1. AuthoressM

    AuthoressM Member

    Jun 11, 2008
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    A Few Personal Troublemakers

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by AuthoressM, Sep 1, 2008.

    As I am editing a work of mine, sometimes I come across sentences that I can't decide what to do with. Sometimes I know what is wrong, or I just know that >something< is wrong, but not what to do. I would highly appreciate it if any of you could help me:

    A tanned arm and a squirm from its owner were the only indications that there was a man under the blanket and that he was alive.

    --- Should there be any extra punctuation in this sentence anywhere? I feel that there should be a comma, but I’m not sure where.

    There was a series of groans, and Mount Saint Kelly toppled as she turned on her side.

    --- Should it be ‘was’ or ‘were’ a series of groans. It’s the whole singular/plural thing I’m having a problem with.

    “What do you mean, ‘What’s a neutral zone?’?”

    --- Should it have both of those question marks? Or does one have to go? If so, which one?

    Somehow, Kelly was ripped from his grasp and dragged off somewhere, as strange hands roamed over him, sizing him up like a piece of meat.

    --- Comma before ‘as’ -> it troubles me. Should it be gone?

    He couldn’t fault her for that, but just because she said things would be one way, it didn’t mean Mel had to blindly go along with it.

    --- The ‘it’. It makes the sentence sound funny. Should I take it out, but keep that comma? As in, “…way, didn’t mean...” Or does the comma go, too?


    Thanks so much!
  2. Kylie

    Kylie Contributing Member

    Aug 24, 2008
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    A lot of your sentences are too long, that's probably why you're confused. Try making the sentences shorter (cut out some of the words.) It'll definitely make it easier for you. :)

    It's 'were'. This sentence is hard to understand, try rephrasing it. How does someone "turn on her side"? Isn't that only possible if the person is already on the ground?

    I would've written it like this, "As strange hands roamed over him, sizing him up like a piece of meat, Kelly was ripped out from under his grasp and dragged off."

    It's hard to to help you with the other sentences if I don't know what context they're in. (they need to be rephrased...)
  3. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Jul 17, 2008
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    This is fine.

    I'm pretty sure you only need the second question mark. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

    I took "it" out and took out the comma.

    I think Kylie has everything else.
  4. Scattercat

    Scattercat Active Member

    Aug 28, 2008
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    Under there.
    This sentence is technically acceptable, but it is rather confusing. I would recommend un-inverting the word order, like so:

    "The only signs that there was a man - a living man - under the blanket were his tanned arm and a slight squirming."

    It's "was" a series. There is only one series, though it consists of several groans. However, "toppled" and "turned on her side" mean almost exactly the same thing; it's not preferable to state them as separate actions.

    "There was a series of groans, and Mount Saint Kelly toppled, turning over onto her side."

    In situations where a quoted question is also stated in a question, one question mark will suffice, usually placed within the interior quote marks.

    Kylie's advice is good, and closely mirrors what I would suggest.

    This wants to be two sentences very very badly.

    "He couldn't fault her for that. However, just because she said things would be one way, that didn't mean Mel had to blindly follow after."

    I also included some suggested revisions to deal with the "it" repetition.

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