Mixed Martial Arts – Fists vs Grammar

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Diego sent this paragraph:

Once I was a MMA fighter, MMA means mixed martial arts. When I was 9 years old I saw my first fight between two friends, since that fight I start like fighting, and had the pleasured to beat up the fist boy that said something to me. When I reached the age of fifteen years old, a guy came to me and told me that I should practice martial arts that would calm me down, that didn’t make sense to me at first. It sounds like a session between two opponents who have trained in martial arts and just makes you a better fighter. This was just the beginning; furthermore, I started to get interest on the sport. I was having problems in school, so my parents took me a Jeet kune do class. I didn’t what was that or what kind of martial art was. Jeet kune do was martial art that Bruce Lee created, which means “The art of the intercepting fist.” It was true it calmed me down, this martial art was entertained and helped you in such a way you will try to ditch problems. Since I started training hard my life was school and train. I started to practice often; I was trained for three years, before I started to fight championships. Because I was calmed, I started to go to church and stop fighting on the streets. I went to the Central America “MMA Championship”, when I entered to the stadium I saw different kinds of marital artists.

The first problem is that this is too long to be a paragraph. I will edit the part that should become the first paragraph in this.

Let’s break this down: The first sentence is a run-on sentence. A run-on sentence is not necessarily too long, but has two or more ideas not joined correctly. Here we have a statement about Diego’s past and a statement defining what MMA means. They should be separated into two sentences. Also the difference between “a” and “an” is not that “an” precedes a vowel, but that “an” precedes a vowel sound. Therefore we need “…an MMA fighter.”

In the next sentence, which is also a run-on sentence, Diego had a few common ESL errors. The sentence should be divided after “friends.” The verb “start” should be in the past form: “started,” and he missed a preposition: “to.” He also misused an awkward construction: “I had the pleasure of…” This usually is used in a way that describes a polite experience; it is a bit incongruous to use it to describe a fight. There’s a typo; ironically the word “fist” is written where he meant “first.” And when we refer to people we use “who” instead of “that.”

The third sentence is also a run-on sentence. It should end with the word “down.” We could put a comma after “martial arts,” and follow it with “which” instead of  “that” to fix it.

The final sentence lacks logic. “It sounds” implies that we have some other knowledge as readers. Really what Diego is saying is “I thought.” Then we need to be consistent with the person: if we begin with “I” then we should conclude with “I.”

So, the revised paragraph (now six sentences instead of three) would read like this:

Once I was an MMA fighter. MMA means mixed martial arts. When I was 9 years old I saw my first fight between two friends. Since that fight I started to like fights, and enjoyed beating up the first boy who said something to me. When I reached the age of fifteen, a guy came to me and told me that I should practice martial arts, which would calm me down. That didn’t make sense to me at first. I thought a session between two opponents who have trained in martial arts would just make me a better fighter.

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