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Thread: Sentence Help

  1. #11
    Finnley Wren
    Guest

    Re: Sentence Help

    Having recently re-read some Hemingway, I am confounded by current writers fear of using "and." Gary is right.

    "It was long and supple and ended in a twisted point shaped like a corkscrew."

    And if that doesn't float your boat, Papa would like a word.



  2. #12
    Book Werm
    Guest

    Re: Sentence Help

    Another suggestion:

    It was long, supple and the end, in corkscrew fashion, came to a twisted point.

    You now have an embarrassment or riches.

  3. #13
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Sentence Help

    It was long, supple and the end, in corkscrew fashion, came to a twisted point.

    Nope. This is a compound sentence with two independent clauses. Publishing would put a comma after "supple."

    Also, this version is more convoluted than the original. See no reason to go off in that direction.

  4. #14
    Ord Retniap
    Guest

    Re: Sentence Help

    Thank you for all the help folks, I'm overwhelmed by the number of responses!

    Gary, like Chuck I knew there was something off about the sentence but I couldn't pinpoint exactly what was bothering me. Thanks for the nice, straightforward explanation!

    I actually like your "long and supple and ended..." correction, but as the rest of that paragraph is already a little 'and' heavy I may be forced to rewrite. At least I know where I was going wrong now.

    This serial comma phenomenon is interesting. I flicked through the books on my desk and, sure enough, they include serial commas. I couldn't believe I'd never noticed before, but then it occured to me that they were American books. Looking through a few Australian ones, it seems it is still the convention here to have "short, fat and bald" rather than "short, fat, and bald."

  5. #15
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Sentence Help

    U.S. publishers are quite conservative with punctuation. They want the reader to have a clear roadmap of where the sentence is going. Thus, they use the serial comma, they set off the introductory prepositional clause with a comma more than you see in common English (although this is changing), they strictly mark compound sentences (multiple independent clauses separated with a comma; an independent clause followed by a dependent clause, not separated with a comma), and dependent "that" clauses never take a comma but independent "which" clauses always take a comma (and "that" always used for dependent clauses and "which" always used for independent clauses).

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