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Question She lost her hearing in the mid teens.

hirashin

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I'm grading the exam.
Some students wrote (a) instead of (b). Is this incorrect?
(a) She lost her hearing in the mid teens.
(b) She lost her hearing in her mid teens.

Hirashin
 

Buntaro

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(b) is correct. (a) is a mistake. In my opinion, (b) sounds like "Japanglish". I would say, "She lost her hearing when she was a teenager." or "She lost her hearing while she was a teenager." Another less attractive but fluent answer would be, "She lost her hearing while she was in her mid teens." I know that students tend to avoid relative pronouns (kankei daimeishi) and only use prepositional phrases, but this is not ok. They need to start using the longer, more difficult and complicated relative pronouns.
 

hirashin

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(b) is from the textbook. If what you are saying is true, it follows that the textbook we use is not in good natural English.
 

Buntaro

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If what you are saying is true, it follows that the textbook we use is not in good natural English.
That is very possible. Who wrote the book? Where was it published?
 

joadbres

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(b) is perfectly fine, natural English.

But, of course, that says nothing about the quality level of the rest of your textbook.
 

mdchachi

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(b) is perfectly fine.
My mom lost her hearing in her mid-80s.
She lost her hearing in her mid-teens.

All sounds fine and native English.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for the reassuring information, joadbres and mdchachi. I can't do anything about the textbook the high school adopts.

In Japan, all the schools have to use textbooks that the Ministry of Education approves. And some (many?) of them are not written by native speakers. We should use ones that well-educated native speakers write.

One of the reasons I often ask questions here is that there is no native speakers hired in my school. This is aweful. Thanks to the dedicated native speakers here, I can barely do my job. I'm really grateful to you all.

Hirashin
 

johnnyG

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(b) is perfectly fine.
My mom lost her hearing in her mid-80s.
She lost her hearing in her mid-teens.

All sounds fine and native English.
Expectations might be a factor here. Losing one's hearing is usually an age-related thing, and you'd expect hearing loss in one's 80s.

OTOH..., if you swap out some words:

a) My mom lost her virginity in her mid-80s.
b) She lost her virginity in her mid-teens.


...you get some surprises on a different level.

(where's that smiley for ::tongue-in-cheek:: )
 

joadbres

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In Japan, all the schools have to use textbooks that the Ministry of Education approves. And some (many?) of them are not written by native speakers. We should use ones that well-educated native speakers write.
Your textbook doesn't seem THAT bad. I wouldn't worry about that too much. You can still learn English from it. If some of your students memorize an awkward English expresssion, it's not the end of the world. (Many Japanese people today refer to a person's buttocks [bottom, backside, butt, bum, ...] as a "hip", which is quite strange, but life still goes on.)

By the way, Japanese textbook companies are usually responsive to feedback. If you find an expression in your textbook that the majority of native speakers commenting on this forum agree is unnatural, and agree on how to make more natural, I recommend providing that information as feedback to the company. They will probably agree to fix it for the next edition. Why not try that sometime for an especially bothersome error?
 

hirashin

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Some students wrote, "She lost hearing in her mid teens." It is necessary to put "her" before "hearing", isn't it?
 

mdchachi

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Hmmm that's tricky.
It doesn't sound natural without the "her" but is it ungrammatical/wrong? I'm not sure.
I would be inclined to give them partial or even full credit for this.
(Unless you had explicitly taught them that this form was not correct.)

For example,
She lost a tooth in her teens.
sounds ok to me. In fact it sounds better than
She lost her tooth in her teens.
because this sounds like she had only one tooth.

Also
She lost some hearing in her mid-teens.
sounds ok to me.
 

Michael2

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Yes, it's an interesting one. Like mdchachi says, saying something like "The pilots lost radio contact" is fine, so it doesn't necessarily require the pronoun, but I think "lost my hearing" emphasises the fact that it's the subjects own hearing (or sight, or sense of smell) and not an outside sense of hearing or smell or whatever.
 

hirashin

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(b) She lost her hearing in her mid teens.
(c) She lost some hearing in her mid-teens. (Mdchachi's new version)

Does (c) have a little different meaning from (b)? To my grammar knowledge,
in (b) she is completely deaf while in (c) she may still be able to hear big sound.

Hirashin
 

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