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  1. #11
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    No, it is no problem. 'its' refers, as you said yourself, to 'league'. Both 'players' and 'the players' are correct; in this context, however, 'the players' makes more sense.

  2. #12
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    I'm a native-English speaker and I used to be a professional translator. The other posters are correct in their suggestions. If it's helpful, I have provided a more detailed analysis below. (Your questions involve a lot of detail, so I provided detailed answers.) I think in some cases the grammar of a sentence can be correct but the sentence can still sound non-native (non-idiomatic). Depending on what kind of test you're taking, a non-idiomatic construction can be a problem.

    By the way, I find your English excellent. When I'm just skimming posts, your English sounds native. But when it comes to picking apart grammar word by word, a sentence can be evaluated a lot of different ways: grammar, idiomatic usage, understandability, elegance, etc. Even native-English speakers may have difficulty with things like grammar and elegance.

    Anyway...

    38) "than years before"-- Grammatical evaluation: The grammar in this construction is weak or wrong; the most natural and elegant way to express this idea would be "than in previous years," which indicates that at a minimum you need a preposition ("in") to make this construction work. Evaluation for idiomatic usage: A native-English reader would understand perfectly what you meant to say with this construction. However, it would sound vaguely non-native to him. To be more precise, if there weren't any other non-native constructions elsewhere in the text, then he would read the construction as a typo: He would assume the author accidentally left out a preposition ("in"). If there *were* other non-native constructions in the text, then this construction would be one more clear indication that a non-native author or translator had been used.

    39) "The league grew and so increased the expenses of playing" -- Grammatical evaluation: The grammar is mostly just wrong. Idiomatic evaluation: Sounds distinctly non-native. With lots of immigrants in the U.S., certain mistakes sound distinctly non-native (as opposed to possibly being a typo). Putting the subject and the verb in the wrong order sounds distinctly non-native and non-idiomatic. On the positive side, a native-English reader would understand perfectly what you meant to say with this construction.

    But in general: If you're going to use "increased," then you pretty much have to say: "The league grew and (so) playing expenses increased"; otherwise you will risk confusing the grammar so much that it's hard to determine what's the subject and what's the object. The only way you can easily reverse the subject-verb order is to use the "so did" construction.

    37) "All the players were amateurs. In its first year, the league supported teams by charging a small admission fee to its fans"

    "All the players were amateurs. In its first year, the league supported players by charging a small admission fee to its fans"

    "All the players were amateurs. In its first year, the league supported them by charging a small admission fee to its fans"

    All these are grammatically and idiomatically acceptable, though not very elegant:

    Separating "its" from the antecedent "league": By inserting a plural object (teams/players/them) between "league" and "its," the native-English reader has to look back to the beginning of the sentence to find the antecedent for "its." IOW, this isn't a very elegant way to construct the sentence: The reader shouldn't have to look around for the antecedent for a pronoun; the pronoun and its antecedent should be kept as close as possible, ideally without any intervening nouns. In practice, however, lots of native-English writers separate a pronoun and its antecedent for various reasons; not everyone writes elegantly. And in any case, your construction doesn't create confusion or mislead the reader because "league" and "its" are clearly singular and "teams/players/them" are clearly plural.

    So basically, a construction that separates "its" from the antecedent "league" isn't the most elegant way to write a sentence, but a native-English reader wouldn't be confused by it and probably wouldn't even register it as an error. If he noticed it at all, he would just feel that the construction is a bit awkward and could be improved by editing.

    (This "error" is so minor that I normally wouldn't even mention it. But you asked about it in your last post; and if you have to argue with a grader for points, then this issue is probably going to come up.)

    Using an article: It might improve the first two sentences to put an article ("the") before "teams" and "players". That's because an article was already used once in the preceding sentence (All the players...).

    As I "feel" it (as a native-English reader), usually the progression for plural nouns from one sentence to the next should be from "no article" to "article", and then continue to use "article" until the context changes. When you reverse that progression and go from "article" in the first sentence to "no article" in the second, it can sound just a little bit "off," as though you are about to set up a comparison or make a distinction. But in the end, the lack of an article shouldn't be a problem in this case. As in the previous case: a native-English reader wouldn't be confused by it and probably wouldn't even register it as an error.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Chloe's Avatar
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    Wow thanks fineline... That was very helpful! I guess i will ask a point for 37, but i assume they wont accept it..

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chloé View Post
    Wow thanks fineline... That was very helpful! I guess i will ask a point for 37, but i assume they wont accept it..
    You're welcome!

    Can't hurt to ask. Just focus on what I said here:

    [...] In practice, however, lots of native-English writers separate a pronoun and its antecedent for various reasons; not everyone writes elegantly. [...] a native-English reader wouldn't be confused by it and probably wouldn't even register it as an error. [...] (This "error" is so minor that I normally wouldn't even mention it. But you asked about it in your last post; and if you have to argue with a grader for points, then this issue is probably going to come up.)

  5. #15
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    Good explanations by Fineline. I'm an English teacher, and I would say that sentence 37 is awkwardly constructed, anyway. I think it would sound better to say, "The league supported itself by charging fans an admission fee."
    Something Witty

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