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English Writing: Inanimate Subject

Winter was coming on and the hills threatened the surrounding villages with destruction, for heavy rain would not only wash away the soil but would cause serious floods a s well.

I went on an excursion recently, but my trip took me longer than I expected.

Even if you travel in ideal weather, sea journeys take a long time.

We only travelled half the distance at sunset.
Sunset met us halfway.

The past few years witnessed the great influx of foreigners to China, for traveling, studies or business.

A warm and sunny Sunday found my whole family going for an outing at the beach.

But there are some parts of the world, where even now people cannot write.

There was a time when the owners of shops and businesses in Chicago had to pay large sums of money to gangsters in return for ‘protection’.

He went to the town on business.
Business took him to the town.

census / investigation / inquest / survey / poll / opinion poll / inquiry / enquiry

~ find / show / indicate / reveal 

  • The survey revealed a large number of sources of noise that we really dislike.
  • The busy traffic entrance is / presents / poses / constitutes a hazard to pedestrians. 
  • PROVOKE directs attention to the response called forth.  
  • my stories usually provoke laughter  
  • EXCITE implies a stirring up or moving profoundly.  
  • news that excited anger and frustration
  •  STIMULATE suggests a rousing out of lethargy, quiescence, or indifference.  
  • stimulating conversation  
  • PIQUE suggests stimulating by mild irritation or challenge.  that remark piqued my interest  
  • QUICKEN implies beneficially stimulating and making active or lively.  
  • One case concerns an 11-year-old schoolgirl Vera Petrova, who has normal vision but who can also perceive things with different parts of her skin, and through solid walls. 

His patrols halted the raiding parties: hunger assailed the Danish army. 

  • He lost his confidence.
    Confidence deserted him.
  • Panic seized me.
  • Curiosity swallowed him. 

When reports came into London Zoo that a wild puma had been spotted forty-five miles south of London, they were not taken seriously.

However, a new type of humor, which stems largely from the US, has recently come into fashion.

The article began: ‘Hundreds of steps lead to the high wall which surrounds the president’s palace’.

The card arrived on my birthday.
A letter came for you this morning.

造句:当 Jane 收到信时,读完第一句话就哭了。
When the letter came / arrived, Jane read the first sentence and then cried.

The dealer told him that it had just come in, but that he could not be bothered to open it.

The hunt began in a small village where a woman picking blackberries saw a large cat only five yards away from her. 

The search proved difficult. 

However, as the evidence began to accumulate, experts from the Zoo felt obliged to investigate, for the descriptions given by people who claimed to have seen the puma were extraordinarily similar.

I thought of a good idea.

A good idea came into my mind.

A good idea flashed into my mind.



  • I couldn’t sleep that night.
    That night sleep eluded me.
  • the high salary quickened her desire to have the job 
  • Too much visual exposure impoverishes our imaginations.

When subject is people, somebody, change the verb into its noun. 

The sea bed was scoured with powerful nets and there was tremendous excitement on board when a chest was raised from the bottom.

Just as  Mrs. Richards was entering the dining room, there was a knock on the front door. 
…, somebody knocked at the front door.

There are more and more people who are interested in English in China.
There is increasing interest in English in China.

People generally agree that women should enjoy full equality with men.
There is general agreement that women should enjoy full equality with men.

While the quality of legal journalism varies greatly, there is an undue reliance amongst many journalists on interpretations supplied to them by lawyers.

But there are some parts of the world, where even now people cannot write.

There was a time when the owners of shops and businesses in Chicago had to pay large sums of money to gangsters in return for ‘protection’.

there was a time when … = once
There was a time when I was down and out.
there are times when … = sometimes
There are times when even the tiger sleeps.
There are times when silence has the loudest voice.
There are times when we would willingly give everything we possess to save our lives, yet we might grudge paying a surgeon a high fee for offering us precisely this service.
there are rare instances when … = occasionally
There are rare instances when justice almost ceases to be an abstract concept.

造句:在个别情况下,爱国主义(patriotism)不再是一个空洞的口号(an empty slogan)。

There are rare instances when patriotism ceases to be an empty slogan.

There is every likelihood that the costs of the monitoring system, such as the purchase, maintenance and updates of software, employment of extra personnel in charge of it, will offset or even outweigh additional revenue, if there is any. 

  • Obtaining ‘protection money’ is not a modern crime.
  • Working with you is beyond my wildest dreams.  


Very few of the fifty pence pieces and pound coins I have given him have found their way there. 到达

We keep trying all four methods, but the sheer volume of rubbish we produce worldwide threatens to overwhelm us. 有危险

Groundbreaking research by two French geophysicists promises to shed some light on the mystery. 可能会

It promises to be warm today. 

Pride courts failure. 

mountain streams courting the fishermen. (Allure, tempt, invite, provoke)

The city must at one time have been prosperous for it enjoyed a high level of civilization.  

Mrs. Richards realized that it must be the man from the Electricity Board who had come to read the metre.
sth. occur to sb. / sth. strike sb. / sth. dawn on sb.

It suddenly occurred to Mrs. Richards that it must be …
It suddenly struck Mrs. Richards that it must be …
It suddenly dawned on Mrs. Richards that it must be …