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Keys for Writers, Second Edition
Ann Raimes
ESL Tip Sheet 10: Vietnamese

Spoken in Vietnam.

The written language
  • The written form of this monosyllabic, tonal language does not have the same punctuation conventions as in English; for example, a dash is used to introduce direct speech. Part 8.
Sentence structure and word order
  • No inversion of subject and verb in a question: *They are leaving? 34b.
  • No impersonal it subject: *Necessary go. 38d; 64f.
  • Sentences expressed in English with the filler subject there use adverb of place and have: *In the garden has many trees. *Had many people in the class. 30b; 64f.
  • Subordinating conjunctions occur with a balancing word in the dependent clause: *Even if I had money, I would also not buy that car. 34d; 62e.
Nouns and pronouns
  • No general personal pronouns; pronouns indicate social status and levels of respect. 44.
Verbs and verbals
  • Verb form does not change to show tense; time is conveyed in context: *Next week he leave. 41d.
  • No -ing gerund form: *They suggested to travel by train. 61d; 63e.
  • Passive voice rare. 42.
Adjectives and adverbs
  • Adjectives follow nouns and pronouns: *grade ninth. 45.
  • Adjectives contain their own verbs, so be is rarely used: *The meal delicious. 38c; 41c; 61a.
  • Articles exist but are not parallel in form to articles in English: *He is teacher. 60.

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