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"The Round Table" Discussion Forum

"The Round Table" Discussion Forum

Date: Jul 13 2013

Topic: Conversational English

Author: englishteacher24/7


This is a lesson series where you can ask your questions on English, culture, technology, and things that are related.  Please feel free to submit your questions and/or comments here.


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the roundtable discussion is very good forun for us this is the best way we improve my english and gets very useful infornatoin

07:55 AM Aug 10 2015 |

La Princesse de la vie


Hello Mr. Alston. I like this idea of a round table for further discussion on English. Thank you a lot for providing us a hand on English. We all appreciate your efforts.

In fact, I got two questions, 

I was reading a contemporary American novel and I would say it’s hard not to get a dictionary with you when you come down to this. I almost finished a chapter of 5 pages in two hours!! My way of learning through reading, is applying all the vocabulary and expressions in a word file I created on my computer, so when I read it periodically, they would stick in my mind. My first question is, is this way effective and rewarding? And am I doing the right thing by taking a long time interpreting every unfamiliar word by a dictionary?

My second question is about an expression I found in the book, the scene involves two girls chatting in a restaurant when they were joined by a third one whom one of the two girls doesn’t like. The other told her “Sara is really funny when you get to know her. She’s just rough around the edges” My take on this is that Sara could be a good friend if they really got closer to each other, but she is just strict about her business stuff. I chose business stuff, because all that’s between Sara and the directed person is only business, and they are not getting along. Is there a better way of understanding this? 

01:44 AM Aug 10 2015 |



North Korea

Sheep like to be within the group  and   dog   is the  leader

monkeys   like  to  be  with   a  group  and there  is  one leader   .

Monkeys love to be in a group  and  imitation

human   like  to  be  with   a  group Classified about religion or the state or sex or something  

They love to live in their strotypical world  till  someone  clever  who doesnt  belong  to  thire world come  and solve there  proplems…

They could not be in other place of someone else because they do not have the imagination…and  the fight   because of  it.

they  Like murder And restrictions And Torture  and    they   want only  they    take  part  in  earth    As if the earth   is  exist only  for  them   .

trees    are  living   better    live and   than  human.

 neurotypical  are still  monkeys…they  dont  think .. there  someone else think On their behalf

as  if the  fate  of earth  depends   in  one person  and the   others  trilons  trilons  trilons     people is  trash

10:30 AM Jan 01 2015 |


United States

Ryo thank you for your thoughts on intelligence and conscientiousness.

Aimee, the following statements are grammatically correct:

She has a watch and a book.

She has a pen and an unbrella.

Watch the videos on my profile page on “articles” for a more detailed explanation. I’m sorry for the delay in responding to you both.

05:46 PM Jul 30 2014 |




Hi everyone!
I have a question, which ones of the following statements are correct grammatically?
She has a watch and book.
She has a watch and a book.
She has a pen and an umbrella.
She has a pen and umbrella.

09:43 AM May 25 2014 |




As I have always claimed, I am here not to teach or to convert you or anyone else. I am here for my own interests. As well, as far as I know, I have not broken any site rules. If you don’t like my commentaries, simply ignore them. Unless specifically solicited by you—none of my commentaries or opinions are for you anyway, so leave them alone, and go on about your business—as I respectfully ask you to permit me to do.

06:59 PM May 20 2014 |




very well said! :)

05:31 PM May 20 2014 |

1 person likes this




Define Intelligence 

01:36 PM May 20 2014 |




Finally we done with that topic,What’s the next ?

12:42 PM May 20 2014 |




It is said that maybe 90% of those at the age 60 and younger are able to speak English in Norway—no, not bragging. Many countries are bi or multilingual—again, to me, this isn’t a sign of notable intelligence.

Maybe I should have been more specific—cute. @(- _ -)@

The other options are not splitting the verb phrase as does option “c”—and yeah—done with that topic.

09:46 AM May 20 2014 |



United States

Not everyone in America speaks English.

I did not say speaking English makes you intelligent. I said speaking more than one language marks you (indicates to others) as an intelligent person. Thanks for your kind insinuations though.

You misread me too often.

Perhaps you should have asked the specific question.

The answer is C, the others are just words in random order.

04:02 AM May 20 2014 |




The point is that it (my question) was on a test. Maybe there in America one can choose to change a test’s format options—such as with preselected, multiple choice exams. Maybe that is why the TOEFL is having problems with its credibility—everyone can change test options according to his or her likes or abilities.
Choose the best option in completing this sentence.
I would not go with her (one girl), ___ (nor/I/will/go) with her (another girl).
a. I nor will go
b. go nor I will
c. nor will I go
Maybe with the American TOEFL, a test taker can choose to add an option “d”.
As for the combining of two sentences (clauses) into one sentence, that too was not an option, but then again, maybe it is with the TOEFL.

Note: Although I appreciate your kind words, I would suggest that it doesn’t take a very intelligent person to speak English—I mean, is everyone in America “intelligent” because he or she speaks English?

01:18 AM May 20 2014 |



United States

What happened to accessories? Personally, I don’t wear jewelry so I think my only “accessories” would be a belt. I do try to always carry a pen, a lighter, and a small pocketknife. (string and tape cutting size)

How about others, what accessories do others carry with them?

10:22 PM May 19 2014 |

1 person likes this



United States

I will not go with Sigrid or Gunn. I will not go with anyone. -a nod to Dr. Seuss.

If you need both of your declarations independently, you can also link them with “and”. There is nothing wrong with “nor”, if “nor” is your choice.  There are many choices to say the same things.

Speaking more than one language already marks you as intelligent.

In my opinion, the phrase “I will not go with Sigrid nor will I go with Gunn” sounds like it should conclude with something like “but I will go with Helga”.  Otherwise, even written, it’s not obvious why you split the clauses instead of combining them. Do you want to go but not with them? Did two people ask you those questions and you combined two answers into one sentence?

I am not going.

I am not going with Sigrid or Gunn.

I will not go with Sigrid or Gunn.

I am going, but not with Sigrid or Gunn.

I will go, but not with Sigrid or Gunn.

“My dad is an Acccountant. My dad is very smart” are not related phrases. I have known smart dads who weren’t accountants and dumb accountants. You can combine them as “my dad is an accountant and is very smart” or “my dad is a smart accountant” or “my dad is an accountant and accountants are smart”, which seems to better reflect the speakers likely intent.

“I eat. I play.”

“I eat and I play.”

“I eat and then I play.”

I play with my food when I eat.”

Sometimes longer sentences say no more than short ones.

10:17 PM May 19 2014 |




Avoiding Primer Style writing: I call it “Primary Reader Style. This is where text is written with a bunch of short little sentences.

Note: there are other signs of primer style, but anyone of interest can check it out for themselves.

Some examples of what I am referring to are:

See Juan Run. See Tove Run. See Lee Run, etc.

This makes the reading somewhat choppy and boring. I have learned in my English studies that sometimes it’s best to join sentences (clauses) whenever possible and meaning is left intact.

I mentioned clauses: first, what is a clause?

The way that I had it so patiently taught to me was, “A clause is a group of words that has at least one subject and a verb”.

There are two main types of clauses:
Independent clause: a clause (group of words with a subject and verb) that can stand alone as a sentence and that is joined together by a comma and one of seven coordinating conjunctions or by a semi-colon.
Dependent clause: a clause that cannot stand alone as a sentence, but yet it contains a subject and verb. These clauses begin with words such as because, when, however, if, who, which, that, etc.

Now after having written about what all of you as native speakers of English have possibly naturally “acquired”—and as it has so eloquently and patiently been pointed out that it may be information that is “too difficult for many to retain and implement”, I will repeat my question about splitting verb phrases.

Note: I mentioned other signs of Primer Style writing, and that is the use of a lot of little verbs that really don’t say much about what a subject is or does.
My dad is an accountant. My dad is very smart.
I eat. I play.

If I were only to pepper my text with the use of a bunch of these intransitive and linking verbs, I am sure that even I would get bored fairly quickly.

Okay: back to my original and serious question:

When joining sentences and using verb phrases, when, if ever, should one split verb phrases?
I had given the example of using the coordinating conjunction “nor” to join two sentences.

I will not go with her (Sigrid). I will not go with her (Gunn).

How would you suggest joining these two sentences—if you would suggest joining them at all?

It has been suggested that maybe there is a better way than:
I will not go with her (Sigrid), nor will I go with her (Gunn).

(In this example, I have two independent clauses joined together by using a comma and the coordinating conjunction nor, making a “compound sentence).

This style and usage should not be considered non-essential to one’s learning of English—this is very much a part of the “whole picture”—in my humble opinion, of course.

Again, for many of us “learners” of English, we are learning English so that we can not only communicate to a vast collection of people throughout the world, but that we can be heard as being intelligent—being well learned and intelligent.

Most would agree that we are often judged by the way we communicate with others. Once, people depended on oral communication—now, however, more than ever, we are communicating electronically—writing, and texting. As with oral communication, we will be judged on how we are able to communicate in writing.
True, a waiter, bellboy, taxi driver, etc., will not have much need to prove their abilities or experiences in text form, but many others will—such as many tech supporters, web page designers, translators, online shopping sales people, medical transcription, etc.

Not to split verb phrases is a myth.

My point? Learn English well.

01:22 PM May 18 2014 |



United States

Handwriter, I only know the part about Star Trek and infinitives. As for your sentences, there are other ways to phrase them that I would have used before either of them but #1 sounds right to me.

It just does.

I would not have written “you never should write” because it doesn’t sound right to me, even though I believe that it is. 

03:17 PM May 17 2014 |




Handwriter and teacher wobblyjoe,Well, About handwriter’s question,I think the first one is correct,am i right?I am bad at grammer.Usually ,i don’t wanna put my attention on grammer.But like handwriter said ,Grammer is important in today’s communication.I must delve deeper if i mean to become a decent english speaker.

09:41 AM May 17 2014 |

1 person likes this





I agree with what has already been stated about “should one read all that is posted here”  only if you care to be confused, possibly out of your wits, or should not have anything better to do.

Wobblyjoe, about the Splitting of verb phrases, it had been an earnest question, and it had not been about splitting verb phrases with an adverb—that’s a different question.

Permit me to give you a case-in-point question:

What is correct, and why?

1. I will not go with you, nor will I go with her. (splitting the verb phrase will go)

2. I will not go with you, nor I will go with her. 

Thanks for your patience.  I do not know, that is why I am asking.

Nowadays, grammar, I think, may be even more important than before eCommunication. 

01:10 AM May 17 2014 |

1 person likes this



United States

Handwriter, for me at least, the notion is based on the opening title scenes of the old tv show “Star Trek”.

Original Star Trek: To boldly go

Star Trek: the Next Generation: To go boldly

I’m not sure what’s right or wrong, but the show changed the phrase to reflect the common belief.


Handwriter, the split verb rule says “an adverb must not be placed between an auxiliary and the following verb.” For example, you should never write “you should never write” but instead write “you never should write.”- from Englishteacher’s post below

Englishteacher is very correct in what he has posted about  this subject. I didn’t know the part I pasted in and have not only said the phrase in the incorrect form every time I have ever used the form, I would have thought the correct phrasing form sounded odd if I heard someone use it. That’s a level of English knowledge pretty much reserved for those who are students of the language in a scholarly sense and not just in a linguistic sense.

10:58 PM May 16 2014 |



United States

S&W, as one of those who posted, please do not read them all. That was a philosophical discussion between English speakers of various levels and probably should have been written elsewhere. If you can follow it, that is good, because it is hard to discuss philosophy in another language.

An Iranian friend shared the recipe for “Dough” with me when he learned I had never heard of it. He will read this so I invite him to share it with all because it is a tasty and refreshing boost of energy drink.

I invite others who enjoy such tasty local treats that the rest of us may not know about to share their recipes! If I had one of my own to contribute I would, but I haven’t thought of one yet. I drink a lot of iced tea and I can’t imagine that’s unusual. Don’t let that stop you though.

07:25 PM May 16 2014 |

1 person likes this

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