The Well Written Story v The Good Story - Page 24


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Thread: The Well Written Story v The Good Story

  1. #231
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    You can probably see where I am going. The commas in that sentence can't be right. The first one breaks the rule for using that; the second one is between the noun and verb, which is so obviously wrong that the rule is rarely mentioned.

    My impression is that this truth is not know by most men. I think that usage of "want" is old-fashioned. Single man is actually ambiguous -- wouldn't unmarried man be better?

    To appreciate this story, don't we somehow have to understand the culture of mid-19th century London? To say his fortune is four or five thousand a year, in pounds I assume, really does not give us any information about how rich he is. (It lacks the usual correction for inflation.) But it's deeper than that –we do not nowadays measure a fortune in amount per year.

    Actually, Austen's narration seemed a little clumsy compared to her deft dialogue. And she does some punctuation things we wouldn't do now, like put an exclamation mark in the middle of a sentence.


    Well. To be honest, for the short amount I read, I was stunned by her writing skill. And P&P has the best romance ending I have read. But I think there's an element of "good for its time."
    You’ll see where she was more modern compared to the style of Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence. It was the style to give layers of preamble and to set the stage for what you were really going to say. That was just considered the elegant style of the time, all set off with commas, it has a feel and rhythm to it that is particular to that time that is like unveiling something. Each phrase in each comma grounds what will be said and also reveals more. Modern is not usually better, just different. And it isn’t like you can be good for a far distant time. You can only be good for the time that you are at. But Austen has stood the test of time. By the way, your and Austen’s personalities and brains work similarly from what I can tell of you. You’re both INFJs from what I can tell. (MBTI... it’s about personality and cognitive functions based on the work of Carl Jung— ask me about it if you’re interested).

    Anyway, hear how Thomas Jefferson did it and the similarities to the opening of Pride and Prejudice:

    “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impell them to the separation.
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.....”

    See those arches of thought that basically set you up for the zinger? So it’s a different style and it’s very elegant. At any rate, I don’t think newer or modern is better. But your second cognitive function is also in tune with what people think is good or want NOW if you are an INFJ. Anyway... let me know if you’re interested in that.


    I think you weren’t quite sure what Virginia Woolf meant about men being prominent since they were already known? Well, my neighbor was telling me about organizing for women’s rights and she said, “ Do you know that before the 70’s I wouldn’t have even been known as my own name on letters. I would be Mrs. Michael White (I changed her name). Anyway, women were not known for themselves but for being a man’s wife. You might have seen Hidden Figures the movie? Men were putting their names on the work of women and there wasn’t even a question that that was wrong. So women had a very tough time getting recognition for their own work.... and we are not talking about too long ago at all.

  2. #232
    Politicians are not known for concise, clear language. Jefferson was no exception.

  3. #233
    Austen was not mid 1800's, but late 17's early 18's, and mid eighteen hundreds is really when grammar rules were formulated, they were mad about order systems. The other thing is that a lot of the punctuation in her books was decided by typesetters, comparison of her books and original MS shows this, also editions of the late eighteen hundreds were 'corrected' by 'experts', in fact with the ones we don't have original ms for it is difficult to say exactly what she wrote.
    A new story

    I finally got 'A Family Business' recorded and loaded, all 37 mins of it, much longer than any I have done before.
    Hidden Content

  4. #234
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    ... The other thing is that a lot of the punctuation in her books was decided by typesetters, comparison of her books and original MS shows this, also editions of the late eighteen hundreds were 'corrected' by 'experts', in fact with the ones we don't have original ms for it is difficult to say exactly what she wrote.
    This is a somewhat serious problem for me. When I claim King is a master of punctuation and grammar -- how much is that King and how much is it his editor? Or when I criticize a sentence by Camus, I am really criticizing the translation. In this thread we talked about the metaphor of a fish on the ground, which is clearly in one translation but not so clearly in the original German or a different translation. In those, it might be like a fish moving over the ground, a metaphor I liked. But I gave up.

    The second comma, which cannot be right, is not always present. I would punctuate the sentence:

    It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
    But, if we claim that Austen was good at telling her story, we can't mean her original version before any editing or publication, right? But if we are talking about a published book, don't we have to say which edition we meant?
    Modern Punctuation and Grammar: Tools not Rules is finally published and available for $3 Hidden Content . Should be mandatory for serious writers, IMO. Italics, Fragments, Disfluency, lists, etc. But also commas and paragraph length. Discussed use of adverbs, and ends with a chapters on the awesome moment and the grammar of action scenes. Description at my Hidden Content

  5. #235
    Punctuation changes as does style. What is “correct” now will not be “correct” in another 50 years. Spelling used to also be much more of a moving target. Punctuation is there to make the meaning of the sentence easier to understand, so of course it needs to change with style.

  6. #236
    Quote Originally Posted by Llyralen View Post
    Punctuation changes as does style. What is “correct” now will not be “correct” in another 50 years. Spelling used to also be much more of a moving target. Punctuation is there to make the meaning of the sentence easier to understand, so of course it needs to change with style.
    If you go back 60 years to James Bond, the punctuation looks correct. Same for Sherlock Holmes (100 years ago), though you might start to notice a change in style. Hawthorne (160 years ago) might do an odd thing with which and that (using a style that practically no one uses today).

    And if you go all the way back to Austen (200+ years), they put exclamation marks in the middle of their sentences. That's about the only thing I know of that she could do that we cannot.

    So, 50 years from now, our books will probably look correct, though perhaps a little primitive.

    Part of this is that things stop being used, but they never completely drop out of the language. For example, my guess is that most authors have never used for as a coordinating conjunction. But it still does get used. (I was surprised to see it last week.) And it's hard not to be exposed to it. (For God so loved the world...).

    What we have done is added tools that hundred years ago were never used. So people from the past would think our writing is wrong.

    I'm guessing it's the same for vocabulary. You might have modest difficulties with the vocabulary from a hundred years ago. But they would have no idea what we mean by coronavirus, DNA, CIA, wind-chill factor, World War II, etc.
    Modern Punctuation and Grammar: Tools not Rules is finally published and available for $3 Hidden Content . Should be mandatory for serious writers, IMO. Italics, Fragments, Disfluency, lists, etc. But also commas and paragraph length. Discussed use of adverbs, and ends with a chapters on the awesome moment and the grammar of action scenes. Description at my Hidden Content

  7. #237
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    If you go back 60 years to James Bond, the punctuation looks correct. Same for Sherlock Holmes (100 years ago), though you might start to notice a change in style. Hawthorne (160 years ago) might do an odd thing with which and that (using a style that practically no one uses today).

    And if you go all the way back to Austen (200+ years), they put exclamation marks in the middle of their sentences. That's about the only thing I know of that she could do that we cannot.

    So, 50 years from now, our books will probably look correct, though perhaps a little primitive.

    Part of this is that things stop being used, but they never completely drop out of the language. For example, my guess is that most authors have never used for as a coordinating conjunction. But it still does get used. (I was surprised to see it last week.) And it's hard not to be exposed to it. (For God so loved the world...).

    What we have done is added tools that hundred years ago were never used. So people from the past would think our writing is wrong.

    I'm guessing it's the same for vocabulary. You might have modest difficulties with the vocabulary from a hundred years ago. But they would have no idea what we mean by coronavirus, DNA, CIA, wind-chill factor, World War II, etc.
    After I wrote 50, I also considered going back and changing it, but I decided to keep it there because very small changes do happen. I wish I could think of an example from the last 50 years. I can for grammar. Starting a sentence or even a paragraph with a conjunction is much more accepted. If I was a grammastician (they mention that profession in a song in My Fair Lady, aren’t there grammasticians? Lol) I might have more small examples, but there has to have been small changes made in that time and also debates about certain things to do among experts. I’m just not at that level with grammar. I’m hoping an expert on punctuation will step in here. . My main point is that language evolves just like you know it does too, but I think it changes a lot quicker than people realize.

    My husband and I have been laughing about something. I swear I have used this word this way before but he says he has never heard it. I asked if anyone was spelling him for rests at a job where he had to be really attentive. He said “spell me?” I said “Yeah... spell you... to get a rest.” He said “Swap me? What language are you using? “. I said “Come on! We grew up kind of in the same place. Swap would denote that the exchange was permanent. Spell means that you get a rest.” He keeps saying “That is NOT English!” I said “Maybe it’s a little old... it’s certainly got to be in the dictionary. Like ‘Sit a spell’”. He has been having so much fun this week throwing the word spell into things where it makes no sense just to tease me. I guess when I first said it to him it really made no sense to him. He says “You keep trying to get me to buy into this like it’s common English”. I say, “It is! Are people just not doing jobs where you have to tend things?” “Tend things???”

    Okay... it wasn’t archaic usage in my town growing up anyway...
    https://www.merriam-webster.com/word...-history-spell

  8. #238
    I don't know why, but my first association with 'spell' like that would be with rowing a boat, "Let me spell you for a bit", but I would certainly understand it in other contexts.

    I remember reading somewhere that some huge amount, (maybe half?), of proper nouns changed over a twenty five year period among people who didn't have a written language, writing certainly slows change down. Reading Chaucer needs a translation, Shakespeare is quite easy, about two hundred years between them, but another four hundred to us, what happened?
    A new story

    I finally got 'A Family Business' recorded and loaded, all 37 mins of it, much longer than any I have done before.
    Hidden Content

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