Saturday, January 2, 2010

Essay clinic - Saya terima satu surat

For today, I am going to do something different. I will write a paragraph inMalay and it is full of grammatical errors. Then I will correct them, giving reasons for the errors committed. Here it goes.

Saya terima satu surat dari sahabat penaku kelmarin. Dia ingin tahu tempat-tempat tertarik di Malaysia. Saya pun memberitahu semua fakta-fakta yang perlu dia ketahui. Saya berharap dia memahamkan apa yang saya huraikan itu.

Let me correct the first sentence. The use of 'terima' is wrong here. According to Malay grammar, the transitive verb in a statement should be preceded by the prefix meN (me, mem, men, meng, meny, menge). Hence 'menerima' should be used. Satu surat is grammatically wrong too because the absence of 'penjodoh bilangan' (numerical coefficient) renders the noun phrase incorrect. You should write 'sepucuk surat' where pucuk is the numerical coefficient for surat. As sahabat is a person, the kata sendi nama (preposition) 'dari' (from)used in front of it is wrong. The correct preposition to be used is 'daripada' (from) which is used for persons. To end the correction for the first sentence, here is the correct way of expressing it:
Saya menerima sepucuk surat daripada sahabat penaku kelmarin. [I received a letter from my pen-pal yesterday.]

As for the second sentence, there are two errors incurred. The first one is 'tahu' which should be followed by the preposition 'akan'. 'Tertarik' which means 'attracted' should be replaced with 'menarik' which carries the meaning of 'interesting'. Hence, the correct sentence should be:
Dia ingin tahu akan tempat-tempat menarik di Malaysia. [He would like to know about the places of interest in Malaysia.]

Now I will deal with the third sentence. Three errors can be found in this sentence. The use of 'memberitahu' here is wrong. This is because 'memberitahu' (tell) should be followed by a person such as Ali. For example, 'Saya memberitahu Ali tentang hal itu.' [I told Ali about the matter.] If something follows it, then the suffix 'kan' should be added to it to become 'memberitahukan'. For instance, 'Saya memberitahukan hal itu kepada Ali.' is grammatically correct. The next mistake is 'semua fakta-fakta' [all facts]. As semua denotes plurality, the word that follows it need not be duplicated. You just need to write 'Semua fakta'. The last error in the sentence is 'yang perlu dia ketahui' which should have been rendered as 'yang perlu diketahuinya.' [which he needs to know]. This is the rule for passive form involving the third person. The correct sentence then is:

Saya pun memberitahukan semua fakta yang perlu diketahuinya. [I then told him all the facts that he needs to know.]

There are three errors too in the last sentence. The intransitive verb 'berharap' should be followed by 'agar'. The transitive verb 'memahamkan' means 'to make someone understand' is wrongly used here. The correct one should be 'memahami' [to understand] The last error is 'apa' which is a question word. Here 'apa-apa' [whatever] should be put in its place. The final corrected sentence is:
Saya berharap agar dia memahami apa-apa yang saya huraikan. [I hope he understands what I have explained.]

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