Describe your favorite book

In a recent Everyday Grammar story, we asked our listeners and online fans to tell us about their favorite books. We received many wonderful messages from our audiences around the world. Thanks everyone for the great exchange.

In today’s report, we’ll take a closer look at one of these notes. Language teacher Orhan wrote to us from Iran, where he teaches Turkish.

Orhan described an important day and an important book in his life.

Orhan’s message

He wrote:

I am Orhan from Iran.

When I was 20 years old, I was visiting my father’s family in Tabriz, where I cousin was reading a book in Turkish.

We suggest removing “that” and splitting the sentence into two shorter statements. The sentence can also use the simple past – “visited” instead of “was visiting”.

The updated sentence could be something like:

When I was 20 years old, I visited my father’s family in Tabriz and saw my cousin reading a book in Turkish.

Orhan’s next line gives more details about why the Turkish book interested him:

Despite because we are millions of Turkish speaking people in Iran, our native language, Turkish, is not formal and there are no schools that teach in Turkish, so I didn’t see any Turkish book until that day.

We recommend breaking the sentence into shorter individual sentences and then rearranging the ideas. Let’s start with the sentence “I had never seen a Turkish book before that day”. It follows well from the sentence just before, “…and saw my cousin read a book in Turkish.”

There are also a few grammatical changes we can make. For example, “…there are no schools…” should be “there are no schools…”

We also recommend replacing “despite” with “although”.

The updated sentences can go like this:

I had never seen a Turkish book before that day.

Although there are millions of Turkish speakers in Iran, Turkish is not an official language. There are no schools that teach in Turkish.

Orhan then wrote:

At my request, my cousin gave me that Turkish book.

The sentence can be simplified to the following:

My cousin gave me that Turkish book.

Then Orhan explained the effect the book had on his life.

I learned Grammar from Turkish by reading that book and interested in Turkish literature so I went to Turkey to study Turkish literature.

We recommend using “Turkish Grammar” instead of “Turkish Grammar”. The updated sentences can go like this:

I learned Turkish grammar by reading that book. I became interested in Turkish literature, so I went to Turkey to study the subject.

Orhan ends his piece with:

That thin little book is my favorite book and it changed my whole life.

The last words – “changed my whole life” – are the most important. They could stand as their own sentence, as in:

That thin little book is my favorite book. It has changed my whole life.

Closing Thoughts

Here’s Orhan’s post with our proposed changes:

I am Orhan from Iran.

When I was 20 years old, I visited my father’s family in Tabriz and saw my cousin reading a book in Turkish. I had never seen a Turkish book before that day.

Although there are millions of Turkish speakers in Iran, Turkish is not an official language. There are no schools that teach in Turkish.

My cousin gave me that Turkish book. I learned Turkish grammar by reading it. I became interested in Turkish literature, so I went to Turkey to study the subject.

That thin little book is my favorite book. It has changed my whole life.

We thank Orhan for his message and wish him continued success in his teaching and English studies.

If you would like to receive writing advice, write us a short message of 4-6 sentences. Talk about your favorite movie – when you saw it, what it means to you. Perhaps your post will be chosen for our next writing exploration on Daily Grammar

I’m John Russell.

John Russell wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.

Words in this story

update – v. change (something) by including the most recent information

Grammar – n. the whole system and structure of a language

cousin – n. a child of someone’s uncle or aunt

despite – preparation. despite

formal – adj. according to an established form, custom or rule

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