So I have a line from composition:

'But balloons had the disadvantage of having to go wherever the wind blew them, so that one never knew where they would come down.'

And I was asked a question:

'What was the disadvantage of flying in a balloon?'

I was instructed to answer in my own words and be only one sentence long. I wrote:

'The disadvantage of flying in a balloon was that one was forced to go in the direction where the wind blew the balloon, and thus one had no idea where he would descend.'

My professor marked me zero. Why is this wrong?

  • 2
    Zero is a bit harsh, in my opinion. It might be the use of "he" when you have previously used "one". (The best advice is probably to ask your teacher what is wrong.)
    – Andrew Leach
    Nov 12, 2013 at 11:33
  • @AndrewLeach thanks! So if I used 'he/she' or instead simply 'one', would I be still wrong? Nov 12, 2013 at 11:37
  • You're using a general impersonal "one", so consistency would be good. You could also use it, referring to the balloon. But I have no idea what was in your tutor's mind: only he has.
    – Andrew Leach
    Nov 12, 2013 at 11:42

2 Answers 2


I could find some mistakes which your professor might have considered...

  1. As @Andrew said: Use of 'he' which is inappropriate.

  2. Use of 'one' for the second time is not necessary.

  3. Descend means to Move downward and lower, but not necessarily all the way to the ground. So, 'where' he would descend doesn't sound that good. Because, the sentence in the paragraph speaks about the landing place.

The sentence may be like this: The disadvantage of flying in a baloon was that it moves with the direction of wind and thus the fliers didn't have the knowledge of where to land.

  • thanks! But at the end, would not this be more appropriate: 'where they will land' instead of 'where to land.' Nov 12, 2013 at 11:56
  • Sure. You have the advantage of answering in your own words!! (But without deviating from the context. LOL!!) Nov 12, 2013 at 12:00

Zero is harsh. Only the prof knows what he had in his mind. Apart from the "he-one" and "descend" issues already rightly pointed out, I would say you could have worded your sentence better without deviating from context.

The disadvantage of flying in a balloon is that there is little or no chance to navigate as flying direction is governed by the wind which makes landing at a specific location difficult.

This of course is a matter of taste.

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