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Does this make grammatical sense? (1 Viewer)

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mr. ramstad

Senior Member
"He didn’t at all care for the fine wines or prissy mutterings which often found themselves being accompanied by one another in grand halls at various social events, a beer among lively people in a tavern was far more his preference, although not his apparent suiting. Afterall, he was a man who once knew common status all too well."

I keep re-reading it thinking it doesn't sound quite right. Can I get some help/insight on this please?
 

ppsage

WF Veterans
At grand halls, prissy mutterings often accompanied fine wines. This irked him. He much preferred drinking beer at taverns where his cynical erudite ex-redneck act stroked his ego.

ps... If the extreme irony of the original passage is intentional, I salute you.

pss... Not sure that grammatical sense is the goal. I try to settle for just making regular sense.
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
"He didn’t at all care for the fine wines or prissy mutterings which often found themselves being accompanied by one another in grand halls at various social events, a beer among lively people in a tavern was far more his preference, although not his apparent suiting. Afterall, he was a man who once knew common status all too well."

There's a point to be had here. Unfortunately, your reader needs to untangle this to find out what it is.

If I'm reading this correct, you've got a character who worked his way up to a higher plane of society. He doesn't really care for the trappings of his new peers. This makes him think of what he used to be, tempered with the knowing that he didn't really fit there, either.

Let's dissect what we have.

He didn’t at all care for the fine wines or prissy mutterings which often found themselves being accompanied by one another in grand halls at various social events, a beer among lively people in a tavern was far more his preference, although not his apparent suiting.

First issue - this sentence stumbles all over itself. It's oddly detached for its purpose of telling us something about the character and shifts between active and passive before finding a fragment stuck to the end. It's two sentences glued together with a comma, and both halves try to carry more than they can support.

So to begin, cut it in half. We have two ideas at play. In plain language:

- He is presently in a higher social circle, and he doesn't care for certain aspects of this role
- He used to be a commoner, though he isn't really suited to that role, either

Cleaned up some and boiled to essence, we get this:

He didn't care for the wine and mutterings that were part and parcel of this higher run of society and its grand social events. The strangeness only brought to mind off-key drunks and flat beer on Friday nights, a world long behind him that he recalled warmly, though if were honest he was no more a part of that circle than this one.
 

luckyscars

WF Veterans
"He didn’t at all care for the fine wines or prissy mutterings which often found themselves being accompanied by one another in grand halls at various social events, a beer among lively people in a tavern was far more his preference, although not his apparent suiting. Afterall, he was a man who once knew common status all too well."

I keep re-reading it thinking it doesn't sound quite right. Can I get some help/insight on this please?

Firstly and most simply, this should be three sentences, not two...

He didn’t at all care for the fine wines or prissy mutterings which often found themselves being accompanied by one another in grand halls at various social events. A beer among lively people in a tavern was far more his preference, although not his apparent suiting. Afterall, he was a man who once knew common status all too well.

Secondly, there should be a comma before which...

He didn’t at all care for the fine wines or prissy mutterings, which often found themselves being accompanied by one another in grand halls at various social events. A beer among lively people in a tavern was far more his preference, although not his apparent suiting. Afterall, he was a man who once knew common status all too well.

With these two changes, it's almost there. The rest is mainly clean-up...

- I don't like 'found themselves' being used in relation to fine wines and prissy mutterings because these are not sentient beings and yet they are being written as such. Objects cannot really 'find themselves' anywhere.
- A lot of overwrite. Consider 'being accompanied by one another'. This is overwrite. You cannot be accompanied by anything except 'other'. Do you need to specify 'among lively people in a tavern' other than just 'a tavern'? Aren't taverns typically quite lively? I don't like 'apparent' basically anywhere as it's usually redundant. Why is it 'he didn't at all care' and not just 'he didn't care'? A little bit of frill is okay, this is a bit much. Feels like an affectation. Why 'far more his preference'? is that needed?
- I don't think 'afterall' is one word. Should be 'after all'. Not sure if you even need it.

voila...

"He didn’t care for the fine wines or prissy mutterings of grand halls and social events. A beer in a tavern was his preference, although not his suiting. He was, after all, a man who once knew common status all too well."
 

mr. ramstad

Senior Member
Thank you (and thanks to the person above who also replied).

I have a bad habit of overwriting something and trying to make something sound as technical as possible to the point of it not making sense. I place way too much emphasis on the wrong things and not enough on others. It's frustrating for me. Thanks for clearing it all up! Btw I also edited out the "found themselves" not long after I posted this topic so at least I know I did something right lol.
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
Thank you (and thanks to the person above who also replied).

I have a bad habit of overwriting something and trying to make something sound as technical as possible to the point of it not making sense. I place way too much emphasis on the wrong things and not enough on others. It's frustrating for me. Thanks for clearing it all up!

Heh. Join the club.

It took me entirely too long to figure out that good writing is mostly editing.
 

luckyscars

WF Veterans
Thank you (and thanks to the person above who also replied).

I have a bad habit of overwriting something and trying to make something sound as technical as possible to the point of it not making sense. I place way too much emphasis on the wrong things and not enough on others. It's frustrating for me. Thanks for clearing it all up! Btw I also edited out the "found themselves" not long after I posted this topic so at least I know I did something right lol.

It's not a huge deal. I think most people do it. Writing is rewriting.
 

mr. ramstad

Senior Member
@psage The character is meant to be down to earth and laid back so it makes no sense to paint him as someone who uses things to stroke his ego.
 

mr. ramstad

Senior Member
At grand halls, prissy mutterings often accompanied fine wines. This irked him. He much preferred drinking beer at taverns where his cynical erudite ex-redneck act stroked his ego.

ps... If the extreme irony of the original passage is intentional, I salute you.

pss... Not sure that grammatical sense is the goal. I try to settle for just making regular sense.

The character is meant to come across as someone who is down to earth and laid back so it makes no sense to paint him as someone who uses experiences to stroke his ego. To be honest, I have no idea what you've contributed here other than snark.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
"He didn’t at all [<- this is (somewhat) repeated later - just use one] care for the fine wines or prissy mutterings which often found themselves being [<- cut, this is a little overly wordy] accompanied by one another in grand halls [needs something more here to maintain flow] at various social events, [<- gah! a comma splice - get rid of it:)] a beer among lively people in a tavern was far more his preference, although not his apparent suiting[<- I don't fully understand that bit]. After[space]all, he was a man who once knew common status all too well[<-nice]."

I keep re-reading it thinking it doesn't sound quite right. Can I get some help/insight on this please?

It's decent enough, just needs a little editorial tidy up. Try:

"He didn’t at all care for the fine wines or prissy mutterings which often found themselves being accompanied by one another in grand halls [and] at various social events. A beer among lively people in a tavern was far more his preference, although not his apparent suiting. After all, he was a man who once knew common status all too well."

Resulting in:

"He didn’t care for the fine wines or prissy mutterings which often accompanied one another in these grand halls and at various social events. A beer among lively people in a tavern was far more his preference. After all, he was a man who once knew common status all too well."
 

Darren White

co-owner and admin
Staff member
Co-Owner
I am going to merge your new question with the previous one. Please keep everything pertaining to your question in one and the same thread.
Thanks :)
 
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