English as a Second Language/word choice

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Question
1.If a dinner party is taking place in the courtyard of a house, should I say the party is taking place in or at a house?


2.
M: What festivals do you have in February in Taiwan?
W: We have 228 Memorial Day in February, but sometimes Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival take place in this month, too.  Also, some people here celebrate Valentine’s Day, which is in February .


I wonder if Valentine’s Day should be included in the answer since it is a western holiday. Also, is Valentine’s Day a festival in the west?


3.
When I feel sad, I lock myself in the bedroom and cry hard. After I feel a bit better, I will listen to my favorite music to soothe myself. The music will put me in a good mood. Sooner or later, I will feel relieved and reenergized and the thing that depresses me will go away.

In the context, what can be taken in place of “soothe myself” and “sooner or later”?


4 . There ____a bottle of wine and glasses on the table.
  There ____a bottle of wine with glasses on the table.

Should I use “is” or “are” for each of sentences?


5.
I prefer to get around the city by scooter because it saves time and money. Compared to riding a scooter, waiting for and taking a bus usually take a much longer time. After I get off the bus, I often have to walk a short distance to my destination.

(1.)   In the second sentence, should I use “take” or “takes”?


In addition, the city is full of narrow streets, making driving a car much more difficult than riding a scooter, not to mention the difficulty in finding a parking space and the high charges for parking. Therefore, I neither drive nor take mass transportation. I ride my scooter to get around the city.

(2.)   In the first sentence, may I say also, “…riding a scooter, not to mention that it is hard finding parking spaces and they are expensive”?


6.
I was considering immigrating when I finished graduate school in the U.S. After graduation, I was offered an opportunity of practical training. I was thinking about getting a good job at a big company during the training, so I would have a chance to obtain a green card with the help of my company and lawyer.

(1.)   In the second sentence, should I say, “I was offered an opportunity to receive practical training”?


However, nothing came out as I had planned. I did find a job, but my company was not willing to help me with the application. Besides, I lived on a tight on budget and missed my family so much. So, I had to give up and returned to my home country.

(2.)   In the first sentence, may I leave out “I had” and say “nothing happened as planned”?


7. A lot of people enjoy traveling to Japan because the country has a lot to offer to tourists. Japan has a long history, so if you are interested in its culture, you may visit some temples and shrines. If you want to have a relaxing vacation, you can visit a hot spring to enjoy the scenery there. Many tourists love to eat traditional Japanese cuisine after a hot spring bath. Sushi, ramen and miso soup are among those popular foods.

(1.) In the second to the last sentence , may I replace “after a hot spring bath” with “after bathing in hot spring”?

(2.) In the last sentence, what can be taken in place of “popular foods”?  “Popular items”?

Answer
1.If a dinner party is taking place in the courtyard of a house, should I say the party is taking place in or at a house?

Regardless of where the party is taking place indoors/outdoors the right was to say it is "there will be a party at my house" or something along those lines


2.
M: What festivals do you have in February in Taiwan?
W: We have 228 Memorial Day in February, but sometimes Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival take place in this month, too.  Also, some people here celebrate Valentine’s Day, which is in February .

I wonder if Valentine’s Day should be included in the answer since it is a western holiday. Also, is Valentine’s Day a festival in the west?

V Day is not a festival and not a Taiwanese traditional holliday so I wouldn't include it


3.
When I feel sad, I lock myself in the bedroom and cry hard. After I feel a bit better, I will listen to my favorite music to soothe myself. The music will put me in a good mood. Sooner or later, I will feel relieved and reenergized and the thing that depresses me will go away.

In the context, what can be taken in place of “soothe myself” calm down
and “sooner or later”? eventually


4 . There ____a bottle of wine and glasses on the table.
 There ____a bottle of wine with glasses on the table.

Should I use “is” or “are” for each of sentences?


This is a disputed subject and you won't find much agreement on this even from the experts.

According to dictionary.com:
The verb following there is singular or plural according to the number of the subject that follows the verb: There is a message for you. There are patients in the waiting room.With compound subjects in which all the coordinate words are singular, a singular verb often occurs, although the plural may also be used: There was(or were) a horse and a cow in the pasture. When a compound subject contains both singular and plural words, the verb usually agrees with the subject closest to the verb, although a plural verb sometimes occurs regardless, especially if the compound has more than two elements: There were staff meetings and a press conference daily. There was(or were) a glass, two plates, two cups, and a teapot on the shelf.

Personally, I'd rewrite the sentences above to avoid the confusion

5.
I prefer to get around the city by scooter because it saves time and money. Compared to riding a scooter, waiting for and taking a bus usually take a much longer time. After I get off the bus, I often have to walk a short distance to my destination.

(1.)   In the second sentence, should I use “take” or “takes”? See # 4 :)

I'd rewrite the sentence to avoid confusion.


In addition, the city is full of narrow streets, making driving a car much more difficult than riding a scooter, not to mention the difficulty in finding a parking space and the high charges for parking. Therefore, I neither drive nor take mass transportation. I ride my scooter to get around the city.

(2.)   In the first sentence, may I say also, “…riding a scooter, not to mention that it is hard finding parking spaces and they are expensive”? you may but the original sounds better. I'd also split the sentence in two. In addition.... scooter. Not to mention.... parking.


6.
I was considering immigrating when I finished graduate school in the U.S. After graduation, I was offered an opportunity of practical training. I was thinking about getting a good job at a big company during the training, so I would have a chance to obtain a green card with the help of my company and lawyer.

(1.)   In the second sentence, should I say, “I was offered an opportunity to receive practical training”? yes but it sounds odd either way. I think the whole paragraph above should be rewritten.
If you were already in the US when graduating, then you can't talk about immigrating since you were already an immigrant... unless you thought about immigrating to a country other than the US.


However, nothing came out as I had planned. I did find a job, but my company was not willing to help me with the application. Besides, I lived on a tight on budget and missed my family so much. So, I had to give up and returned to my home country.

(2.)   In the first sentence, may I leave out “I had” and say “nothing happened as planned”? yes


7. A lot of people enjoy traveling to Japan because the country has a lot to offer to tourists. Japan has a long history, so if you are interested in its culture, you may visit some temples and shrines. If you want to have a relaxing vacation, you can visit a hot spring to enjoy the scenery there. Many tourists love to eat traditional Japanese cuisine after a hot spring bath. Sushi, ramen and miso soup are among those popular foods.

(1.) In the second to the last sentence , may I replace “after a hot spring bath” with “after bathing in hot spring”? you oculd but I'd stick to the original

(2.) In the last sentence, what can be taken in place of “popular foods”?  “Popular items”? they're foods and I wouldn't call them items, you can say that those are part of the traditional cuisine if you want to change the sentence but to me, it sounds fine as is.  

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Amy Baker

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