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My student wrote in his essay

it gives her face a peculiar charm?

I tried all the dictionaries at hand (hard-copy and electronic ones) but did not find a definite answer whether this phrase sounds English. Could you please help me?

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What does it sound like if it's not English? English is a flexible and vivid language that isn't limited to set phrases that are always found in a reference source. –  Canis Lupus Nov 5 '13 at 15:13
    
@Jim German is even more flexible. You can string a lot of words together and it will still be grammatically correct. Can't do this in English, but I just wanted to say it :) –  MilanSxD Nov 5 '13 at 15:27
    
They still looked at me strangely in Köln. I guess can probably butcher any language, no matter how flexible it is. –  Canis Lupus Nov 5 '13 at 19:50

1 Answer 1

The sentence is correct in both grammar and meaning. A peculiar charm is basically a charm that you can't place. In other words, it has a charm, but you don't know why. Peculiar means unusual. You don't understand what the charm about it is, but it has something. I doubt you've never had the feeling :)

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Unless the question mark is the problem. It's out of place and context. But there's nothing wrong with the sentence itself. Charm refers to the perception of (something about) a person as charming, and to the emotions of the perceiver as being charmed. It all happens in the perceiver's mind, but they can report the situation by referring to a specific feature, like something on her face. –  John Lawler Nov 5 '13 at 15:47
    
Hmm I didn't expect the question mark to be part of it. It would be Does it give her face a peculiar charm? –  MilanSxD Nov 6 '13 at 8:16
    
That's got no problems, either. The speaker of the sentence is asking for an opinion from the addressee about the appearance of a third (female) person, having signalled by asking that the speaker may agree with the stated opinion, and that the speaker thinks it is possible that the addressee agrees as well. –  John Lawler Nov 6 '13 at 18:27

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