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Thread: Please explain to me...

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Actually, it should be written this way:

    “Nonsense,” Jennie said, grabbing Millie's hand.

    No need for and/while or any of that. The use of 'grabbing' in the present tense indicates it is done at the same time as the word is uttered.

    Keep it simple.
    Your version suggests two actions happening together. Or at least overlapping. (At least to me. But some will say your sentence is ungrammatical if there is no overlap in these two actions.)

    Meanwhile, the original suggested two sequential actions.

    Your version strikes me as very standard, preferred by many authors perhaps because it saves a word or two. And most authors wouldn't care about that small difference in meaning. But that brings us back to the same topic we have been dipping in for months, choosing verbs for style versus slightly better meanings.
    English is a good language for people who like to be creative and expressive, not for people who want words to fit into boxes and stay there.

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  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    Your version suggests two actions happening together. Or at least overlapping. (At least to me. But some will say your sentence is ungrammatical if there is no overlap in these two actions.)

    Meanwhile, the original suggested two sequential actions.

    Your version strikes me as very standard, preferred by many authors perhaps because it saves a word or two. And most authors wouldn't care about that small difference in meaning. But that brings us back to the same topic we have been dipping in for months, choosing verbs for style versus slightly better meanings.
    I think of the comma as kind of separating the two, albeit by very little. There's certainly an immediacy but I would see that as being correct with what is happening 'on screen'.

    I don't know. Debatable, I suppose? It certainly seems to flow better than the other offerings and I am not sure what difference it would make to reader enjoyment either way.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    Your version strikes me as very standard, preferred by many authors perhaps because it saves a word or two. And most authors wouldn't care about that small difference in meaning.
    Where's your evidence to support this? Most authors I've worked with know the difference between tense and aspect and whether to portray action as sequential or not.

    choosing verbs for style versus slightly better meanings
    Usually most will choose better verbs for clearer meanings. I've not seen them chosen to skew meaning just for style sake.
    "You don't wanna ride the bus like this,"

    Mike Posner.



  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquilo View Post
    Where's your evidence to support this? Most authors I've worked with know the difference between tense and aspect and whether to portray action as sequential or not.

    Usually most will choose better verbs for clearer meanings. I've not seen them chosen to skew meaning just for style sake.
    I want to know more. I think I can come up with evidence; I am just surprised anyone would disagree. What are we disagreeing about?

    Grabbing the gilded frame, the seventy-six-year-old man heaved the masterpiece toward himself until . . . (The Da Vinci Code, Brown)
    I thought that almost everyone at SL wouldn't see a problem with that, but you see a "potential" problem because the "grabbing" is not ongoing with the heaving (Discussion here).

    Whatever you and I want to make of that, the widespread use of that construction for actions that are not at the same time doesn't seem consistent with authors being sensitive about it.

    Or, suppose Tom was standing in the doorway. One could write, presumably, "Tom was standing in the doorway." But there is a campaign to write "active verbs", and I'm guessing because of that, I was finding (when I looked) "Tom stood in the doorway." Like the author (or editor) just changes it automatically.

    In this context, you are saying that, if the two actions happened sequentially, an author would not write this?

    Nonsense,” Jennie said, grabbing Millie's hand.
    Last edited by EmmaSohan; October 6th, 2019 at 03:23 PM. Reason: edited just for format
    English is a good language for people who like to be creative and expressive, not for people who want words to fit into boxes and stay there.

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  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    What are we disagreeing about?
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    most authors wouldn't care about that small difference in meaning.
    I'm after examples of where 'most authors' wouldn't care. Where are those authors? Because the op started this thread knowing there was a difference.

    You're speaking for a lot hypothetical authors. I just wanted to see some examples of where they say they wouldn't care 'about that small difference in meaning.' I think most would.
    "You don't wanna ride the bus like this,"

    Mike Posner.



  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquilo View Post
    I'm after examples of where 'most authors' wouldn't care. Where are those authors? Because the op started this thread knowing there was a difference.

    You're speaking for a lot hypothetical authors. I just wanted to see some examples of where they say they wouldn't care 'about that small difference in meaning.' I think most would.
    Well, active and passive always have small differences in meaning. The advice could be "Choose the best meaning" and that's all. But it isn't.

    The advice for progressive versus regular could be to choose the best meaning. But it isn't.

    So I am not hearing a concern for best meaning.

    In a heartbeat Gardi's head was smashed onto the table, everyone grabbed their drinks, and Ranger cuffed Gardi behind his back and handed him over to Tank. (Evanovich)
    A few "thens" or "whiles" would clarify the order of events and which are happening at the same time. Unless there is some cue in "and", but I always assumed there wasn't. Finding sentences like that is going to be really easy, right?

    I will try to think of other reasons for me thinking that.
    English is a good language for people who like to be creative and expressive, not for people who want words to fit into boxes and stay there.

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  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    I thought that almost everyone at SL wouldn't see a problem with that, but you see a "potential" problem because the "grabbing" is not ongoing with the heaving (Discussion here).
    That's a very old discussion. And you were introducing terms that don't exist: Sequential Phrase Grammar.

    Whatever you and I want to make of that, the widespread use of that construction for actions that are not at the same time doesn't seem consistent with authors being sensitive about it.
    I'm not sure what you're saying here.

    Or, suppose Tom was standing in the doorway. One could write, presumably, "Tom was standing in the doorway." But there is a campaign to write "active verbs",
    That's not passive. It's progressive aspect and active writing. The only issue with constructions would be if they constantly repeated. And that, like any other that's repeated and distracts from the story, is nothing to do with style, but writing that needs revising.
    and I'm guessing because of that, I was finding (when I looked) "Tom stood in the doorway." Like the author (or editor) just changes it automatically.
    No. No editor changes anything automatically. They recommend a change if it's constantly repeatedly. No editor looks to change an author's 'style' just because they don't agree with one construction of "X was X-ing by X'. At the end of the day, if the writing is flat because it constantly repeats certain structures, then an editor isn't doing their job if they don't point it out. It's up to the author to revise or not.

    Nonsense,” Jennie said, grabbing Millie's hand.

    In this context, you are saying that, if the two actions happened sequentially, an author would not write this?
    Where did I say that?
    "You don't wanna ride the bus like this,"

    Mike Posner.



  8. #28
    Hi. Such an important issue. I think we are talking about how much authors care about small differences in meaning. Or why I think they don't.

    Take the first sentence of The Promise (Crais).

    The woman stood in the far corner of the dimly lit room,
    That's in progress. Was standing would seem to be the correct meaning, logically speaking.

    That's a pretty small difference in meaning. Can you really find writers who notice? Or care?

    A few paragraphs later we get:

    only now, seeing her, Rollins wondered why she wanted to come.
    That should be "why she had wanted to come." She's already there. She looks uncomfortable, like she doesn't want to be there.

    If you don't like this example, there are others -- I can find no pattern to when Crais uses past tense instead of past of the past (Past perfect tense). For this example, I think people SL should know the correct verb and get it right, but I am not confident of succeeding in any argument about that.

    She is given a package as she enters work, goes to her desk and opens it, and finds a human leg inside. The correct verb is something like

    A woman's severed leg was in the box.

    The author added "crammed", maybe to try to have a stronger verb.

    A woman's severed leg was crammed sideways in the box.

    When you open a box and find a severed leg, the packing details really are not the issue. Anyway, the author actually wrote:
    A woman's severed leg had been crammed sideways in the box, (Career of Evil, Galbraith)
    Now, that moves the action into the past. The main character is looking at severed leg and the author is talking about the past? Totally wrong.

    I think we are discussing how many writers would notice that. Or how many would care. My guess is, not many. I'm still surprised if you disagree, but you have more contact with authors than me, I just see what gets published. And obviously some authors do care.
    English is a good language for people who like to be creative and expressive, not for people who want words to fit into boxes and stay there.

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  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquilo View Post
    That's a very old discussion. And you were introducing terms that don't exist: Sequential Phrase Grammar.
    I didn't want to ignore your replies, I just didn't know what to do with them. I am not sure why you are introducing that term; I have changed it to Simple Phrase Grammar. It does exist -- you revived it.

    You were responding to a particular sentence. IF YOU HAVE IN ANY WAY CHANGED YOUR VIEW ABOUT THAT SENTENCE, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW. You are like one of my sources of information on this.

    ADDED.

    Running, he stopped by the door. (your version)
    Running out into the night, he stopped when he saw the police. (my version)
    I have read that this construct (participle phrase) comes from Latin, where it always implies ongoing action. I have read that some people say that when the action cannot be ongoing with the next verb, the phrase is ungrammatical. But that doesn't seem to be common. I have been to a webpage where the issue of ongoingness was never mentioned, except every example fit the idea of being ongoing. So your report fits in with that and adds to my sketchy knowledge -- which is why I remembered what you said three and a half years ago.

    Writers freely use this construct when the action is not ongoing, and I'm guessing they don't know this rule (if it even is still a "rule"). But that means it can't be used to show that an action is ongoing. But that means we have given up a way of showing that an event is ongoing. And that suggests perhaps it wasn't an important issue.
    Last edited by EmmaSohan; October 6th, 2019 at 03:21 PM.
    English is a good language for people who like to be creative and expressive, not for people who want words to fit into boxes and stay there.

    Hidden Content -- Hidden Content

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