrast between two things or people:
14. Peter likes jogging but hates swimming. John, by contrast, loves
swimming but hates jogging.

On the contrary means but in reality, and is often used to contradict a


widespread opinion:
15. So you consider our chairman honest, do you? On the contrary, he is
a liar and a cheat.

18. If M arys essay is good, then Johns is absolutely excellent.

9. by the same token


This means for the same reason. It is used especially in making a con
sciously logical deduction:
19. You say you have nothing against people enjoying a glass of wine.
Then bv the same token you must tolerate others who prefer marijuana.
10. Similarly means in the same way:
20. The President was greeted by huge crowds o f people on his arrival in
Tel Aviv, where thousands waved American flags. Similarly when he
landed in Kuwait on the second leg of his tour he was m et by
enthusiastic multitudes.

N.B.
The phrase similarly to does not exist in standard English.

6. by way o f contrast
This phrase is used especially in transitions from one subject to another:
One authority describes this phrase as an intolerable tautology for like (E. Partridge,
Usage and Abusage, Penguin Books, 3rd ed.1999, p. 38). The present author begs to differ.
In the above example substituting like for as was the case with would make the sentence
awkward in the extreme.
1

142

Suggested Exercises (56):

Using the above words and phrases fill in the gaps in the following sen
tences:
1. In Pomerania there are beaches sheltered by d u n es,---------in other areas of
the Baltic coast.

143

2. ----------previous unwelcome guests, Grandmother used the same technique to


get rid of this one.
3. B righton,----------so many coastal resorts, has a very cheerful atmosphere.
4. Literature gives us a deeper understanding of life a n d ----------helps us to
mature.
5. ----------friendship, love is a gift which people may receive but never buy.
6. I am not saying that these things should be ignored.---------- , they are very
important, but others are even more so.
7. A person who is given both the translation and the original enjoys a far
broader perspective,----------in the present edition of this classic author.
8. ----------the world has become a global village,---------- its inhabitants are
becoming uniform.
9. Unemployed people will increasingly vent their frustrations,----------- their
forbears in the Industrial Revolution.
10. The K ashm ir,--------- most tourist destinations, is simply unforgettable.
11. Some people are completely manipulated by TV com m ercials,------------- a
friend of mine who buys all the cosmetics advertised.
12. A wise man never displays a contemptuous attitude towards any people or
ev en ts,----------pseudo-intellectuals, who have an inclination to despise
everything around them.
13. The genuine article is unimaginably expensive, a n d ----------forgeries abound.
14. A child that is loved and appreciated will find it easier to do as much for
others later in life .-----------, a child deprived of these things may have prob
lems in having successful relationships with others.
15. Nowadays more and more serious crimes are being committed by youngsters,
the three teenage girls from my home town who murdered another girl.
16. ---------- many famous people, the Pope is often the focus of controversy.
17. So far we have been examining recent developments in cinema. Let us now
focus on literature.
18. People in Tibet have only one spiritual leader,-------------- the many spiritual
authorities of the West.
19. Young people often take life too seriously,----------- Goethes hero Werther.
20. Animals can feel pain and suffer----------human beings.
21. ---------- people depend increasingly on TV for their entertainment,---------they are ever more influenced by what they see there.
22. So far he has never given any money back that he borrowed, a n d --------- he
is unlikely to be trustworthy with this larger sum.
23. Peter stressed the advantages of a holiday in the m ountains--------- one by
the sea.

144

24. --------- you think Paris has traffic problem s,-----------you should see Rome.
25. In our country there are no legal regulations that prescribe continuous
training of personnel in a given p o st.----------there are no regulations stating
that part of a companys budget must be set aside for such purposes.

Therefore and Related Expressions


Therefore is a rather formal word and is greatly overused by many non
native writers of English. In many cases a drastic curtailment (perhaps by
as much as 90%) is recommended, to be replaced by less formal and less
functionally restricted alternatives, such as that is why, as a result etc.
Therefore has more than one nuance that makes it inappropriate in certain
contexts.
i) Firstly it sometimes occurs in contexts where a logical deduction is
explicitly made, as in the following:
I think; therefore I am.

ii) In addition to this, therefore often points to a conclusion that is tanta


mount to a suggestion, as in the following sentence:
Mr M ilosevics proposals do not guarantee the safe return
of refugees and are therefore to be rejected.

While other expressions (thus, hence, consequently, accordingly) are pos


sible, they would be arguably less forceful.

iii) Closely linked to this is the nuance of arbitrary decision:


This situation cannot go on for much longer and therefore
I have decided to call an emergency meeting.

Therefore is not as common as is widely supposed, even in case i above;


in many contexts other words are more appropriate. Many teachers of En
glish would be familiar with sentences such as the following:
* Nowadays it is very fashionable to have a career.

145

Therefore many people spend most of their time at work


and sometimes forget they are parents.

Therefore is inappropriate in the above example, since its purpose there


is merely to explain; neither does it make a consciously logical deduction
on the one hand, nor does it introduce a suggestion or arbitrary decision on
the other. Better would be some other discourse marker, such as the follow
ing alternatives:
...That is why many people....
...As a result many people....

There are many words and phrases which have meanings that are rather
similar to therefore:

2: It follows that...
This expression is highly formal and occurs in the context of consciously
logical argumentation, where a key implication needs to be brought out:
If we accept that every criminal is merely sick, it follows that he cannot be
held morally responsible for his actions.

3: That is why..., which is why...


That is why is most widely used, whether the context is formal or infor
mal. Which is why also exists as a variant, meaning and that is why....
Her father has been taken ill, which is why she will be unable to attend.

1: Thus, Hence, Consequently


These are all formal, but are subtly different from therefore.

la : Thus often means in this way:


Pablo was in London at the time of the coup and thus was able
to escape aiTest.

Thus can often mean as you can see:


This model is much more reliable and cost-effective than the other and thus
is to be preferred.

lb : Hence means because of this and is less forceful than therefore:


M s Jones wishes to apologise for her absence. Her father has been taken ill
and hence she will be unable to attend.

Another way of saying this is:


...As her father has been taken ill, she will be unable to attend.

lc: Consequently means as a consequence; it often occurs in official


or authoritarian contexts:
The school generator has broken down and consequently all further classes
have been cancelled for today.

Another way of saying this is:


As the school generator has broken down, all further classes have been
cancelled for today.

146

Suggested Exercises (57):

Fill the gaps in the following sentences using any o f the above expressions
(including therefore):
1. A language represents the contributions of countless generations.----------- the
learning of a foreign language can only enrich ones inner life.
2. So far the Government has not kept any of its undertakings. W e c a n ---------deduce that it is unlikely to abide by its latest one.
3. When a man becomes a politician, he should be aware of the good and bad
features of the jo b .----------when a man intends to become a public figure, he
must be able to control himself.
4. But there are two sides to every story ,----------- 1 feel obliged to mention a
number of things.
5. If you want decent medical treatment in our country, you have to bribe the
doctor.--------- their earnings are not as small as they officially maintain.
6. John was forced by his father to study law, a subject for which he has no
real predisposition; on the contrary he was a talented painter who wanted
to m ake his living as an artist. Nowadays John is neither a law yer nor
an artist a n d ----------has wasted half of his life, ju st satisfying his parents
expectations.
7. Olympic athletes generally consume huge amounts of energy. T h e y ---------require diets that are especially rich in calories.
8. If all people are equal in the eyes of G o d ,----------- no one has the right to feel
superior to others or to kill.

147

9.

10.
11.
12.

13.

The strong conviction that certain jobs demand devotion or even sacrifice
entered our culture in the nineteenth century. The doctors profession is one
o f th em .----------when a doctor gives priority to his own economic interests,
he can expect criticism.
In 1961 he discovered that he was terminally ill a n d ----------decided to put an
end to it all.
The culture has become somewhat eclectic.----------it is impossible for the
younger generation to find any one single moral authority.
The cooking plates are covered with a delicate, non-stick coating.----------do
not allow sharp or abrasive objects to come into contact with the surface of the
plates.
If a company cannot generate profits, it will never be able to develop its
infrastructure or make new investm ents.-------- - our railway network will
inevitably collapse unless it receives state subsidies or undergoes drastic
restructuring.

In My Opinion...
A frequent error is to obtrude ones viewpoint in a rather clumsy manner
using phrases like in my opinion, I believe etc, when English people often
tend to prefer other ways of expressing themselves. Various alternatives
are given below, grouped according to function:

Intuition:
My feeling is that...
My impression is that...
My intuition tells me that...
I suspect that... (= I know I am the first to say this, but I am probably
right...y
I have a hunch that...2
1 Suspect does not always refer to something bad. One can also suspect something that
is neutral or positive:
When John retires, I suspect that they will give him a golden handshake.
2 This phrase is highly informal.

148

Contention:
Arguably (= This is my opinion and if I had the time, I could provide
some good arguments in support o f it)1
Surely (= You must agree with me when I say that...)
It is my contention that... (= / wish to argue that...)
It is my (firm / strong) conviction that... (= I am convinced that...)
It needs to be pointed out that...
I would even go so far as to say that... (= / know you may be shocked,
but I firm ly believe that...)
I beg to differ. (= I am afraid that I disagree.)
Self-Evident Truth:
A moments reflection shows that... (= Even an idiot would agree
that...)
Closer observation suggests that... (= I f you stopped and examined
this fo r a while, you would probably agree with me that...)
It goes without saying that...2
It is a sad truth that... (= It is my sad observation that...)
It is common knowledge that...
It is no secret that...
Inescapable Conclusion:
It would seem that... (= I am probably right in concluding that...)
The conclusion seems inescapable that...
The fact of the matter is that... (= I am simply right in saying that...)
The fact remains that... (= There is simply no way one can deny that...)
The only conclusion that would suggest itself is that...
There are no two ways about the fact that...3
There is no escaping the fact that... (= Any reasonable person would
agree with me when / say that...)

1 Arguably tends to occur in mid-position, rather than at the beginning of the sen
tence.
2 This phrase is highly informal.
3 This phrase is rather informal.

149

Suggested Exercises (58):

In the following sentences fin d alternatives to the words in italics:


1. The older generation should set a good example to the younger generation.
I know I am right when I say that when family members are thieves and
drunks, the children will imitate them.
2. Some claim that animals are intelligent since they can be taught certain
things. I am o f a different opinion. Animals do leam , but only by experience,
and never by any linking of information in the mind.
3. Parents often forget how important it is to talk to a child. You must agree with
me that lack of communication between these two generations makes under
standing more difficult. I honestly believe that a heart-to-heart conversation
with a child will make it possible for parents to comprehend their childs
problems.
4. So what is wisdom? In my opinion being truly wise means possessing some
real insight into human action and its consequences.
5. Thus the only conclusion that I can draw is that man is indeed very different
from other species.
6. Language should not be considered merely as a device enabling communi
cation. Indeed, in my opinion the ability to speak a foreign language makes
some people better equipped for life. In my opinion a person who has a knack
of learning foreign languages simply has a better chance of surviving in this
world.
7. M an acts for the sake of future advantage. I am well informed when I say that
todays young people are im patient to succeed as quickly as possible.
8. The West turned away from the true path a long time ago. In my opinion, in
our spiritually impoverished world the Dalai Lama represents something very
important.
9. Everyone will agree with me when I say that such a conversation is more
sincere and straightforward than one that requires an interpreter.
10. To conclude, I am probably right when I say that the question admits o f no
straightforward answer.
11. Many people in our country believe that they will benefit a lot from m em
bership of the EU. Yet I must point out that they give little thought to the
consequences in terms of national identity.
12. W isdom has always been an aspect of the male stereotype. I am not saying
anything controversial when I say that in the course of history women have
been generally deprived of the right to express their thoughts freely, excluded
as they were from most intellectual occupations.

150

13. Many peace initiatives were undertaken. A ny reasonable person would agree
that military action in that conflict was a necessary evil, an evil that had to
occur in order to preempt a far greater one.
14. I believe that instead of industrial action it is rather patience and determ ina
tion that this country needs now.
15. W hile it is true that bringing up a child requires a great deal of love, the
excessive permissiveness of parents is - you must agree with me - doing
more harm than good.
16. It is impossible to reach any consensus as regards the nature of dreams. In m y
opinion, however, there is always a grain of truth in any dream, as it comes
straight from our subconscious.
17. You only have to think fo r a moment and you will realise that nowadays one
can hardly lift a finger without encountering high-tech devices.
18. No one can deny that since we have been using computers they have been
affecting almost every sphere of our lives. It seems fa ir to conclude that
in the near future computers will become indispensable.
19. Some argue that censorship and art are mutually hostile. I am absolutely
convinced, however, that censorship may actually strengthen the position
of art.
Additional Note:

In the context of more formal writing (esp. scientific publications) phra


ses containing the first person (I, my etc) are used very sparingly. Among
the various ways of avoiding the first person the use of the passive de
serves special mention. Compare the following sentences:
a. In this essay I will try to consider the various arguments.
b. In this essay an attempt will be made to consider the various arguments.

Of course, overuse of the passive also entails the disadvantage of the lan
guage becoming excessively impersonal, even to the point of its seeming
unnatural.

You had better call an ambulance. (Any ambulance will do.)


How can we best evaluate a politician? (any politician)

3. The plural of a / an is nothing (zero)

Articles: A Few Tips


For the non-native speaker of English complete mastery of the articles
a I an and the generally comes last of all. Nonetheless, the great majority
of mistakes could be avoided by keeping in mind a few basic points. Some
of the following will be more familiar than others:

1. Countables and Uncountables


a. Is the word countable? If it is countable, it generally takes an
article when the word is in the singular:
The cat was asleep on the mat.
A cat was asleep on a mat.

Here both cat and mat are countable.

b. If the word is uncountable, it generally cannot be used with the


indefinite article.
Honesty and decency are rare these days.

The words honesty and decency are uncountable, and have no plural. Ex
cept in very special contexts (see below, point 13), we cannot say an hon
esty, a decency etc.
A good dictionary should tell you whether a word is countable or un
countable.
2. A / an has the nuance of one or (an y\
i)

a t an one

Compare the following alternative sentences:


a. A gifted sportsman may be compared to an artist.
b. Gifted sportsmen may be compared to artists.

The plurals of a gifted sportsman and an artist are gifted sportsmen and
artists respectively. Each of the sentences represents one way of saying
essentially the same thing, i.e. of making a generalising remark.

4. Generalisations
The plural with zero article (Bom sportsmen in sentence b of the previous
section) is more frequently used for making generalisations about catego
ries. Consider the following alternatives:
l a . A portable telephone is within everyones reach,
l b . Portable telephones are within everyones reach.
2a. A small child is very impressionable.
2b. Small children are very impressionable.

Of each of these alternatives the second is more likely to occur, especially


since the singular may sound highly sententious.
Sometimes, however, sentences of the second type (lb, 2b) are the only
way of making generalisations:
3. Westerners have such strange ideas often.
4. Football fans tend to be very loud.

In neither 3 nor 4 is the singular really possible.1In sentence 3 Westerners


means Westerners in general, while in sentence 4 football fans means
football fans in general. In cases of doubt it is best to use the plural (with
zero article).

W hen I went out, I saw a lady walking a huge dog.

ii)
152

a / an = any

1 The singular would require a reformulation: The average Westerner has such strange
ideas etc.

153

5. Back-pointing the
The often takes up what has already been mentioned:
W hen I went out, I saw a lady walking a huge dog. The lady was frail
and elderly and the dog seemed very much in charge.

6. The often means this or that.


M r Jones was a brilliant maths teacher. He was able to make the subject
really come alive.
A few years ago our economy was in crisis. Since then, however,
the situation has much improved.

In the above sentences the subject really means that subject (i.e. maths),
while the situation really means that situation.

7. The sometimes implies all the, especially when we are talking


about populations or collectives:
Compare the following two sentences:
a. At that time the Vikings lived in Scandinavia.
b. Around 1000 AD North America was discovered by Vikings.

The first sentence refers to the Vikings as a whole, i.e. collectively.


The second refers only to some of the Vikings.1

8. The... of...
If the word o f occurs anywhere, then there is an especially great likelihood
that it will be preceded by the:
Contrast the following sentences:
la . Reality is often depressing.
l b . The reality o f daily life is often depressing.
2a. Success generally requires much effort.
2b. The success o f the enterprise depends on you.

1 Of course it is also possible to say discovered by the Vikings, i.e. giving the credit
collectively for what only a few achieved.

154

3a. British history spans many centuries.


3b. The history of Britain spans many centuries.

This pattern may also extend to proper nouns:


4a. Rome is built on seven hills.
4b. The Rome of the Caesars was built of marble.
5a. Alexander died at the age of 32.
5b. The Alexander of mediaeval legend is very different
from the historical Alexander.

While this is only a pattern or tendency and not a rule, being aware of it
will help non-native speakers to avoid many mistakes.

9. Defining Relative Clauses


Defining relative clauses are mostly preceded by the. This pattern is found
with both countable and uncountable nouns. Compare the following sen
tence pairs:

With a countable noun:


la . Cigars are expensive nowadays.
lb . The cigars that I smoke come from Havana.

With an uncountable noun:


2a. Money makes the world go round.
2b. The money that most teachers earn is a pittance.

In the above sentence pairs each of the second (b) is a defining relative
clause: i.e. lb refers to some cigars only, and 2b refers only to one instance
of money.
Note the following gradation:
3a. Poverty makes people desperate.
3b. The poverty of Third W orld countries is desperate.
3c. The poverty that afflicts Third W orld countries is desperate.

The same pattern is found even with proper nouns. Compare the follow
ing:
4. I have two friends called Susan. One lives across the road and the other
is my colleague at work. The Susan that lives across the road is getting
married next week.

155

10. Participles as Postmodifiers (i.e. coming after the noun phrase that
they refer to)
There is again a marked tendency for such participles to be preceded by
the. Compare the following alternatives:
la . The phenomena that are presented here are highly significant,
lb . The phenomena presented here are highly significant.
2a. The people who work in that place are underpaid.
2b. The people working in that place are underpaid.

In reality lb and 2b are reduced versions of defining relative clauses.

11. Other Phrases Containing Prepositional Postmodifiers


The pattern the... of... has already been mentioned: the preposition of is
especially likely to be preceded by the definite article. The same pattern is
found with other prepositions as well, albeit to a lesser degree. Often we
come across prepositional phrases like the old people in our district, the
trees near the church etc., which can easily be turned into defining rela
tive clauses:
la . Old people are often neglected.
l b . The old people in our district are often neglected.
lc . The old people that are in our district are often neglected.
2a. Trees often live for centuries.
2b. The trees near the church are centuries old.
2c. The trees that are near the church are centuries old.
3a. Susan is getting married next week.
3b. The Susan across the road is getting married next week.
(i.e. not the Susan at the office)
3c. The Susan that lives across the road is getting married next week.
(i.e. not the Susan that works with me at the office)

12. The fact that...


This tip is actually an aspect of point 9, i.e. defining relative clauses. Again
in most but not all cases we say the fact that, the reason why, the question
whether, not a fact that, a reason why, a question whether etc.
The allegation that he embezzled millions of dollars is unfounded.

156

13. Phrases in Apposition


When a phrase or clause beginning with an article is in apposition to anoth
er, there is an especially great likelihood that the apposition will begin with
a / an, or in the case of plurals with no article at all:

With a singular noun:


At the end of the twentieth century, a century of technical progress,
people began to wake up to the environmental costs.

In the above example, the phrase the twentieth century has been taken up
by the phrase a century (not: the century).

With a plural noun:


Compare the following sentences:
1. Such a profession demands flexibility, a feature often all too rare.
2. Such a profession demands flexibility and initiative, features often
all too rare.

In sentence 2 of the above example the composite phrase flexibility and


initiative has been taken up by features (not: the features).
This tendency takes precedence over point 9 (Defining Relative
Clauses):
Man possesses the faculty of speech, a faculty that sets him apart from
the animals.

Note how the defining relative clause does not prevent the phrase the. fac
ulty of speech from being modified into a faculty.
By the same token the tendency also takes precedence over point 10
(Participles as Postmodifiers):
Man possesses the faculty of speech, a faculty distinguishing him from
the animals.

This tendency to use a / an in appositional structures is found even with


uncountable words, i.e. ones which cannot normally go with the indefinite
article:
Mother Teresa showed great compassion, a compassion that earned her
a reputation for saintliness.

157

Suggested Exercises (59):

Supply the article (a / an, the) where necessary in the gaps o f the following
sentences:

27. ------ H/harmony i s ------- feature o f ------- happy relationships.


28. This is the most ancient view of the w o rld ,------ view based o n -------

1. If he had h a d ------ good map, he would not have lost his way.

unspoken premise th a t---------------------------- gods can be placated.


29. ------ L/language allo w s------- particular society to preserve its history and
memory.

2. The President seems to treat everybody around him w ith ------ contempt.

30. Generally speaking,-------- politicians are not held in high esteem.

3. F in d in g ------ true friends is difficult.

31. ------ S/stupidity that some people display surpasses all understanding.

4. ------ T/theoretical knowledge that we can acquire at university leaves us ill


prepared f o r ------ real life.

32. ------ T/thesis will be examining a number of problems.


33. Immense skill is needed to u s e ------ surgical instruments.

5. ------ W /war in Bosnia cost 200,000 lives.

34. F inding------ true friend is far from easy.

6. ------ A/advantages accruing from this m erger will be substantial.

35. Many little girls dream of b e in g ------ teachers, and their pupils b eco m e-------

7. These war criminals behaved lik ed ------ animals.

teddy b ears,------ dolls a n d ------- other toys.

8. Such a boy will simply re p eat--------mistakes of his parents.

36. D o ------ theories mentioned above really exclude each other?

9. ------ F/freedom and tolerance of American society is envied by many.

37. ------ M/myth of Eden tells o f ------- harmony existing between God and man.

10. Immense skill is needed to u s e ----------- surgical instrument.

38. He advocates------ freedom a n d ------- tolerance, no m atter what the situation.

11. Many religious myths tell of the battle betw een------ good a n d ------- evil.

39. ------ L/language of human beings i s ------- enigma.

12. Laughter depends o n ------ very important and subtle human quality a sense
of humour.
13. ------ V/violence shown on TV is often excessive.

41. ------ Renaissance music is especially fascinating.


42. ------ E/ethical standards are most important in the medical profession.

14. ------ D/doctors generally enjoy a high social status.

43. Copernicus confirm ed------hypothesis that the earth goes around the sun.

15. ------ W /words do not always correspond to things.

44. Most people re a d ------ books just for pleasure.

16. W e are seldom sympathetic t o ------ people with such problems.

45. ------ S/stupidity is a characteristic of certain teachers.

17. ------ France of Louis XIV was culturally preeminent.

46. There a re ------ regular pilgrimages t o ------- place where the m iracle is said to

18. Anyone who spent a fortune on a computer ten years ago would now b e -----proud owner o f ------ worthless antique.

40. ------ P/poetry of William Blake is readily accessible.

have occurred.
47. The two sides will soon address------ issues facing them.

19. If Aristotle had u s e d ------ language other than Greek, his philosophical sys
tem would have been different.

48. People still rem em ber------ com m unism ,------- system that governed their

20. ------ English of the Middle Ages is very different fro m ------- English of today.

49. ------ F/foundations of science go back to the Babylonians.

21. Sports teach us to re sp ect------ feelings of others.

50. They attend classes i n ------ gramm ar of English, and learn ab o u t-------------

22. ------ C/chimpanzee behaviour has interested scientists for many years.
23. ------ T/thought is conditioned b y ------- language to such an extent that people
are not even aware o f ------ fact.
24. Is man really different fro m ------ animals?
25. ------ S/six days of the 1967 war changed------- face of Palestine.
26. ------ A/answer to this question is arguably negative.

158

lives for many years.

history and literature of England.


5 1 . ------ C/constant turmoil on our TV networks is caused by political inter

ference.
52. People should acquire the ability to think positiv ely ,------ ability which is

connected w ith ------ experience.


53. ------ D/dogs are extremely keen-scented, w h ile ------- cats see exceedingly

well in the dark.

159

54. If you want to pass the driving test, you must Ie am ------ road signs.
55. Mr Jones was able to convey------ knowledge he possessed in an interesting
way.
56. We are seldom sympathetic t o ------ person with such problems.
57. Peabodys proposal was treated w ith ------ contempt that it deserved.
58. B ridging------ gap betw een------- two halves of Europe will not be easy.
59. ------ P/philosophy is a tricky subject, a n d ------- philosophy of language
especially so.
60. ------ V/violence is a part o f ------- American life.
61. ------ B/behaviour o f--------chimpanzees has interested scientists for many years.
62. The President is aware o f ------ great responsibilities that he must shoulder.
63. M any people p re fer------ entertainment offered by TV.
64. The candidate is able to get on very well with other p eople,------ fact which
I
consider to be highly significant.
65. This ability to m ak e------ tools i s ------- uniquely human ability.
66. It is impossible to m ak e------ good teacher out o f ------- person who is not
bom for teaching.
67. M /music of the Renaissance is especially fascinating.
68. ------ P/proverbs are rooted i n ------- culture and history o f a country.
69. ------ G/good therapist requires---------------patience. In fact he or she n eed s------patience of Job.
70. ------ S/sociology that emerged in the 1960s was very different from its
prewar version.
71. You cannot expect me to buy all these th in g s --------- list is rather long.
72. ------ P/peace a n d ------- prosperity should not be taken for granted.
73. ------ W/wine that France exports is subject to the most stringent controls.

Punctuation
The Colon (:)
The colon is used above all to give a sense of poise and counterbalance to
what has already been written. By the same token it is very often employed
later on in the sentence, to set off what has gone before.
1. Appositions at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence

When the colon is used in order to introduce an apposition, pains should be


taken to ensure wherever possible that it marks the end of a self-contained
grammatical unit, instead of dividing such a unit into two. Look at the
punctuation of the following example:
la . *Its colours: blue, red, green and yellow create a fabulous picture.

In la the colon separates the subject (Its colours) from the rest of the sen
tence, and is therefore incorrect. If the sentences grammatical structure is
left unchanged, then it is best to use different punctuation altogether:

lb . Its colours - blue, red, green and yellow - create a fabulous picture.
74. ------ P/politicians seldom stick t o --------- moral standards that they publicly
advocate.
Thus, instead of a colon, two dashes have been used to mark the apposition.
75. ------ S/socialism of M r Blair has little or nothing in common w ith ------socialism o f ------ Bolsheviks.
Exactly the same principle applies when the apposition happens to be
76. ------E/evil that men do lives after
th em ,--------good is often
a title:interred with
their bones.
2a. * The second part: Proposals for a Cleaner Environm ent includes
an impassioned plea for alternatives to fossil fuels.

In 2a the colon is incorrect for the simple reason that it separates the sub
ject The second part from the rest of the sentence. A change of punctuation
is necessary:
161

2b. The second part, Proposals for a Cleaner Environment, includes an


impassioned plea for alternatives to fossil fuels.

Thus, just as in lb the apposition was marked by two dashes, so in 2b it is


marked by two commas.
Similarly in the following sentence the colon, coming after a preposi
tional phrase, is unsatisfactory:
3. *In her essay: Life-style and Longevity in the Light of Recent Discov
eries the author discusses the relations between patterns of life and mortality
at the tum of the new millennium.

In 3 the colon is incorrect for the simple reason that it cuts a self-contained
grammatical unit into two: the words In her essay are. grammatically in
complete.
A similar mistake is to insert the colon between two clauses that in
grammatical terms are closely interconnected, as in the following:
4a. * Giving birth to two boys: W illiam and Henry, she became a public
figure.

In 4a the colon has been inserted between a subordinate participial clause


(Giving birth to two boys) and the subject of the main verb (she), which
governs the participial clause. If the sentences grammatical structure is
left unchanged, then it is best to use different punctuation:
4b. Giving birth to two boys, W illiam and Henry, she became a public
figure.

In other words, the apposition William and Henry is marked off from the
rest of the sentence by two commas.
For a further discussion of colons and appositions, cf. also above,
p. 40.
II. Colons with phrases of exemplification and enumeration:

When the colons function is to exemplify, it often occurs before phrases


like for example, for instance, that is etc.
5. Small talk is an essential part of British life: for example, when you
meet an acquaintance in the street, the first thing you will most likely
talk about is the weather.

162

Note how, unlike in la , 2a, 3 and 4a, the colon is preceded by a selfcontained grammatical unit ( Small talk is an essential part o f British
life).
And when the colons function is to enumerate a list of three or more
items, it often occurs after phrases such as the following, as follows
etc.
6. The principal Romance languages are as follows: Italian, Spanish,
Portuguese, Catalan, French, Provencal, Romansh and Rumanian.

As in 5, the colon is again preceded by a self-contained grammatical unit.


In other words, in 6 as well as in 5 the colon marks the end of a clause that,
grammatically speaking, forms virtually a complete sentence.
In 6, however, the use of as follows may strike some readers as being
cumbersome and unnecessary, and it may seem preferable to leave the phrase
out, either with or without the colon:
6a. The principal Romance languages are: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese,
Catalan, French, Provencal, Romansh and Rumanian.

In 6a the colon separates the verb from its complement. This usage, which
violates the principle that the colon should not divide elements of a sen
tence that grammatically are closely interconnected, is primarily restricted
to the verbs to be, to include and a very few others. If, however, the colon
is left out altogether, it is suggestive of an informal style:
6b. The principal Romance languages are Italian, Spanish, Portuguese,
Catalan, French, Provencal, Romansh and Rumanian.

N.B.
The word both is not generally followed by a colon. Compare the follow
ing alternatives:
7a. * Singapore is an obvious destination for both: businessmen and
tourists.
7b. Singapore is an obvious destination for both businessmen and
tourists.

Even in a context where businessmen and tourists have already been


mentioned, sentence 7a would hardly be possible. (Cf. also below,
p. 166.)
163

Suggested Exercises (60):

Supply extra punctuation in the following sentences if and when necessary:


1. Apart from such places of entertainment as cinemas, night clubs and discos
one will also find several art galleries.
2. The area is famous for its beautiful lakes, of which the best known are Como,
Garda, Maggiore and Lugano.
3. The dictionary has 100,000 entries and also includes the Greek alphabet,
a users guide, abbreviations, and references.
4. The many cafes, pubs and cinemas, together with facilities such as shops, car
parks and a well-developed public transport system make the town a mecca
for tourists.
5. Apart from this the tow ns most important works include the BMW car fac
tory and the Renoma leather products cooperative.
6. Both compliment and complement have the same derivation.

The Dash ( - )
The dash should be used sparingly except in highly informal contexts.
The following points need to be borne especially in mind:
I.

Ellipsis of verbs

The dash can never mark the ellipsis of a verb. Compare the following
alternative sentences:
la . **The trains are always empty and the busses - always full,
lb .
The trains are always empty and the busses always full.
2a. **They know that all good deeds will bring joy, and bad ones - sorrow.
2b. They know that all good deeds will bring joy, and bad ones sorrow.

7. M any years ago cinema audiences around the world were enthralled by an
American musical entitled Westside Story.

Of the above sentences only l b and 2 b are correct.

8. W isdom comes from many different factors like age and experience.

II. Appositions

9. Two famous museums the National History and the V&A are situated in
Kensington but an even more renowned one the British Museum located in
Bloomsbury is closer to the centre.

An appositional word or phrase is generally marked off by commas rather


than by dashes, and never by a mixture of the two:

10. Is the maxim early to bed, early to rise really for everyone?
11. Bad teachers will always be despised because of such factors as arbitrary
behaviour, laziness or sheer incompetence.
12. The region possesses great variety including beaches, lowlands, highlands
and steep cliffs.
13. W hatever we do whether we wish to broaden our horizons or to realise our
dreams, we are limited by an overwhelming lack of money.
14. All kinds of relationships marriages, partnerships, friendships and parentchild relations may become toxic and have a detrim ental effect on our
health.
15. The most important rivers in this area are the Wye, the Monnow, and the
Trothy.
16. However, her life divorce, love affairs, and conflicts with the rest of the royal
family left her far removed from sainthood.

Incorrect:
3a. * If only Baird - the inventor of TV, had foreseen the consequences of
his discovery!

Clumsy or highly informal:


3b. If only Baird the inventor o f TV had foreseen the consequences of
his discovery!

Correct:
3c. If only Baird, the inventor o f TV, had foreseen the consequences of his
discovery!

For dashes in appositional contexts cf. also above, p. 40f.

17. Such failings as anger, jealously or infidelity bring many marriages to an end.

III. Appositions after the pronoun we

18. The results obtained for the years 1985, 1988, 1990 and 1992 indicate that
further environmental degradation has taken place.

If the pronoun we is followed by an apposition of one or two words, no


punctuation generally needs to be added, and least of all a dash:

164

165

More formal:

Incorrect:

7b. For many visitors our culture is an enigma: we combine tradition with
foreign influences.

4a. ** All that we - children can do is forgive the mistakes of our parents.

Correct:
4b.

All that we children can do is forgive the mistakes of our parents.

IV. Parentheses

If the dash is used to introduce a parenthesis, it should also be used to


complete the parenthesis:

VII.

Using the dash to create an effect is less typical of formal English:


Less formal:
8a. We awoke to the shocking news - war had broken out.

More formal:

Incorrect:

8b. We awoke to the shocking news: war had broken out.

5a. * All species of animals - no matter whether they be elephants, mice or


ants, have souls and can suffer.

Correct:
5b.

V.

Creating an effect

All species of animals - no m atter whether they be elephants, mice or


ants - have souls and can suffer.

Additional Note:

The expressions fo r example, fo r instance etc. are not generally accom


panied by dashes:
Incorrect:
9a. * The results of industrial action can be terrifying: in one country town
- for example - a woman died o f influenza because the local doctor
refused to treat her.

Both

Both is not generally followed by any punctuation, and least of all a dash.
Compare the following alternatives, which mark the very beginning of an
essay:

Correct:
9b.

6a. **In the course of her history Poland has assimilated both eastern and
western influences.
6b.
In the course of her history Poland has assimilated both eastern and
western influences.

The first alternative (6a) is absolutely impossible in English. (Cf. also


p. 163).

The results of industrial action can be terrifying: in one country


town, for example, a woman died of influenza because the local
doctor refused to treat her.

Suggested Exercises (61):

Supply extra punctuation in the following sentences if and when necessary:


1.

On the north W estminster is bounded by M ayfair, Bloomsbury and M arylebone all districts of London.

The dash is not generally used in explanatory clauses, except in highly


informal contexts:

2.

Through the first window one could see the deep blue ocean, through the
second the endless forests, and through the third the misty mountains.

3.

TV is part of our everyday life it follows us wherever we go.

Less formal:

4.
5.

Years ago margarine was believed to be good for one and butter bad for one.
One of Europes largest Gothic structures St M arys Church towers over the
city.

VI. Explanatory clauses

7a. For many visitors our culture is an enigma we combine tradition


with foreign influences.

166

167

6. Generally, relationships between English people appear to be by no means


perfect, or the English themselves happy.
7. W ho should do this job? For sure not everybody.
8. W hen necessary, it is the Speaker of the Lower House that acts as deputy
president, and should that be impossible the Speaker of the Upper House.
9. It is difficult to tell which is a blessing and which a curse.
10. The Normans spoke French and English people Anglo-Saxon, the two basic
elements of our language.
11. The co-authors distinguished doctors from Britain and America are specia
lists in various branches o f medicine.
12. W e hated him and his approach to his subject he was a hateful egocentric
who always tried to demonstrate his superiority.
13. This can best be illustrated by the behaviour of my brothers girlfriend Kate.

III. Irony and distance

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, as the saying goes. Being generally
something very banal and commonplace, it seldom requires inverted com
mas. The following sentence represents a typical misuse:
3a. * In our country the average teacher works ju st 35 hours a week.

The inverted commas are not justified by the quality of the sarcasm, which
could be expressed much more appropriately by a rephrasing:
3b.

There are various ways of expressing irony, without resorting to invert


ed commas, as in the following example:
4a.

How can the following sentence be improved?


14. England and W ales are divided into 53 counties (before 1974 - 62).

Inverted Commas ( and )

In our country the average teacher works a mere 35 hours a week.

W hat made such a calm krid innocent person as m yself have


such a murderous dream?

In the above sentence, the inverted commas would only be justified if we


knew beforehand that the writer had been described as innocent, i.e. if
the word was a direct quotation or an obvious reference. If no quotation or
reference is involved, the sentence requires modification, perhaps as fol
lows:
4b.

W hat made such a calm and supposedly innocent person...?

4c.

What made such a calm and seemingly innocent person...?

Or:
Inverted commas are used for the following purposes:
I.

Genuine quotations
1. Marx described religion as the opium of the masses .

II. Received Opinion

Sometimes, however, the writer may merely repeat hearsay or received opin
ions without specifying the source. Compare the following alternatives:
2a. * We should question the morals of this, as some say,
unpredictable man.
2b. ...the morals o f this reputedly unpredictable man.

Note how the clumsy and asyntactic parenthesis as some say of 2a has been
replaced in 2b by reputedly, while the inverted commas have disappeared.
168

Thus the word supposedly (seemingly) has been added, while the inverted
commas have disappeared.
Let us now look at the following sentence, taken from a discussion on
nonconformists:
5a.

Nonconformists deserve the credit for m ost human progress, since in


practice revolt often means imagination and creativity.

Here again, if the concept revolt has occurred for the first time and there is
no obvious quotation, inverted commas might strike many as being inap
propriate. Moreover, the irony or distance inherent in the writers use of
the word is hardly forceful enough to justify them. The sentence needs to
be rephrased, perhaps along the following lines:
169

5b.

...since in practice so-called revolt often means imagination and


creativity.

Thus, the phrase so-called has been added, while the inverted commas
have disappeared.
For a writer who wishes to create a certain distance between himself
and the word or phrase that he is using, other options are also available:
6a. In many countries of the world, capitalism is the most important single
discovery of the 1990s.
6b. In many countries of the world, capitalism is the most important single
discovery - if one can call it that - o f the 1990s.
7a. The mixture o f violent films and shocking talk-show confessions is
further enriched with endless soap operas.
7b. ...is further enriched with endless soap operas, if enriched is
the word.

In each of the above pairs the second alternative (6b, 7b) is preferable.
Of course, there are also occasions when the sarcasm is less common
place, and it is then that inverted commas are justified, perhaps in the fol
lowing example:
8. My only education consisted of parental abuse, sadistic teachers and
several stays in a borstal.
IV. Metaphors

Look at following sentences, in both of which mirror is used as a meta


phor:
9.

Literature should be the m irror of life.

10. Death is often the m irror of life.

In 9 the metaphor is obvious; in 10 it is not. Hence the difference in punc


tuation. In other words, inverted commas should be reserved for a meta
phor that is genuinely original or striking. Among foreign writers of
English a widespread error is to use inverted commas for even the most
obvious metaphors, as in the following example:
11. * Deployed on the battlefield because of its size and ferocity,
the Neapolitan m astiff was the tank of the ancient world.

In modem warfare, tanks immediately spring to mind as battlefield equip


ment. Thus tank is an obvious metaphor, and requires no inverted commas.
170

Generally, overuse or misuse of inverted commas leaves an impression


of affectation, so apart from reported speech and genuine quotations they
must be employed sparingly.

Suggested Exercises (62):

In which o f the following sentences are inverted commas justified? How


might some o f the sentences be improved?
1 . Parents are often unaware o f the sort of edification that violent films provide.
2. Such are the down-and-outs who are poor from choice or simply because

they like it.


3. Envy has the potential to turn a relationship into a prison, so to speak.
4. The Government should realise the dangers of forgetting about the poor.
5. Sadly, it seems that the only literature that many of us know consists of
pulp magazines, threepenny romances or sensational tabloids.
6. In their hunt for success reporters show no compassion for their victim s.
7. Let me explain what the term bom artist denotes.

8. Mrs Thatchers programme included family values, law and order, and
short, sharp punishm ents for persistent offenders.
9. H alf the class had to retake the year thanks to that maniac. After such en
couragem ent few of us saw any point in studying any more.
10. Hungary belongs to Western Europe, where western means better developed.
11 . Someone who is always afraid of what the neighbours will say does not

really live for himself. Adapting your life to standards means living a lie all
the time.
12. My parents were brought up in a different reality, the reality of the sixties.
13. Over our monotonous world the natural bom conformist reigns supreme.
14. The speaker insisted that she did not believe in any truths from the Bible, or
in any God.
15. Little did Marjorie know that her little angel was really a little devil, ter
rorising the other kids.
Additional Note:

We can choose between single ( ) and double ( ) inverted commas.


Single ones tend to be favoured especially when we discuss an individual
word or phrase or else use it in a striking manner (cf. exx. 7b and 10, above).
171

The Semicolon (;)


I. Sem icolons and commas

The semicolons most usual function is to show the basic organisation of


a sentence that already contains commas. Compare the alternative punctu
ation of the following example:
la . * The duties of the monarch are to open Parliament, to appoint
ministers, to act as head o f the Church of England, as well as of the
British Commonwealth, to take part in various time-honoured rituals,
and generally to try to keep far away from the tabloids, which are
always in search o f salacious gossip.
lb . The duties o f the monarch are to open Parliament; to appoint
ministers; to act as head o f the Church of England, as well as of the
British Commonwealth; to take part in various time-honoured rituals;
and generally to try to keep far away from the tabloids, which are
always in search o f salacious gossip.

In lb semicolons have been introduced in order to bring out the underlying


structure of the sentence, to create an impression of order and hierarchy
amidst what would otherwise have been a forest of commas. After all, why
should commas be used all the time, no matter whether the pause in the
sentence is more important or less important?
Similarly the punctuation of the following example can be compared:
2a. * The country possesses huge oil-deposits, though yet to be fully
exploited, extensive coffee plantations, albeit hampered by antiquated
technology, and finally, almost unlimited resources of rain forest.
2b. The country possesses huge oil-deposits, though yet to be fully
exploited; extensive coffee plantations, albeit hampered by antiquated
technology; and finally, almost unlimited resources of rain forest.

Here also 2a, having only commas, is confused and bewildering, while 2b is
clearly organised. Thus, to repeat, the semicolon often separates phrases and
clauses that are themselves broken up by commas or other punctuation.
II. Sem icolons without com m as

In addition, the semicolon is often used to mark a division of a sentence often a long one into two grammatically comparable sections even when
other punctuation is absent:
172

3. In a film the producer creates every detail of his world for us; in a book
the author allows us to create that world for ourselves.

In 3 the two clauses are so closely parallel and mutually complementary


that a semicolon is preferable to a full stop. On the other hand, the sentence
is too long to warrant a comma.
The same pattern applies in sentences where a division into more than
two grammatically comparable sections needs to be marked:
4. Some people are sent home after a day or two; others stay for a couple of
weeks; still others require very long-term treatment.

Again, the clauses are clearly parallel and complementary so as to make


semicolons preferable to full stops. On the other hand, the sentence is too
long for commas to be optimal.
Thus the semicolon may be considered as being at a halfway stage be
tween the comma and the full stop.
III. Semicolons and sentence adverbials

The semicolon is often used to link two sentences that are grammatically
separate but connected in thought when the second one is introduced by
sentence adverbials, such as the following: accordingly, also, consequent
ly, furthermore, hence, however, indeed, in fact, moreover, nevertheless,
on the contrary, otherwise, so, still, then, therefore, thus, what is more,
yet etc.
Two typical patterns deserve to be noted. The first is exemplified by the
following sentence:
5. All these years M r Jones has been employed as a junior clerk;
consequently, it is time we thought about assigning him to a more
senior position.

Here the sentence adverbial consequently begins the second statement,


and is directly followed by a comma. The pattern may be summed up as
semicolon followed by one comma.
A second typical pattern is when the sentence adverbial is embedded in
the second statement:
6. For some students a teacher may be a mentor and the greatest authority;
to others, by contrast, he or she appears as Public Enemy N o.l and
simply a monster.

173

I
Here the sentence adverbial by contrast makes explicit the relation of the
two principal parts of the sentence to each other; nonetheless, it does not
start the second part directly, but is embedded or sandwiched in the text.
The pattern may be summed up as semicolon followed by two commas.
Additional Note:

In English the conjunction and may be preceded by the comma and semi
colon, as can be seen from two of the above examples (la-b and generally,
2a-b and finally).

Suggested Exercises (63):

Complete the punctuation in the following sentences (in each o f them at


least one semicolon is required):
1. Such students usually do not pay too much attention to learning they cheat in
order to pass exams and finally they become frustrated pessimistic teachers
who are not able to forget their problems as they enter the classroom.
2. In my opinion there are several kinds of poor people those who are poor
because they do not care much about material goods those who are too lazy to
work m ore and finally those who are industrious and work from dawn to dusk
but still cannot save enough money for a higher standard of living.
3. In this essay I am going to give some examples to support this view and at the
same time answer two crucial questions firstly whether we have the right to
pry into politicians private lives and secondly whether those statesmen whose
private lives do not conform to the same ethical standards as their conduct in
public deserve to be condemned.
4. Some labourers became unemployed some of them however succeeded in
m aking a living from agriculture.
5. There are programmes really worth seeing films that are works o f art plays we
are not able to see in the theatre but may watch on TV we can find truly edu
cational productions that are not likely to have a detrimental effect on the
character of the young.
6. Such a child has everything all his dreams are fulfilled at once his life is like
a fairy tale without pain close to m others apron strings.
7. The results of such a strike can be terrifying in one country town for example
a woman died of influenza because the local doctor refused to help her claim
ing that he was simply overwhelmed with patients the emergency services also

174

refused to take care of her insisting that it was the family doctor that should
take care of her.
8. We are not all bigots and not all drunks there is a young generation that is not
at all influenced by past horrors and most importantly not everything here is
upside down.
9. For some people the countryside is a place o f freedom from cars buses and
pollution for others however it is a place of hard work and poverty.
10. People rarely go to a library for a good book they prefer to stay at home in
front of the TV.
11. Western borders were suddenly open which gave the peoples of the W arsaw
Pact countries an opportunity to visit foreign countries shops were filled with
both imported and local produce the growth o f the free market became a fact.
12. Literature trains the imagination of the reader someone who reads a book can
imagine things as he wants to and create the main characters in his own way.
13. Many parents seem to forget about their essential role they treat their children
as playthings or as a necessary fulfilment of marriage.
14. People did not abandon their traditions what is more they did their best to
preserve them.
15. The human psyche has three levels the id standing for impulses and urges the
ego representing ones personality and the superego dealing with sublimated
desires and urges.
16. Good teachers never treat those entrusted to their care as their inferiors on the
contrary the relationship is based on the principle of equality.
17. Each literary epoch possesses the rich legacy of patriotic lyrics whose pur
pose was to arouse the fighting spirit and win battles love lyrics written to
express an authors feelings towards his beloved religious poems expressing
an authors faith and devotion to God political treatises voicing the need for
change or philosophic tracts setting forth a w riters reflections about different
aspects of human life.
18. Today people work very hard to earn money they stay at work late take addi
tional hours and spend much of their free time on activities connected with
their jobs.

Key to the Exercises*


Nominalisations
(1, P- 20):
1. It is not easy to answer this question. / Answering this question is not a simple
matter. 2. Our foundation invites you to participate in.... 3. ...but the easiest way o f
manipulating people as well. 4. ...to witness many discussions about politics. 5. The
purpose of the course is to prepare the students to use the language in a conscious
and critical manner. 6. The Royal Family was opposed to the K ings m anying a
divorcee. 7. Such a man is unsuited to represent a country and its people. 8. Another
mistake often made by parents is failing to trust children. 9. Every Buddhist wishes
to attain Enlightenment. 10. A good teacher must be patient, as it is often necessary
in this job to repeat the same information several times over. 11. Poles may criticise
priests.... 12. Unfortunately some teenagers fa il to grow out o/adolescence. 13. For
those people who do not happen to be lucky enough to own a car.... 14. Improving
the railways and utilising them more intensively would have the effect of decreasing
traffic congestion to a significant extent. 15. The engine resisted all attempts at
getting it started again, and we....

(2, p. 21):
1. One shortcoming of globalisation is the danger of small countries becoming dom
inated by multinational concerns. 2. A teacher must be capable of judging his or her
students fairly as individuals. 3. ...a consequence of failing to realise the full signif
icance of the situation. 4. ...identified by comparing the present century with former
epochs. 5. The theme of this essay is the way the computer has i n v a d e d ry sphere....
6. ...people seem to have ceased to fe e l that it is necessary to do good deeds. 7. The
fa c t that cats have incredibly shaip senses makes them react.... 8. We run a serious

The answers provided below do not by any means exhaust all the possibilities of correctness.
In many cases alternative answers may also be found.

177

risk of losing our traditional, rather conservative values. 9. The new developments
in archaeology resulted in the possibility being considered of the coexistence of
groups of people.... / The new developments in archaeology resulted in the possi
bility being considered o f groups o f people coexisting as reflected....

Emerge, Happen, Occur, Prove, Turn Out


(7, p. 31):
1. prove (to be); turn out to be 2. happened 3. proves (to be), turns out to be 4. it
now transpires that 5. turn out, prove. 6. It emerges, turns out, transpires that....
7. occurs 8. it turns out that 9. it turns out that 10. turns out to be. 11. turned out

Proper Adjectives
(3, p. 25):

Namely and Related Expressions

1. Philadelphia is one of A m ericas biggest cities / one of the biggest cities in Amer
ica 2. The various cultures of Europe / Europes various cultures 3. Polands young
generation / the young generation in Poland 4. one of Britains most aristocratic
families / one of the most aristocratic families in Britain

(8, p. 33):
1. namely 2. namely 3. In other words, Thus 4. i.e. 5. namely 6. Thus, In other
words 7. namely 8. Thus 9. namely, which is

Adjectives vs. Prepositional Modifiers

Easy, Difficult, Possible, Impossible

(4, p. 26):

(9, p. 35):

1. words of criticism 2. path to democracy

1. It is impossible to achieve such prosperity within a few years. 2. If it were possi


ble to market hope.... 3. The area is wet and therefore difficult to plough. 4. These
things are priceless but it is possible to obtain them for free. 5. It was not possible
to experience these things until recently. 6. It is almost im possible for anyone to
learn skiing at such an age. 7. Such books are not easy to read. 8. It is im possible
to erase such bad memories within a short time. 9. Ethnic conflicts are inherently
intractable and it is impossible to solve them only by bombing.

Belong
(5, p. 27):
1. Dunes are among the characteristic features of the Baltic littoral. 2. These monu
ments are among those most often visited by lovers of art. 3. Frankly, the Joneses are
not to be numbered (ranked) among those people who have fastidious tastes. 4. Ac
cording to the latest computer-based analyses the BM J is one of the top three most
prestigious journals in the world. 5. Visiting the poor and chairing various charity
organisations formed part o f her many duties. (Or: Her many duties included....)
6. Sensitivity, intelligence and tolerance are also to be included among the qualities of a
good teacher. 7. Health and happiness are among the most precious things in life.
8. The m urder mysteries of Agatha Christie are among the m ost popular books
ever written. 9. Diet is one of the most crucial factors in human longevity.

Value
(10, p. 36):
1. elements 2. aspects; features 3. elements 4. for things of such priceless value
as; for such blessings as 5. have an eternal value, being respected by...; ...are things
of eternal value, being respected by.... 6. thing

Citizen

Get

(11, p. 37):

(6, p. 29):

1. townsfolk, townspeople, city dwellers 2. non-specialists, lay people, ordinary


people 3. ordinary Americans, the average Am erican 4. peoples lives, the lives of
ordinary people 5. the average adult 6. the people who live there 7. westerners,
people from the W est 8. ordinary people 9. M any Romans 10. educated people,
educated folk

1. acquire; gain 2. possesses 3. become; grow 4. has; is left with; cannot avoid;
cannot escape 5. be; obtain a proper education etc. 6. avoid; evade 7. extract; ob
tain 8. become; grow 9. select; find something interesting for oneself in the pro
gramme offered 10. have 11. grows 12. derive, obtain 13. grow

178

179

Appositions (I)
(12, p. 42):
1. Our company owns the Dutch publishing house Polkadot. (Also possible: owns
Polkadot, a Dutch publishing house.) 2. The British PM Benjamin Disraeli played
a crucial role in the crisis. 3. The book describes the relationship between the writ
er Hum bert Humber and a precocious teenager. 4. The Soviet politician Mikhail
Gorbatchev also describes these events. 5. From my window I have a spectacular
view o f the extinct volcano Shavnabada, which forms part of the central mountain
range. (A lso possible: ...a spectacular view of Shavnabada, an extinct volcano which
forms part of the central mountain range.) 6. The above journals are complemented
by the monthly bulletin Forthcoming Publications. (Alsopossible: ...by Forthcom
ing Publications, a monthly bulletin.) 7. Viking comes from vikingr, an old Nor
dic word meaning pirate. 8. The Peasants Revolt was led by W at Tyler, a man of
humble origins. 9. Using e-mail I can communicate with my Australian friend Ri
chard within a few seconds. (A lso possible: ...with Richard, an Australian friend of
mine....) 10. A poll conducted by the American magazine Newsweek also gave the
same results. 11. The Roman poet Juvenal once said that.... 12. Taking the double
name John Paul II, he soon established a reputation for him self as a defender of
freedom, offering great moral support for the Solidarity trade union. (A lso possible:
...for the trade union Solidarity.) 13. Not only does the President face a charge of
sexual harassment by former Arkansas State employee Paula Jones, but he has also
had an extramarital affair with 21-year-old White House intern Monica Lewin
sky. 14. The name Iron Curtain was given to the Elbe frontier. 15. Orphee, con
ceived and directed by the great French playwright Jean Cocteau, is a case in
point. 16. ...in the framework of the mass movement Alliance for Change. 17. Thus
Raskolnikov, the protagonist of Dostoyevskys novel Crime and Punishment, un
dergoes something of a spiritual rebirth. 18. I would like to quote the words of a
song by the British heavy-metal band Iron Maiden. 19. Pope John Paul II has tried
to continue the work of the great reform er John XXIII and the enlightened conserv
ative Paul VI.

Appositions (II): Appositions vs. Prepositional Structures


(13, p. 47):
In all sentences (1-10) the first option only is correct.

180

Because in Negative Sentences


(14, p. 50):
1. for, since, the reason being that, for the simple reason that. (Also possible is a
new sentence starting with After all.) 2. since, for the simple reason that. (Also
possible: their only goal being to make maximum profits.) 3. since 4. for. (Also
possible: for it is simply not enough.)

Being and Having


(15, p. 51):
1. Nowadays it is difficult to find anybody who does not have a TV set. 2. Young
people in love have been the subject.... 3. Cheltenham has long been known as a
spa which has a distinctive microclimate. (Also: ...as a spa with a distinctive m icro
climate.) 4. In the course of the years the duchesss smile, which was initially warm
and natural, froze into a studied, official one. (Also: ...the duchesss smile, initially
warm and natural....) 5. A range of hills of pivotal importance is the Pennines.
6. Despite his enormous wealth Hughes had no one who truly loved him.... 7. At
the age of 70 Mann crossed the Pyrenees on foot to escape arrest. 8. ...by people
who had a hostile attitude towards her. 9. ...the government of a country that is a
member of the EU.... 10. Marilyn Monroe died as a young attractive woman. (Also:
...died a young attractive woman.) 11. Though they have few resources and poor
equipment.:.. (Also: Despite their few resources and poor equipment...; W ith their
few resources etc.) 12. Though intelligent and good-looking.... (Also: Though she
was intelligent etc....) 13. Mother Teresa visited many people in need. (Also: ...many
people who were in need.) 14. W hile having no formal education.... (Also: Though
he had....-) 15. ...is not unusual for a person who is so young and vet has a high
social position. (Also: ...for a person so voung and with a high social position.)
16. Though so fragile and small compared to the great universe.... (Also: Though he
is....) 17. ...there is at least one rescue worker with a specialised medical training.
(Also: ...one rescue worker who has undergone....) 18. People under the influence
of alcohol do not have the right to use our facilities. (Also: People who are under....)

Be + to-infinitive
(16, p. 55):
1. is expected to, is supposed to, is meant to 2. is expected to, has to 3. exists to, is
intended to, is there to 4. are expected to, are supposed to

181

Comment Clauses with As

Constructions with As and Than

(17, p. 57):

(20, p. 63):

1. It is widely assumed that this cataclysm destroyed the entire M inoan civilisation
in a single day. (Also: This cataclysm, it is widely assumed, destroyed....) 2. The
best way to dismantle a personality was, she remarked, to isolate it. (Also: She
remarked that the best way to....) 3. The lama stressed that his mental state was....
4. It seems that (or: It would seem that) dishonesty is sometimes justified. (Also:
Dishonesty is, it seems, sometimes justified. 5. Unchanged: the speakers position
is identical to that o f the person who wrote the report. 6. The relationship between
her husband and Camilla had, she said (or: she insisted), appalled her from the
very beginning. (Also: ...the relationship between her husband and Camilla had,
as she put it, appalled her.... - cf. p . 56, footnote.) 7. You claim in your article that
nuclear energy is the only feasible option. (Also: Nuclear energy is - so you claim
in your article - the only feasible option.) 8. Her deep love of her spiritual mentor
inclined her towards what she called free and wholehearted dedication.... 9. ...be
cause they assumed I was too young....

1. as did his attempt 2. As was ascertained 3. as may be inferred 4. as did m ost


people 5. as did most of the people there 6. as is usually imagined 7. As has b e
come apparent 8. As shown; As has been shown 9. as can be seen 10. as had been
expected 11. as all too often happens (In this sentence as means ju st a s and not
seeing that.) 12. as can be illustrated 13. as is common 14. As had once hap
pened 15. as can be noticed 16. as is observable 17. as might have been expect
ed 18. as was humanly possible 19. as is the fact that 20. as did some other states
men 21. as can be illustrated 22. as is typical 23. as was proper 24. as is their
intention 25. As is widely realised 26. than had previously been supposed.

Complements and the Verb To Be

Gerunds
(21, p. 65):
1. There should be strict controls on the manufacturing o f such articles. 2. The
Council cannot tolerate the killing o/unarm ed civilians by paramilitaries. 3. A spe
cial term exists for this manipulating o/public opinion.... 4. The Institute prom pted
the setting up o f two research stations.

(18, p. 59):
1. The birds are the first thing that visitors to Australia notice. 2. Doctors are distin
guished from others by their professional ethics. (Also possible: W hat distinguishes
doctors from others is their professional ethics.) 3. The beggars who throng the
streets and train stations are yet another sign of the countrys poverty. 4. Our long
term goal is bilateral relations.... 5. Philosophers are another group o f people whose
aim is to possess wisdom. 6. Another proof of the villas late occupation is the
pavements o f mosaic and marble fragments indiscriminately mixed.

(19, p. 60):
1. The Botanical Gardens constitute one.... 2. People who are completely absorbed
in their careers provide (or: constitute) another interesting instance..; Another in
teresting instance of bad parents is provided by people.... 3. ...but the greatest at
traction is provided by the tall cliffs...; ...but it is the tall cliffs jutting straight into
the sea that constitute the greatest attraction.

Most
(22, p. 66):
1. the most frightening thing is the fact that...; what is especially frightening is the
fact that... 2. the most important thing is... 3. The most visible thing for anyone...;
What is most visible for anyone... 4. the most crucial thing is... 5. The m ost re
markable thing a b o u t...; What is most remarkable about... 6. are m ost important...
7. the most important thing... 8. are most appropriate at this moment; are the m ost
appropriate measures (steps etc.) at this moment 9. the most important thing of all
is that...

O f (Many of..., Most of..., Some of... etc.)


(23, p. 68):
1. Some parts 2. No parent is... 3. Any human values were... 4. One such organi
sation... 5. Hardly any such child stands... 6. M ost Americans possess... 7. one
book 8. all people

182

183

Problems with Negative Sentences

T here

(24, p. 72f.):

(26, p. 79):

A. 1. either 2. let alone, to say nothing of 3. either 4. let alone, to say nothing
of 5. either 6. to say nothing o f 7. let alone, least of all 8. let alone, to say nothing
of 9. any more than 10. either 11. let alone 12. any more than 13. let alone, least
of all 14. any more than her parents were 15. let alone, least of all 16. any more
than 17. let alone, least of all 18. let alone

1. Most of us wonder whether watching TV has more positive or negative aspects.


2. When people of different nations meet, a discourse may develop between them.
3. Owing to this a maritime climate prevails in our part of the world. 4. Such
a situation must have had a cause. 5. W hen this slanderous article appeared, he was
absolutely speechless. 6. Serious problems often occur if proper precautions are
not taken. 7. They do not realise that such a problem exists. 8. Recently a debate
on this particular issue has emerged. 9. While the traditional method of learning
has many adherents.... 10. If these two problems can be overcome, possibilities of
real development will appear. 11. In the last few years doubts have also arisen about
the benefits of.... 12. One should stress that this reform has numerous pros and
cons. 13. As a result of the changes we see that education is no longer free. O f
course some will argue that paving for education does have its good aspects.
14.
...for this strike has already claimed too many victims. 15. Obviously, arbitrary
or unjust redundancies sometimes occur. 16. These examples show that thousands
of young people do actually have positive role models. 17. ...it seems obvious that
significant changes and improvements have appeared in the wav we live. 18. Those
years were crucial for music, seeing as they did the emergence of reggae, heavy
metal, techno and rap. (Also: Reggae, heavy metal, techno and rap emerged.)

B. 1. Our new secretary is not very hard-working, and she does not prove to be
very competent either. 2. The turmoil on the Japanese markets has not affected the
economic situation of neighbouring countries to any considerable degree. 3. Joan
has no talent for teaching, let alone for getting her knowledge across.

Relative Clauses and the Comma


(25, p. 75):
1. Tourists may well be charm ed by their visit to our country, where remarkable
custom s are still to be found. 2. The m ost important organisation is the EU, w hich
now com prises 15 members. 3. Unchanged 4. The ties between m an and nature,
w hich were very close until the nineteenth century, can no longer be restored.
5. Unchanged 6. Even in the econom ically most developed countries, where it
might seem that everyone lives in affluence, there are people whose standard of
living is low. 7. Unchanged 8. Unchanged 9. Unchanged 10. Even now Eng
land has a num ber of old traditions, an example of which is Novem ber 5, when
children bum a dummy. 11. U nchanged 12. E uropes paparazzi, some of whom
even disturbed her last m om ents, m ust take much o f the blam e for the princesss
death. 13. Unchanged. 14. Becoming poor is not a punishment: it is simply life,
w hich is often cruel and full of injustices. (A coordinate clause can easily be
form ed: it is simply life and life is often cruel and full of injustices.) 15. Un
changed 16. Unchanged 17. Everything began in the early 50s, when the foun
dations for the EU were being constructed. 18. Unchanged 19. Unchanged
20. The European Commission, to which mem ber-states send delegates, meets in
Strasbourg. 21. Unchanged 22. N apoleon, w ho is remembered today as one of
F rances greatest men, was actually a Corsican. 23. Global warm ing will have
especially serious consequences in Central Africa, where m alaria already reaps a
grim harvest. 24. Unchanged 25. Their m arriage, w hich used to be considered
so stable, has now come to an end. 26. Unchanged 27. U nchanged 28. Paper,
silk and gunpowder were first m anufactured in China, where recorded history
reaches back 5000 years.

184

(27, p. 81):
1. No more staff meetings have been planned for the foreseeable future. (Not: No
more staff meetings for the foreseeable future have been planned.) 2 . 1 am going to
consider whether anv limits should be established to such interference in private
affairs. (Not: ...whether any limits to such interference in private affairs should be
established.) 3. A special term has even been coined for this kind of thing. (Not:
A special term for this kind of thing has even been coined.) 4. organisations ought
to be formed, devoted to the needs of such social groups. (Not: organisations devot
ed to the needs of such social groups ought to be formed.) 5. No written accounts of
this event have been found in the records of other civilisations. (Not: No written
accounts o f this event in the records o f other civilisations have been found.)
6. Every year innocent people are m urdered.... 7. Fortunately, people are inventing
more and more ways of dealing with such problems.

Additional Note to Exercise 27:


Note how in each of the above suggested answers long subjects followed by short
predicates have been avoided, in accordance with the principle outlined elsewhere
(pp. 103-106).

185

(28, p. 82):
1. Beyond the picturesque town of Penzance lies the westernmost point of Great
Britain. 2. Adjacent to the Grand Hotel is / is situated the Sopot pier, extending 512
metres. 3. Ahead of them, clearly discernible on the horizon, rose / towered the
Pillars of Hercules. 4. On the western edge of the Nile delta lies / is situated / i
located the city of Alexandria. 5. At a right angles to the square is / is to be fonnH
the tow ns m ost famous monument.

What, Which etc.


(29, p. 83):
1. M r Jones is an avid football-fan, a circumstance that is often a cause of argu
ments. 2. They watch soap operas every day, a habit that is certainly a waste of
time. 3. John said he would fight for custody of the children, an attitude / stance
that he justified by saying that Jane was unsuited as a mother. 4. The Joneses have
different social backgrounds, a circumstance that seems to influence the relations
between Mrs Joness parents and their own son-in-law.

(30, p. 84):
1. Dreams are closely related to reality, as can be illustrated by the fact that we often
dream about people and places we know. 2. People in our country tend to be very
hospitable, as visitors will easily notice. (Also: ... as will easily be noticed by vi
sitors.) 3. In extreme cases love may demand the sacrifice of life, as was the case
with Romeo and Juliet. 4. The government does not attach much importance to the
teaching profession, as is obvious from the teachers wages. 5. Life expectancy
and life style are closely related, as has been established beyond all doubt by an
immense number of scientific studies.

(31, p. 86):
1. m ore worryingly, worse still etc. 2. W orse still, Making matters worse 3. more
importantly 4. more importantly, worse still, more worryingly etc. 5. making mat
ters worse

(32, p. 87):
1. It is ironic that / The ironic thing is that the Party was abolished by the man whom
it had once expelled in disgrace. 2. It is striking that / The striking thing is that /
W hat is especially striking is that he does not consider his actions to be at all crim

186

inal. 3. It is worth mentioning that / W hat is worth mentioning is that George al


ways put other people first and himself last. 4. It is remarkable that / The rem arka
ble thing is. that / What is remarkable is that they do not overestimate their financial
situation. 5. It is curious that / It is a curious fact that / W hat is curious is that
people often behave in an irrational way when confronted by TV-cameras. 6. It is
an important fact that / The important thing is that dreams reveal the stresses with
which people are not able to cope in reality. 7. It is striking that / The striking thing
is that / What is especially striking is that many companies claim that it is im possi
ble to sell their products without resorting to such methods. 8. It is extraordinary
that / It is an extraordinary fact that / The extraordinary thing is that / W hat is
extraordinary is that no more than a century ago the extended family was the rule
rather than the exception in most of Europe.

Cleft Sentences with the Pronoun It


(33, p. 91):
1. It is owing to his highly developed brain that man is able to learn many difficult
things. 2. The psychiatrist explained that while he was always careful to listen to
each patient carefully, it was the body language that told him most. 3. It was the
existence of a common threat that cemented the military alliance. 4. In 1998 the
courses in investment banking were especially popular, but in 1999 it was the courses
in derivative instruments that drew the most participants. 5. During those years o f
tyranny it was personal contacts and not ones abilities that brought success in many
spheres of life. 6. It is impeccable behaviour in private life that makes a politician
worthy of the respect and trust of others. 7. It is especially while being abroad for
some time that one may begin to think unconsciously in the language of the foreign
country. I had the opportunity to leam the local traditions of Andalusia, and it was
language that made it possible. 8. It was not until the publication of his book that
this theory was called into question. 9. For others it is only from personal experi
ence that true wisdom may stem. 10. After all, it is the moments o f horror before
maths and the attempts to keep our eyes open during biology lessons that we re
member most.

Emphatic Word Order (Fronting)


I: Hardly, Only, Rarely, Scarcely etc.
(34, p. 93):
1. Seldom before had I seen such an expressive face. 2. Such is the wisdom that
every one of us can derive from reading books. 3. Never before has such enormous

187

progress in medicine been achieved. 4. Only by communicating in this way can a


real relationship be established. 5. Very rarely do such couples get married be
cause they love each other. 6. Only by using his inborn creativity can a teacher
vary his lessons and make them worth attending. 7. Such is the level o f soccer
violence in Argentina that a judge there has recently banned all games for a month.
8. In the worst scenario not only is communication abandoned but parents devote
their entire energies to attaining common material goals. 9. Only by reading the
authors book or poem in the original can one appreciate the talent and writing skill
o f the author. 10. So imaginative and creative was she that every class with her was
different. 11. Not only does this knowledge imbue one with confidence but it also
helps one in getting to know other cultures. 12. Talent must be accompanied by
hard work, and only then does it yield results. 13. Not without reason can one say
that the pen is mightier than the sword. 14. So enthralled are the fans by their idol
that they will follow him to the ends of the earth. 15. Under no circumstances should
literature serve useful purposes. 16. No sooner had this scandal been forgotten
than another appeared. 17. Nowhere are the traces o f the First World W ar more
visible than in Northern France. 18. Only when your manners improve will you be
allowed to join our gathering. 19. Hardly for a single moment did he stop to think
about the consequences of his deed. 20. Little did the princess realise what terrible
fate awaited her. 21. Such was the force of the explosion that several people were
killed instantly.

Emphatic Word Order (Fronting)


II: With As and Though
(35, p. 97):
1. Angry though (or: as) the countess was, she was tempted to laugh. 2. Fascinated
by these characters as they are, children want to be like them. 3. Unwilling as most
people might be to admit the fact, the world today is ruled by the power of mon
ey. 4. Cruel though (or: as) this may seem, the ability to speak a foreign language is
indispensable for any well-paid job. 5. Well prepared and competent though (or:
as) he may be, such a person will never reach the level o f the healer that has true
vocation. 6. Different as the sources of the tragedy may be, poverty has one face
for those who have experienced it. 7. Sad as (or: though) this may seem, it is a fact
that parents have a tendency to regard love as a financial transaction. 8. Good gen
eral as he was, Hannibal made the most careful dispositions. 9. Spoilt as they are,
such children cannot cope with the real world. 10. Inane though (or: as) they are,
such soap operas flood our TV channels. 11. Incomprehensible as it might seem to
us, the reclusive way of life is not devoid of experience. 12. Cunning though (or:
as) Moriarty was, he was outwitted by the superior guile o f Sherlock Holmes.

188

(36, p. 98):
1. Having as he does the most highly developed brain functions, man seems to be
completely different from the other primates. 2. Taking up so much time as it does,
television can be detrimental to family relations. 3. It will not be difficult for the
twenty-first century to seem like an age of gold, having as it does such a terrible and
bloody predecessor. 4. TV, operating as it does by means of visual images, is much
more communicative and fascinating than radio. 5. The publication constitutes an
invaluable source of information, including as it does many crucial discoveries.

Relative Clauses in Apposition


(37, p. 101):
1. Susan considers the guide dog to be a most precious gift, one which has changed
her life completely. (Also: one that...; a gift that....) 2. The plan involves an alter
native to spending a prison sentence, one which is open to all women prisoners.
3. We do not notice the unique features o f our everyday reality and mentality, ones
which would nonetheless surprise the first-time foreign visitor. (Also: ones that...;
features that....) 4. English people consume enormous quantities of tea, a habit which
has become legendary. (Also: a habit that....) 5. Her relationship to Diana was very
profound and heartfelt, an attitude which m ight have been attributable to resem
blances of character. (Also: an attitude that....) 6. The local roads are extremely bad
when compared with those in Western Europe, a circumstance which makes it im
possible to dispense with trains completely. (Also: a circumstance that....) 7. The
manuscripts reveal a picture o f the composer as endowed with a marvellous lyrical
talent, an artist who builds up the emotional climate of the music by means o f the
melodic line. 8. This is a classic example o f a family where a father wants to project
his own ambitions onto a child, an attitude which in the longer term may and often
does prove fatal. (Also: a situation which / that...; an inclination which / that....)
9. Mother Teresa was known for her loving heart, one which did not distinguish
between nations and religions. (Also: one that...; a heart which / that....) 10. The
face seems to express doggedness and harshness, an impression which is strength
ened by the sinister glint in the eyes. (Also: an impression that...; an effect which /
that....) 11. The vast majority o f anaesthetists refused to continue working, a deci
sion which com pletely paralysed the health system. (Also: a decision that....)
12. Scholars also propound another theory, one which is based on more convention
al argumentation. (Also: one that....) 13. They treat old people with respect, an
attitude which is probably linked to the importance attached to good manners. (Also:
an attitude that....) 14. M r and Mrs Jones have little job security and poor profes
sional prospects, a circumstance which may disqualify them as potential fosterparents. (Also: a circumstance that....) 15. A visit to the harbour is always like

189

a week in a health resort, a place where all my senses may recuperate from the
fumes and traffic of the city. 16. The extended family is not an anachronism. It is a
cure for loneliness, an institution which has developed along with humanity and
must be continuously cultivated. (Also: an institution that; a remedy which / that....)
17. Our tourist is likely to stand in queues for hours while clerks usually female
are varnishing their nails, reading magazines, drinking coffee, guzzling cakes and
gossiping about their bosss latest hair-do, an attitude which they acquired during
their years under the previous political system. (Also: an attitude that...; an ap
proach to work which / that...; habits which / that....) 18. Owing to these childhood
experiences she is unable to establish any satisfactory relationships with others,
a predicament which leaves her a very unhappy person. (Also: a predicament that....)

Coordination
II: Concord and Gender Bias
(40, p. Ill):
1. he or she 2. his, his 3. he (also: he or she) 4. one 5. him (also: him or her; that
person) 6. his 7. his, his (also: each students, his or her) 8. he (also: he or she; that
person) 9. him, his (also: that person, his or her; such people, their) 10. his, his 11. his
(also: his or her; that persons) 12. him 13. that persons (also: his; his or her) 14. he.
He (also: he or she, The average adolescent) 15. its own 16. him self (also: him- or
herself) 17. him, his (also: that person, his or her; that person, his) 18. he (also: he or
she) 19. that person 20. one 21. he, his 22. his or her (also: his) 23. he (also: he or
she; that person) 24. he (also: he or she) 25. his, himself, his, his 26. himself 27. his
(also: his or her) 28. that person (also: him or her)

Abrupt Sentence Endings


(38, p. 105):
1. Easter is another typical example... 2. Urgent action is necessary to improve.... 3. It
was against this background that the idea emerged of writing.... 4. Our minds may be
broadened by documentaries which.... 5. Opinions may differ as to whether.... 6. Re
move the last two words in the sentence. 7. It is sad to observe five-year-olds
who.... 8. Among these particular attention is due to Th. M ommsens contribution....

Coordination
I: Unjustified Change of Subject
(39, p. 106):
1. W e hardly spoke a word... 2. ...if they have made any mistake. 3. ...the state
ments that they utter... 4. ...to party activism, regarding it as a kind of... 5. ...and
never count the cost, caring nothing for public opinion. 6. ...that they have never
encountered before. 7. ...that perhaps they find more attractive or convenient.
8. ...and he will have a struggle arranging anything... 9. ...by the awarding of the
Nobel Prize. 10. ...and I will attempt to explain why. 11. ...that he has yet to over
come. 12. ...whatever she found superfluous. 13. ...that we do not like trees or
going for walks. 14. ...something that we consider vital. 15. ...by which I mean
culture. 16. ...that the two are unconnected. 17. ...he (also: he or she) will under
stand why... 18. ...a deep respect for such things as honesty, keeping ones word,
and respect for ones elders. 19__ that everything is preordained and thus not worth
trying to change. 20. ...which they consider the most important thing. 21. Europe
ans are especially well received in the States, and they should not think twice about
visiting the country.

190

Coordination
III: Absence of Parallel Structure
(41, p. 114):
1. TV not only gives us... 2. Either the question has... (also: ...or could be an
swered...) 3. ...but they also show... 4. ...but also desensitise... 5. The young are
expected not only to maintain... 6. ...should be not only... 7. M an is able not only
to create... 8. Bringing up children means not only providing... 9. ...but she was
also believed... (also: M other Teresa was not only widely recognised...) 10. ...will
turn neither into... 11. expect him to be not only a competent candidate... 12. Life
style determines not only longevity but also the quality of life. 13__ but also ruin...
(also: Not only are such teenagers unaware...) 14. ...and the bad things... 15. ...they
have not only...

(42, p. 116):
I. By introducing a common currency and elim inating international barriers (also:
By the introduction of a common currency and the elimination of international bar
riers) the countries of W estern Europe became integrated in terms of economics,
trade, and to some extent culture. 2. ...equality or wealth. 3. ...or Catholic cler
ic... 4. ...to help them, to talk to them, or even sometimes to prepare... 5. ...and
identity. 6. ...and harm the poor. 7. ...and still effective... 8. ...or does perhaps the
fault lie...? 9. ...of finding a job... 10. ...the status quo of Europe and the world...
I I . A proper diet, a balanced life style, regular sports and the avoidance of ad
dictions... 12. ...the average European. 13. ...using the railway... 14. ...methods
of separating, purifying and measuring the activity of radioactive elements.

191

Coordination
IV: Unjustified Change of Person

(46, p. 121):
1. However, only some doctors are successful. (Alsopossible: ...yet only some doc

(43, p. 117):

tors are successful.) 2. Tricky as the question is, an attempt will be made in this
essay to examine it.

1. ...and educating oneself. 2. Or when we dream about failing our exam.... (The
alternative, namely o f using one and o n es throughout, would read less natural
ly.) 3. ...when the mind is stimulated... (Also: ...when our minds are stimulated....)
4. ...as they help us... 5. You can... (The humour o f the context suggests that the
more informal you and yo u r are to be preferred to one and ones. Also the repetition
o f one and o n es would seem highly awkward and unnatural.)

Coordination
V: Dangling Participles
(44, p. 119):
1. W hoever examines the influence of TV will have to face one important ques
tion. 2. When visiting Britains former colonies one can still come across... 3. Given
the sheer variety of opinions...; W hen one observes the sheer variety... 4. Having
attained such a rank, many abuse... 5. Though called an eater of tim e, TV is argu
ably a necessary source of information as well as entertainment.

Splices
(45, p. 120):
1. (Depending on the meaning:) i. While most people admire sportsmen and watch
them on TV, they all too rarely move from the front of the screen, ii. While most
people admire sportsmen, they all too rarely move from the front of the screen as
they watch them on TV. 2. (Depending on the meaning:) i. With a freely elected
government in office and the free market taking hold at long last, the country is
looking forward to the kind of prosperity that the West has long enjoyed. (A comma
has been removed.) ii. With a freely elected government in office and the free mar
ket taking hold, the country is looking forward at long last to the kind of prosperity
that the West has long enjoyed. 3. Although at first it may, given the sophisticated
language of many masterpieces, be difficult to follow the gist, the fact that you have
read one such work will give you a great deal of satisfaction. 4. When the countries
of the East started to turn towards democracy and towards freedom of speech, press
and conscience, the division into eastern and western Europe still survived in peo
p les minds. 5. W hoever wishes to become a successful practitioner will surely
invest in his education, never cease to increase his qualifications, and be devoted to
all his patients.

192

Unclear Antecedents (I)


(47, p. 123):
1. Is such an attitude justified? 2. W e should appreciate this basic truth. 3. People
complain that the trains are late... 4. but such ideas are simply mistaken. 5. even
though the latter are known for their love of cleanliness.

Unclear Antecedents (II)


The Pronoun It.
(48, p. 124):
I. This is mainly because.... 2. Such an arrangement / Such a pattern is supposed
to.... 3. Such a pattern of behaviour can also be observed.... 4. The result was that
many students played truant. 5. Such words speak volumes.... 6. Those doctors
who forget this basic truth / this basic fact.... 7. ... such a scenario / outcome is just
impossible. 8.... and he showed his disapproval.... 9.... and there seems to be nothing
abnormal in such behaviour / in doing so. 10. ...but such a life style does not seem
to tire him. (Also: ... but his journeys / peregrinations etc. do not seem to tire him.)
I I . Impressive as all this may seem ....; Impressive as this list may seem .... 12. The
whole area is an eyesore.... 13. Doing so could have given.... 14. ...Such m eas
ures would.... 15. ...but few are ready to admit the fact. 16. Unfortunately such
a thing happens very rarely....

Un-English Syntax
I: Verb and Object
(49, p. 126):
1. Such eyesores generally represent the tasteless architecture o f the past. 2. In
reality, few politicians enjoy any privacy. 3. The young generation does have role
models that profoundly influence teenagers. 4. Those are the boys who in cold
blood killed a two-year-old child. Also: who killed a two-year-old child in cold
blood. 5. A good teacher can, for example, make you adore physics, even if you
loathed the subject sincerely before. 6. They want the best for their children.
7. The news is full of various conflicts now tormenting that continent. 8. A friend

193

whom Diana had trusted made a small fortune out of publishing untrue or half-true
stories about her. 9. One may see many interesting exhibits here. A lso: Here one
may see.... 10. He says that while he likes the USA, he can do much more in Cen
tral and Eastern Europe. 11. TV affects our lives tremendously. 12. M an usually
considers him self superior, conceitedly calling him self homo sapiens. 13. John
realises this fact perfectly well. 14. If you were to ask such people, they would
probably, after a m om ents hesitation, put money at the top of their list of priori
ties. 15. W e have considerably improved our safety precautions. A lso: W e have
im proved our safety precautions considerably.

Un-English Syntax
II: Main and Subordinate Clauses
(50, p. 128):
1. Although the RSC is perceived as exclusively producing Shakespeare, their pro
gramme does in fact include classical theatre of all periods. 2. As we grow up and
face m ore and more moral dilemmas, we can no longer condemn such behaviour.
3. Had it not been for such events, we would now perhaps be living in a completely
different reality. 4. W hen we cross the threshold o f parenthood, we simultaneously
cross the threshold of the generation gap. 5. W hile in the initial stages training was
focussed mainly on traditional banking, the course gradually came to include other
areas. 6. Although the majority o f people have chosen to live in small units, there is
still a tendency in some regions towards preserving extended families. 7. As I am
not a music lover, my dislike of concerts has frequently led to serious quarrels
between us both. 8. Founded by 12 countries in Washington in 1949, NATO was
initially a military alliance against the USSR. 9. As most would agree, it depends
on ourselves to a certain extent in what way we are influenced by the mass m e
dia. 10. If a child is deprived of the possibility of imitating grown-ups, he or she
will probably find it difficult as an adult to perform the role of parent. 11. Although
he offers a plausible theory, he som etim es unfortunately borders on fantasy.
12. W hen it comes to politics, our country seems finally after many years of un
bridled capitalism - to have established its own middle way. 13. Sad as it may seem,
nothing has been done so far to elim inate this problem.

(51, p. 129):
1. Despite the fact that we had spent fifty years in a prison, it turned out that when
the walls finally came down the dream of instant paradise on earth had not come
true for everyone. 2. Although a dog may be cheerful and wag its tail, it will never
laugh at our jokes or understand us, however much it tries.

194

Un-English Syntax
III: Composite Attributive Expressions
(52, p. 131):
1. The famous Grand Hotel, surrounded by parks, usually hosts international popstars. 2. Development is hampered by the bureaucracy dominant everywhere. (Also:
...by the ubiquitous bureaucracy.) 3. The Popes personality remarkable and im
possible to characterise works wonders with various foreign dignitaries. (Also:
The Popes remarkable and enigmatic personality....) 4. In our country such teach
ers, who improve their qualifications, are very unique. 5. The Internet can be used
to disseminate forbidden material, m aterial that is often harmful in some way.
6. John was a sensitive individual, (and) very easy to hurt. 7. Though reasonable in
its assumptions, this economic policy led to widespread impoverishment. 8. M any
city dwellers dream of living in a quiet village close to nature, with fields, m eadows
and landscapes unspoilt by civilisation. 9. In their eyes Maureen is still a perfect
daughter, obedient to her parents. 10. The Toyota factory located there is a princi
pal source of employment. 11. Such immature idealists will one day become cal
lous, egotistic people, loving only themselves. 12. Looking at the lawns littered
with rubbish and the dilapidated houses, one might suppose that our town has no
future. 13. Winter is presaged by swarms of birds leaving for warmer climes. 14. The
history teacher m entioned above was always making our lives a misery. 15. This
scintillating man who skilfully manipulates the mass media is the ultim ate politi
cian. (Also: Scintillating and skilful in his manipulation of the mass media, this
man is the ultimate politician.) 16. Parents often find it difficult to accept the inde
pendence of their children that grows with age. 17. Many factories are full of obso
lete technology imported from the form er USSR. 18. To make matters worse, there
have been complaints from railwaymen dissatisfied with their low salaries, who are
threatening to go on strike. 19. He was famous for performing B ritains first heart
transplant.

Un-English Syntax
IV: Parallel Expressions
(53, p. 134):
1. TV influences our feelings and em otions, and changes our social attitudes. (Also:
...as well as changing....) 2. There m ust be a good atmosphere in class, so that stu
dents can take part in discussions and express their opinions on the subject. 3. M ed
ical advances have saved countless lives. It is enough to mention the transplantation
of organs and the invention of the artificial heart. 4. Many people would prefer to
lie and be dishonest.... 5. Sitting in front of the TV causes headaches and backaches,

195

and is bad for the eyes. (A lso:... headaches and backaches, as well as being bad....) 6.
I am g o in g to d isc u ss th e fe a tu re s o f a p e rfe c t te a c h e r and e x p la in ....
7. Our world will soon become more cohesive and standardised, as well as beinp
governed.... 8. Family life helps people to appreciate such things as love and friend
ship.... 9. W e m ust face these problems and try to understand them. 10. The Inter
net informs us about the present as well as the past, and gives us.... (Other possibil
ities: ...giving us....; The Internet informs us about the present as well as the past; it
gives us....) 11. The roads here are narrow and full of holes.... 12. Each day the
minister has meetings and consultations, as well as sending letters and faxes. (Also:
...has meetings and consultations, quite apart from sending....V 13. ...in the way we
perceive and understand.... 14. The situation o f complete misunderstanding and
non-communication leads.... 15. Often readers identify with literary characters and
share their emotions. Indeed, they sometimes even imitate them and copy their be
haviour. (Also: Often readers identify with literary characters, sharing their emo
tions. Indeed, they sometimes even imitate them, copying their behaviour.) 16. We
have similar views and interests; we listen to the same kinds of music and watch
Hollywood blockbusters. 17. There is seldom any clear rule or direction that we
must take in life.

Un-English Syntax
V: Active vs. Passive
(54, p. 135):
1. The high academic level of the book is guaranteed by specialists of international
standing.... 2. The eastern edge of the Vistula delta is formed by the Elbl^g High
lands and the Lowlands of Warmia. 3. The material is illustrated by a set of twelve
diagrams. 4. The decision to build the basilica was made by Abbot Quodvultdeus.
5. At the Olympic Games each country may be represented only by one man and
one woman.

Concession and Contrast


(55, p. 139):
1. while 2. whereas 3. (even) though 4. (And) yet 5. Yet 6. Although, Though,
W hile 7. D espite, For all 8. W hile 9. W hile 10. albeit 11. while 12. albeit
13. while, w hereas 14. irrespective of 15. although, though 16. By contrast
17. while 18. Yet 19. Yet 20. albeit 21. albeit 22. W hile 23. Yet 24. while
25. whereas 26. albeit 27. though, while 28. albeit

196

Similarity and Contrast


(56, p. 143):
1. as 2. As with 3. like, unlike, in contrast to 4. by the same token 5. Like 6. On
the contrary 7. as 8. Just as... so... 9. like 10. unlike, in contrast to 11. as is the
case with 12. unlike, in contrast to 13. by the same token 14. By contrast 15. as in
the case of, as was the case with, like 16. Like, As is the case with 17. by way of
contrast 18. unlike, in contrast to, as against; also: as opposed to 19. like, as was
the case with 20. like 21. Just as... so... 22. by the same token 23. as against 24. If...
then... 25. By the same token, Similarly

Therefore and Related Expressions


(57, p. 147):
1. It follows that (Implication). Also: Hence; Consequently; That is why 2. therefore
(Logical deduction) 3. It follows that; Hence (Implication) 4. and that is why; which
is why; and hence 5. Hence; Thus 6. thus, hence, consequently 7. therefore (Logical
deduction). Also: thus, consequently 8. it follows that (Implication) 9. It follows that
(Implication). Also: Hence; That is why 10. therefore (Arbitrary decision). Also: con
sequently 11. That is why Also: Thus: Hence; Consequently 12. Consequently 13. It
follows that (Implication)

In My Opinion...
(58, p. 150):
1. The fact of the matter is that...; There is no escaping the fact that...; The sad truth
is that...; The simple fact is that... 2. I beg to differ. 3a. The conclusion seems
inescapable that...; There is no escaping the fact that... b. My impression is that...;
I suspect that...; My feeling is that... 4. It is my contention that...; It is my convic
tion that... 5. the conclusion seems inescapable that...; the only conclusion that would
suggest itself is that... 6a. I would even go so far as to say that...; b. My feeling is
that...; I suspect that...; Surely 7. The fact of the matter is that... 8. In our spiritual
ly impoverished world the Dalai Lama arguably represents...; My feeling is that...;
It would seem that...; A mom ents reflection shows that... 9. A m om ents reflection
shows that...; The fact of the matter is that... 10. my feeling is that...; the question
would seem to admit of... 11. it is a sad truth that...; it needs to be pointed out
that... 12. A m om ents reflection shows th a t...; It is a sad truth that...; It is no secret
that... 13. Surely...; M ilitary action in that conflict was arguably a necessary

197

evil... 14. It is my contention that...; It is my firm conviction that...; My feeling is


that... 15. is arguably doing...; is surely doing... 16.1 suspect, however, that...; My
feeling is, however, that... 17. A m om ents reflection shows that... 18a. It is com
mon knowledge that...; b. It would seem that...; The conclusion seems inescapable
that... 19. It is my firm conviction, however, that...

Articles: A Few Tips


(59, p. 158):
1. a 2. - 3. - 4. The, - 5. The 6. The 7. - 8. the 9. The 10. a 11.
12. a 13. The 14. - 15. - , - 16. - 17. The 18. the, a 19. a 20. The, the
21. the 22. 23. - ,
the 24. the 25. The, the 26. The 27. , a, 28. a, the,
the 29. - , a 30. - 31. The 32. The 33. - 34. a 35. - , - , - , - 36. the 37. The, the
38. - , - 39. The, an 40. The 41. - 42. - 43. the 44. - 45. - 46. - , the 47. the
48. - a 49. The 50. the, the 51. The 52. an, - 53. - , - 54. the (i.e. all the mad
signs) 55. the 56. a 57. the 58. the, the 59. - , the 60. - , - 61. The, - 62. the
63. the 64. a 65. - , a 66. a, a 67. The 68. - , the 69. A, - , the 70. The 71. the
72. - , - 73. The 74. - , the 75. The, the, the 76. The, the

Colons
(60, p. 164):
1. Unchanged. A colon after a s is impossible. 2. After are a colon is possible
in a form al context. Otherwise unchanged. (A comma is also possible after Maggiore). 3. In a highly form al context a colon is possible after includes, even
though that would separate the verb from the direct object. 4. A comma is possible
after car p a rks". Otherwise unchanged. (There is no colon after such as, fo r that
would separate the subject from the verb.) 5. Unchanged. No colon after include,
because the ensuing list consists only o f 2 items. 6. Unchanged. 7. Unchanged.
N o colon is necessary after entitled. 8. Comma after factors. N o colon after
"like. ( Like is not generally follow ed by a colon.) 9. Two famous museums, the
National History and the V&A, are situated in Kensington; but an even more re
nowned one, the British Museum located in Bloomsbury, is closer to the centre.
(After an even more renowned one a colon is impossible, fo r that would separate
a subject from its verb - cf. exx. 2a-b. Here in sentence 9 commas are preferable to
dashes, while the basic organisation o f the sentence is indicated by the semico
lon.) 10. Unchanged. The use o f the colon is inappropriate (cf. exx. 2a-b). 11. Un
changed. The phrase such as is seldom follow ed by a colon, and the context is
obviously not form al. 12. Best leave unchanged, since the context is obviously not

198

form al enough to deserve a colon after including. Comma possible after varie
ty. 13. Comma after d o . A colon is impossible, because that would separate
a subordinate clause from the main clause. 14. Dashes after relationships an d
relations (cf. e x x la -b ). Comma also possible after friendships. 15. Colon p o s
sible after are (cf. ex. 6a). 16. However, her life divorce, love affairs, and con
flicts with the rest of the royal family left her far removed from sainthood. (C f ex.
lb , and 14 above. Commas are not possible, because the apposition itself contains
commas, and the result would be confusion .) 17. Unchanged. Cf. 1 , 4 and 11
above. 18. Unchanged. A colon after years is impossible.

The Dash
(61, p. 167):
1. On the north W estminster is bounded by Mayfair, Bloomsbury and M arylebone
all districts of London. 2. Unchanged. 3. TV is part o f our everyday life it
follows us wherever we go. 4. Unchanged. 5. One of Europes largest Gothic struc
tures, St M arys Church, towers over the city. 6. Unchanged. 7. For sure, not
everybody. 8. Unchanged. 9. Unchanged. 10. Unchanged. 11. The co-authors, dis
tinguished doctors from Britain and America, are specialists in various branches o f
medicine. 12. Unchanged. Colon also possible. 13. ...my brothers girlfriend, Kate.
(Leaving the sentence unchanged is also possible.) 14. England and Wales are d i
vided into 53 counties (before 1974 it was 62).

Inverted Commas
(62, p. 171):
(Places where changes have been introduced have been underlined.)
1. Unchanged. The irony is arguably effective, which justifies the use o f the inverted
commas. 2. I f the inverted commas are intended to express reported speech, then it
is completely unclear whose speech it is. I f the context is an interview with downand-outs, then the follow ing modification is possible: Such are the down-and-outs
who are poor from choice, as they put it. or simply because they like it. 3. The
so to speak is clumsy. B est rephrase: Envy has the potential to turn a relationship
into a kind of prison. 4. F orgetting is both unusual and effective in its sarcasm;
hence the inverted commas seem justified. 5. Literature in this context is bitterly
sarcastic, and hence the inverted commas seem justified. 6. Victims here is an obvi
ous metaphor. Hence the inverted commas should be removed. 7. Unchanged. O b
viously, a word or phrase can be p u t in inverted commas i f you wish to discuss it.

199

8. These are all virtual quotations. Hence the inverted commas are justified. 9. The
bitter sarcasm justifies the inverted commas. (Cf. also 5, above.) 10. Unchanged:
the word western is being discussed. Cf. 7 above. 11. W hat the neighbours will
say is immediately recognisable as a cliche, and hence the inverted commas are
possible, to indicate that the writer is distancing him self from it. B y contrast, the
inverted commas around standards are unjustified, and a reformulation is better:
Adapting your life to so-called standards means living a lie all the time. 12. The
inverted commas have no obvious justification. 13. Unchanged. The phrase natu
ral born conform ist is strikingly unusual. 14. Here a word is being used in a highly
ironic manner; hence the inverted commas are justified. 15. Unchanged. The phrase
is a notorious cliche and the inverted commas serve to disassociate the writer.

The Semicolon
(63, p. 174):
1. Such students usually do not pay too much attention to learning; they cheat in
order to pass exams; and finally they become frustrated, pessimistic teachers who
are not able to forget their problems as they enter the classroom. 2. In my opinion
there are several kinds of poor people: those who are poor because they do not care
much about material goods; those who are too lazy to work more; and finally those
who are industrious and work from dawn to dusk, but still cannot save enough
money for a higher standard of living. 3. In this essay I am going to give some
examples to support this view, and at the same time answer two crucial questions:
firstly, whether we have the right to pry into politicians private lives; and secondly,
whether those statesmen whose private lives do not conform to the same ethical
standards as their conduct in public deserve to be condemned. 4. Some labourers
became unemployed; some of them, however, succeeded in making a living from
agriculture. 5. There are programmes really worth seeing: films that are works of
art, plays we are not able to see in the theatre but may watch on T V ; we can find
truly educational productions that are not likely to have a detrimental effect on the
character of the young. 6. Such a child has everything; (colon also possible) all his
dreams are fulfilled at once; his life is like a fairy tale without pain, close to moth
e rs apron strings. 7. The results of such a strike can be terrifying: in one country
town, for example, a woman died of influenza because the local doctor refused to
help her, claiming that he was simply overwhelmed with patients; the emergency
services also refused to take care of her, insisting that it was the family doctor that
should take care of her. 8. We are not all bigots and not all drunks; there is a young
generation that is not at all influenced by past horrors; and, most importantly, not
everything here is upside down. 9. For some people the countryside is a place of
freedom from cars, buses, and pollution; for others, however, it is a place of hard

200

work and poverty. 10. People rarely go to a library for a good book; they prefer to
stay at home in front of the TV. (A colon is also possible.) 11. W estern borders
were suddenly open, which gave the peoples of the Warsaw Pact countries an op
portunity to visit foreign countries; shops were filled with both imported and local
produce; the growth of the free market became a fact. 12. Literature trains the im
agination of the reader; someone who reads a book can imagine things as he wants
to and create the main characters in his own way. 13. Many parents seem to forget
about their essential role; they treat their children as playthings or as a necessary
fulfilment of marriage. 14. People did not abandon their traditions; what is m ore,
they did their best to preserve them. 15. The human psyche has three levels: the id,
standing for impulses and urges; the ego, representing ones personality; and the
superego, dealing with sublimated desires and urges. 16. Good teachers never treat
those entrusted to their care as their inferiors; on the contrary, the relationship is
based on the principle of equality. 17. Each literary epoch possesses the rich legacy
of patriotic lyrics whose purpose was to arouse the fighting spirit and win battles;
love lyrics written to express an authors feelings towards his beloved; religious
poems expressing an authors faith and devotion to God; political treatises voicing
the need for change; or philosophic tracts setting forth a w riters reflections about
different aspects of human life. 18. Today people work very hard to earn m oney;
(colon also possible) they stay at work late, take additional hours, and spend much
of their free time on activities connected with their jobs.

Index
A
accordingly 145, 173
according to 24
active (voice) 34, 135
adverbial 136, 138, 173f
after all 49
agreement 57-60, 90
albeit 137
all 59, 154
also 173
although 129, 136-9
anaphora 133
and 69, 74, 99, 132, 174
antecedent 99f, 121-4
any 68, 152
anybody 109
any more than 69
anyone 109f
appear78f
apposition 39-47, 73, 83, 98-100, 157,
161f, 165
arguably 149
arise 79
arrive 79
article 20, 39-41, 43-7, 64-8, 96, 152-60

as in the case o/141f


as is the case with 61, 141f
as often happens 62
as well 70
as well a s l \
as with 141 f
at no time 93
attributive 129f
auxiliary 62

B
be 57-60, 62, 77f, 80, 82, 96, 163
be to 54f
be found 82
be situated 82
because 47-50
being 50-3
belong 27
best 67
both 163, 166
both... and 112f, 116
but 136
by contrast 138, 142, 173
by the same token 143
by way of contrast 142f

as
=just as 55f, 61f, 8 4 ,141f
= since 49f, 53, 62, 96f
= though 95 f
as against 141
as a result 145f
as... as.... 61
as follows 163
as he puts it 56
as in 141

C
can be 60
citizens 37
cleft sentence 89-92
colon 40f, 161-3
come 79
comma 40f, 49, 73-7, 89, 98, 137, 162,
172-4
comment clause 55f

203

complement 57-60, 90, 113, 163


completely 1 1
concord 10811
consequently 87, 145f, 173
considerably 71
considering 119
constitute 59f
coordinate clause 74, 99
coordination 106-119
countable 152, 155

D
dangling participle 118
dash 4 Of, 161f, 165-8
definite article 40f, 65, 68, 76f, 154-6
depending on 119
despite 139
difficult 34f, 130
direct object, cf. object

E
easy 34f
either 70
either... or.... 112, 114

for 35, 50
for example, for instance 162, 167
for the simple reason that 49
fronting 928

furthermore 173

G
gender bias 108-112
generalisation 153
generally speaking 119
genitive 105
gerund 19f, 64f, 115
get 28f
greatly 70
grow 28

H
happen 30
hardly 924
have 28, 78, 97
having 504
hence 146, 173
however 120, 173

ellipsis 165
emerge 30f, 79
emphasis 57, 92-8, 136, 138

enter 19
entirely 71

implication 147
important 85
impossible 34
include 163
including 119
in contrast to 142
indeed 173
indefinite article 65, 100, 152, 157
in fact 173
infinitive 19f, 34f, 54
in my opinion 132, 148
in no way 93
in other words 33
interestingly enough 85
inversion 62, 928
inverted commas 16871

enumeration 162f
epithet 47
especially 70f

everybody, everyone 109f


exclamation 57
exemplification 60, 84, 162
exist 78

F
failing that 119
find cf. be found
first person, expressions involving
cf. in my opinion
follow 79, 87

204

i.e. 33
if... then.... 143

irony 169f

irrespective of 139
it 33, 61f, 89-92, 123-6
it follows that.... 87, 147
it is a curious fact that.... 86-8

J
journalism 41, 44, 54, 77
judging by 119
just as 61f, 69f, 143

L
least of all 70f
left-handed sentence 131
legal contexts 53, 139
let alone 70f
lie 82
like 141f
little 93
live 78

M
main clause 40, 52f, 61, 96, 99, 127f, 136
main verb 118, 127, 162
making matters worse 85f

many of 67 f
metaphor 170
mid-position 149
modal 62, 78
modifier 25

more importantly 85
moreover 173
more worryingly 85
most 66-8
much as 95f

N
namely 324, 39
negative sentence 47-50, 69-73, 89
neither... nor.... 93,112,114
never 935
nevertheless 136, 173
nobody 109f

nominalisation 19-22
nominal phrase (cf. noun phrase)
none of 68
nonetheless 136f
non-finite verb 32
no one 109f
no sooner than 93
not 48-50, 92f

not at a im
not only... but also.... 93, 112f
not to mention 69
noun phrase 43, 90, 96, 115, 141, 156
nowhere 93
O
object 20, 126, 134f
obtain 29
obviously 85
occur 30
o f 43f, 67f, 154f
one 74, llOf, 117, 152
one of 68
only 92f
on no account 93
on the contrary 142, 173
on the other hand 136f
or 69, 71, 133
otherwise 173
owing to 119

P
parallel expression 1324
parenthesis 166
participle 77, 80f, 119, 130, 156, 162
passive 34, 62, 81, 134f, 151
past simple tense (cf. simple past)
perhaps 132
possess 29, 78
possessive adjective 109f, 117, 121
possible 34f
postmodifier 25f, 67, 78f, 81, 156f
participial postmodifier 156f
prepositional postmodifier 25f, 156

205