Table of Contents

Feedback Master: Vocabulary

Verb-Noun Collocations *

  • According to COCA, do English speakers use the phrasing “provides. . .trends” and “grows. . .trends”?

General Comments *

  • Because according to our syllabus, English 101D students’ COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal entries are worth 15% of their grade, one of my goals for today is to make sure all my English 101D students are on track with this assignment. I just looked at your COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal and want you to know I am SO pleased with it — it’s FANTASTIC!!! 
  • Hopefully, you’ve already done some of these COCA-related assignments earlier in the semester and so realize that the earlier assignments are designed to build your proficiency at using COCA/OneLook to answer complex English phrasing/grammar questions when you have them (using advanced search methodologies that far exceed Google’s capabilities). If you try to complete “COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal” Entry #29 (Estimated time required: 5 minutes) (and all the following personal, daily COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal entry assignments) without first building your foundational knowledge of how best to use COCA/OneLook through the earlier related assignments, I strongly suspect you’ll 1) be very frustrated by the end-of-the-unit  “COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal” Entry personal, daily assignments because you’ll have no idea how to do them, 2) use COCA/OneLook only to do Google-style searches (which, because it fails to demonstrate our syllabus’ goal of “maximizing your ability to find answers independently to your personal English grammar and vocabulary questions” will result in your getting a very bad grade). Thus, I don’t think it is possible for you to get 100% (or anything close) on your COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal assignment (which, as I think I reminded you yesterday, counts as 15% of your English 101D grade) unless you first complete its foundational assignments — make sense? That’s why I don’t think any of the COCA/OneLook-related assignments are really optional
  • Because according to our syllabus, English 101D students’ COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal entries are worth 15% of their grade, I’m wanting to make sure all my English 101D students are on track to get 100% for this assignment. Did you forget to share your COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal and English 101D Writing Journal with me as assigned? Because I don’t currently have access to your COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal, my current estimate of your grade for this assignment of course has to be 0% — because I have no idea at all whether you’ve completed any of the following related assignments, much less your personal, daily COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal entries ☹:

    Please give me access to your COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal and English 101D Writing Journal as soon as possible — I really, really, really don’t want to have to give you a grade of 0% for this assignment (or any other) in our course!!! Thanks so much!

    P.S. X, the reason I weight the COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal so heavily in our course is because of how COCA can help students SO much to identify whether or not their ideas for how to phrase things in English match standard English phrasing. I’d love to meet with you face-to-face if you have any questions about this or any other of our English 101D assignments. I really, really, really want to be able to give my students good grades at the end of the semester, but I also really do need to be fair, and I’m a little worried that with this assignment, I won’t be able in your case to accomplish both goals ☹
    I just checked your COCA Discovery Journal and although I can see you’re a little behind, I just want to let you know that the entries you have so far look GREAT ☺! Do you think you’ll be able to finish the remaining 20 entries (for a total of 60, in accord with our syllabus) before the end of the semester? (I’m just really hoping I’ll be able to give all of my English 101D students a grade of 100% for this assignment ☺)

    One of my goals for today is to make sure all English 101D students are on track to get 100% for their COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal (because according to our syllabus, this assignment is worth 15% of your final grade). I have to admit that although I’m very pleased with how MANY COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal entries you’ve completed ☺, I’m very concerned that it appears you’re using only the very weakest COCA search methodologies (the same kinds of search methodologies that Google can handle just fine ☹) rather than taking advantage of COCA’s ability to handle complex English phrasing questions. For example, you’ve searched:

    I’m therefore wondering whether you ever completed the following assignments, because your Google-style COCA searches show no evidence that you really know how to use COCA to get even slightly complex English phrasing questions answered ☹:

    Unless your COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal improves a LOT before the end of the semester, there’s no way I’ll be able to give you the 100% grade I want to give you for it ☹. Right now, the highest grade I could give would be a D!!! I’d love to meet with you face-to-face if you have questions about this assignment or any others in our course. Please make an appointment with me if you don’t understand any of my comments above!

    Monica
    P.S. X, the reason I weight the COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal assignment so heavily in English 101D is because of how, if English 101D students become fluent users of COCA, it will help them SO much both now and in the future to identify whether or not their ideas for how to phrase things in English match standard English phrasing. . . .and therefore whether or not their proposed phrasing will likely be easy for English readers to understand. Please DO therefore prioritize developing quality COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal entries for this assignment!
    One of my goals for today is to make sure all English 101D students are on track to get 100% for their COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal (because according to our syllabus, this assignment is worth 15% of students’ English 101D final grade). Although it looks like you’ve done a GREAT job of completing all the COCA practice assignments ☺, you’ve only completed a few of your personal, daily COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal entries — and so are far from the 60 journal entries required by our syllabus ☹. (The reason I weight this assignment so heavily in English 101D is because of how, if English 101D students become fluent users of COCA, it will help them SO much both now and in the future to identify whether or not their ideas for how to phrase things in English match standard English phrasing. . . .and therefore whether or not their proposed phrasing will likely be easy for English readers to understand). Please DO therefore prioritize developing quality COCA/OneLook Discovery Journal entries.
    I’d really love to meet with you face-to-face if you’re having any problems with this or any other English 101D assignment — I really, really, really want to be able to give my students good grades at the end of the semester, but I also really do need to be fair, and with this assignment, I’m a little worried in your case that I may have a hard time accomplishing both goals ☹
    X, one of your sentences contains “as” meaning two different things. This is a little confusing for readers. Can you change one of these instances of “as” to another word meaning the same thing so that readers can more quickly and automatically figure out what you mean by this sentence?

Strengths: *

  • You demonstrated you have a good vocabulary in English, e.g. “seldom” and “scorching” and “wreak havoc on” (repeatedly mentioned by multiple raters regarding both your OPI and TEACH) ☺
  • Your use of standard English expressions and an appropriate variety of vocabulary was excellent in the OPI and acceptable in the TEACH exam ☺
  • You apparently have a good mastery of English vocabulary and use some standard phrases, e.g. “competition is fierce” ☺
  • Unsurprisingly (given your Indian English background ☺), your spoken English grammar in both your OPI and TEACH exams was generally good (e.g. You usually used standard English word order, correct verb tenses, correct pronouns, correct articles/plurals, subject/verb agreement, etc.). Your spoken English grammar was also adequately complex ☺
  • Overall, you used English articles and pronouns correctly ☺
  • You were able to self-correct some of your grammar errors, e.g. “This box do/ DOES…”
  • Except in terms of the grammar and pronunciation errors noted below, you were generally easy to understand ☺

 

Weaknesses: *

 

Inadequate Vocabulary *
  • Although you did okay with the more concrete OPI topics, you apparently sometimes had trouble thinking of the vocabulary you needed in order to be able to talk more than one sentence about the more abstract topics
  • You didn’t completely answer OPI Question #2 (One of the raters thought it might be because you were having trouble expressing comparisons in English. . .or could it have been due to a vocabulary or listening problem?)
  • You seemed to struggle during your OPI to find the vocabulary you needed to express your ideas, e.g. the terms “rude” or “impolite,” and sometimes express the same idea repeatedly, maybe because you couldn’t think of anything else to say(?) 
  • Your vocabulary as demonstrated in your OPI seemed a little limited. For example, in your OPI role play, it appeared you were basically saying the same things over and over, maybe just in slightly different words each time (mentioned by multiple raters)
  • You still (by far!!!) overuse the phrase “for example,” which makes your English proficiency appear much weaker than it actually is and may also quite possibly irritate your students because your use of this phrase is so excessive relative to U.S. norms (i.e., You really need to learn sometimes to use alternative ways of expressing this meaning, e.g., for instance, such as, as, like, a case in point would be, one example of this would be, namely, by way of illustration, etc.!)
  • You were apparently not familiar with the definition of at least one technical term that’s loosely related to your field, i.e. “protractor”
Nonstandard Phrasing *
  • Is “suggest me” a standard way of expressing your meaning in English?
  • Do English speakers usually “discuss about results” or simply “discuss results”?
  • Compare in COCA your phrasing “my Friday’s assignment” to the phrasing “my assignment for Friday.” Although grammatically, there’s nothing wrong with your current phrasing, native English speakers would never say it that way and therefore it catches our attention and sounds “incorrect” — even if there’s no grammatical rule to explain WHY we feel it’s incorrect. (This is why COCA is so valuable. If you have any sense at all that your phrasing might not be standard, usually you can just check COCA to find out whether your feeling is right or not right — and over time, your feeling of what’s right or not right in English will more and more closely approximate the kind of “gut feelings” I just described native English speakers as having. A lot of time you won’t be able to to explain WHY something is wrong, but you’ll just KNOW, “It’s ‘wrong.’ People never say it that way.” )
    • Also, although grammatically it’s possible to say something like “[Tell me] if I have missed. . .someone I need to exclude from the list,” this is not a standard way of expressing your idea (as you’ll see if you compare in COCA the search terms “if [p*] [have] missed someone [p*]” vs. “if there is someone [p*]” and “if there is anyone [p*]”)

  • X, what I’ve highlighted in yellow above as “COCA-correctable” are not actually errors, but simply instances of nonstandard phrasing for the U.S. context. The first two instances of highlighting address a difference in U.S. vs. Indian English dialectal norms — so if your plans are to return to India shortly after graduation vs. getting a job in the U.S., it may not be worth your time to investigate them! However, if your plans are to stay in the U.S. after graduation, you may want to check these out in COCA and figure out how U.S. English speakers usually express your intended meaning — because unless U.S. English speakers have an unusual amount of exposure to Indian English, they’re likely to be very unfamiliar with these forms, not realize they represent merely a dialectal difference between U.S. and Indian English, and therefore assume they’re, in fact, English errors ☹. Also, your last phrase I highlighted in yellow uses redundant and (therefore?) dispreferred phrasing — but probably no native English speaker would call it actually incorrect! I’ll therefore let you decide how important these phrases are for you to investigate and “correct”
  • As a standalone question, English speakers say “How should I say it?” or “How can I say it?” or “How should I say it?” (“How to say?” is not a complete English sentence.)
  • Also, in addition to checking your “master student” phrasing in COCA, read this article addressing this very common error
  • In addition to checking out your “doing good” phrasing in COCA, also check out this article on the use of the English words “good” vs. “well” — This particular grammar mistake is often understood by English speakers to signal a poor educational background, which is probably not the impression you want to give! (though hopefully your readers will take into account that English is an additional language for you, not your native language!)  — Can I find a better online article to explain this?
  • heaviest population” sounded like “happiest population” / “safety guard” vs. “security guard” — This was difficult to understand not only because of your pronunciation, but also because if you check in COCA, “heaviest population” is a nonstandard phrasing, so your listeners will have trouble guessing this is what you’re saying
  • Check in COCA the phrase “called as” (Is there a difference between American and Indian English norms on this?)
  • Check in COCA the phrase “They would agree me to”
  • Check in COCA the underlined phrases from your TEACH exam: “I will give general impression of how they look like….”
  • You used the old-fashioned “need not” instead of the current English norm “don’t need” (Is there a difference between American and Indian English norms on this?)
  • Isn’t “written in C programming language” usually phrased by people in your field simply as “written in C” (or “written in the programming language, C” [when they’re uncertain your students will know what “C” is])?

    FYI: Actually, you commonly use the very nonstandard “written in C programming language” and although it’s completely clear, it is a strong marker (because it’s so frequent) that you’re a nonnative speaker (I don’t know if this matters to you, but if it does, you may want to work on it)

  • Check the title of the Shakespearean drama you referred to as “midnight dream in the summer” (Did you directly translate this title from its Korean name? ☺)
    • For any phrasing errors identified in your OECT or presentation feedback, use COCA to identify one standard/preferred phrasing option used by English speakers when communicating similar ideas and add to your Anki flashcards a card containing that standard/preferred phrasing. On each Anki-scheduled review day, create 2 or 3 new sentences using that phrasing in order to build the habit of automatically using standard/preferred English phrasing most of the time — make sense?
    • Use the Analyze2Imitate: Grammar activity to work on building habits of automatically applying the English grammar rules I know you already know ☺
    • Do the “Transcribing and correcting the grammar of a 1-minute talk you’ve recorded” activity

Semantic Misunderstanding/Nonexistent Word
  • X, your email is clear, except that I suspect you mean “hope” rather than “wish” in your last sentence — can you figure out why?
  • In your field, do people say crops are “created” or “developed” (or both)?  To me, “create” sounds like you’ve developed something totally new – but that’s probably not the case, right?
  • Compare in COCA the connotation of “too many” vs. “very many” — Can you figure out why your listeners felt you couldn’t talking about an advantage when using “too many”? (It’s very important that you work on developing the habit of using “too” only to refer to things you feel negatively about or you’ll confuse your L1 English-speaking listeners. . . .)
  • FYI: Read this article on the difference in American vs. Indian English for the words “doubt” vs. “question.” While in Indian English, these two words are synonyms, in American (and I think also British) English, they’re very definitely not — and using “doubt” when you mean “question” (according to American thinking, anyway) will almost certainly confuse American English listeners not used to talking with Indians! If you check the example sentences in COCA for “doubt” and “question,” you should see evidence for what the author of the article above describes as the difference (in American — and I think also British — English) between these two words
    • X, if your email recipient had been an American English speaker with little background in interacting with Indian English speakers, almost certainly he/she would have understood your “send a mail” to mean you were going to send “ordinary mail delivered through the postal system,” not email. This is because American English speakers refer only to “snail mail” as “mail” — we call all electronic mail “email” (as you’ll see if you check COCA). You might be interested in this website that lists this among several other dialectal differences in vocabulary between U.S. and Indian English) ☺
      • FYI:  American English speakers refer only to “snail mail” as “mail” — we call all electronic mail “email” (as you’ll see if you check COCA). Thus, your phrasing for the second weakness you list sounds nonstandard in American English. (You might be interested in this website that lists this among several other dialectal differences in vocabulary between U.S. and Indian English).
  • Compare in COCA your OPI term “eatable” with the term “edible” (Sorry English is so weird on this word!)
  • I’m sure you know this, but the first time you ask for questions, you should say “Any questions?,” not “Any other questions?”
  • Compare in COCA how the apparent English synonyms “guys” vs. “males” are used (from your phrase “for all the male”) — which word best expresses your meaning?
  • “finding out” vs. “knowing” — FYI: American English speakers tend to differentiate between “finding out” (the starting point of knowing something) and knowing something relatively completely (which is usually what we mean when we say we “knowing” something). In your case, you’re planning on emailing professors just to find out one specific point, not to gain a (relatively) complete understanding of their university context, so it would be better for you to use “find out” — make sense? (Is this explanation valid? Does someone else have a better explanation for this and I just haven’t been able to find it?)
  • To make a general statement, you accidentally said “The American like. . . ” vs. the standard “Americans like”
  • Are you sure the technical term you should be using is “factorize”? — I thought it was just “factor”???For any phrasing errors identified in your OECT or presentation feedback, use COCA to identify one standard/preferred phrasing option used by English speakers when communicating similar ideas and add to your Anki flashcards a card containing that standard/preferred phrasing. On each Anki-scheduled review day, create 2 or 3 new sentences using that phrasing in order to build the habit of automatically using standard/preferred English phrasing most of the time — make sense?
Formal/Informal Usage Error
Needs to be expressed more formally:
  • X, I think if you check COCA, you’ll see that the phrasing “I guess” is quite informal. . . .in more formal communication with someone of higher status whom you don’t know very well, it would be better to say something like “It appears” or even the more accurate (though also a little informal) “It sounds like. . . .”

 

English usage varies across dialects
  • I don’t think it’s fair to take points off here since I suspect British English speakers would completely understand and agree with your phrasing here ☺
  • I want to let you know that one of the COCA-correctable “errors” I’ve highlighted above, “queries regarding,” isn’t truly an error — it’s merely a dialectal difference in preferred phrasing between U.S. and Indian English. Therefore, depending on your future career goals, etc., you can decide whether you want to pay attention to this feedback or not ☺

“dissertation” vs. “thesis”

“revise”
General Grammar Feedback
  • Multiple raters summarized your OECT basically as follows: “He had a lot to say, and his responses were quite detailed, and included many ideas. [Unfortunately,  he has some] grammar errors and consistent pronunciation errors that he still needs to work on improving for better comprehensibility.”
  • FYI: The raters wanted to give you a higher score, but felt they couldn’t in light of the frequency and severity of the phoneme and grammar errors listed above
  • One rater mentioned grammar errors were your biggest problem, especially as regards the singular/plural forms

*

Verbs *

Missing Verb:

  • What verb (required by English grammar but not by Chinese grammar) is missing here? “if count[  ] less than” (This error is very important to work on because it’s part of a grammar structure that is very common in English!)
  • What verb does English grammar require to be added to this question? “Why we call it a variable?” (This error is very important to work on because it’s part of a grammar structure that is very common in English!)
  • Check in COCA your TEACH phrase “this not” and “g(x) equal to 2x-1” (These phrases are both missing the same verb)

Nonstandard Verb Usage:

  • Check in COCA your OPI phrase “I’m not feel comfortable”
  • You accidentally responded to your OPI interviewer’s question beginning with “Did you…?” with an answer beginning: “Fortunately, I’m not” — Can you figure out what’s wrong with this?

Verb Tense:

  • What English verb tense is necessary for expressing your intended meaning in the sentence “I just go to attend graduate school here”?
  • Check in COCA your TEACH phrase “before we going too far”
  • Check in COCA your OPI phrase “busy with to do housework”
  • You accidentally forgot to use the past tense where it’s needed: “Last time we talk about”
  • You accidentally said “I remembered” when you were talking about the present, so should have said “I remember” (or vice versa?)
  • You accidentally said “done the papers” when you should have said “do the papers” (or vice versa?)
  • You accidentally said “I’ve never living in a house” (check what you should have said in COCA)

Subject/Verb Agreement:

  • You tended to make subject/verb and determiner/noun agreement errors
  • “Each part in the xxx set correspond to…” & “each point correspond to” & “this is not one-to-one functions” and “there are not point that corresponds to” (mentioned by multiple raters as being a consistent problem)
  • Check in COCA your TEACH phrase “[singular noun or noun phrase] which decide how many times you can do…” (mentioned by two raters)
  • subject/verb agreement — “my advisor know more than me about the field” & “having XXX make” & we always wants to pursue (mentioned by multiple raters)

 Verb Voice:

  • Check your phrase “should be produce” vs. “should be produced” (passive verb construction — mentioned by multiple raters)
Nouns *

Making an uncountable noun countable:

  • Compare in COCA your TEACH phrase “two datas” vs. “two data points
  • Check in COCA your OPI phrase “it drained all the energies from me” (Is “energy” countable or uncountable?)
  • Can you figure out how to check your phrases “these three stuffs” and “you don’t have to care about most of stuffs” and “most of things” in COCA? (Compare in COCA “stuffs” vs. “things” — Which word is countable and which isn’t?)
  • Check in COCA your OPI phrase “we got some supports from the department”
  • You accidentally used the uncountable noun “work” as countable: “works”
  • Check your word “fishings” in COCA

Not using plural countable nouns where needed:

  • You tended to make plural “-s” errors
  • Compare in COCA your phrase “[ten hundred] dollar” vs. “one thousand dollars
  • two different kind of people”
  • many graduate student
  • Check your phrase “Most of ( ) kids”/”most of things” in COCA
  • several year
  • some example” (mentioned by multiple raters)
  • missing plurals — “has to publish paper” (only one paper?) and “the high school teacher just teach student” (only one student?) (Your very consistent lack of the “-s” grammar marker sometimes confused the raters)
  • What grammar endings is your post above missing? (If you miss English grammar endings in writing, you’re likely to miss them in speaking, too.)

Noun/pronoun agreement:

 

Adjectives *

Nonstandard Determiner/Adjective Usage:

  • Check in COCA your OPI Question #2 phrase “The most challenge…”
  • “Veterinary” is an adjective, not a noun, so you actually should have said something like “veterinary services,” not just “veterinary” in your sentence. (Check COCA to verify the best adjective-noun combination to use to express your meaning.)

 

Adverbs *

Missing Adverb:

  • Check in COCA your OPI question #2 phrase “he very like Chinese culture” (mentioned by two raters)

Nonstandard Adverb Usage:

  • Check your phrase “you will exactly know” in COCA

Pronouns

Nonstandard Pronoun Usage:

  • You accidentally referred to “Mary” as “he” 
  • Check your phrase “It seems very happy” (referring to people) in COCA
  • Check in COCA your OPI Question #2 phrase “stories about many graduate student(s) don’t have friends” (The grammar of this sentence can be corrected either by adding a word or by changing the form of a couple of your words.)
  • that might be my priorities (noun/pronoun agreement)
  • the #1 weakness I noticed was that you frequently made “he/she/his/her” mistakes. Try to pay attention to this, because it’s a mistake most Americans totally don’t understand, i.e. it makes girls wonder and get irritated “Does he think I’m a guy?” and it makes guys think, “What’s wrong with him? Does he think I’m a girl?” Most Americans have no idea there are languages in the world where the he/she pronouns are pronounced exactly the same. . . .so they totally can’t understand why Chinese speakers often make mistakes with them — Make sense?

*

Prepositions *

Nonstandard Preposition Usage:

  • Check in COCA your OPI/TEACH phrase “I just need to talk somebody
  • Check in COCA your OPI/TEACH phrase “I would like to recommend you
  • Check in COCA your OPI/TEACH phrase “They should learn how ( ) express…”
  • Check in COCA your OPI/TEACH phrase “to go graduate school
  • Check in COCA your OPI/TEACH phrase phrase “usually in my birthday”
  • Check in COCA your OPI/TEACH phrase “parents strict to their children”
  • Please also check in COCA whether your phrase “in Internet” in your self-evaluation forum post is correct. We frequently talk about using the Internet, so you want your habit of which words you use to talk about it to follow what is standard/conventional ☺

Missing Preposition:

  • Check in COCA your OPI question #2 phrase “they talk each other...”
  • “I’m going to introduce you how it works” (This error is very important to work on because it’s part of a grammar structure that is very common in English!) (mentioned by two raters)

Unnecessary Preposition Insertion:

  • Compare in COCA your OPI phrase “on either way” vs. just “either way”

Determiners

Missing Article:

  • Check in COCA your TEACH phrase “one of students” / “I heard lot of stories” / “I will give general impression of how they look
  • Check in COCA your OPI question #2 phrase “at same time”
  • Check your phrase “Living in ( ) house…” in COCA
  • “when you use [] for loop”
  • You tended to make “a/an” and “the” errors
  • It’s totally okay to use “a” here like you have, but I want you to understand if your professor or editor deletes your second “a” in compound phrases like this one why they’re doing it: In a compound noun like”a catalyst or nanstructure,” English-speaking readers will apply the “a/an” you put before the first noun to the second noun also. That is, if you write “a catalyst or nanostructure,” readers will understand you to mean “a catalyst or a nanostructure.” Therefore, it’s not necessary to explicitly write the second “a” — Make sense? (As a result, some native-English-speaking editors are likely to delete it, feeling it’s redundant.)
  • You sometimes miss “the” where it’s needed/You sometimes miss articles where they’re needed, e.g. in “(the) square of 2 is 4.” While missing “a/an” is not a big problem, missing “the” can affect listeners’ understanding a lot. This is because English speakers use “the” to communicate we’re continuing to talk about something we’ve already mentioned or where we think it’s obvious exactly what it is we’re referring to — if you don’t use “the” in this way, English speakers assume you’re introducing something new to the conversation. Thus, if you frequently miss “the,” English-speaking listeners have trouble understanding how your ideas interconnect and therefore have trouble following the logic or chronology of whatever you’re trying to explain — Make sense?). If you think this is a common problem for you:
    • Download pp. 50-55 of the electronic copy of the textbook Science Research Writing (by Hilary Glasman-Deal) from Parks Library — Science Research Writing contains an outstanding explanation of “the” in English — as well as of many other useful grammar and research writing points ☺
    • For any phrasing errors identified in your OECT or presentation feedback, use COCA to identify one standard/preferred phrasing option used by English speakers when communicating similar ideas and add to your Anki flashcards a card containing that standard/preferred phrasing. On each Anki-scheduled review day, create 2 or 3 new sentences using that phrasing in order to build the habit of automatically using standard/preferred English phrasing most of the time — make sense?

Specific “the”

  • Remember that whenever you are talking about a specific assumption, you need to use “the” (i.e. you need to say “the normality assumption,” “the homogeneity of variance assumption,” or “the assumption of homogeneity of variance”). Practice using the phrase “the normality assumption” in 5 different sentences each day for the next 5 days, so that using “the” when talking about the normality assumption becomes a habit for you. Also, if there are other specific assumptions that are commonly talked about in your field, practice using “the _________ assumption” phrase for the next 5 days to develop the habit of using the correct “the _________ assumption” phrase for those assumptions, too.
  • In your sentence, you should have said “the control parameter” (not just “control parameter”) because you were talking about a specific parameter. (Practice using the phrase “the control parameter” in 5 different sentences each day for the next 5 days. Also, if there are other specific parameters that are commonly talked about in your field, practice using the “the _________ parameter” phrase for those parameters, too.)
  • X, whenever you’re talking about something of which there is only one, e.g., “the global economy,” English requires you to precede that thing of which there is only one with a “the.” Obviously, there can be only one most memorable day, place, book, hobby, etc., so this phrase — and nearly every other phrase beginning with “most” in English — needs to be preceded by “the.” Make sense? (See points “b” and “c” on this webpage describing “The use of “the” before singular countable nouns” for more information.)

Nonstandard Article Usage:

  • You forgot to use “an” instead of “a” before a word beginning with a vowel, i.e. “a idea” (mentioned by multiple raters)

No Article Required:

  • You sometimes miss “the” where it’s needed, e.g. in “(the) compiler” and “from (the) user.” (While missing “a/an” is not a big problem, missing “the” can affect listeners’ understanding a lot. This is because English speakers use “the” to communicate we’re continuing to talk about something we’ve already mentioned or where we think it’s obvious exactly what it is we’re referring to — if you don’t use “the” in this way, English speakers assume you’re introducing something new to the conversation. Thus, if you frequently miss “the,” English-speaking listeners have trouble understanding how your ideas interconnect and therefore have trouble following the logic or chronology of whatever you’re trying to explain — Make sense?) (Multiple raters mention this, so this is a top-priority weakness to work on.)
    • “(The) compiler takes your source code”
    • “takes input from (the) user”
      • Download pp. 50-55 of the electronic copy of the textbook Science Research Writing (by Hilary Glasman-Deal) from Parks Library — Science Research Writing contains an outstanding explanation of “the” in English — as well as of many other useful grammar and research writing points ☺
  • You don’t need to precede most English names with “the” because names are already recognizable as referring to something/someone specific (the rare exceptions include names that begin with the word “united,” e.g. “the United States, the U.S., the U.K., the United Arab Emirates, etc., and names whose first noun is the word “university,” e.g. “the University of Iowa,” the State University of New York” but notice we say “Iowa State University” or “Harvard University” not “the Iowa State University” or “the Harvard University”!)  (mentioned by two raters)

Determiner/Noun Agreement:

  • Check your phrase “all around this little apartments” in COCA

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Overly Simple Grammar *
  • One rater felt you were using present simple verb tense too often where more complex sentences including conditionals (clauses beginning with “if,” “when,” “since,” etc.) would have been more appropriate
  • You tended to use simple vocabulary and grammar structures vs. more sophisticated vocabulary/grammar (FYI: Usually, this is not because a student doesn’t know how to construct more complex English sentences — it’s just that they can’t do it at the speed of talking. . . .i.e., they need to work on growing their English fluency)

 

X, English speakers use the phrasing “This is [my name]” only on the phone, so your “This is X” should be “My name is X” or “I am X” — Make sense?


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