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The novel is full of explicit and implicit references to profanity, sex, and violence which is somewhat odd in the case of children's novels.

For instance, the boy's parents die in a car crash, the mention of grandmother's missing thumb along with a picturization of how it could have been removed, the precise account of the children being turned into various strange objects by witches, description of the appearances of the witches, the recipe of the "Formula 86", the description of cruelty in the school, and so on.

My teacher says that I am using noun-phrases/forms instead of verb-phrases/forms.

What does that mean?

  • Did you ask your teacher what they meant? – Smock Dec 9 '19 at 14:32
  • @Smock, yes. And, she repeated the same what I wrote in the question-body. – user366312 Dec 9 '19 at 15:06
  • So she didn't explain what a noun-phrase/form or verb-phrase/form was then? – Smock Dec 9 '19 at 15:07
  • One problem is that the items in your list don't have parallel structure. In particular, "the boy's parents die in a car crash" has a different structure than "the mention of grandmother's missing thumb" and the other items. – 79037662 Dec 9 '19 at 15:41
  • The only thing that's actually ungrammatical about that passage is the lack of an article in front of description. Anything else wrong with it is stylistic. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Dec 10 '19 at 1:26
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"For instance, the boy's parents die in a car crash, the grandmother's missing thumb is mentioned with a description of how it might have been removed, an account of children being turned into various strange objects by witches is given, appearances of the witches are described, cruelty in the school is depicted, and so on."

Notice that in each place there, I added a verb, so that every clause in the list does the same thing: tells the reader something that the author or his book is doing or relating.

When you have a list of comma-separated phrases that describe a list of things - all of those phrases need to have the same grammar function. In this case all of them are passive voice present-simple independent clauses which refer to examples of the "profanity, sex, and violence".

In the case of "the recipe of the "Formula 86", you have to do more to describe it; you can't just mention it in that sentence but need to add words (and a verb!) so that it fits the same pattern.

You could also make a sentence that means nearly the same thing with noun-phrase forms, also:

"Some examples of this are the boy's parents dying in a car crash, the mention of the grandmother's missing thumb and the description of how it might have been removed, the account of children being turned into various strange objects by witches, the appearances of the witches, the cruelty in the school, and so on."

What you can't do is mix the two in a single comma-separated list. Pick one, and stick with it the whole way.

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