18 January 2013


I wasn’t understanding what he means when in a speech he has given Mr Harper was saying the funding will help them suffering from mental illness and their family’s.

1. The underlying meaning: what were people suffering from? The current wording means that both mental illness and their families were the cause of suffering. Add wording after “and”: for instance “and also help their families.”
2. Verb tense:  instead of the past progressive tense which indicates that something continued to happen over time, use the simple past tense indicating that it happened at a point in time: change “wasn’t understanding” to “didn’t understand”.
3. Tense consistency: With the first verb in the simple past, keep others in the simple past, too, unless there is a good reason to change: instead of “means” (simple present tense) use “meant” (simple past tense); instead of “has given” (present perfect) use “gave” (simple past); and instead of “was saying” (past progressive) use “said” (simple past).
4. Modal: for future possibility use “would”, not “will”.
5. Pronoun: “them” is the 3rd person plural, direct object pronoun; here use “those” to refer to people already mentioned or “understood”.
6. Plural: use the plural form “families” and not the possessive “family’s”.
7. Punctuation: remember to set off a non-essential (not grammatically needed) clause such as “in a speech he has given”, and remember to use a period after Mr.--it is an abbreviation.

Suggested solution: I didn’t understand what he meant when, in a speech he gave, Mr. Harper said the funding would help those suffering from mental illness and also help their families.

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