alternate with/between

Chinese Su

Senior Member
Chinese


The answer is (B), because "dispense with" = "dispose of" = "get rid of"

However, I am also wondering if the following sentences are otherwise correct. Thank you :)

Fully appreciating the convenience brought by the newly established i-bike system,

1. ... he reckons that he may alternate a car with a bike for a change once in a while.

2. ... he reckons that he may alternate between a car and a bike for a change once in a while.

3. ... he reckons that he may alternate a car and a bike for a change once in a while.
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Your first problem is that you have used non-idiomatic determiners:
    2. ... he reckons that he may alternate between his/the car and the bike for a change once in a while.
    Second problem,
    "once in a while" is not appropriate - > use the verb to express this.
    2. ... he reckons that he might alternate between his/the car and the bike for a change.
    Third problem:
    I am not sure that "for a change" is appropriate here - to alternate already implies a change - so you are saying, "he changes for a change...":confused:
    2. ... he reckons that he might alternate between his/the car and the bike.


    Only 2. works. In your context, the subject (he) is alternating an action (driving a car/riding a bike), not an object (car/bike). To alternate is a very restrictive verb and, transitively, means "the action of putting each of two things, in turn, into the same place."

    Intransitively, the objects' implied action is clear -> To treat his illness, he alternated between [taking is implied] the medicine given to him by the doctor and the herbs he found in the field. The implication is that he took each in turn [implied -> to treat his illness].
     
    Last edited:

    Chinese Su

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Your first problem is that you have used non-idiomatic determiners:
    2. ... he reckons that he may alternate between his/the car and the bike for a change once in a while.
    Second problem,
    "once in a while" is not appropriate - > use the verb to express this.
    2. ... he reckons that he might alternate between his/the car and the bike for a change.
    Third problem:
    I am not sure that "for a change" is appropriate here - to alternate already implies a change - so you are saying, "he changes for a change...":confused:
    2. ... he reckons that he might alternate between his/the car and the bike.

    Only 2. works. In your context, the subject (he) is alternating an action (driving a car/riding a bike), not an object (car/bike). To alternate is a very restrictive verb and, transitively, means "the action of putting each of two things, in turn, into the same place."

    Intransitively, the objects' implied action is clear -> To treat his illness, he alternated between [taking is implied] the medicine given to him by the doctor and the herbs he found in the field. The implication is that he took each in turn [implied -> to treat his illness].
    Thank you so much for your detailed illustration!!! I've got a better picture now :D
     
    Last edited:

    Chinese Su

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    After having read everything carefully, I still have a few questions. Thank you :)

    Question 1: Why do we have to replace "may" with "might" here?

    Question 2: Why isn't "once in a while" appropriate?

    Question 3: Is the original sentence fine as it is? Thank you!

    Fully appreciating the convenience brought by the newly established i-bike system,
    he reckons that he may dispense with a car for a change once in a while.
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Fully appreciating the convenience brought by the newly established i-bike system, he reckons that he may alternate between a car and a bike for a change once in a while.

    Question 1: Why do we have to replace "may" with "might" here?
    You do not "have to"- that is a suggestion. The context, to me, seems to be that the person is not very enthusiastic about the i-bike because of the phrase "once in a while" (see below.)

    Question 2: Why is "once in a while" not appropriate?
    Please note the word order for questions."Once in a while" is an adverbial phrase of frequency. Adverbs and adverbial phrases of frequency indicate a length of time between events and actions. "Once in a while" would means "irregularly and once a year or less frequently."

    A: "Do you ever go fishing?"
    B: "When I was young I used to fish regularly but now it is only once in a while. The last time I went was sometime last year."

    Question 3: Is the original sentence fine as it is? Thank you!
    :confused: There is not an "original sentence". There are three versions of one sentence.

    The part of the sentence that is in blue (above) is poor. Its style is not idiomatic but it is typical of a non-native speaker:

    Participle phrases such as Fully appreciating the convenience brought by the newly established i-bike system, are rarely used in English, and when they are, they are usually restricted to the formal wording of international treaties or European law. Try and avoid them - they have a very stilted style.
     

    Chinese Su

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Fully appreciating the convenience brought by the newly established i-bike system, he reckons that he may alternate between a car and a bike for a change once in a while.

    You do not "have to"- that is a suggestion. The context, to me, seems to be that the person is not very enthusiastic about the i-bike because of the phrase "once in a while" (see below.)

    Please note the word order for questions."Once in a while" is an adverbial phrase of frequency. Adverbs and adverbial phrases of frequency indicate a length of time between events and actions. "Once in a while" would means "irregularly and once a year or less frequently."

    A: "Do you ever go fishing?"
    B: "When I was young I used to fish regularly but now it is only once in a while. The last time I went was sometime last year."

    :confused: There is not an "original sentence". There are three versions of one sentence.

    The part of the sentence that is in blue (above) is poor. Its style is not idiomatic but it is typical of a non-native speaker:

    Participle phrases such as Fully appreciating the convenience brought by the newly established i-bike system, are rarely used in English, and when they are, they are usually restricted to the formal wording of international treaties or European law. Try and avoid them - they have a very stilted style.
    I see! Thank you so much for being so patient with me, PaulQ! I am very grateful :D

    I've modified my second question statement :p The original sentence is from the image in my initial post. Now I know it's both unidiomatic and typical of a non-native speaker ... very stilted in style :(
     

    Chinese Su

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    One last question: Are following 2 sentences idiomatic to you? :)

    I think the first one is fine (according to you), but I am not sure if the second one also works. I feel like double-checking it with you because I have found the phrases in bold black at alternate | meaning of alternate in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English | LDOCE

    alternate between
    1.It is normal for me to alternate between driving a car and riding a bike.

    alternate something and/with something
    2. It is normal for me to alternate driving a car and/with riding a bike.

    Thank you so much :)
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    The whole thread is rather difficult to respond to. The verb "to alternate" is a patientive ambitransitive verb - these are those verbs in which the single argument of the subject of the intransitive verb corresponds to the object of the transitive verb.

    For example, in the sentence "John tripped" John is the subject, but in John (Agent) tripped Mary (Object), you will see that John is not the person doing the falling in both sentences.

    "I alternated between the two houses." in which "I" is the subject -> John moves
    "I alternated the task between the two groups" - in which "I" is the agent -> John causes something to move.


    alternate between
    1.It is normal for me to I alternate between driving a car and riding a bike.
    :tick:
    Try to avoid the impersonal forms.

    2. It is normal for me to I alternate driving a car and/with riding a bike.
    Grammatically, it is OK, but idiomatically, (i) this construction is usually used with actions that change quickly and often, and/or (ii) it requires further qualification.

    "When you are training for football, alternate running quickly with doing press-ups."
    I alternate driving a car and riding a bike to keep myself fit.

    There is a difference between "with" and "and": with (=together with) is used when the actions are performed as a combination - within the same overall action; and is used where the actions are discrete.
     
    Last edited:

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "Alternate" and "alternative" don't mean the same. You are not using "alternate" correctly.

    To "alternate between A and B" means A, then B, then A, B, A, B, A, B, etc. It is a fixed pattern, switching each time. If you do A most times, and B occasionally, that is not "alternating". That is why "once in a while" cannot be used with the verb "alternate". You can only "alternate" by using A half the time and B half the time, in a fixed pattern as shown above.

    An "alternative" is "another choice". If you normally drive a car to work, bicycling to work is an alternative.

    It is acceptable to use the adjective "alternate" to mean the adjective "alternative". But not the verb "alternate".
     

    Chinese Su

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I see! Problem solved! I can't thank you enough for your detailed explanations!

    PaulQ, dojibear and JulianStuart. Thank you all for helping me! :D
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top