1. Zack Winchester
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    Zack Winchester Member

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    A sentence I'm struggling with in my book

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Zack Winchester, Dec 9, 2014.

    Hi everyone.

    So, there's an specific sentence I'm struggling with in my book.

    "He walked into the building to see the two girls stop in front of a woman to whom they gave a small piece of paper, then the woman put a bracelet on their wrists before letting them pass."

    The sentence is from the point of view of an invisible alien and he's watching two women enter to a concert. That's why I say piece of paper instead of ticket. So, is the sentence fine as it it? Or should I say:

    "He walked into the building to see the two girls stop in front of a woman to whom each of them gave a small piece of paper, then the woman put bracelets on their wrists before letting them pass."

    Or

    "He walked into the building to see the two girls stop in front of a woman to whom they gave a small piece of paper, then the woman put bracelets on their wrists before letting them pass."

    Could somebody help me with this?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Does it have to be one sentence?

    "Two girls stopped in front of a woman and gave her a piece of paper. She put a bracelet on their wrists and let them pass."
     
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  3. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    As he walked into the building, he saw the two girls give a woman a piece of paper. The woman looked at it, then put bracelets on the girls' wrists, and let them pass.

    Certainly break up what you've already got, and leave out the 'to whom'. It reads too clumsily.
     
  4. Zack Winchester
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    Zack Winchester Member

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    Thank you both.

    One more thing. They are two girls, so they give the woman two tickets. So in fact they are giving her two pieces of paper. The thing is that I'm describing this in plural. So, does it still reads correctly by saying that "they gave her a piece of paper"?
     
  5. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    If you think it's important, then just pluralise it, then. Between the words 'girls' and 'give', insert the word, 'each'. Or, he saw each of the girls give a woman a piece of paper...
     
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  6. Zack Winchester
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    Zack Winchester Member

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    Thanks!
     
  7. Miguel A. Wilder
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    Miguel A. Wilder Member

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    I am struggling with the same sort of thing. It has a lot to do with the point of view and the voice of the writer. If I were to write this i the voice you demonstrated, I would say

    He walked into the building in time to see the two girls stop in front of a woman to whom each of them gave a small piece of paper. The woman then, placed bracelets on their wrists before she allowed them to pass.
     
  8. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why do you need to include anything about him? Is it not obvious that the POV is the alien, so everything that happens is through his eyes. Only when he reacts to something does he need to be mentioned...or rather, his reaction.

    But you could write: "As he walked into the building he saw two girls, each of whom gave small piece of paper to a woman."

    Incidentally, the comma in the second sentence is unnecessary, or if you're going to use it, you need one each side of "then", making it a (very short) sub-clause of the sentence "The woman placed bracelets..."
     

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