English as a Second Language/give..


Hope you are fine!
Which one is correct?

"One of the most important effects of positive thinking is..... us motivation and energy to do things."

a) to give

b) giving

Thank you
Please explain your reasons

ANSWER: Hello, Hamed,

Either one is fine. I think "to give" is a little clearer, but both an infinitive (to give) and a gerund (giving) can be used as a noun. Personally, I would probably use a phrase: "that it gives us..." or bettter still "the fact that it gives us..."

Some things have to do with personal choice, and this is probably one of them. Learn to listen to the flow of the language--how it SOUNDS, and how the words flow in rhythm. At your level of English, you are going to find more and more that things don't fit neatly within grammatical rules, and that you will develop a more extensive, more personal style in your use of the language. One of the joys of English is the great wealth of synonyms, none of which are exactly alike, but can have tiny differences that allow one the express very precisely what one wants to say. In answer to your question, I would say, "Use the one that pleases you."

I hope you will find this helpful.

Prof. Evona York

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thank you so much for your reply. Would you please tell me why the use of a "that-clause" a better than using my options?
Thank you

Hello, Hamed,

As I mentioned, it's a matter of personal choice. To me, it seems just a little easier to understand, and the sound is a little nicer. You are not a beginner any more, so there are other elements to consider--not just grammatical rules. You must consider the beauty, the music of the language now, not just the grammatical skeleton. You know this in your own language, but it is hard to hear in a new language. For instance, it took me many years to be able to discern such things in Spanish, the language of the country where I live. Everything sounded the same, like a machine gun: Ra-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta...and everything sounded insipid, with no difference in texture. Now I can hear the different textures and the gamut of emotional charge that words possess.

It is important to be sure that your reader/listener will be able to distinguish perfectly, exactly what it is that you want to say. George Orwell was one of the greatest writers of prose in the English language. Here are his six rules of good writing:

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Now back to your original question, and my thought process in choosing a "that" clause. More than anything else, it has to do with collocation. You can read about that at https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/collocations.htm. Oxford University's dictionary of collocations is at http://oxforddictionary.so8848.com/.

After reading about collocation, I hope you will understand when I say that your options simply did not feel comfortable to me. The "that" clause was more comfortable because it sounds more the way native speakers ordinarily speak. However, you will notice that Orwell advises us to use fresh metaphors and similes in our writing. One seeks balance and equilibrium...

I don't know if all this makes any sense at all to you. Again, you are not a beginner, so we are exploring areas you will not find in most textbooks. Please consider this as a salute to your fine mind.

All the best!
Prof. Evona York  

English as a Second Language

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Prof. Evona York, UABC


I can help with almost anything having to do with English as a Second Language, including grammar and syntax, the basic skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking), etc. I am happy to help with proofreading and advice, but will not do homework for people. I CAN HELP WITH SHORT QUESTIONS, but because I am swamped with translations at the moment, I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR LONG ONES. I'd like to help you make your English even better. The goal of a good teacher is to teach the student TO LEARN HOW TO LEARN. So if you want to know what a word means, first look it up at Merriam Webster’s Learners Dictionary at http://www.learnersdictionary.com/pronex/pronex.htm. This is a wonderful site, especially for people who are learning English as a Foreign Language. After you have done that, if you still don't understand the meaning, write to me and tell me what the dictionary said, and what you think it means. I will be glad to help you after you have tried for yourself to find out the meaning. This process will help you grow in your already-excellent English. All the best, Prof. Evona York


I taught for a number of years at the Autonomous University of Baja California, am now retired from teaching, but working fulltime as a translator, and MOU Academic Liaison (academic exchange). Many years as translator for "Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa" redie.ens.uabc.mx. Online magazine of the Institute for Educational Research. Present: Translator and MOU Academic Liaison: UABC Department of International Alliance and Academic Exchange. Many yeart tutoring and private classes English a foreign/second language. Designer and teacher of interlinguistic EFS/ESL language; presenter of Experimental EFL Method, FEULE. Estensive experience in song translation English, Spanish, many other languages.

"Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa" redie.ens.uabc.mx Many articles online. Many examples of my work, both as a researcher and a translator, are online. Translator: English version, biography of Frida Kahlo sold at The Blue House museum, Mexico City. Translator: “Glutatión, la clave para tu salud” by Jimmy Gutman MD, kudo.ca communications, Canada. 2014

Graduate of the School of Languages, Autonomous University of Baja California. Holder of Cambridge University's Certificate for Overseas Teachers of English.

Past/Present Clients
Translator for "Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa" redie.ens.uabc.mx.Online magazine of the Institute for Educational Research. Present clients: Translator and MOU Academic Liaison: UABC Department of International Alliance and Academic Exchange. Translator: English version, biography of Frida Kahlo sold at The Blue House museum, Mexico City. Translator: “Glutatión, la clave para tu salud” by Jimmy Gutman MD, kudo.ca communications, Canada. 2014

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