Saturday, December 08, 2007

Am I Little Joe?

Notice: This story is written in bad English form, you may even notice hard mistakes in language usage while reading. Please keep in mind that I'm not a native and there is no one here to instruct, correct me. I just looked at this drawing (From the book "English Knowhow 3") and tried to make a story about it. If you enjoyed the story, please correct some mistakes. It's really appreciated.
Read the revised edition!

Joe was so tired, he just came back from the magazine office after several hours of hard work. It was the fifth day that he was coming back home like this; so tired, without smiling on his wife like ever. That’s why his wife popped on him suddenly and asked “What’s wrong with you Joe? It’s days that you are not like always”. Joe said: “Everything is OK honey, don’t be worried about that, everything will be good as it used to be soon.”
They were living in Pandora, a very beautiful town in northern Canbera. The town had very beautiful natural scenes and panoramas. Joe was grown in a big house in the suburb beside a lake that was adjaced to a forest. When he was a child he always had a habit to go next to the lake, everyday afternoon with his diary beholding usually with his bicycle and sitting there and writing a diary. He always wanted to become a big writer and author of the most fascinating books in the world and that was why he was always starting his diary with the words “Joe is sitting beside the lake and is writing another diary.” With the feeling of a big, famous Joe that is writing.
Several days passed and Joe was still coming home sad. One day he came back soon and went to the room slapping the door back without noticing his wife. After a few minutes he went out, looking happy with a sports cloth, like the days when he was a child. He went to his wife and said loudly: “We are so prosperous. We can travel all over the world visiting fabulous spots of the world, be on safaris and explore… because I don’t have a job anymore.” and went out with his bicycle.
His wife was knowing where he was going, because he still had the habit to go to his childhood spot beside the lake whenever he was sad and even sometimes he liked to write the articles for the magazine there. So she slipped on and get on her bicycle driving to the lake. She noticed him from the back sitting on his place and thinking. She parked his bicycle next to his and sat close to him and asked: “Honey, are you thinking about the office?” He said nothing and they were quiet for several minutes. She tried again to open a conversation and said: “don’t worry, you can find another job, maybe you find the job that you always had dreams for soon.” Joe said: “Yes, I’m so hopeful. The another way I’m thinking, losing of my job was a gift to me. They never honored me, understood my abilities. I’m now happy that I don’t spend my time there anymore. I think it’s the time to start writing the story that I always wanted to write, the story that the little Joe wished to write, the story that the busy Joe never had time to put on it. Yes, this is where Joe always starts. I’m sure that my story begin to be sold Millions of copies worldwide as soon as I publish it. Big Joe is sitting beside the lake and …”
Joe is now finished his story and he is going to make a contract with a well-known publisher. He said to the publication manager to keep his first cheque, he wants to buy their publication 20% upper than it’s worth. Will he successful? Can he sell millions of copies?


Anonymous said...

Hi Ahmad! I just stumbled across your blog and thought I'd give you some feedback on your English in this story (it's a good story, by the way). I should note that it looks like your materials are UK English, and I'm American, so there may be differences between the way I phrase things and the way that your book does.

The first thing that jumps out at me is "smiling on" in the second sentence. I would phrase this as "smiling at". "On" in this context implies to me that the smile is somehow coming down on to the person being smiled at; "at" just shows where the smile is going. I notice that the page of idioms you link to on the side has an entry for "smile on" that could be interpreted as working in your sentence, but the entry leaves out what to me is an implication of the smiler having some sort of authority over the situation. The idiom example it provides of "The sky smiling on the farmers" manages to incorporate both aspects, in that the sky is physically located above the farmers, and that the sky has authority over the farmers by providing the sunlight and rain their plants need.

That was pretty long so I'm going to try not to write so much about the rest of the things I mention. If any of the following advice needs further clarification, let me know and I'll explain it more.

His wife probably popped in on him, if she went into a room where he was to confront him about his mood. A more natural way of phrasing what she says to him would be "It's been days since you've been your usual self" or "For days you haven't been acting like you always do" or something like that.

Joe "grew up" or "was raised" or "was brought up" in a big house. "Was grown" is how you'd describe a plant, so it made me chuckle a bit to read it. If Joe were a clone or something, he might have been grown in a lab.

"Everyday afternoon" would look better to me as either "every day, after noon", "every day in the afternoon", or something like "every afternoon" with the "day" implied. When "everyday" is written as one word instead of two, it seems more like an adjective than a noun, so you might see it in a phrase like "everyday chores" to describe the chores one has to do every day.

I'm not entirely sure what Joe was beholding next to the lake. The view of the lake?

"His wife was knowing where he was going" sounds awkward to me, but this page seems to indicate it's an appropriate use of "past continuous" tense describing parallel actions. However, I would still say something like "His wife knew where he was going". Mostly I guess because "was knowing" kind of makes it sound like the knowing was an action that was gradually taking place at the same time as he was gradually biking his way to the lake. I'd consider her knowing his destination to be a fact about her rather than an action she is undertaking.

I assume his wife didn't slip on the bicycle and fall down or something. Maybe she slipped on or slipped into some different clothes? It's not totally clear from the text.

I think this is just a typo, but she would park her bike, not his.

"The another way I'm thinking" would be better with "other" instead of "another", but if I were writing it I'd probably just use "The way I'm thinking". Also in that sentence, "losing of my job" sounds better as either "losing my job" or "the loss of my job".

Now, in the sentence at the end about the cheque I'm not at all sure what's going on. (Here we call them checks, but that's one of those American English vs British English things.) Is it about royalty payments or something? At any rate, I suspect that whatever the context, "20% upper than it's worth" should be "20% more than it's worth", or maybe "20% above its value" or something.

Those are the things I noticed that seemed odd-sounding. 99% of it is basically idiomatic stuff from my end, and I wouldn't be surprised if the remainder is idiomatic stuff from your end that got transliterated into English. Idiomatic phrases can be pretty amorphous, and their meaning and exact phrasing tends to shift across different times and places, so keep in mind that all of this is just the opinions of one guy from Texas, and you'd probably get at least slightly different opinions from people from other English-speaking countries, or even from different US states.

Ahmad said...

Dear Anonymous (I don't know your name),
Thanks a lot, I want to really appreciate you because your comments were a great help to me. I corrected all the mistakes that you’ve mentioned, read several times through your advices and tried to learn everything that you mentioned, I think I’ll never commit such these mistakes again.
There were some points that I want to describe you, first of all, the book that I was reading “English Knowhow 3” is written in American English. Most of the materials that I use are American; because they are more plenty than British ones, and I also personally prefer American English rather than British because it is easier, better to learn and more comfort to speak.
In the part that I wrote “Going to the lake with his diary beholding” I actually meant that he had a habit to go to the lake with his diary notebook and I’m wondering why I did use the work “beholding” there. I changed the sentence with: “every afternoon, usually with his bicycle, holding his diary notebook”. hope it’s OK!
By the sentence “she slipped on and get on her bicycle” I meant that she dressed on quickly in a form that she could go out and bike to the lake and I changed the sentence to “she dressed and get on her bicycle”. Again hope it’s OK.
By the “The another way I'm thinking” I just wanted to describe a situation that he changes the way that he used to think and feel, as if something happens to him that he looks at the subject from a different point of view. Anyway I changed “The another way I'm thinking” to “The other way I'm thinking”. I’m not still sure if using of "The way I'm thinking" as you mentioned could pass on my intention?
About the last sentence, Yes, it’s about royalty payments. He is as sure as the high volume sells of his book that he tells them that he won’t accept his first royalty payment check and he wants to buy their publication 20% above its value. Anyway I changed the sentence to “He said to the publication manager to keep his first royalty payment check because he wants to buy their publication 20% more than it’s worth.”
I also uploaded the MS Word document of the story with the corrected parts indicated with red text color and posted the revised version of the story in another separate post.
Thanks again for your in-depth comment.