English as a Second Language/word choice

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Question
1.
W: James, are you going to take part in the science exhibition?
M: Well, I’m still considering it.

In the conversation, may I respond, “No, I can’t afford it.” or “No, I can’t afford to go.”? If not, why?

2.
W:________________________________________?
M: Go and fetch yourself.

What could be W’s statement or question?  “Can I have one of the apples in the kitchen?”or “Can I borrow your hammer?”


3.
M: I’d like to change this to a red one.
W: I’m afraid the red ones are all sold out.


What is the conversation about? “Returning an item for an exchange”? If so, can he say also, “I’d like to exchange this for a red one”?

4. Please line up while waiting.

Does it mean the same if I say, “Please queue up while waiting” or “Don’t cut in line while waiting”?


5. The drawing behind the woman is the most valuable of them all.

Is “drawing” a collective noun, so “them”is used? Or should I change “drawing” to “paintings” to match the plural “them”?


6. Food and travel make up half of the family’s expenses each month.

Does it mean the same if I replace “make up” with “ comprise” or “account for”?


7. Let’s break these books into four sets.
  Let’s break the workout into three sets.

What can be taken in place of “sets” in each of the sentences?


8. My computer is really crappy. It slows down when I download new software.


Does it mean the same if I say, “My computer really sucks.”?


9.
M: ____________________________.
W: Sure. I’ve got a fat chance of winning.

What could be M’s question or statement?   “Are you sure you don’t want to play the lottery?”  ”Are you sure you want to go out with your friends rather than study for your finals?”?


10.

W: Good morning. Mr. Smith.
M: Good morning, Chief.
W: Nice tie. A gift from Mrs. Smith?
M: Yes, it will be our 15th anniversary this coming Sunday.
W: My best wishes to you both!

In the conversation, what can be taken in place of “Chief”?

Answer
1.
W: James, are you going to take part in the science exhibition?
M: Well, I’m still considering it.

In the conversation, may I respond, “No, I can’t afford it.” or “No, I can’t afford to go.”? If not, why? Yes you can

2.
W:________________________________________?
M: Go and fetch yourself.

What could be W’s statement or question?  “Can I have one of the apples in the kitchen?”or “Can I borrow your hammer?” Either one. Only the answer should be "go fetch it yourself"


3.
M: I’d like to change this to a red one.
W: I’m afraid the red ones are all sold out.


What is the conversation about? “Returning an item for an exchange”? It could be about exchanging an item purchased previously, or it could be about buying a new item.

If so, can he say also, “I’d like to exchange this for a red one”?  yes

4. Please line up while waiting.

Does it mean the same if I say, “Please queue up while waiting” - this would be a British expression, but yes, it's correct

“Don’t cut in line while waiting”? No, cutting in line means entering a line at any position other than the end.


5. The drawing behind the woman is the most valuable of them all.

Is “drawing” a collective noun, so “them”is used? No, "them" means that there are many other drawings the person has in mind.. perhaps the drawings are in a collection, or a museum, or were all done by the same artist.

A different version of the sentence above could be: The drawing behind the woman is the most valuable of all the drawings in this collection.

Or should I change “drawing” to “paintings” to match the plural “them”? No, this wouldn't be correct. Drawing and painting are different techniques, plus there is no need to use the plural above.


6. Food and travel make up half of the family’s expenses each month.

Does it mean the same if I replace “make up” with “ comprise” or “account for”? yes


7. Let’s break these books into four sets.
 Let’s break the workout into three sets.

What can be taken in place of “sets” in each of the sentences? groups in the first, and sessions in the second


8. My computer is really crappy. It slows down when I download new software.


Does it mean the same if I say, “My computer really sucks.”? yes


9.
M: ____________________________.
W: Sure. I’ve got a fat chance of winning.

What could be M’s question or statement?   “Are you sure you don’t want to play the lottery?”  yes
”Are you sure you want to go out with your friends rather than study for your finals?”? ... this wouldn't make sense above.


10.

W: Good morning. Mr. Smith.
M: Good morning, Chief.
W: Nice tie. A gift from Mrs. Smith?
M: Yes, it will be our 15th anniversary this coming Sunday.
W: My best wishes to you both!

In the conversation, what can be taken in place of “Chief”?

Depending on what Chief really means here. If it's a military term, or the term used to designate the head of an organization, or the ruler of a clan/tribe then you shouldn't change it. If it's used euphemistically then "Boss" would be an appropriate synonym.  

English as a Second Language

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