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 have received many wonderful messages from our audiences around the world. Thanks everyone for the great exchange.

In today’s report, we examine one of those clues. Language teacher Orhan wrote to us from Iran, where he teaches Turkish.

Orhan described an important day and book in his life.

Orhan’s Embassy

He wrote:

I am Orhan from Iran.

When I was 20 years old I visited my father’s family in Tabriz where I saw mine cousin read a book in Turkish.

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

That updated The sentence could be something like this:

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

Orhan’s next line gives more details about why he was interested in the Turkish book:

In spite of Since there are millions of Turkish speakers in Iran, our native language, Turkish, is not formally and there are no schools that teach in Turkish, so I haven’t seen any Turkish book until this day.

We suggest breaking the sentence into shorter separate sentences and then rearranging the ideas. Let’s put the sentence “I had never seen a Turkish book until that day” in the first place. It follows well from the sentence before it: “… and saw my cousin reading a book in Turkish.”

There are a few grammatical changes we may make as well. Example: “…there are no schools…” should read “there are no schools…”.

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

The updated sentences could read like this:

Before that day I had never seen a Turkish book.

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 this Turkish book.

The sentence could be simplified as follows:

My cousin gave me this Turkish book.

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

i learned grammar Turkish by reading this book and getting interested in Turkish literature, so I went to Turkey to study Turkish literature.

We suggest using “Turkish grammar” instead of “Turkish grammar”. The updated sentences could read like this:

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

Orhan ends his piece with:

This thin book is my favorite book and has changed my whole life.

The closing words – “changed my whole life” – are the most important. They could stand as a separate sentence, as in:

This thin book is my favorite book. It changed my whole life.

Final Thoughts

Here is Orhan’s message with our suggested changes:

I am Orhan from Iran.

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

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

This thin book is my favorite book. It 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 a writing consultation, 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 message will be selected for our next exploration of writing everyday grammar.

I’m John Russell.

John Russell wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.

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words in this story

To update – v. to change (something) by incorporating the latest information

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

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

In spite of – Preparation despite

formally – adj. according to established form, custom or rule

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