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Do these sentences sound natural?

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,
I have found some sentences that may sound very unnatural. What do you think?
  1. Having finished my homework, I went to bed.
  2. It being the holiday season, the train was full.
  3. Playing soccer, he hurt his leg.
  4. Feeling sick, I went to see a doctor.
  5. Studying in the library, I saw the tall boy.
  6. Liking the dog very much, Jim takes care of it every day.
  7. Seeing the girl, I remembered her name.
  8. Not having the key, my brother couldn't enter the room.

Hirashin
 

Buntaro

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These are a special type of written English. Not recommended for students studying English. These types of examples can be seen in writing from 100 years ago.
 

Michael2

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These kinds of sentence are not in common spoken English usage, they sound like something Sherlock Holmes would say in an upper class British accent :) But they are completely correct grammatically, apart form the fact that I think this type of pattern shows a cause and effect between the two events, e.g."I had finished my homework so I went to bed" or The train was full because it was holiday season." If there is no cause and effect you would use "When" in a normal past progressive sentence, so to me 3 and 5 sound strange as there is no connection between the 2 events. I would say "He hurt his leg when he was playing soccer" and "I saw the tall boy when I was studying in the library"
 

JohnTitor

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Hi Hirashin,

Yes, these sentences are natural, but only in novels or storytelling. When used in everyday conversations, it sounds like you are narrating a story, rather than speaking naturally to people. Although, these sentences are, in fact, correct; so is the usage is too.

Not recommended for conversing. People would understand what you're talking about, but may find it to be quite a bit strange. It would sound as if you were always talking in third-person.
 
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I've used these types of expressions in online communication, but that being said, it's true that this mode is uncommon in oral speech. It's also highly formal in written speech, which tends to be what I use it for. For example, if I'm having a serious, civil debate with someone, this manner of speaking can help maintain a professional atmosphere. On the other hand, you'd never use this with a close friend.

I agree that this is very high-level stuff that shouldn't be taught as a part of an ESL course.
 
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