May 5, 2013

Incorrect English in a petition to the White House

I just saw Invest and deport Jasmine Sun who was the main suspect of a famous Thallium poison murder case (victim:Zhu Lin) in China, a petition to the White House calling for investigation and deportation of a suspect in the Zhu Ling case. I'm pleased with this volunteer work that aims at bringing this 18-year-long horrendous criminal case to a satisfactory end. However, the author of this petition is seriously lacking in basic English language skills. Lousy errors occur from the title to almost the end: "Invest" for "Investigate", "Zhu Lin" for "Zhu Ling", ..., "petite" for "petition". I'm deeply disappointed with this apparently Miami, Florida, based Chinese gentleman that has a warm heart yet inadequate training in English. Let's see if the White House will respond to a petition full of grammatical as well as factual (Zhu Lin for Zhu Ling) errors, if the signature count reaches 100 thousand.

[Update December 2023]

In the wake of the death of Zhu Ling, the victim in the poisoning murder case, I wrote a Weibo posting listing the errors in the petition text.

在中小学语文学习中,改病句或纠正错误用词是一种很好的学习方法,因为它能给我们留下深刻印象。但这种练习在英语学习中较少见到。这里举一例。2013年,有人在奥巴马白宫请愿网站We the People(“我们人民”)上发出请愿[1]
Invest and deport Jasmine Sun who was the main suspect of a famous Thallium poison murder case (victim:Zhu Lin) in China
In 1995, Zhu Ling as a Tsinghua university student was found out to be purposely poisoned twice by lethal chemical: Thallium, which leads to her permanent paralysis. It was indicated that Sun, her roommate, had the motive, and access to the deadly chemical. Jasmine Sun was investigated by police as suspect in 1997. But resources show that the case was mystically closed due to her family's powerful political connections. Resources also show that she changed her name and entered USA by marriage fraud.
To protect the safety of our citizens, we petite that the government investigate and deport her.
For more information on the case, please visit:

1. Invest(“投资”)应为Investigate(“调查”)。这是一个不可原谅的、低级的错误!
2. main suspect of: 更常见的词组是prime suspect,其后的介词应为in,因为后面是case(“案子”)。
3. a famous Thallium poison murder case: famous宜改为high-profile或well-known,因为famous有褒义。Thallium poison应改作thallium poisoning,金属名首字母不大写,poisoning是动名词,指出这个case是什么样的。
4. Zhu Lin...Tsinghua university: Lin应为Ling;将关键的专有名词写错是不可原谅的、不负责任的错误!另外,Tsinghua university应为Tsinghua University。
5. was found out to be purposely poisoned: out应删去。
6. chemical: Thallium, which leads: chemical后冒号最好改为逗号,Thallium应为thallium,leads应为过去式led。
7. investigated by police as suspect: police前应加the,suspect前应加a(或the,因为她是唯一嫌犯)。很多华裔、印裔在写英语时常常省略不可省的冠词。必须记住这条规则:单数可数名词前需要冠词!
8. the case was mystically closed: mystically不如mysteriously妥当。
9. USA: 前面应有the,华裔、印裔经常犯这个错误。
10. we petite that: petite(“小巧的”)与petition(“请愿”)毫无关系。这是一个不可原谅的、低级的错误!可改为we request that或we petition the White House to...。注意petition如果作动词,它极少紧接that从句(那或许是不规范的用法)。



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