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Please, can anyone tell me if my sentence is usable and sounds ok?

 
 
imsak
 
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 10:25 am
I'm a new english learner, learning on my own, my english is still so poor and this is my first question to ask on this forum.

What I want to know is that whether my sentences below sound ok and is understandable to the native speaker?

- I arrived at the station just within an inch of missing the train.

- It nearly escaped me that I have once seen her before.
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dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 12:09 pm
@imsak,
Quote:
- I arrived at the station just within an inch of missing the train.
Usable but my immediate interpretation being that its caboose was parked next to the entrance and that upon your approach the train was able to accelerate with the alacrity of a rabbit

But then I presented the q to my Better Half, who is much smarter than I, whereupon she replied, "Oh no, it means you caught it, with an inch to spare"

Now I have to figure out how that's possible. Doubtless someone will come up with better wording

Quote:
- It nearly escaped me that I have once seen her before.
Usable but doesn't quite sound okay. Maybe "I had once seen her before" or better, "I had once seen her " or even "I'd seen her before"

"Have" is okay if you delete the "once" but don't ask me why as I'm not nearly the grammarian as some of our other participants

But I'd have to know the circumstances. If she were standing right there I might have said "I've seen her before" though more courteous, "I've surely (sure) seen you somewhere", the "before" now a tad superfluous

Though Mom says "Surely" should come first, proving conclusively how much smarter she is


Im, you're to be congratulated for your determination and I hope we haven't tied you in knots
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 12:31 pm
An inch is a measure of distance, not of time. Why not say "I arrived at the station within seconds of missing the train"? Or better, "I arrived at the station barely in time to catch the train".
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 12:34 pm
@contrex,
Quote:
Why not say
"..within seconds…"

Edited to report that by the sheerest coincidence I had added posted within seconds of Con completing his sentence as above
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 01:24 pm
@contrex,
contrex wrote:
An inch is a measure of distance, not of time.
Why not say "I arrived at the station within seconds of missing the train"?
That is an incomplete thought.
It is perfectly true that WITHIN SECONDS ago,
the first dinosaur was hatched; (however many billion seconds).
Your sentence shows sloppy thinking.

Accuracy of thought requires adding "a few seconds"
or a specified number, e.g., "within 1O seconds".





David
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 02:05 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
It is perfectly true that WITHIN SECONDS ago,
Quote:
the first dinosaur was hatched;
Dave no offense but I'd disagree. The expression is perfectly okay because it does means within a few seconds
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 02:12 pm
@dalehileman,
That 's not what it SAYS, Dale,
and that 's what counts, not efforts at telepathy.

I hold a man responsible to SAY what he means
and to mean what he says. Its not enuf to THINK about it.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 02:21 pm
@imsak,
imsak wrote:
- I arrived at the station just within an inch of missing the train.
I like this one. While 'a second' might be more technically correct, 'an inch' is more colorful. IMHO, of course.You could leave out 'just' if you want.
imsak wrote:
- It nearly escaped me that I have once seen her before.
At the very least, move the 'once' two words right. "It nearly escaped me that I have seen her once before."

If only native speakers could express themselves as well.
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 02:27 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

It is perfectly true that WITHIN SECONDS ago,
the first dinosaur was hatched; (however many billion seconds).
Your sentence shows sloppy thinking.


I do not agree that my sentence shows "sloppy thinking". We can, without specifying exact intervals or vague ones e.g. "a few", use phrases incorporating units of time to indicate scale - within seconds, within minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years etc. I would feel differently about a train that left within seconds of my arrival at the station, than about one that left within hours, just as I would feel differently about a piece of falling masonry that missed me by inches (or centimetres) than about one that missed me by yards or metres.



OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 04:34 pm
@contrex,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

It is perfectly true that WITHIN SECONDS ago,
the first dinosaur was hatched; (however many billion seconds).
Your sentence shows sloppy thinking.
contrex wrote:
I do not agree that my sentence shows "sloppy thinking". We can, without specifying exact intervals or vague ones e.g. "a few", use phrases incorporating units of time to indicate scale - within seconds, within minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years etc. I would feel differently about a train that left within seconds of my arrival at the station, than about one that left within hours, just as I would feel differently about a piece of falling masonry that missed me by inches (or centimetres) than about one that missed me by yards or metres.
In my opinion, it makes us look relatively bad,
un-necessarily so, if we elect to be so inexact in our expression.
Our chosen words are flags that represent us; by our words and deeds we are known.

I remember times when I had to make choices from people,
times when I was awarding a limited number of university
scholarships to numerous applicants and also other times
when I had to hire for a relatively small number of available jobs
in my lawfirm, professional or support staff, again to numerous
applicants. Sometimes it was heartbreaking to decide between
equal ties between good, appealing applicants.
Their syntax was sometimes the final criterion
as an indication of quality in their thought processes.
I did not have infinite jobs nor scholarships to grant.





David
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 05:16 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:
I was awarding a limited number of university
scholarships [...] I had to hire for a relatively small number of available jobs in my lawfirm


A crazy ******* idiot like you had such responsibilities? I think this is a fantasy, unless some kind of organic illness has since ruined your brain.

imsak
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 07:31 pm
Thanks to every one, each answer of you all are useful to me.

That I used the phrase 'within an inch of' being that I once came across the phrase 'come within an inch of losing my life' somewhere, so i tried applying this form to my sentence but i'm not sure if it can be applied. And now I got it that to replace 'an inch' with 'second' seems better.

And for the other sentence, i'm not quite sure over the meaning of 'it nearly escapes me', does it give the same meaning of 'i almost forget it' or 'it almost slip my mind' or 'i hardly remember'?
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 07:53 pm
Omoshiroii.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 09:36 pm
@imsak,
If you are a new learner and you are doing this on your own, Imsak, I would say that you are doing a fine job of communicating your ideas.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 09:41 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
Om: It is perfectly true that WITHIN SECONDS ago,
the first dinosaur was hatched; (however many billion seconds).
Your sentence shows sloppy thinking.

-------------

Now that is really hilarious!
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 09:44 pm
@neologist,
Neo: At the very least, move the 'once' two words right. "It nearly escaped me that I have seen her once before."

////////////

That's a choice, Neo, not a requirement.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 10:40 pm
@contrex,
OmSigDAVID wrote:
I was awarding a limited number of university
scholarships [...] I had to hire for a relatively small number of available jobs in my lawfirm
contrex wrote:
A crazy ******* idiot like you had such responsibilities? I think this is a fantasy,
unless some kind of organic illness has since ruined your brain.
Maybe u wish to prove how rude and un-pleasant u can be.
In your posting, u have a history of being exceptionally abrasive.

An exception to that was a very recent post of yours
wherein u were entirely polite; u sounded (however fleetingly) like a gentleman.
The English r supposed to be dignified.





David
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Feb, 2014 11:07 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
The truth hurts, Om. Contrex was spot on in his assessment of you. Actually he was overly generous.
0 Replies
 
imsak
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Feb, 2014 12:36 am
@JTT,
Thanks to your commend, JIT.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Feb, 2014 12:49 am
@imsak,
WELCOME to the forum.

imsak wrote:
It nearly escaped me that I have once seen her before.
That 's OK.
Its essentially the same as saying:
"I almost forgot that I had seen her before."





David
 

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