How awful have I done on this essay?

This written presentation was part of an exam so it was done in class. The word count is supposed to be 120 due to the fact that we’re 11th graders and English is not an official language here (I’m not so sure about other school systems but we’re around 16-17 years old at this stage).

The red markings are my teacher’s on the actual paper.

Although I’ve done some “degrading” due to having a previous record of not sticking to the preset word count, this is indeed a sprinkle of truth regarding my apparently inadequate language skills, hence the final grade 31/40.
I’ve already accepted the fact that am not up to the standard, however, I wish to do some ‘damage control’ and find out exactly how bad my current abilities are.

Thank you.

This writing sounds as if you have foreigner’s good command of English, but there are some problems with it.

The first problem is that it’s hard to understand exactly what you’re saying in the second paragraph. I don’t know what “engulfed with endless social barriers” means here. The expression your teacher underlined “the wise ones vote with their feet” is a perfect good idiom that we native speakers use all the time. To vote with your feet means to show your disapproval of a situation by leaving it. In the case you wrote about, kids who didn’t approve of socializing with the group instead of studying just left it.

I don’t know what “study free of tense” means, but I think you mean “study free of tension”.

Except that your meaning got lost in the middle part, I don’t think the writing was particularly bad.

I cannot summarize ANYTHING into 120 words. For some reason, whenever I use an idiom the teacher underlines it, spreading a gigantic sense of NO NO throughout the paper, rendering me confused on how my writing should be.
When I said “engulfed with endless social barriers” I was generally referring to cases at which students refrain from leaving a study group in fear of damaging their social bonds and violating that imaginary sacred law that apparently forbids them from developing any form of independent thought or spiral even to the least extent out of the ordinary.
I suppose I just lack the required abilities to write in a correct manner.

Instead of writing “engulfed with endless social barriers”, I would have written something like, “worrying that they’ll be shunned by the group”.

I don’t know why so many foreign English teachers have a problem with perfectly good idioms.

Well, how do you think can I improve my language skills and move on from lacking to… well anywhere else would be better.

Based on your writing, it looks to me as if you must be doing all the right things to improve your language skills. Your writing makes it pretty clear that you read in real English and that you listen to real English, because otherwise your language wouldn’t be so idiomatic. From what I can see, you must be on the right track.

Is your English worse than that of most students in your class? I doubt it. Where do you live that everyone speaks such good English?

Small village in Israel.

What I’m amazed at, when I meet students in my classes, is that before the 1940s there was no person on earth who spoke English with a Hebrew accent, and now there are such people! Hebrew has been revived to the point where its speakers can have an accent!

Your English is amazing, ABC1. :smiley: You know, my English can’t be that good or sophisticated. :roll: :wink:

What do you mean by that, Jamie? Please explain.

The Hebrew language went out of daily use thousands of years ago, and for all that time it was a dead language, much like Latin is today. Jews used it only for reading religious scriptures and for worshiping at their temples, but nobody spoke it as a native language.

Starting in the 19th century, some people decided to revive Hebrew for modern use. Now it is one of the official languages of Israel, and there are people who have grown up speaking Hebrew as a native language. When they speak English, you can hear distinctly that their native language is Hebrew. This foreign accent didn’t exist 50 years ago, because at that time Hebrew was no one’s native language.

Thanks very much for your explanation. I’ve heard of Hebrew. It sounds like a very sophisticated language like Sankrit, doesn’t it?

It’s a very ancient language that is related to Arabic, Chaldean (Aramaic), Amharic (spoken in Ethiopia) and Maltese. The entire first part of the Bible is written in Hebrew.

Why haven’t so many people spoken it now? Is it a very hard language to learn. I once saw a book entitled ‘Hebrew’. Perhaps, I can have a look at it again and see how relevant it is to Hebrew. Thanks again.