Author Topic: Much of a Dutchness (Revised)- your comments please  (Read 6808 times)

Lin

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Much of a Dutchness (Revised)- your comments please
« on: January 17, 2006, 11:56:51 AM »
Hi guys,  can I have some feedback on this para - its going to a magazine soon for publishing and I just want to know if it makes sense to you. This is the first draft. I write an article and it looks great to me, but to the reader it could be confusing, so I need your feedback please.  Its a follow up to an article I had published last year about driving in Holland.  The magazine is for driving instructors and my last article did well, but I just feel something isn't quite right with this paragraph. Is it confusing?  A Motor Road by the way is not a Motorway.

Thanks
Lin




Of course,the 80kph limit in Holland(50mph),  feels slow against the British 60mph limit.    I also feel that this lower speed is rather unnecessary. I mean, whatís the difference between driving at 60mph in the UK and 50mph in Holland?   The  Dutch roads in my opinion are better than the UK, the surfaces are smoother, there are no added dangers and there are few bends in the road.   Driving at lower speeds may be safer but I feel that here in Holland, the lower speed limits create impatience.   The Dutch are renowned for their impatience in driving. They also are unsure of the speed at which they should be travelling.  You will often find a driver not making progress along the road when the speed limit allows him to go faster, because he failed to observe the road sign; the driver behind overtakes him in a manner of frustration, therefore causing possible hazards to other road users. Its all very confusing. 

The physical difference between the road classifications are often hard to detect.   A Motor Road in Holland allows the driver to travel at 100kph.      Itís also difficult to see which class of road you are driving on,  a Motor Road or an ordinary two way traffic lane.   If you inadvertently miss the ďlittle blue carĒ sign at the start of a Motor Road, you find yourself driving too slowly hence the uncertainties of the speed limit and the possibilities of someone overtaking unnecessarily.   There are few repeater signs to remind you as in the UK about the national speed limit.  When I first came to Holland I was surprised by the lack of uniformity in the road signs.  No I dont agree to 50 mph speed restrictions, I think its too slow for the safe roads we have in Holland.    It is the drivers themselves who must look to their attitudes and lack of patience. 
« Last Edit: January 18, 2006, 11:48:13 AM by Lin »

Offline Lingua Pura

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Re: Much of a Dutchness - your comments please
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2006, 04:00:20 PM »
Lin

Thank you for letting us read this.

I have read it twice and will give you some initial thoughts. I may read it again and give you more later.

Whilst the thought process is logical, I think you contrive in the end to confuse the reader, by which I mean oblige the reader to reread it to get the sense. This of course may only be because you introduce terms (like Motor Road) which are local, I presume, and also because the paragraphs are an excerpt and do not benefit from the context, which the rest of the article may give.

My initial observations are as follows.

There are lots of numbers in here, all given in both miles and kilonmetres (one for a type of British Road and two for Dutch roads). The effect of the abundance of numbers and comparisons you make is to overburden the reader. I think you perhaps need to sit back, think of precisely the points you are trying to make and then write them down in a simpler way. I am a Finance Director and I know how easy it is to confuse people with statistics - I have made a career out of it (smiling).

I will try and come back and be more specific, with quotes from your piece.

I do hope you find this helpful feedback in the meantime. Others may disagree.

How do you get to be writing about Dutch roads anyway?

With kind regards

Stephen
« Last Edit: January 18, 2006, 11:11:32 AM by Lingua Pura »

Lin

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Re: Much of a Dutchness - your comments please
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2006, 04:57:14 PM »
Hello Stephen.

Thank you for your comments, yes its just as I thought, but I know that the driving instructors of the UK will understand what I mean as the article is geared toward their knowledge so Im not too worried about the local side of things, they should all know that particular information from their training.

I thought perhaps the amount of data I put into it may be confusing and this is why I asked for the comments.  I am an ex  UK driving instructor and I live in Holland now and that is why I am providing this article for my colleagues to read.

I thank you for your assistance in this matter and hope that I receive more comments so that I can watch, listen and amend as I learn from the public at large!!  I have now modified this text for the next person to read until we got it right!

Many thanks Stephen

Regards
Lin



« Last Edit: January 18, 2006, 04:03:26 AM by Lin »

Offline Symphony

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Re: Much of a Dutchness (Revised)- your comments please
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2006, 10:56:39 AM »
Hi Lin,

Yes - having frequently driven in Holland I know exactly what you mean!!  :D  There are two main things that jumped out at me here that I thought could be made a little clearer (but please feel free to disagree!):

Quote
You will often find a driver not making progress along the road when the speed limit allows him to go faster, he failed to observe the road sign; the driver behind overtakes him in a manner of frustration, therefore causing possible hazards to other road users.

I thought that inserting the word 'because' instead of a comma in the first phrase might make the sense of this sentence easier to access: "... allows him to go faster because he failed to observe ..."

Quote
No I dont agree to  50 mph speed restrictions, I think its too slow for the safe roads we have in Holland, it is the driver's themselves who must look to their attitudes and lack of patience. 


My instinct was to say 'agree with' as opposed to 'agree to' here - and I'm trying to think 'why'. One agrees to terms and conditions so I'm not sure why this leapt out at me. Perhaps it's the 'the' - could it be 'I don't agree to 50 mph speed restrictions'? Perhaps that's it!
I also thought - but this is purely a personal observation - that your conclusion would be more emphatic if you split the long sentence into three smaller ones? It seems (to me) to get the point across with more conviction. For example: "No, I don't .... restriction. I think it's too slow for the safe roads we have in Holland. It is the drivers (no apostrophe) themselves who must look ..."

Hope this helps a little,

Symphony
« Last Edit: January 18, 2006, 11:46:18 AM by Lin »

Lin

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Re: Much of a Dutchness (Revised)- your comments please
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2006, 11:49:55 AM »
Many thanks Symphony I have revised it again.  Good comments.

Lin

Offline goldanon

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Re: Much of a Dutchness (Revised)- your comments please
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2006, 10:11:41 AM »
If I were to edit this - these would be my suggestions (suggestions only if I were talking to you - but as I cannot do this, I have written it out in a way that makes it clearer to me as a reader - please don't take offense.  It looks at first like I have made huge changes but I really only took out a few words and changed the placement of a few sentences and wordings.) I originally copied this piece and put it into Word with a "track changes on it" and comments in parenthesis as to why I would make those changes, but I discovered when I pasted it in here that the "tracking" disappeared and then the comments confused everything even more!  So, I simply wrote it out as follows.  Is that confusing???!! ;D

Of course,the 80kph limit in Holland(50mph), feels slow against the British 60mph limit.  I also feel this lower speed is unnecessary. Whatís the difference between driving at 60mph in the UK and 50mph in Holland?  Dutch roads  are better than British roads: surfaces are smoother, there are no added dangers and few bends in the road.  It may be safer to drive at lower speeds elsewhere, but I feel that here in Holland the lower speed limits create impatience.  The Dutch are renowned for their impatience in driving.  They also are unsure of the speed at which they should be traveling.  You often find a driver not making progress along the road when the speed limit allows him to go faster, because he failed to observe the road sign; the driver behind overtakes him in a manner of frustration, causing possible hazards to others. Itís all very confusing. 

A Motor Road in Holland allows the driver to travel at 100kph.  But the physical difference between the road classifications are often hard to detect.  When I first came to Holland I was surprised by the lack of uniformity in the road signs.  Itís difficult to know which class of road youíre driving on, a Motor Road or an ordinary two way traffic lane.  And there are few repeater signs to remind you of the national speed limit as in the UK.  If you inadvertently miss the ďlittle blue carĒ sign at the start of a Motor Road, you find yourself driving too slowly; hence the uncertainties of the speed limit and the possibility of someone overtaking unnecessarily.

No, I dont agree to 50 mph speed restrictions, I think itís too slow for the safe roads we have in Holland.  It is the drivers themselves who must look to their attitudes and lack of patience. (?) I would not end it with this statement as you have spent the entire time blaming the slower speed limit for the driverís attitude and lack of patience!  It is your main argument against the slower speed limit.  How about something along the lines of:
No I donít agree to 50 mph speed restrictions, I think itís too slow for the safe roads we have in Holland.  And it creates a dangerous attitude and lack of patience in the drivers.

Lin

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Re: Much of a Dutchness (Revised)- your comments please
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2006, 10:15:29 AM »
Thank you for the edit, a more positive way forward now.   Sometimes its hard to see a way through something, you read it so many times and unless you ask for feedback, you may never see the light

I approve of the above and will consider the changes and thank you for your help.

Lin

Offline goldanon

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Re: Much of a Dutchness (Revised)- your comments please
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2006, 10:25:06 AM »
not to belabor it but two other teeny changes:

The sentence "It's all very confusing." I think goes better as the beginning of the second paragraph than the end of the first.
And I think the second to last sentence might be a run-on.  Might need a period instead of a comma there:
"No, I dont agree to 50 mph speed restrictions.  I think itís too slow for the safe roads we have in Holland."  A colon might work just as well though - might give it added emphasis, in fact.

Lin

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Re: Much of a Dutchness (Revised)- your comments please
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2006, 10:52:07 AM »
Thanks I shall print off all the comments and use them constructively.   By the way does anyone agree with my comments in the text?

I have to say that driving here has been difficult for me because my standards are very high and I have many certificates to prove it.   I used to be a Grade 6 instructor in the UK with a Grade A certificate for top driving skills.   This is a test for driving instructors.

So when I came here and found everyone doing the most dangerous of manoeuvres it really scared me.   Yesterday I saw a man on his scooter with no crash helmet and riding with two passengers a child aged about 10 years old with a youngster of no more than 3 years in the middle of the pillion seat - none of them wore crash helmets.

You have to give way to the right in Holland, which I feel is also a dangerous and undecisive way of driving.   Very often when you are driving on the main road in a village, a driver will come speeding out of the junction from the right, its his right to do this!!  The next thing you know you are blamed for not stopping.   You can't see the driver until you are almost at the junction.   Fortunately I drive defensively so its not a problem but nevertheless its scary when they dont give way to traffic on the main road.  Anyway this is just a  talking point and a bit of writing practice!!

OK thanks again for your comments

Lin

Offline goldanon

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Re: Much of a Dutchness (Revised)- your comments please
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2006, 02:49:35 PM »
eeek - never been to Holland, but if I go I will be sure to stay away from the roads!  Sounds horrendous.  Are you sure they should INCREASE the speed limit?!