'Many Chinese have come' vs 'The past 5 years have brought many'

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snooprun

Senior Member
Chinese
I have read these two sentences on a book about writing, they are 1. Many Chinese have come to the United States in the past 5 years. 2. The past 5 years have brought many Chinese people to the United States. The book suggested that the second sentence is more natural to native speakers. My concern is if that was true? If so, why? Is it because English prefers using inanimate things as subject for objectiveness? Thanks.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Well, as a native speaker, I hate #2. It sounds like the years have brought the people. You could, however, say: The past five years have seen many Chinese people come to the United States.

    If there is a preference for the five years to start the sentence, it is simply to emphasize the time span over the people. In another context, you might prefer to emphasize the people over the time span, as in sentence #1.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I don't think it's true, Snoop Run. I actually think the first sentence sounds the most ordinary and idiomatic. The second sentence is also good, but it's definitely literary. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that a "period of years brought people to the country" in informal conversation. I have read similar statements many times, however.
     
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