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English Exam 2

Seems like I've been learning a lot about the English language these couple of days. Thanks folks.

I got up at 6:20 this morning -- I'm an amazingly early bird for a juku teacher. I've had coffee, so I'm all ready to write now, well, maybe. ;)

Now, I have to reveal the "correct" answer for the question. ...Um, folks, are you ready for this? The answer shown in the textbook was:

You (shall)(have) this book as a birthday present.

......well, are you all right? This is no bullshit. No time warp. And the test-maker won't accept other answers. That's what so-called Japan's "(Entrance) Exam English" is about.

From my experience of English learning, I can say I'm a firm believer of the importance of grammar in learning a foreign language. But it should not be like "grammar for grammar's sake."

Incidentally, my students answered, "You (will)(get) this this book as a birthday present." I told them that it sounds way better than the "correct" answer. Am I correct?

Comments

As a Canadian, I'd have to say that "will get" does sound a lot better. The use of the word "shall" is very sparse. It's definately a word that I don't hear very often.

I'm sure I'd fail the test if I ever had to take it. "Will get" really does sound better. Almost anything sounds better...maybe even "should eat."

I agree that "will get" sounds better than "shall have". Who almost ever uses "shall", at least in America? Maybe only in argument, as with, "Shall not." "Shall so." "Shall not!" "Shall so!"

But something more subtle bothers me. "Will get" sounds abrupt and clunky, graceless. I think that much of English is the way it is because of its gracefulness on the tongue. "Get" is one of our least graceful words. If it were up to me, I'd have said "will receive".

MNW

Absolutely. Your answer is the best--"will get" sounds much more natural than "shall have". "Shall" is used almost exclusively these days in legal documents (contracts, laws, court rulings). But both answers are much better than mine; I've failed English miserably!

My problem with the "correct" sentence is the "have" more than the "shall" (admittedly, all of it is awkward, not to mention highly irrelevant--how many times in a lifetime would someone say this sentence?)

But "have" just sounds weird, with respect to gift-giving. I can see "have" being used when handing out things to people, like a mom handing out candy, "you shall have this one, you shall have this one" etc. in kind of an affected voice. But "you shall have this book as a birthday present"? Weird. I'm with MNW, I don't like "get" in its place either, I prefer receive. And definitely "will" rather than "shall".

I would have said "You (will) (receive)..."

When you "give" a gift, someone has to be their to "receive" it...

I usually say "I'm going to get something" when I'm going to acquire it of my own will and power. If someone is giving it to me, they've done the getting already, and I will simply receive what they got.

Yeah, the feel of "get" and "receive". I'll pass it on to the students. Thanks.

I think "will receive" is definitely the best choice I've heard. Simple, direct, polite but confident tone. Yeah.

MNW