Azhong's Writing Practice.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-10, 2:42

On the first day of the summer vacation, the instant Harry Potter returned his uncle and aunt's house, all his wizardry-related things, his wand, robes, spellbooks, cauldron, and his top-of-the-line flying broomstick, were all locked into the cupboard under the stairs, and started again with the Dursleys his miserable life, being treated as a dog having rolled in something smelly.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-10, 5:10

After the music of violin and piano had ended, the female radio host mentioned "glamping", a new term to me. I was interested then, browsing the web for the explanation in English, although I had figured out what it meant through hers in Chinese.

"Glamping," according to Wikipedia, "is a portmanteau (a word combining two other words) of 'glamorous' and 'camping'. It describes a style of camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with 'traditional' camping."

In simpler words, glamping, or glamorous camping, is star level camping, without sacrificing comfort and luxury. It combines yesterday's facilities and today's technology.

I guess it won't suit me, not just because of the price difference. I went camping at times with friends during my high school and college years, and all the experiences turned unforgettable. The memories grew mainly on those troubles of living in the wild on our own labour: building a tent, which began tilting in the late evening then collapsed at midnight; cooking meals, most of which were hard to swallow; being too cold to sleep well at night whereas too hot to sleep more in the morning; and trudging on, backpacking and getting exhausted, so desiring a free ride. It's, for the most part, exactly these awkward experiences that blended up into precious memories. Without too many efforts, there would be not too much remembrance, at least my experiences had proclaimed so.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-11, 3:44

My name is Harry Potter, which you will know at the first moment even if you don't start reading the content yet, for it is printed on the book covers of the series, starting the name of every episode.

I have become an orphan since I was one year old, when my parents both were killed by Voldemort, the greatest dark sorcerer of all time, whose name most witches and wizards still fear to speak. He did also try to end my life -- now you can figure out how vicious he was, even not letting a baby go -- but he failed, just leaving a lightning scar on my forehead. Somehow -- nobody understands why -- his powers were destroyed together with his failure, and he, turning very weak thereafter, has disappeared from the magic world for years. It is said he has been hiding somewhere far distant in Africa, poring over all books of dark magics, desiring to obtain his immortal life.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby dEhiN » 2021-02-11, 8:03

azhong wrote:On the first day of the summer vacation, the instant Harry Potter returned to his uncle and aunt's house, all his wizardry-related things, - his wand, robes, spellbooks spell books, cauldron, and his top-of-the-line flying broomstick, - were all locked into the cupboard under the stairs, and started again with the Dursleys his miserable life he started his miserable life with the Dursleys once again, being where he was treated as a dog having that rolled in something smelly.

A few points:

1) Vacation in general is uncountable unless you're talking of a specific vacation (to a particular place). For example, "I'm going on vacation to Hawaii this summer" versus "how was the/that vacation you took to Hawaii last year?" In the first example, while there is intent to go to a specific place, the reference is still to a general vacation period that hasn't happened yet.

2) Hyphen and colon are two ways we show examples mid-sentence in writing. I think of them as either saying, "for example" or "that is" with the part that follows demonstrating the examples or clarifying the part that preceded the hyphen/colon. Some examples:

She gathered up all her belongings - her purse, her phone, her wallet - and rushed out to the car.
I need some time to think: give me a day and I'll get back to you.

When we use a colon, the idea is that what follows the colon will be the end of the sentence. While, with a hyphen, we could use one or two depending on the type of sentence. If we're planning on continuing the main clause, then we would use two hyphens, like I did in the first sentence. If we're planning on ending the sentence, then we could use a single hyphen in place of a colon. So, for example, I could've used a hyphen in the second sentence and it would've worked. Lastly, for the first sentence, in place of hyphens, I could've used commas, but then I would've needed to add some linking words: she gathered up all her belongings, that is, her purse, her phone and her wallet, and rushed out to the car.

3) The reason I changed "started again" to "he started" is because you changed the subject from Harry Potter to his wizardry related things when talking about them all being put under the stairs. So, you need a pronoun that tells us the subject of the next clause is now Harry Potter. Also, while "he started again with the Dursleys his miserable life" does work in English, it sounds a little awkward and is probably more likely to be heard in spoken English. It comes across as if the speaker were planning on ending the clause with "Dursleys", but then changed their mind to add "his miserable life". Yet, because this is writing where we can edit things, it comes across as someone who might not be that well versed in English grammar. However, you could place "(once) again" at the beginning of that clause, like you initially did: he once again started his miserable life with the Dursleys.

4) Lastly, "where he was" and "that" just sound better as linking words/phrases in this scenario. There are times where "being" and "having" work for linking a subordinate clause with an ordinate clause, but unfortunately this isn't one of those times. Actually, now that I think about it, "being" could work but with a slightly modified sentence: he started once again his miserable life of being treated as a dog that rolled in something smelly.
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-11, 15:41

dEhiN wrote:
azhong wrote:... and started again with the Dursleys his miserable life he started his miserable life with the Dursleys once again, being where he was treated as a dog having that rolled in something smelly.
4) Lastly, "where he was" and "that" just sound better as linking words/phrases in this scenario. There are times where "being" and "having" work for linking a subordinate clause with an ordinate clause, but unfortunately this isn't one of those times. Actually, now that I think about it, "being" could work but with a slightly modified sentence: he started once again his miserable life of being treated as a dog that rolled in something smelly.
(Hi dEhiN:
Thank you, and long time no see. I remember you, an ex-moderator here. You once provided your assistance to me, too. The time I am reading your corrections is very special: the Lunar New Year's Eve for Chinese people. Thus, I wish you and all the Unilangers the best for the new year to come.)

I guess that a transitive verb, start, for example, and it's object, his miserable life, for example, can never be separated by inserting any phrase.

to start his miserable life with the Dersleys
*to start with the Dersleys his miserable life

If my above conjecture is correct, it's natural that its following subordinate clause can't start with "being treated...", ortherwise the subject of the modifier will become "the Dersleys".

*to start his miserable life with the Dersleys, being treated...
(=to start his miserable life with the Dersleys, where the Dersleys were treated...)

I don't know if my above thought is correct.

As for the latter part, it's actually due to my poor memory of Ms. Rowling's text:
…but now the school year was over, and he was back with the Dursleys for the summer, back to being treated like a dog that had rolled in something smelly.

"Had rolled" is used in her text but not "rolled", which I will take as a regional difference between North American English and British English.
My point, however, is that Ms. Rowling didn't use "having rolled", either. But I just can't figure out why "having rolled" can't replace "that had rolled" here. I am puzzled...
But you may reply nothing, for I am trying not to bother you all too much. All I think I can do, anyway, is to keep my daily reading then writing, to make progress by making mistakes again and again.

One more time, thank you for your help.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby dEhiN » 2021-02-11, 21:59

azhong wrote:(Hi dEhiN:
Thank you, and long time no see. I remember you, an ex-moderator here. You once provided your assistance to me, too. The time I am reading your corrections is very special: the Lunar New Year's Eve for Chinese people. Thus, I wish you and all the Unilangers the best for the new year to come.)

Hi, and I wish you all the best for the new year to come as well! (Both, "all the best" and "the best" mean the same thing in this case.)

I guess that a transitive verb, start, for example, and it's object, his miserable life, for example, can never be separated by inserting any phrase.

I'm not 100% sure that a transitive verb's direct object can never be separated, but it sounds more grammatically correct when a prepositional phrase follows the direct object. The same goes for adverbial phrases. To give a simple example:

he ran into the car very quickly

While you can say he ran very quickly into the car, as with the other sentence in your text, it would only really work as a colloquial, spoken form. (Or, perhaps a colloquial, written form akin to text or instant message speech.)

If my above conjecture is correct, it's natural that its following subordinate clause can't start with "being treated...", ortherwise the subject of the modifier will become "the Dersleys".

Exactly! Since "he" (meaning HP) is already the subject of the verb "to start", he can't be the subject of "being". This leaves either "his miserable life" or "the Dursleys". (By the way, great job on getting "it's" versus "its" correct! That's a tricky one even for a lot of native speakers! :D )

As for the latter part, it's actually due to my poor memory of Ms. Rowling's text:
…but now the school year was over, and he was back with the Dursleys for the summer, back to being treated like a dog that had rolled in something smelly.

"Had rolled" is used in her text but not "rolled", which I will take as a regional difference between North American English and British English.

Yes, this is a regional difference. In North American English (or, at least in my experience with English), you can say "had rolled", but it would be used in a different environment. For North Americans, "had rolled" is the past perfect, which means it should have occurred before another event in the past. But, in this context, there is no other past event, which is why it sounds strange to North American ears, and why we would just use the simple past. While I do know some Britishisms from having parents who grew up learning British English, I don't know enough about British English grammar to comment on when they would use the past perfect versus the simple past.

But I just can't figure out why "having rolled" can't replace "that had rolled" here. I am puzzled...

When a gerund + past participle construction is used to describe a past action, it's done more so as an explanation for some current event or state. For example:

John, having pigged out* at the Mandarin** again, was now experiencing a major case of bloating.
The dog, having rolled in something smelly, badly needed a bath and unfortunately I got stuck with the job!

In your text, the reason that "that (had) rolled" is the only phrase that works is because there's no current event or state following that description. The description is the final piece of information.

But you may reply nothing, for I am trying not to bother you all too much. All I think I can do, anyway, is to keep my daily reading then writing, to make progress by making mistakes again and again.

One more time, thank you for your help.

You're very welcome, and you're not bothering me. If I can't respond, then I just won't until I'm able to again. (That's why I only corrected the one text and not the other two; I wanted to, but was too tired last night to do it.) This is how we get better - having those who are at a higher level than us correct our mistakes and help explain things. :yep:

*In case you've never heard that phrasal verb, to pig out is a colloquial way of saying to eat a lot. The belief is that pigs are sloppy, messy eaters who are always hungry.

**Mandarin is a Chinese-Canadian buffet restaurant chain. Right now, because of the pandemic, they are operating as a regular restaurant where you pick individual items off a menu. But, they're famous for offering a pretty extensive buffet service. They serve both (North American) Chinese and other Asian dishes as well as Canadian/North American dishes. So, for example, you can get chicken balls, Singapore noodles, fried rice, etc., alongside roast beef, fries, sushi, etc.
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-12, 5:11

(I am going to revise a portion of some earlier passage below.)

...The memories grew mainly on those troubles of living in the wild on our own labour: setting up a tent, which began tilting in the late evening then collapsed in the night time when we had been lying inside and hopefully making do with it for the night; cooking meals, most of which were either undercooked or with so horrible a flavor that they were hard to get swallowed; being too cold to sleep well at night whereas too hot to sleep more in the morning; and trudging on, backpacking and getting exhausted, so desiring a free ride. It was, for the most part, exactly these awkward encounters that blended up into precious memories. Without too many efforts, there would be not too much remembrance, at least my vocation had proclaimed so.
Last edited by azhong on 2021-02-12, 7:22, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-12, 6:13

He started his miserable life with the Dersleys once again, where he was treated like a dog that rolled in something smelly.
Are the below modifications, by adding two commas as an insertion, acceptable, although being archaic, literary or something? Thus the phrase "of being treated..." can follow.
Or is such an insertion not suggested? The deleted phrase "with the Dersleys" could be arranged into other sentences as well, then.

S1)He started, with the Dersleys once again, his miserable life of being treated ...

S2)He started once again, with the Dersleys, his miserable life of being treated...

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-12, 7:04

Another inquiry, with my thanks in advance.

Are these two types of modfiers below interchangeable? Both seem to function as adding details.
The first sentence of each group is simplified from Ms. Rowing's.

They stood still, wands directed at each other.
They stood still, with wands directed at each other.

The hallway was large and sumptuously decorated, with a carpet covering the floor.
The hallway was large and sumptuously decorated, a carpet covering the floor.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby dEhiN » 2021-02-12, 16:34

azhong wrote:Are the below modifications, by adding two commas as an insertion, acceptable, although being archaic, literary or something? Thus the phrase "of being treated..." can follow.
Or is such an insertion not suggested? The deleted phrase "with the Dersleys" could be arranged into other sentences as well, then.

S1)He started, with the Dersleys once again, his miserable life of being treated ...

S2)He started once again, with the Dersleys, his miserable life of being treated...

They are perfectly acceptable and work well with the two commas for insertion. They aren't archaic or literary at all; well, I guess they're literary in the sense that when speaking, we obviously don't speak commas. But we do insert pauses to denote an insertion. Well done! :)

azhong wrote:Another inquiry, with my thanks in advance.

Are these two types of modfiers below interchangeable? Both seem to function as adding details.
The first sentence of each group is simplified from Ms. Rowing's.

They stood still, wands directed at each other.
They stood still, with wands directed at each other.

The hallway was large and sumptuously decorated, with a carpet covering the floor.
The hallway was large and sumptuously decorated, a carpet covering the floor.

They are both interchangeable, although a comma isn't needed when using "with". It's not wrong per se to add the comma, and depending on one's style preference, some proofreaders or editors will add it if it's not there or remove it if it is there. But I think even digital grammar editors, like what you'll find in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, will probably suggest that the comma isn't needed because of the preposition.

Grammar note: You don't need to include "below", although there's nothing wrong with doing so. Even though the modifiers referenced by "these" haven't been introduced yet, when it's obvious from context that "these" will refer to something that will soon be introduced, it's sufficient to just use "these". You also don't need to add the possessive for "Ms. Rowling", unless you were specifying "Ms. Rowling's book/text/etc.".
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-13, 5:33

(My writing practice for today with an inquiry. Thank you in advance.
In the phrase "being cut...", I think the being - I am not sure it's a gerund or a present participle in grammar - can be omitted so that it turns a modifier beginning with a past participle cut. My question is: could you please figure out any situations where the being is necessary or preferred to be preserved, which I've seemingly seen at times but can't give an example now? Or just keep this question suspended.)
(P.S. Now I have an example in my second passage, where I originally intended to practice several vocabulary. It's perhaps awkward, I guess, but can it be used to explain the preservation or removal of being?

It is a stone (being) cut artificially into a shape with five faces: a square base with the length of per side about an inch, another two same on the left and right respectively, which slope to and connect each other at the top by a joint side, and the rest two faces naturally equilateral triangles at the front and back respectively. It's the shape of the roof of a traditional farming house. It's also the shape of a right triangular prism: a polyhedron made of - rotating the stone - a right triangular base, a translated copy and three squares joining corresponding sides.
Showing its unadorned gray, the toy-like work is uncolored, and is finely polished, all of its sides and angles smoothly blunt.

A sudden ring from the phone distracted me when I was meditating, and it came again after a brief stop, lasting for its second call. A police officer told me my son was in the hospital, staying unconscious, due to a serious traffic accident. I was distraught then, (being) flooded by some desperate mood and devastated by my panic during the after hours.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-14, 5:14

(My writing practice today, my comments on a passage. I feel myself quite limped without borrowing phrases and sentence constructions from Ms. Rowing.)

This passage is very good. Its language is natural; Clarice's language ability is surely far better than mine. And it's informative, telling something most of us don't know, at least I don't.
It starts a topic, cooking, generally, goes into details more and more and introduces a rare vegetable she used finally. At her last sentence she leaps further with a metaphor, bringing us away from something material into something spiritual.
The passage is short but qualitative, so an excellent writing example both in writing and in English, at least for me.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-14, 11:03

Coming out from the back door, Harry crossed the lawn sadly and slumped down on the garden bench. Today was his twelfth birthday but he had received nothing from his friends Royn and Hermione, whom he missed very much, for he actually received nothing from them all summer, nor from anyone he knew at Hogwarts. He would now give anything for a sight that proved his experiences in the magical world for the past year was not mere a dream, even the gloomy looks and cruel mockery of Severus, the Portion master.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-14, 14:50

(Are the last two bolded sentences grammatical or not? Thank you in advance. )

He had no money.
He didn't eat breakfast.

(Combining together)=>
He had no money, so he didn't eat breakfast.
( Grammatical, because "so" is one of the (coordinating) conjunctions, the "FANBOYS" family.)

*He had no money, thus he didn't eat breakfast.
(Ungrammatical, a run-on sentence, because "thus" is not a conjunction but a verb.)

He had no money, and thus he didn't eat breakfast.
(Grammatical, because "and" is a conjunction.)

He had no money, thus eating no breakfast.
(Grammatical, I guess?)

I took a shower, then going to sleep.
(Also grammatical, I guess? But sounds seemingly unnatural?)

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby dEhiN » 2021-02-14, 17:12

azhong wrote:*He had no money, thus he didn't eat breakfast.
(Ungrammatical, a run-on sentence, because "thus" is not a conjunction but a verb.)

This is grammatical; "thus" is an adverb but can have a conjunctive sense. See here.

azhong wrote:He had no money, and thus he didn't eat breakfast.
(Grammatical, because "and" is a conjunction.)

This and the previous sentence are effectively the same: you can use "and" with "thus" or not, it's a personal choice.

azhong wrote:He had no money, thus eating no breakfast.
(Grammatical, I guess?)

This isn't quite grammatical. The only way I could see use of a present particple is in a sentence like, "he had no money, and thus, having no breakfast, he fainted when he got to work". As you can see, even in that sentence, the verb "have" sounds better than "eat". Plus, it really probably should be "having had". But, the participle/gerund use works mostly when describing extra information. In your sentence, it's better to just use simple tenses, like, "he had no money, thus/so he didn't eat breakfast".

azhong wrote:I took a shower, then going to sleep.
(Also grammatical, I guess? But sounds seemingly unnatural?)

This is the same as above, not quite grammatical. It's better to just use the simple past: "I took a shower and then went to sleep." (In this sentence, you could use a comma if you wanted to, although I think grammar algorithms like what's used in Microsoft Word would tell you that's wrong. The truth is you don't need the comma since it's a short sentence.)
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby dEhiN » 2021-02-14, 17:33

azhong wrote:It is a stone (being) cut artificially into a shape with five faces

In this case, the ellipsed phrase would be "that is": It is a stone that is cut artificially into a shape with five faces.

azhong wrote:I was distraught then, (being) flooded by some a desperate mood and devastated by my panic during the after hours.

In this case, "being" does work, and you're right, it could be omitted and the sentence would make sense. Remember that "some" is plural*, so "some moods" works but not "some mood". Also, while "the after hours" works here, a more natural phrasing would probably be "during the hours that followed", or perhaps "during the aftermath". The nominal phrase "after hours" is generally used to mean either after regular business hours or closing time, or during the night after the sun has gone down. For example, I could say, "we met down at the docks, after hours, and planned our heist".

*There is an informal use of "some" that doesn't mean a plural quantity. Wiktionary, under Determiner definition #6, says it means "remarkable". While the example they give works, there are other uses of this informal "some" that wouldn't translate to "remarkable". For example, I could say "he's in some mood", which in this case could mean he's in a weird or perhaps bad mood. So, for me, I think this informal use of "some" acts more like an intensifier that kind of singles out the following noun from among all the others of the same variety. What I mean is that, "he's some acrobat" is basically saying out of all the acrobats, he should be singled out, or "he's in some mood" means out of all the moods, he's in one that should be singled out.
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-15, 1:04

Thank you.
Two inquiries, please:

1)being
My conjecture: Only when "being' means a progressive tense, implying something is happening, it can be preserved then. For example:
()The stone that was cut by John yesterday is being cut by Tom.
=>The stone cut by John yesterday is being cut by Tom. ( No "being")
()The stone that is being cut by Tom now was cut by John yesterday .
=>The stone (being) cut by Tom now was cut by John yesterday .
()While I was having my lunch, a guest came.
=> I (being) having my lunch, a guest came.
()The man who was working in the yard had been working for more than forty hours.
=>The man (being) working in the yard had been working for more than forty hours.

Are these sentences grammatical and natural?
Then, my next question rises: when do you suggest I'd better preserve being when I can give it an ellipsis?

2)then/thus
Are you referring to this?
(conjunctive) As a result. quotations ▼
I have all the tools I need; thus, I will be able to fix the car without having to call a mechanic.
In this sentence, thus doesn't really work as a conjunction; it uses a semicolon " ;", didn't it? I repeat my earlier conjecture:

I have all the tools; I can fix it.(Grammatical, semicolon and without conjunction.)

*I have all the tools, I can fix it.(Ungrammatical, a run-on sentence. comma and without conjunction.)

I have all the tools, and/so I can fix it.(Grammatical, comma and a conjunction.)

*I have all the tools, thus/then I can fix it.(Ungrammatical, a run-on sentence, since "thus" or "then" are not real conjunctions. "so" is a conjunction but "thus" isn't.)

I have all the tools; thus/then I can fix it.(Grammatical, since a semicolon is used, no conjunction is needed.)

I have all the tools, and thus/then I can fix it.(Grammatical, a comma plus a conjunction "and".)

Thank you in advance for your reply.
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-15, 6:04

(My writing practice for today. I put some special efforts on changing the subordinate clauses for participial modifiers and keeping an eye on the ellipsis of being.)

Although having never taught at a school within any system in my life, I did have some part-time job as a private teacher just as some other college students in Taiwan; these experiences, however, occurred to me not only during my college time but lasted in later years as well. Forced to learn by their parents, none of my students, with whose own savings I was not paid, was highly-motivated, and thus attended just with an empty brain, more often than not with no questions, and at all times with no desires, no enthusiasm. It was reasonable because what they learned was designed then required by the school, not at all a personal selection based on the interest. Even in an one-to-one lesson in my case, my experiences found it very difficult to stimulate a teenager low-motivated at their schoolwork, which depressed and puzzled me. I think it might be the most ultimate index to value the excellence of a professional teacher, whose target is more challenging, inspiring not just one student but a class at a time.

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azhong
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-16, 3:24

(My writing practice for today.)
I have some annual plans although unconfident in lasting through the whole year, one of which is to keep my reading and writing in English.
Having been carrying out this daily pleasure without any break since last Christmas or so, I have pored over a Harry Potter chapter - chapter 1 of book 7 - by studying one or two sentences a day, and the succeeding one I've been tasting is that of book 2. This new chapter is somewhat easier, it's sentence constructions simpler, it's vocabulary more fundamental, but it applies more oral expressions which are unfamiliar to me, too.
The way I write is to borrow some new terms from my reading and make them developed. Sometimes I can create my own plot for fun; when I can't, I just narrate the same plot with different sentences of mine. I find this self-learning method effective to me; I am sure of those terms at last, so not as uneasy as I used to, usually worrying about my sentences and desiring responses from native speakers.

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azhong
Posts: 834
Joined: 2008-11-18, 9:06
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Location: ZhangHua
Country: TW Taiwan (臺灣)

Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2021-02-16, 12:00

(My writing practice.)

While I was trying to retrieve his computer data, Thomas was training his dog to retrieve a ball.
"Voldemort is applying his ferocity to gather his followers, so to retrieve his powers," said Narcissus, enjoying her novel under the tree and reporting the latest plot to us once in a while. "And they are having a meeting at night."
He won't eventually manage, for his nemesis, Harry Potter, will be tough under the support of his alliance.


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