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A Little Sentence Structure Help Please (2 Viewers)

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TheMightyAz

Mentor
I can't remember what it's called technically, but is there a subject/verb discrepancy here?

Taking the homework from the dressing table, perfectly aligned with a brush and comb, he sat in a chair next to the window.

And does this solve it?

Taking the homework from the dressing table -- perfectly aligned with a brush and comb -- he sat in a chair next to the window.

Or perhaps this? Is it awkward like this?

Taking the homework -- perfectly aligned with a brush and a comb -- from the dressing table, he sat in a chair next to the window.

?

Taking the homework (perfectly aligned with a brush and a comb) from the dressing table, he sat in a chair next to the window.

This may be better:

From the dressing table, he took his homework -- perfectly aligned with a brush and a comb -- and sat in a chair by the window.

No confusion, I get rid of the nasty 'ing' and the ugly 'next to'. It's just that repetition of 'and' bothering me now. would using 'then' help? I don't like using 'then' if I can help it but is it acceptable there?

From the dressing table, he took his homework -- perfectly aligned with a brush and a comb -- then sat in a chair by the window.

I think that could be it. Why is it I can sometimes solve a problem on a forum that I couldn't in Word? At least you get to see how anal I am when writing. LOL.
 
Last edited:

-xXx-

Financial Supporter
[h=2]A Little Sentence Structure Help Please[/h]
I can't remember what it's called technically, but is there a subject/verb discrepancy here?

Taking the homework from the dressing table, perfectly aligned with a brush and comb, he sat in a chair next to the window.


And does this solve it?

Taking the homework from the dressing table -- perfectly aligned with a brush and comb -- he sat in a chair next to the window.


Or perhaps this? Is it awkward like this?

Taking the homework -- perfectly aligned with a brush and a comb -- from the dressing table, he sat in a chair next to the window.


?

Taking the homework (perfectly aligned with a brush and a comb) from the dressing table, he sat in a chair next to the window.


This may be better:

From the dressing table, he took his homework -- perfectly aligned with a brush and a comb -- and sat in a chair by the window.[/SIZE
]


No confusion, I get rid of the nasty 'ing' and the ugly 'next to'.

after taking the papers from their perfect alignment with brush and comb upon dressing table, he sat in a chair by the window with his homework.

accept.table?
;)
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
after taking the papers from their perfect alignment with brush and comb upon dressing table, he sat in a chair by the window with his homework.

accept.table?
;)

I like your winky face, so it makes it awkward for me to say 'I'm not keen on that' ... I need it to be snappy. The section it's from is filled with snappy sentences. It's a sequence that's necessary but I don't want the reader held up there.
 

Puellamagi

Senior Member
May be a bit of allegory:

[FONT=&quot]A perfectly aligned homework with a brush and comb cried to be taken, and he fulfilled its desire and carried it to chair next to window.

Probably this idea can be shaped better.[/FONT]
 

-xXx-

Financial Supporter
after taking the papers from their perfect alignment with brush and comb upon dressing table, he sat in a chair by the window with his homework.

accept.table?
;)

I like your winky face, so it makes it awkward for me to say 'I'm not keen on that' ... I need it to be snappy. The section it's from is filled with snappy sentences. It's a sequence that's necessary but I don't want the reader held up there.


winky face thot you might not be keen on that.
no worries.

papers snapped up from perfect dressing-table-brush-comb alignment, he sat in a chair by the window with his homework.

yeah.
not quite of-ambiance, ay?
:)
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
May be a bit of allegory:

[FONT=&Verdana]A perfectly aligned homework with a brush and comb cried to be taken, and he fulfilled its desire and carried it to chair next to window.

Probably this idea can be shaped better.[/FONT]

I like the idea but not for this piece, or for this section in particular. I'm getting a lot done with the three paragraphs in this section and that would slow the pace down.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Is his being OCD important to the story, or is it padding?

It is important in that it tells you something about his mother that hasn't been mentioned before. She likes her little boy well groomed. :) I think I'm happy with the sentence I eventually arrived at.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
His homework lay spread upon the dressing table, aligned with a brush, the comb, and a pencil, disrupted by a doily covering laid across this Chippendale surface, and some lady powders held in their silver salter shaker, possibly the word. How could he ever know? He gathered his exercise book from amidst the alien clutter of dressing, chewed his pencil, reclined in the comfort of the chair below the window, like a man, like the man he would be one day.

[it’s a fat tap from me, I’m at work]
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
His homework lay spread upon the dressing table, aligned with a brush, the comb, and a pencil, disrupted by a doily covering laid across this Chippendale surface, and some lady powders held in their silver salter shaker, possibly the word. How could he ever know? He gathered his exercise book from amidst the alien clutter of dressing, chewed his pencil, reclined in the comfort of the chair below the window, like a man, like the man he would be one day.

[it’s a fat tap from me, I’m at work]

Well ... yes ... erm ... not exactly what I had in mind. :)
 

Matchu

Senior Member
It’s very difficult on a mobile. I don’t have the same skills as when computering. I had to do it from memory. My only ‘serious’ point would be removal of perfectly- coz it’s not very interesting..

:)
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
It’s very difficult on a mobile. I don’t have the same skills as when computering. I had to do it from memory. My only ‘serious’ point would be removal of perfectly- coz it’s not very interesting..

:)

It does have a function in the context of the section. It's stressing something about his mother. Without it, it doesn't quite tell us how obsessive about 'order' his mother is:

As always, Tommy examined his bedroom. No matter how many times he asked his mother not to move his property, she would insist on tidying; which actually meant, putting his belongings where she thought his belongings should be. It infuriated him. He wanted to jumble the room, turn the neatness into a resemblance of him, annihilate affinity, but he could never bring himself to do so. His mother meant well, he understood.

If he was to have an anxiety free tomorrow, then homework had to be his priority today. From the dressing table, he took his homework – perfectly aligned with a brush and a comb – then sat in a chair by the window.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Yes, but at the risk of being a CW bore (me)...you might describe everything being perfectly aligned, and as I read I think, geez, everything perfectly aligned.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Yes, but at the risk of being a CW bore (me)...you might describe everything being perfectly aligned, and as I read I think, geez, everything perfectly aligned.

In an earlier scene, I describe the mother putting things 'just so' for Tommy's father's return. She's fussy in that scene but not obsessive. In this scene I have her being fussy sandwiched between 'property' and 'It infuriated him'. The sentence in between this is a gentle, easily flowing sentence to give her behaviour a motherly feel: 'which actually meant, putting his belongings where she thought his belongings should be' The 'ings' are working for me there, as is the repetition of 'belongings'. The comb and the brush are then strong indications of her obsessiveness BUT also a reminder of how she loves Tommy as a mother.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
The standalone sentence isn't clear to me, and I think you need either more ... or less. If the alignment bit isn't essential to the story, I'd drop it. If it is, I'd recommend describing the aligned objects in one sentence, and then move on to your action. As worded in the OP, it is indeed awkward.

The commas, em dashes, and parenthesis are all acceptable ways to break out added information, and I'd probably choose the em dashes for myself. However, in this case that information is what makes the sentence awkward, which is why I recommend breaking it out entirely.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
The standalone sentence isn't clear to me, and I think you need either more ... or less. If the alignment bit isn't essential to the story, I'd drop it. If it is, I'd recommend describing the aligned objects in one sentence, and then move on to your action. As worded in the OP, it is indeed awkward.

The commas, em dashes, and parenthesis are all acceptable ways to break out added information, and I'd probably choose the em dashes for myself. However, in this case that information is what makes the sentence awkward, which is why I recommend breaking it out entirely.

I was trying to avoid using 'was' or 'had been', but I'll definitely consider breaking it into two sentences on my next write through. :)

The context and content of the sentence is important. There's no reason I can't keep that context and content in tact using two sentences.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
I was trying to avoid using 'was' or 'had been', but I'll definitely consider breaking it into two sentences on my next write through. :)

The context and content of the sentence is important. There's no reason I can't keep that context and content in tact using two sentences.

It's commendable to look for alternatives to copulas, but not to the point where your sentence becomes strained. Remember: they're OK individually, just not when they run in packs.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
It's commendable to look for alternatives to copulas, but not to the point where your sentence becomes strained. Remember: they're OK individually, just not when they run in packs.

I'm going to have to leave it for the moment. No matter how I try to break it down into two sentences, it just doesn't quite convey what I want. I wanted it to be one succinct image so show how obsessive and motherly his mother is and how the lemon girl has made him want to finish his homework, which will obviously please his father, and him walking to the window into the light instead of wanting to hide in the shadows.
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
"From the dressing table, he took his homework -- perfectly aligned with a brush and a comb -- then sat in a chair by the window."

You said you want snappy sentences and you seem to want near-OCD style neatness.

Maybe something like:

His homework lay on the dressing table, parallel to a brush on the left, comb on the right. He picked it up then sat in a chair (an upright chair?) by the window.

This introduces another dimension in that the brush and comb must be in the correct positions. The word 'parallel', which I've taken the liberty to introduce, seems to strengthen further the need for correct positioning. It might work even better if that character has an interest in geometry or maths. Certainly, number patterns might be a part of such a characters thoughts. My version isn't particularly snappy though.

Your piece of writing, so your choice of course.






 

Deleted member 65352

Senior Member
I can't remember what it's called technically, but is there a subject/verb discrepancy here?



And does this solve it?



Or perhaps this? Is it awkward like this?



?



This may be better:



No confusion, I get rid of the nasty 'ing' and the ugly 'next to'. It's just that repetition of 'and' bothering me now. would using 'then' help? I don't like using 'then' if I can help it but is it acceptable there?



I think that could be it. Why is it I can sometimes solve a problem on a forum that I couldn't in Word? At least you get to see how anal I am when writing. LOL.


Jack lifted homework from the dressing table. Aligned perfectly - brush,comb, he seated himself in the chair beside the window.
 
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