What is my motive?
It seems fair to write about my motive after I questioned the motives of yours in answering English questions at Yahoo Knowledge. So, what is my motive to answer questions and provide comments at Yahoo Knowledge?
To some of you, you may think of me as a snob, a self-conceited person, and someone who thought that she knows it all. In reality, I know only a small part of the English language, far from being credited to claim that I know it all and I made mistakes all the time. However, I do believe that I have a much better grasp of the English language than the majority of the Taiwanese people, even the ones thought to be the English experts in Taiwan. Why?
I have started learning English abroad since I was eleven with English as my first language. I have learned and used it for over 32 years. I rely on English to communicate at work and at school and to get things done. I cannot say that I have mastered the language. However, learning English as a first language allows me to easily spot common errors that people learning English as a second language would commit. My experience interacting with the ESL students in American also helps me to understand the problems that people from non-English speaking countries would face when learning English.
Last March, I accidentally stumbled upon Yahoo Knowledge. Shock by the amount of incorrect answers provided by most English language experts, I decided to answer questions and provided comments, hoping to steer people to the right direction to get the right English concept. I do not provide comments to show off, or to criticize your English ability. I do it in the hope that more and more people will learn the right English usage and write better English, as I do with people in the US learning ESL. I know that my corrections to your English may be a bitter pill to swallow since you may have always been deemed as the best in your class, in your company or in your community. It may be hard for you to accept the fact that you may be worse than you think in mastering the English language. I want to say that I am not picking on you. I want you to know that it is not your problem but the problem of the entire English teaching and learning system in Taiwan. Very few people in Taiwan can escape the fate of committing language interference errors. You should not feel bad about yourself because this is a common phenomenon in Taiwan or any non-English speaking country in the world. You should keep an appreciative mind-set and consider yourself lucky because you are getting advice and English lessons for free. That is rare in this highly capitalized society.
Language interference errors are chiefly due to differences between the two languages, structurally and phonologically and occurred due to the Taiwanese lacking sufficient knowledge of English grammar rules and word usage and reverting to using the rules of Chinese to express something in English.
Some suggestions to you:
1. Use an English-English dictionary and forgo the Chinese-English dictionary, which may inaccurately translate the meaning of the words and their usage.
2. Study English grammar. Learn how to accurately apply your learning in writing.
3. Read more articles written by the Americans or the British. Try to understand why they were written that way. Understand American/British culture. For example: It is better to use the active voice, than the passive voice. For example: ignorance of the agreement between the verb and subject and the misuse of a comma instead of a period at the end of a sentence.
Anyway, I thought that you should know. Just to be fair.