Jan 26, 2011

How to Write in English

Recently I have tweeted in English and written journals on my weblog in English and Japanese. I have posted my journals on Lang-8 (http://goo.gl/fuyN), and native speakers have made many corrections to my journals.

Most of these corrections are about the usage of "a" and "the", singular and plural, prepositions and tense. I understand the English grammar that I learned in school at least, but when I write something in English I actually don't know which is suitable "a" or "the". I uncertainly had decided to write "a", and then it always happened to be corrected to "the".

But I don't care about such mistakes seriously. Writing in English and being corrected more will reduce the number of my mistakes. I don't write official documents, but just journals on a weblog. Even if I make mistakes, I can still express what I mean to native speakers, I guess. I don't expect myself to be perfect, because I am not a native speaker.

I care more about the nuance of the words and the expressions in English. I am not sure if the word or the expression means exactly what I mean.

I wanted to write a sentence which means as follows.

I like Linus in the comic "Peanuts", because he and I think, feel and do things in the same way, and I can understand him very well.

In Japanese we use the word "共感する(kyokan-suru)" to express such a meaning. I looked up "共感する(kyokan-suru)" in a Japanese to English dictionary, and I found the word "sympathize". (http://goo.gl/BlwmT)

I made a draft as follows.

I like Linus in the comic "Peanuts", because I sympathize with him.

But I cared about the nuance of the word "sympathize", and I looked up this word in an English dictionary, and I found the meaning as follows.(http://goo.gl/qf9FZ)

to feel sorry for someone because you understand their problems:

The word "共感する(kyokan-suru)" doesn't have a nuance of feeling sorry. The meaning of the word "同情する(dojo-suru)" might be most similar to that of the word "sympathize".

I think that Linus and I are similar, but I don't sympathize with him. The word "sympathize" is not appropriate to express my feeling for Linus.

I looked up "sympathize" in a thesaurus, and I found the following words. (http://goo.gl/bSYpc)

ache, agree, appreciate, be in accord, be in sympathy, be kind to, be there for, be understanding, bleed for, comfort, commiserate, compassionate, comprehend, condole, empathize, feel heart go out to, go along with, grieve with, have compassion, identify with, love, offer consolation, pick up on, pity, relate to, share another's sorrow, show kindliness, show mercy, show tenderness, side with, tune in, understand

I can't accept any of those words completely, but I guess that "understand" is most appropriate. So I rewrite my draft as follows.

I like Linus in the comic "Peanuts", because I can understand what he feels and thinks of.

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