1a. This is a book written in English in America.

1b. This is a book written in America in English.

2a. This was made in China in 2004.

2b. This was made in 2004 in China.

edit: sorry, may I add

3a. This movie was made by Studio Ghibli in Japan.

3b. This movie was made in Japan by Studio Ghibli.

Which is better, which sounds off, which sounds weird? Or is it best to split them into separate sentences altogether? (This is a book written in English. It was written in America.)

I started feeling unsure about this since I bumped into 3a and 3b. A friend just told me the right order should be manner-place-time but (3a) could be misunderstood as "This movie was made by Studio Ghibli, and Studio Ghibli is in Japan."

I'm a teaching assistant in Japanese schools, grading some of the students' homework right now and I can't figure this out. I've had too much exposure to Japanese-English and my ability to discern correct English has been diminishing!

Thanks in advance.

closed as primarily opinion-based by curiousdannii, Skooba, Dan Bron, kiamlaluno, RaceYouAnytime Oct 17 '17 at 18:06

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    It depends on what you want to emphasize. – Hot Licks Oct 16 '17 at 2:57
  • If you give us more detail we can help you, We can help you if you give us more detail. – 3kstc Oct 16 '17 at 3:29
  • @3kstc there isn't much else. The students had to write sentences in English using this sentence structure: (Thing) was (past participle) in/by/on/at (place time etc) - they have to learn this sentence structure as a translation from a Japanese sentence structure. I was told to grade their worksheets, some students wrote sentences like what I had written in my post. – happyredstar Oct 16 '17 at 4:08
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    All those sentences are grammatically correct. There is no strict rule on this matter except a common sense that native speakers will have naturally, but non-native speakers like me have picked up by constantly reading good English, especially written by native speakers. – English Student Oct 16 '17 at 7:22
  • As has been said, the various sentences are grammatically correct. In large part, good style suggests usually putting the prepositional phrase to be given emphasis at the start or end of the sentence, but that is not a rule of grammar, and rules of style are flexible. As a matter of personal style, I would recast all of these sentences. "This was made in China during 2004" or else "This was made during 2004 in China." "This book in English was written in America." – Jeff Morrow Oct 16 '17 at 7:37

All those sentences you quoted are grammatically correct. It is a matter of emphasis as @Hot Licks rightly noted in comments; it is also a matter of style.

There is no strict rule on word order in such cases, except for a common sense idea that native speakers will have naturally, but non-native speakers like me have picked up by constantly reading good English, especially written by native speakers.

'Made in China' is a typical phrase usually used together, so it's certainly better to say

This was made in China in 2004.

Similarly with 'made in Japan' unless you have some reason to give more importance to 'Studio Bhigli.'

The book can equally be 'written in English' in America or 'written in America' in English.

A lot will depend on the context provided by the surrounding sentences. Example:

My grandfather collected first edition books with special interest in country of first publication. See this rare book. It was written in Japan by an American diplomat, in Japanese. And this book was written in America, in English, by the same author. What is so rare about these books? They are exact translations of each other and nobody can say which was written first!

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