Are these sentences natural? March 4


Are the following sentences natural to a native ear?

[color=blue]1. This work is brain surgery.

  1. Why were your marketing costs this year so higher than the last year?

  2. What goes on in the redevelopment of a community?


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  1. Assuming you do not mean it literally, this does not seem very natural to me. “This work isn’t brain surgery / rocket science” sounds OK to me, but in the positive I would add more words, such as “This work is like some kind of brain surgery”, perhaps.

  2. “Why were your marketing costs this year so much higher than the last year?”

  3. OK.

Thanks Dozy.

A few follow up questions.

With respect to #1, I think I have heard people say something like that about work that requires a lot of mental attention or that is too complicated.

I am trying to understand why you chose to remove ‘the’ before ‘last year’? I have seen that people who correct my work put ‘the’ before ‘next year’, ‘next month’ etc. in my text.

  1. Yes, “brain surgery” is used figuratively for very complicated work. Your original sentence is not categorically wrong, and it is not impossible that someone might say it, but to me it seems too direct to be natural in that figurative sense. As I mentioned, I would personally pad it out with more words.

  2. The use of “the” before “last year”, “next year” etc. can be tricky. In your sentence the contrast between “this year” and “last year” dictates that the article would normally be omitted.