Author Topic: Does this sentence make sense?  (Read 132 times)

JRTomlin

Does this sentence make sense?
« on: October 11, 2019, 02:15:44 PM »
I've been getting tangled up in pronouns lately. (One of the advantages of 1st as we were discussing in another thread is that it tends to be less of a problem).

So does this sentence make sense or am I totally tangled in my pronouns? I have rewritten it 5 or 6 times. lol

Thomas turned to stare at Alexander and opened his mouth to tell him how wrong he was but the words would not come.

(Do you know which he or him is which?)
 

TimothyEllis

  • Forum Owner
  • Administrator
  • Trilogy unlocked
  • ******
  • Posts: 2339
  • Thanked: 891 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Earth Galaxy somewhere, 2616
    • The Hunter Legacy Universe
Re: Does this sentence make sense?
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2019, 02:58:48 PM »
I'd put 2 commas in it.

Thomas turned to stare at Alexander, opening his mouth to tell him how wrong he was, but the words would not come.
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.



Timothy Ellis Kindle Author page. | Join the Hunter Legacy mailing list | The Hunter Legacy series on Facebook. | Forum Promo Page.
 
The following users thanked this post: Kristen.s.walker

JRTomlin

Re: Does this sentence make sense?
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2019, 03:14:39 PM »
You're right. It needed commas  grint

But can you tell which 'he' was wrong? Alexander or Thomas?
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Does this sentence make sense?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2019, 03:19:34 PM »
You're right. It needed commas  grint

But can you tell which 'he' was wrong? Alexander or Thomas?

In this context, I read it as Alexander.  Also, j/k but nobody tells themselves how wrong they are ;-)
 

Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).
SalesScanner, free KDP/Google Play/Kobo/Smashwords report analyser & aggregator.
 

TimothyEllis

  • Forum Owner
  • Administrator
  • Trilogy unlocked
  • ******
  • Posts: 2339
  • Thanked: 891 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Earth Galaxy somewhere, 2616
    • The Hunter Legacy Universe
Re: Does this sentence make sense?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2019, 03:34:43 PM »
Yes, Alexander is wrong.

Thomas is getting mouth exercise.
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.



Timothy Ellis Kindle Author page. | Join the Hunter Legacy mailing list | The Hunter Legacy series on Facebook. | Forum Promo Page.
 

JRTomlin

Re: Does this sentence make sense?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2019, 05:22:50 PM »
Excellent point about not telling yourself how wrong you are. I think I need a vacation but not getting one until I finish this novel which is hard when I can't figure out the simplest thing. 🙄

One more week and my draft will be done. Then there is editing. *hits self on head with hammer*
 
The following users thanked this post: Simon Haynes

TimothyEllis

  • Forum Owner
  • Administrator
  • Trilogy unlocked
  • ******
  • Posts: 2339
  • Thanked: 891 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Earth Galaxy somewhere, 2616
    • The Hunter Legacy Universe
Re: Does this sentence make sense?
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2019, 09:14:06 PM »
*hits self on head with hammer*

Don't do that.

You might break the hammer.

 grint
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.



Timothy Ellis Kindle Author page. | Join the Hunter Legacy mailing list | The Hunter Legacy series on Facebook. | Forum Promo Page.
 

JRTomlin

Re: Does this sentence make sense?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2019, 03:17:33 AM »
Considering that my brain feels like mush these days, I doubt it.  :icon_cry:
 

Llano

Re: Does this sentence make sense?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2019, 08:34:48 AM »
Turning to stare at Alexander, Thomas opened his mouth to tell him how wrong he was but the words would not come.
 

Scrapper78

Re: Does this sentence make sense?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2019, 10:04:15 AM »
Thomas turned to stare at Alexander and opened his mouth to tell him how wrong he was but the words would not come.

We could break it out, because too many subordinate clauses is always a pain to deal with.
Thomas turned to stare at Alexander. He opened his mouth to tell him how wrong he was, but the words would not come.
Still ugly. The problem is pronouns.

We know who he is staring at, right? Let's drop the 'Alexander so we can use him later instead of a pronoun.
Thomas turned to stare, opening his mouth to tell Alexander how wrong he was, but the words would not come.
Here, the target of his action (Alexander) gets double duty. By putting it in the middle, we know who he staring at and we dump two pronouns.

 
The following users thanked this post: Betty Blast

JRTomlin

Re: Does this sentence make sense?
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2019, 11:43:23 AM »
Scrapper, the problem is that never says who he is staring at. We don't even know that he is staring at a person. It just says that he is staring assumably at someone or something. That he starts to speak to Alexander does not mean that he is staring at him.  grint

ETA: I went back to my original two sentences once I decided I was overthinking it.

Thomas turned to stare at Alexander. He opened his mouth to tell him how wrong he was, but the words would not come.

When you have scenes with a lot of men in them (damned wars with only male knights) sometimes pronounces do get to be a headache.

The problem with Llano's version is that it makes turning and opening his mouth simultaneous actions, which isn't quite what I have in mind.

« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 11:48:45 AM by JRTomlin »
 

Betty Blast

Re: Does this sentence make sense?
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2019, 07:08:29 AM »
You're right to change the original sentence, it was confusing and would slow the pace of your novel. I like scrapper's version of this sentence the best, the writing is clear and concise:

Thomas turned to stare, opening his mouth to tell Alexander how wrong he was, but the words would not come.

You don't have to tell the reader who he is staring at, some mystery allows a reader to form a more personalized reading experience.
 
The following users thanked this post: Eugene Lloyd MacRae