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English Lesson -- 009: How To Write In English
by Mr. Jim Broadbent (Canada)
Hi, friends, as an English fan, I am so lucky that I have got a lot of help from many native English speaker friends. After reading the wonderful comments and patient explanation by Mr. Jim Broadbent, I do think that is very helpful to me to improve my English. So, I publish it on the web site and hope it can help the other friends who need help as me. :-)   

If you have any questions, comments and suggestions, please write to shirley@ebridge.cn , or shirleyz004@yahoo.com, You are welcomed.

Written On Sat, Nov 26, 2005
Edited and Recorded On Thur, Dec 1, 2005

Hi Shirley;

I read your story and I like the thoughts that you are expressing. However, you need to work on this piece of writing to make it a better story.

All writing requires several drafts to arrive at a final piece of work. This is a natural process in writing. I have only written a few stories but I can tell you that when I write poetry I often revise my poem four or five times until it sounds correct to me.

I have attached your story with comments. I have not addressed every grammatical error. You should find these in your rewrite of the story. I have made a number of comments and highlighted areas that I think need improvement. You should revisit the other areas as well to see where you can improve your composition.

She is one of the most common Chinese women.1 Her swarthy skin, simple hair style and rough hands shows that she is from countryside. A three or four years old little girl in an old dress and several baby cats in her little grocer2, show that she is a mother who is not rich, but a kind and soft mother3.

I do not know where she is from, I also do not know what is her name, even, I can not remember when she became the little grocer's little boss, but I just be used of there is a little shop there and I can run out to buy a box of salt or a bottle of sauce when I am cooking in a half.56 And7 even though in the middle night, after a long long8 business day in the office, I can buy a box of ice cream, a piece of chocolate or something else that I need 9.

                                                                                         Since I started my art, music and English learning, I have been driving home in the noon10 to work on them in my lunch time. So, I always park my car by her little store and buy some simple food.

Last Friday, I rushed out of my car and asked her to give me 2 box of quick noodle11as usual. She first time12 called me "Big Sister" and she said to me that "you'd better not eat this kind of food so often. It is not good for your health. You'd better to cook some general noodle with two eggs and one tomato. It is very simple, needs not much time, but it is healthy more13." Meanwhile, she chose one box of traditionalnoodle11 to me14.

I accepted her suggestion and this box of noodle11. This noon, when I was cooking my noodle11 in my kitchen, when I realized that this box of noodle11 is cheaper much more15 than two boxes of quick noodle11,16, when I thought of that her little daughter who is in a very old dress and thought of that she is living relay on her little business, I suddenly felt there were something touching my heart, made me feel warm and also made me want to write something for the common Chinese woman, even though she do not understand my English and also she will not know the warm that she has brought to me forever...17

Yes, this is a world that is full of the breath of money18, but, there is still something in this world can not be bought with money.They19 are just friendship, sincereness20 and affection... Right? 21

1.You cannot be ¡°one of the most¡±. You are either ¡°the most common woman¡± or ¡°one of   the common women¡±. I like this statement as the start of your story but I would just say ¡°She is just a common Chinese woman.¡±

2. ¡°Grocer¡± is a person who runs a small shop selling fruits, vegetables and household items. I think you mean ¡°Grocery¡± which is the shop itself.
3. Try not to use the same word twice in a sentence or phrase.
4. The first two paragraphs and the third and fourth paragraph should be combined together to make 2 paragraphs. In the first two paragraphs you are describing the woman and where she works. In the third and fourth paragraphs you are describing an incident between you and this woman.
5. This sentence is much too long. You should break it up into at least two sentences.
6. ¡°when I am cooking in a half¡± -   I think I understand what you mean here but you are not saying it correctly. I think that you mean that you can get extra items such as sauces from this store when you suddenly discover that you need them. Perhaps you are half way through cooking a meal and discover you are missing an ingredient.
7. Don¡¯t begin a sentence with the word ¡°and¡±.
8. Instead of ¡°long long¡± you should use ¡°very long¡± or better yet describe this kind of day as ¡°exhausting¡±. It is the kind of day that you want to be a little naughty and indulge in a glass of wine, box of chocolate and end the day listening to soft music. 
9. This is the second time that you list items that you can purchase from the store. This time however they are different items. They are ¡°comfort¡± foods, not cooking staples. Ending your sentence this way is very weak
10. You drive home ¡°at noon¡±¡­.not ¡°in the noon¡±.   Noon normally does not take an article.
11. Watch your plurals! There are two BOXES and each box has more than one noodle.
12. You should write this as, ¡°This is the first time that she called me ¡°Big Sister¡±.
13. ¡°more healthy¡±
14. She chose the box ¡°for me¡±¡­.she would give the box ¡°to me¡±
15. ¡°much cheaper¡±   the use of ¡°more¡± is not needed.
16. You have used the word ¡°noodles¡± four times in two sentences¡­.try to reword this so that you do not repeat the same word over and over again.
17. This is one complete sentence!!!!   This should be broken up into AT LEAST four sentences.
18. This has no meaning in English. Money is not alive so it cannot breathe. I think I understand what you want to say. I think you want to comment on how important money SEEMS to be to most people.
19. ¡°They¡± in this sentence refers back to ¡°something¡± in the last sentence. However, ¡°they¡± is plural and ¡°something¡± is singular. ¡°Somethings¡± is not proper English. ¡°Some things¡± could be used but this is a weak , try to think of another way to say this.
20. ¡°Sincerity¡± is the that should be used here¡­.¡±sincereness¡± is not an English word.
21. A much better ending would be ¡°Don¡¯t you agree?¡±

I would be happy to comment on your revised version.

I like the theme of your story.