22 January 2015


The silver, new, shiney car was drove by Tim and I when we  had gone to Western Canada seeing the Rocky mountains and some of tourist traps along the Highway; but we seen little wild animals and not a single bear: however the wild flowers had been blossoming.

1. Adjective word order:

Adjectives usually occur in the following order: (1) evaluation or opinion, (2) appearance, (3) age, (4) colour, and (5) origin. This  gives us: shiny, new, silver (see the on-line resources page in the sidebar for more information).

2. Spelling:

Words that end in “e” usually drop that letter before adding a “y” to form an adjective.

3. Verb tense and form:

The correct form of the passive voice in the simple past tense is “was driven”. Also, we should be consistent with the verb tense when possible, so the past perfect “had gone” should be changed to “went”. Also note that “seen” is the past participle; the simple past is “saw”. Finally, instead of the past perfect progressive, we need the past progressive: “had been blossoming”  should be changed to “were blossoming” (or “were blooming” or “were in bloom”).

4. Pronoun usage:

When the verb is in the active voice, the construction is “Tim and I,” as it forms the subject of the verb; however, in the passive voice, these become the object, and must therefore take the objective case, “Tim and me”. If this sounds awkward, it might be best to abandon the passive voice altogether.

5. Infinitive/gerund:

The phrase “go somewhere” needs the infinitive, not the gerund.

6. Idiomatic usage:

The phrase “tourist trap” is an idiom that refers to places that attract a lot of tourists.

7.  Few/Little:

We use the word “little” with uncountable nouns; with countable nouns (such as “animals”), we should use “few”.

8. Punctuation:

We need a comma, not a semi-colon before the coordinating conjunction when it separates independent clauses. Unless we are expanding on an idea, we do not use a colon. Wild flowers are not a type of animal, so we need a semicolon to separate the two independent clauses.

9. Capitalization:

“Western” is not part of a proper name, so it should not be capitalized; nor should “highway” unless we are referring to a specific highway. For the same reason, we should capitalize “mountains” here, as it is part of the official name of the mountain chain.

Suggested solution:

Tim and I drove the shiny, new, silver car when we went to western Canada to see the Rocky Mountains and some of the tourist traps along the highway, but we saw few wild animals and not a single bear; however, the wild flowers were in bloom.

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