Jyvais, the Frog !
A very friendly Richard from London sent an email to me yesterday. He was answering my question to my Brighton friends (or others) :" how can I improve my english ?"
My original text is in red and Richard's suggestions in black.
It's very kind of him and I am glad to publish this today !
You ask "Just tell me please", so having nothing to do before going to bed- here goes:
Since I've joined the B&H E-democracy Forum, I feel every day as if I were becoming a kind of Brighton and Hove citizen! A virtual citizen maybe, but a citizen yet ... Hence I can « sort of » improve my english, don't I ? (is'nt this « sort of » word a very « classical » standard 'bad-english' way of speaking, just tell me, please !)
** Yes "sort of " is normal in speech and means "approximately" ("its sort of near London"), or fairly ("it is sort of chilly today"), but your use is not really right here, as you either do improve your English, or you do not. There is no in-between or approximate state.
** "Don't I" should be "Can't I" after saying "hence I can".
I met there a number of kind and interesting folks
** Folk is a collective noun, and so should here be singular
First, Elizabeth R. to whom I had « requested to make contact ». She replied to me soon
** Soon means in the near future, so "quickly" would be better, although "she replied to me soon afterwards" would be correct, while "she soon replied to me" would also sound correct. Why? What is the rule? I can not say. It just sounds odd.
I could read many new (for me!) and interesting things, about wireless cities for instance, informations
** "Information" is a collective noun again - and so singular.
I am discovering that I can find a real pleasure in writing in english ... and, well, my shyness thereabout
** "shyness about doing so" or "shyness in so doing" would be better
But I remain conscious that I have still a long way to run before I become...an english writer, an acceptable one I mean.
** Actually you write English very well indeed - congratulations! Few Englishmen today write their own language well.
The forum is a valuable place but I wonder why there are no pictures of other members, no e-mail adress
either, no simple link between reality and virtuality. A strange flavour of secrecy. Tell me why please. Has Britain become such a police-state that you have to take the greatest care day after day to escape this orwelian nightmare ?
** We now live in an Orwellian nightmare it is true, but people are nervous of disseminating their e-mail addresses for fear of spam. Furthermore, the southern English are nervous of "becoming involved" with strangers with whom they might come into contact again (but are generally more friendly to foreign visitors who are sure to go away), until they know about them and know whether they might become a nuisance. They fear having to be rude in order to end the contact. I suspect that this is due to a long history of high population-density. A friend from a village the Morvan said he was shocked when he first visited Paris and found that people there do not greet strangers in the street.