The Outline of
The Anatomy of English Sentences  

~~ 庖 丁 英 語 ~~

Clever Cheung
張守愚 ~ June 1st 1997

The gradual fall of the standard of English in Hong Kong can be imputed to (歸咎於) Education Bureau and the Curriculum Group because they are not aware that the present training in English, (i.e. the curriculum and the way to teach at primary and secondary school) is almost 'fruitless'. For the future of our children and society, it must be reviewed in every aspect and changed accordingly, or to be complete, if possible, try to think about supplanting the whole system with another effective one.
----In a music history lecture, the professor told us that the piano students of conservatories (音樂學院) for instance, 'The Paris Conservatory', would overcome all technical problems in playing the whole repertoire (曲目) from the 16th century, the Baroque Period (巴洛克時期), to the 20th century after ten-year serious practice. Nowadays learning English in Hong Kong, which has long since been changed into an international city by the hardworking Chinese, should be much more easier than accomplishing the piano techniques. But why does the learning appear to be so difficult? We shall try to find out the reasons for it and then sort them out. Avoiding mentioning the mistakes students often make on Tense, Mood, Agreement, etc., let us look at those complicated instances we frequently come across. A Form V grammar school girl wrote:-

--------------‘I think go out shopping with boys can make good friends with them is wonderful.’

This is somewhat a compressed, run-on, and element-wanting sentence as the product of a verbatim translation of our mother tongue. The girl's logic and message can only be got by Chinese, or more precisely, the Cantonese. It is beyond reproach (無可厚非的) for Chinese to write or speak so-called 'Chinglish', which may be a bit different from traditional English: Chinese + English = Chinglish, a fusion of the east and the west characterized by the 'style' turning out from the writer's preference of a particular syntax near his first language and the rare nature-backed (根源的) wording. Perhaps the use of verb tenses, specifically those pertaining to modal auxiliaries. For example, an immediate advantage taken conveniently (因利成便地) -- this article, of which the way of thinking may be easier to be followed by Chinese than that of those written by western minds. And instantaneously, a model that is comparable with this city comes to us: Singapore, a place where people are using what we usually call 'Singlish'; and there, of course, can be other cases.
----In using a second language, varying degrees of deviation from the norm coming about on every human being is practically unavoidable (in the meantime brushing the few cases aside), because people, in tribes (族群) rather than individually, observe logic differently as well as perceive things (看事物) in their own ways. Typically, there is always a unique accent (獨特的口音) originated from each dialect. We suppose nobody would disagree with this statement once they have had the chance to talk to, say, Philippine mates, Indians, Russians, etc. Here, to share with all readers his funny experience, the author would like to tell his story:-

- -----"Sir, I am going to the boun now." My Philippine mate Vicky said to me one morning.
- -----"To where?" I asked.
- -----"The boun," with the gesture of rubbing her fingers, "money, the boun keep money."
- -----"Oh----," I cried, "the bank!"
-- ----"Yes," Vicky was nodding her head, "the boun."

----"" Hiding myself in the room, I couldn't help give a deep rumble of laughter!

We've gone far; let's be back to the topic. The girl's phrasing of her idea above is so 'Chinglish' or 'Canton-Chinglish', or, for the sake of labor-saving, so 'Canglish' (廣東英語) that it is violating the grammatical rules in an inconceivable (難以想像的) way. It has far exceeded the hope of being understood unless the readers are Cantonese-speaking Chinese, or persons who know this vernacular (方言) well regardless of their inborn ability or acquiring the skill. They will most likely understand it relying on contextual sense rather than making it out through grammatical approach.
----Since the sentence is written by our Form V English grammar school student, we are afraid that there may be a prevalent phenomenon
(普遍現象) that Hong Kong students could have been learning nothing English (i.e. not structurally in jotting down sentences) at school, but just picking the literal (字面的) meanings of the words and bearing in mind to start a sentence with a capital letter and to put in a full stop at the end of it. We'd better be watchful whether there's any sign of such undesirable occurrence in Hong Kong, particularly in the secondary school, or our education system, the sector taking the largest expense of our government every year, may end up being disappointing! We are now going to perform a brief analysis on the sentence, of which the finding will show us the condition of Hong Kong's fundamental education in the most important subject, English.
-----It is nonsensical, according to the principle of syntax
(句法), to write a sentence that comprises so many verbs and verb-phrases in their finite form, such as 'think', 'go out' (it should be 'go'; the superfluous adverbial 'out' here must be the utterance of her Chinese-minded wording), 'can make', and the linking 'is', with only one pronoun in the nominative case (主格) and there are no other joining particles (e.g. relative pronouns or specific kinds of conjunction) at all. Looking at it from the stance of semantics (語意學), we will find that the constituents (要素構成的字線) (which we assume them to be, instead of words generally, the pseudo-abridged clauses -- 類似的簡約子句; collective labeling is just for easy reference) of the word sequence fail to form a comprehensible meaning in its linear whole (全句). Semantic ambiguities are everywhere: I think 'what'? 'Who' go shopping with boys? 'How' can make good friends with them and 'what' is wonderful? With this upshot, we can announce that it is not a meaningful sentence in the English consciousness. It is merely a succession of a few irrelevant portions, and is much far-away from clearly signifying any messages. People, especially the native speakers of English, reading it will certainly be puzzled by the portions of various sentences, getting disorienting indications (層雜迷亂的指示) in odd concatenations (古怪的連接) of several pseudo-abridged clauses, and may also wonder at such a peculiar way to set down an English sentence. Grammatically, each finite verb in the sentence is wanting its cooperating component, a subject. The semantic flow (語意的流動) after 'think' should be articulated in the form of an organic development that will work as an accusative progression (受格的進行) of the mental act 'think'; but the continuing line is just an apposition of three fragmentary units with nothing structurally related among them, which is something like a headless snake being prolonged by another different kind of headless one and then another different kind again, giving rise to greater and greater bewilderment and a stronger and stronger feeling of element-wanting in the ongoing. That may cause people to experience almost a void of comprehension in reading it -- this is the major difficult factor to understand the word ordering by westerners.
-----Apart from the above considerations, the difference between the thinking logic of the eastern and western society leading to their cultural divergences is also counted. Chinese usually consider the first action 'go out (going) shopping with boys' the primary, which has the function to forward the secondary one 'can make good friends with them', whereas westerners suppose that these two are separate happenings of equal status and don't have such logical dependence between them. If we do insist upon reckoning (計算) their relationship in the western attitude, the result may be the other way round: 'making good friends with boys', the principal action, can be achieved by means of playing games with them, doing projects or going shopping with them, etc., which are secondary actions to support the principal one, and that seems a bit more rational (合理) than the Chinese beliefs on this matter.
----If a western teacher is to correct the girl's writing, he or she will find several abnormal joining points which are marked with 'a, b, c, d ' in the progression:

- --------'I think '(a)' go out '(b)' shopping with boys '(c)' can make good friends with them '(d)' is wonderful'.

It is a fact that western people, including English minds all over the world, are not blessed mentally to have an innate capacity (天賦的能力) that will enable them to know the Chinese innocent concept (中國人固有的概念) upon the interrelationships between the parts at those points marked with bracketed bold italic alphabets in the above original writing, except at the point (c), where a slight feelings in the word sequence (字連字) shows a bit of grammatical feelings. Since there are surprising differences in the structure between the native sentence and the Canglish one, we cannot expect that foreigners are able to see the under-lying principles of 'total' Chinglish, or to be more precise, Canglish (廣東英語). Probably they may put the idea as follows -

-----------'I think it is wonderful to go shopping with boys, and we may become good friends then.'

When diagnosing that phrases are just being forced to join together, westerners most likely will simply put the complicated string (字絃) to get the above grammatically correct and a comprehensible sentence. At the same time, they will also clear the semantic ambiguities (語意含糊) of 'what' is wonderful.

The girl who was about to finish secondary education didn't know how to properly use the simple daily idiom 'I think it is/will or would be + Adjective + to-infinitive...', which is the right structure to carry her thought in English. If she were to express her idea in the way chosen, she should have noticed the verbs more beforehand; but evidently, she knew little about the inflections (詞性變化) of verbs and their usages, except for the gerund 'shopping', which is already a well-known-to-all term coming from everybody's daily activity 'to shop'.
The above example suggests the possibility that Hong Kong students, even having finished the present secondary fundamental education, can't express such a simple idea in English, or another saying, their language ability is too weak to make their minds known (辭不達意) at the basic level. This is the outcome of being not properly trained (i.e. not being taught well and encouraged to have a lot of self-experiencing -- reading, reciting, watching TV and seeing movies) on the groundwork in this language -- Sentence Construction, which is the main work in the second stage of our fundamental education. Positioning ourselves basing on the rules of grammar and syntax, we try to put the girl's words in various forms:

----1.‘I think going out shopping with boys can make good friends with them. That is very wonderful.’
----2.‘I think going out shopping with boys can make good friends with them. That must be wonderful.’
----3.‘I think going out shopping with boys can make good friends with them. It is wonderful.’
4.‘I think going out shopping with boys can make good friends with them. It will be wonderful.’
5.‘I think going out shopping with boys can make good friends with them, which would be wonderful.’

Nowadays Form V students being unable to express their ideas in English is very common here. The above first four versions of Chinglish, if written by lower Form students, are acceptable. By inflecting the finite verb 'go' to 'going', we get a gerundive clause which is contributing to the structure of the sentence in three aspects: (1) the so-called pseudo-abridged clause is adjusted to a genuine and independent abridged clause, which acts as the beginning of the accusative continuation of the main verb 'think'; (2) simultaneously, this noun clause satisfies the subject-wanting verb-phrase 'can make'; (3) with an extra full stop and the addition of 'that' or 'it' in the nominative case, the compressed and run-on feelings have been eliminated and the element-wanting thirst settled too, saving the girl's writing out of imperfections in grammar and syntax.
----'Will' at the end of the fourth version is used quite in the sense of a 'plain future' auxiliary rather than a 'modal' (情態) one, for it is unlikely that a Lower-Form student, here at the moment, has not got the learning to use this word as a 'modal auxiliary', though it is thus interpreted by us. The use of the comma and the relative pronoun 'which' makes the fifth version grammatically advanced. This is not likely to happen also because when a person who knows and can use the structure freely will not write such a sentence of non-English concept.

----6.‘I think going out shopping with boys to make good friends with them is wonderful.’

The above version, even if written by upper-Form students, is both grammatically and syntactically justifiable. The infinitive 'to make' (which may be explained as 'in order to make...') removes all logical problems of the relationship between the two actions. It shows that 'going shopping...' is one of the means that is chosen to achieve the goal: 'making good friends with the boys'.

----7.‘I think going shopping with boys and making good friends with them is wonderful.’

The seventh one is acceptable for the reason of the writer's taking up of the western conventional approach towards the status of the two actions and his awareness of the difference between Chinese and English -- the Chinese verbal (or oral) idiom (日常用語) 'go out shopping' (出去買東西) ('out' most likely comes from '' - 趨向詞, the tendency marker of the movement as its counterpart 'in' '進來坐一坐吧' -- 'Come in and have a rest ; the marker 'in' is needed here, but the reason can't be applied to the former case because they are of two different situations) has been purified by removing the overgenerous adverb 'out', giving the sentence the correct notion of this common lexical item in English: 'go shopping'. The coordinative conjunction 'and' in the sentence has the meaning of 'and then': 'going shopping with boys' and (then) 'making good friends with them' -- the structure implies the relationship of the two actions by their positions. With this assumption in mind, we may feel a bit unnatural to read this: 'I think making good friends with boys and going shopping with them is wonderful', mayn't we?

----8.‘I think to go shopping with boys and (to) make good friends with them is wonderful.’

Number 8 is another phrasing in construction paralleling the 7th version. The difference between them is that the infinitival clauses in 8 give stronger verbal feelings than the gerundive clauses in 7.
----NB Since these clauses are incomplete and bear a long name 'Abridged Clause', the author prefer to call them 'Phrases' hereafter: Present Participle/ Past Participle/ Infinitival/ Gerundive phrase. The main reason for this is that by lowering their status, we won't offend the position of 'Real Clauses', which are complete sentences.

----9a.‘I think (that) it is wonderful to go shopping with boys and (to) make good friends with them.’
----9b.‘I think it wonderful to go shopping with boys and (to) make good friends with them.’

These two versions are better than all in that the writer has adapted herself to the western habit of making known her mind. However, there is a slight problem of implication in 9a. 9b saying the same thing comes from another grammatical structure: S+V+O+ objective predicate. The little word, 'it', previously being the subject of the accusative line, is here taking the place of the object of the main verb 'think' while 'wonderful to go shopping.. and make good friends...' is serving as the predicate appositive (並置謂語) of the object 'it'. So there is no linking verb needed in between for coupling. Drafting the sentence in this form, we can save the exertion thinking about what the linkage should be, and, still better, it can prevent us from the chance of making mistakes. The one coming after will be perfect:

----10.‘I think it would be wonderful to go shopping with boys and make good friends with them.’

When an opinion is uttered after the verb 'think', it will not be considered a fact, and will usually be a statement of a guess, a suggestion, the kind of words in the subjunctive (假設語). Therefore, the factual linking verb 'is' is too definite, or too hard a tone for such an expression. By replacing it with the resilient (富彈性) modal auxiliary 'would', we can get the proper suppleness (柔軟度) to match the girl's purpose (cf. 9a). In this arrangement the sentence will meet the criteria of semantics in signifying the meaning: the words carrying precisely the thought and exactly conveying the meaning (文稱意,意遞物). It can be put into the following variations:

----11a.‘It would be wonderful, I think, to go shopping with boys and make good friends with them.’
11b.‘It would be wonderful to go shopping with boys and make good friends with them, I think.’
----11c.‘Going shopping with boys and making good friends with them would be wonderful, I think.’
----11d.‘Going shopping with boys and making good friends with them, I think, would be wonderful.’

Since this sentence is written by a girl and of such contents, it should be reserved (含蓄) rather than to be so demonstrative as in the first five versions. Let us accept another modification below.

The girl's idea, presumably, is 'I think going shipping with boys is wonderful because by doing so I can make good friends with them.' Therefore we can have the following arrangement:

-----12.‘I think going shopping with boys, making good friends with them, would be wonderful.’

Here, 'making good friends with them', is used in the character of a present participle phrase, behaving as an interpolated adverbial expression modifying the preceding action 'going shopping...'. Applying this rhetorical skill to the sentence, we prefer the phrases with less verbal forces (gerundive phrase and present participle phrase) to the ones with strong verbal drives (to-infinitive phrases), which tend to give the effect that the writer is to give a just-a-little-mention, by the way, to her big intention of 'going shopping with boys' -- a much less openly expressive tone to speak the girl's mind and the most subtle (巧妙的) way to say what she wants to say as well (cf. 7 & 8). With the same principle, we can organize the meaning as we like -- let the substance (實質部分) of the sentence stand out, which may be needed sometimes to suit someone's tone:

-----13.‘Going shopping with boys and making good friends with them, I think, would be wonderful.’
14.‘To go shopping with boys, making good friends with them, I think, would be wonderful.’

Changing into the style of a noun, gerunds are stagnant compared to the other three inflections. Version 13 using two gerundive phrases is merely a plain description of the girl's mind, while 14 starting with the action-prompting infinitival phrase: 'To go shopping with boys' gives us a vivid scene of the girl and the boys frolicking (嬉戲) in the streets. The following present participle phrase 'making friends with them' that possesses the verbal nature accompanied by some adjective effects is just right to give a slight touch on the lip of the girl's intension. The main verb-phrase and the complement 'would be wonderful' is somewhat in an uncertain manner and hold back a bit by the interpolation 'I think', pointing to her mind even more implicitly (暗中地).

After exploring the sentence, we can't help but get many queries in mind: Would it be the case that students have not been trained to write English obeying grammatical rules at school? What are the contents of their English textbooks all about? Would it be possible that the girl has never had any chances to watch English television programs or gone to English movies in the cinema? Has she ever heard her teachers saying the common English expression 'It is wonderful to...' during lessons over the past school years, etc.?
--- There are at least ten versions of phrasing to express the girl's idea; but to our surprise, it did happen that the girl's sentence doesn't belong to any version of the spectrum. Since the occurrence looks abnormal and is too far away from our expectation, it wouldn't be mistaken to say that this is not a self-induced failure (自我 -- 學生 -- 造成的失敗). There has to be something crucially wrong in the current teaching. Students all know well indeed the dominance of English and have been endeavoring to learn it. Then why are they still grammatically ignorant as such in this subject? The answer to this question is that we can't find any plausible reasons for it other than the one stated at the beginning paragraph above: the current training is ineffective -- the vest majority of students (frankly speaking, the author was nearly included) can't even be initiated in English (未能入英語之門) after finishing the fundamental education including the five-year secondary learning. In case the inference that our students are learning nothing English at school (excepting the alphabets and the meaning of some words) is correct, the authority should bear the blame totally for the big fault of implementing unfitting policies, and be responsible to show its wisdom and determination to bring about pertinent (抓到要領的) measures right away to save the situation. All of us have recognized the importance of education to our future -- this society shall not allow such absurdity to exist with our adolescence (青年) at any cost.
With regret, the author knows Hong Kong people are oblivious
(失去知覺的) to the visible fact that students in the majority today suffer the consequence -- the more stuff they are taught the more perplexed they become (越學越惘). If there is a suitable (i.e. intelligently easy, pragmatic and effective) English curriculum that can guide students in a right way and ensure a high standard in the language as well, not only the 'fighting will' (鬥志) of students will be aroused, but also the quality of our society be prevented from being jeopardized (危害) by the worsening (一代不如一代的) academic standard (學業成績) due to unsuccessful education.
----The Anatomy of English Sentences, 庖丁英語, will be particularly produced to solve the difficult problems that Chinese students encounter in learning the language. Replacing the present stale, improper and unfruitful training process, it will change the rough and winding road to a smooth broad way and take a wise short cut to the goal. Chinese students following it will get to know 'quickly' what English really is. And at the same time the indispensable material for Chinese beginners -- The International Phonetic Symbols (the K.K. 音標, which will remove the first big fatal hindrance that all Chinese pupils must face: Pronunciation) will be added to it to form the course into a 'complete' one. Written from such an altitude that is pointing to Chinese students' innate weaknesses either for unlike habit or concept in learning this international communicating tool, the production can be deemed to be a tailor-made English curriculum for all children of Chinese DNA. What's more, it will be an innovative instruction (革新的教學法) that possesses the aptness to fulfill the desired mission.





Following the instructions of The Anatomy of English Sentences (庖丁英語) to swallow (recite) daily a sentence taken from the media (e.g. newspapers or magazines) for one year, the Form II girl, Mary, was told to write a short diary in the appearance of a poem every day. The sentence at the bottom of each dairy was the sentence she swallowed (recited) that day. Most of them she chose were from South China Morning Post. Since she had been taught the International Phonetic Symbols, the K.K. 音標, a few months ago, she could pronounce all difficult words by looking at the phonetic symbols given next to them in the dictionary. So there was almost no sentences that could hinder her learning as long as she got a dictionary in her hand. All her endeavor occurred in 1991. Time flies like a missile. In a wink, it has been more than a decade from now already!


13℃ Sunny

I was surprise and unhappy
that my Mathematics teacher
came back to my school
this afternoon and will teach us again
in the future.

We were very quite today
we felt that
he was ------ pitiful.

Pilipions went on a panic-buying spree
while Britain, Australia, Japan and Belgium
ordered the withdrawal of their diplomats
in Iraq.

The sentence below the poem-like sequences was chosen by Mary for swallowing (reciting) that day. It tells us that the time of the background was the year 1991, in which America, under the leadership of old President Bush, was at war with Iraq (伊拉克) - The Gulf War (海灣戰爭). It looks very much like the sub-headline or the picture narration of the main news of the day.




16℃ Sunny (Feb 1991)

A new mathematics teacher came to our school
and taught us mathematics today.
She is about twenty-five years old,
short and fat.

She taught us in English
but we can't understand what she was saying
I don't like her because she is cool.


1. There has been a sharp increase in
the number of Vietnamese boat
people arriving in Hong Kong

Except for the wrong tense of 'can't' in the second paragraph, Mary, just a Form II student, wrote a perfect daily that day, showing us her extraordinary strong sense of syntax (sentence construction). Also notice the ability of Mary in handling tenses. Although the background was of something past, she was aware enough to use the present tense where they ought to be.




When I was having our Chinese lesson,
a strange voice came to us.
Many of us, including me, looked out to
the corridor,
we saw a woman crying very pityfully.

As a matter of fact,
she is the mother of the girl
who is a student of F.2F.

She was bagging a chance from our teacher
for her daughter
who has just been kicked out by our school
because she had broken our school rules many times.

At that time,
I absolutely agreed that
all parents in the world love their children
very much.

So much did Mary learn from the sentence swallowing in the past year. See: 'Many of us, including me, looked out to the corridor' is a typical syntax of the South China Morning Post (in fact, all English papers). If she were not imitating the Morning Post, how did she know that kind of interpolating writing? Notice the present participle 'including', which is used in a good way and is seldom found even in the works of higher Form students. It is no wonder, as mentioned before, that the temperate philosopher (中庸哲學家) Lam yu-tong (林語堂) said that the only correct way to learn English is to imitate English sentences. Look at that relative pronoun 'who' and the perfect tenses, which are used so free, so easy, and quite precise in the structure of a well-organized complex sentences. The concluding part, starting with an adverb phrase and then the main clause followed by a that-clause, is good English on the syntactic dimension. Although the content is a bit commonplace in the eyes of adults, the statement to air her point has indeed far exceeded the English writing standard of a Form II Chinese student nowadays (minor adjustments of the passage can be found in the chapter 'The diaries of Mary'). Comparing these sentences with the one written by the Form V girl:

'I think go out shopping with boys can make good friend with them is wonderful'
we can see two prominent differences easily between them: (1) total sense of Chinese syntax (Cantonese) vs rather strong sense of English syntax; (2) we can feel that the Form V girl's sentence has been carefully revised solely on the basis of Cantonese, her mother tongue, whereas Mary's writing is casual, opening the diary book, writing it right away and then closing it and never willing to look back for any mistakes (typical behavior of young students - lacking patience) and her writing possesses the characteristics of the language.
----There is an idiom in Chinese saying that "it is beneficial to oneself whenever he opens a book"; but it seems that nobody knows such a great unlikeness of the writing between a student who recites a sentence a day and the others who don't. T
his fact proves so clearly that the judgement of Lam yu-tong (林語堂) - "swallowing and imitating sentences is the 'only right way' to learn English"- is absolutely doubtless.




There should be no surprise, if we have seen the above work, that Form II Mary, a girl of 13 and had been following the instructions of The Anatomy of English Sentences (庖丁英語) since she was in F.1, could organize English quite in order. From the grammatical analysis she performed on her own writing, despite somewhere not that perfect, we can know that Mary had got a ruler for what she wrote in her mind. n.b. Either being forgetful or negligent, Mary regarded the to-infinitive clause 'to go to...' as the object of the verb 'had'. At that stage she should have been taught that 'had to' is a verb phrase, the past tense of the modal auxiliary 'must' which is always used with the basic form of the verb or bare infinitive; hence her measurement was:

------------------------------'SVC +that S -- --VO.' instead of 'SVC +that S -- --V+Adjunct.'

Nevertheless, such kind of misinterpretation or careless slip are not really of importance as long as the writing is grammatically correct because sooner or later she will make it clear. Experience tells us that intransitive verbs followed by adjuncts will usually be mistaken by junior students for objects following verbs, such as 'she walked along the seashore', 'he is running on the road', 'they are playing in the park', etc.




My history teacher is very charm (charming),
so many of us like having history lesson.

Today, I laughed very loudly
when I listened to a very interesting sentence
spoken by my teacher,
'Mona Lisa is my mother.'

Notice that in the last but one clause the past participle clause 'spoken by my teacher' is used so precisely. Mary must have learnt that from reciting sentence '...Noun/ Noun Phrase + Past Participle + by the President/ by the Prime Minister/ by the head of Microsoft Corporation/ etc.', which can be seen frequently on media, otherwise a Form 2 student can hardly be prepared to used this non-finite verb so freely. Expression involving the past participle here may not be perfect, yet there is nothing per se improper with her writing regarding grammar and sentence structure. Mary's writing skill was still green then -- she had just started to write and was a Form 2 girl after all. Present participle is a bit more difficult to use than the past one. If Mary keeps on learning in the same manner (reciting sentences) including stories as well as other kinds of literary writings and can be meticulous about (analyzing carefully) the material she chooses, it is predictable that before long she will be able to put her idea in a direct and succinct way -- Today I laughed loudly when hearing my teacher say: 'Mona Lisa is my mother.' Then, she will free herself from the media style.




13℃ Cloudy (5 Feb 1991)

A prefect was reporting the activities
this morning, she first said that
today all classes, from F.1 to F.7,
must take their class photos for keeping.

After this report,
many classmates went to the toilet to comb
their hair and to make their uniform more tidier.

I felt that
it is right to say that
girls always take care of
their fashion.

It was said that writing daily will not only improve students' writing skills, but will also sharpen their observations on matters happening in their everyday life. Gradually they will broaden their visions keeping track of the world events. This saying can be seen from the behavior of little Mary, who had captured the atmosphere of the day in which everybody, especially the girls, was busy in the joyful moment of their puberty to make themselves a high standard of tidiness in their dress and appearance for the class photo taking. This is quite a well-written journal, isn't it? (Adjusted version of this journal can be found in the chapter 'The Diaries of Mary'.)




15℃ Cloudy

I am very tired today,

so I can't write anything,

I am very sorry.


Up to this point, Mary had acquired the habit of writing something special of the day before she went to bed.





Mr. Wo, my Form 1 Form Master,
told us that he will not teach us
in the 3 rd term
because he will go to Marylock,
a girl's school, I will never forget him.



28℃ Sunny

While I arrived school this morning,
Many of my classmates seemed very unhappy.

I asked one of them called 'Sharley' that
why they were so sad.

She said that tomorrow will be
the parent's day,
their parents must went to school
to take the school report.

They were very worried.

I felt they were



28℃ Sunny

This evening,
I started
reading the weather report
on the paper.

There are some new words
which represents the meaning clearly.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After having dinner,
my mummy bought me
a beautiful doll
in a shop called 'manning'.

I like it very much
and it can accompany me in the dark night.



29℃ Sunny (12 May 91)

Today is mother's day
as well as the birthday of my grandmother.
My mummy and I
went to Wai Chau ship terminal
to eat lunch .

After that,
we went to Carmen's house
to have dinner.

At about 11p.m.
my daddy, mummy and I
went back home by taxi.




33℃ Sunny (3 June 1991)

I began to review my notes today.

After school,
I went back home quickly
to change the books that
I need tomorrow.

I also took a shower.




33℃ Sunny

This morning,

I went to school with mummy

for she went to Q.E.

While we were in the city bus,

I read my Chinese dictation.

When I was ready,

mummy helped me


review it.

That helped me very much.




34℃ Sunny


our English teacher, Miss Yuen,

told us that

we will have a form test

in the seventh lesson.

Then we all studied very hard
in the lunch time.

Before the test,
I was very worried
for I didn't know whether
I could pass or not.

I was still satisfactory on my result.




34℃ Sunny

My Maths. teacher was absent today,
so I could use that two lessons
to review the geography notes.

Ater I had run through
the notes,
I felt very sleepy.
then I slept on the desk sweetly.

When I woke up,
I found that I had slept
for half a hour.

At that time,
I felt that
time pass very quickly.




34℃ Sunny

We have had history form test today.
After school,
all form two students have to go to the hall
to have test.

While I received the test paper,
I found that it was easy,
but when I watched clearly,
I found some questions were not
in the content of the notes.

I also found that
there were many grammatical mistakes
I felt that the teacher
who 出 this test paper
is crual and
poor in English grammar.




27℃ Rainy


I stardied Chinese history (.)?

In the evening,

I became less concentrated,

so I hadn't studied anything .

I will continue tomorrow morning .




29℃ Rainy

This morning,
I studied Chinese history
and Chinese.

After lunch,
I studied history.


At about five,
I went back to aunt's house.

In the evening,
I drew a picture
while I was watching television.



28℃ rainy

At lunch time,
I went home by a mini-bus.

When I was waiting a mini-bus,
it rained suddenly.

I had brought an umbrella.

I opened it quickly.

But the rain was heavy,
my umbrella was not enough
to cover me from it.

So, when I entered home,
my body was very wet.

I don't like rain!



29℃ Cloudy

When I was having dinner,
I watched a news report.

The reporter said that
the water in the 水塘
can only use for one to two months.

If there is no rain
between this two months,
we will face the 缺乏 of water.

I hope that
the god can give us some rain water
in the future
because I can't live without water.




30℃ Sunny

My English teacher, Miss Yuen,
gave us back our form test paper
during during lesson.

I had got the highest marks in the class.

I was not gappy
for I'd only got six-eight marks.

After I received the test paper,
I found that
there is a strong enemy
threating me.

She had got three marks lower than me.
She is a clever
and hard-working girl.

I hope that
the competition will not destroy
our friendship.




30℃ sunny

Today was the last day
for teaching lesson.

Our Chinese teacher, Miss Ng,
wanted us to write a passage
about our happy and sad thing
in the pass few months.
Our passage will give her
a 留念 .


After she received our passages,
her eyes were full of tears.

After that moment,
she said, 'I will not forget you,
all the 2A classmates, my students.'

At that time,
all of our tears poured down ,
and we said together,
'we will also remember you forever!'




33℃ sunny


I had studied three subjects


They are science, Buddhist and


I am very tired now.



30℃ sunny

I studied Maths today.

I found that

I was very foolish on Maths.

I hope that

Iwill prove it (most likely to be: improve it)

before the final exam.



31℃ Sunny

I had never went out

for three days.

I hope

I can take a walk tomorrow

if possible.



26℃ rainy

Today was the last day of public
holiday s

as well as the eve of my third


I will do my best on C. Hist

and English tomorrow.



29℃ cloudy

I was very satisfy

on my English dictation exam.

In C. Hist ,

I had done my best

but I am afraid


I can't get a high grade.



29℃ rainy

I had no feeling

on the exam of

geography and Buddhist .(佛學)

I think that

the result will be --------(?).




31℃ rainy

Oh! I failed in history.

I hated the one who

出 this exam paper

for the words which used by his

was difficult to understand

and I had never seen.

He was a cruel

and dislikable man.

I hated him very, very much.




30℃ cloudy


I had studied Chinese,

Science and Maths.

I was (am) very tired now.




26℃ cloudy

I was woken up by the alarm clock
at seven o'clock this morning.

When I looked at it,
I was very afraid
for I thought that
today was monday.

I rushed to toilet
with my school-uniform.

I suddenly awared that
today was Sunday.

Then I went to bed again
with sleep eyes.




I was satisfactory

on Maths examination

for I had done my best.




I hoped I could have grade B

in my English examination.


  Mary was lazy that day !



Today was the last day

of my third term exam.

After I had finished

my EPA exam,

I went to watch a film

with my friend for relaxation.



I had waste the whole time


I had done nothing.



When I was watching,

I felt very dull.

So, I went out to take a walk.

While I passed a supermaket,
I saw a begger
seeming very 可憐.

Then I took five dollars from my purse
and put it into his bagger-bowl.

She was very happy
after she saw the five dollar coin.

I was very happy also
although she hadn't thanked me.



32℃ sunny

Today was my grandmother's birthday .

we went to pa pa's restaurant
for lunch.

After that,
we went to some electrical-shops
and bought a television for her.

A draft to be continue and revised

The writer very much admires your patience!