1. lameri
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    lameri Senior Member

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    Adding emphasis

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by lameri, Feb 8, 2012.

    I'd like to add emphasis to "day after day" in the following sentence. Ideas?
    I can think of using commas around the phrase. Italics work well for one or two words, but I'm not sure about three...
    Thanks.
     
  2. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I'd recommend rewriting the sentence completely to emphasise the ideas that are most important, not using punctuation to do the job for you.

    For me, the sentence is a little clumsy and repetitive (say/day)
     
  3. Jowettc
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    Jowettc Contributing Member

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    I sympathise - I certainly have the same problem.

    I'm afraid it does probably come down to the sentence structure more than the grammar. If you are relying on grammar to save a bad sentence then you should rethink the sentence.

    Being ruthless with your own writing takes guts. I just read a piece I wrote a month ago I thought was great -- reads like a bag of spanners in a washing machine right now.
     
  4. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    Sorry double post and no idea how to delete this.
     
  5. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    Maybe go with something like:
    Surprised? Hadn’t they heard? Day after day, Nathan said he was breathing a little worse than the previous. I was the one surprised.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You can set it out as a parenthetical phrase, with commas or with em-dashes:
    Of the two, the em-dashes are considered a "stronger" separation than the commas.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree the sentence badly needs rewording... here's just one way you can say the same thing without being so boringly repetitive:

    Hadn't they heard Nathan say repeatedly that his breathing was worsening every day?
     
  8. GaleSkies
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    GaleSkies Active Member

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    I've often heard that using suspense on the sentence level can add emphasis. The phrase you'd like to bring out the most, if possible should sit at the tail end. Not a tool to use excessively, but it can be effective.
    I might opt for something along these lines. This version does retract from the informational content of your sentence, but when reading it out loud, I can feel the emphasis land on that final phrase.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Gale, that changes the meaning considerably. The original sentence emphasises that Nathan complains incessantly about his breathing problem, but your merely says his breathing problem is steadily worsening. Not the same thing at all.
     
  10. GaleSkies
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    GaleSkies Active Member

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    Right right. I wasn't trying to write the sentence perfectly for lameri. I was just too lazy to come up with a good example of my own that showed the emphasis I was talking about. I hoping he would take earlier suggestions into consideration and rewrite the sentence on his own with appropriate meaning and the emphasis he was looking for sans added punctuation. I should have clarified.
     
  11. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you wish to pretty much retain what you have, Cogito's suggested use of dashes certainly adds emphasis, as would, of course

    ..Nathan say - day after bloody day - that he.....or some other expletive
     
  12. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes. Don't. Write so that it's clear enough what is important, then credit your readers with the ability to read it.

    I agree with the other comments about the need to get rid of the repetition in the sentence, and I'd put commas around "day after day", not to emphasise it but because it's parenthetical. My version would be "Hadn’t they heard Nathan say, day after day, that his breathing was getting worse?"
     
  13. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I like the idea of commas around "day after day", because it DOES increase the emphasis. It's pretty subtle, but it's there and is still grammatically correct. However, I think the sentence is pretty clumsy and should be rephrased (but it's hard to be sure without seeing it in the context of the rest of the paragraph.)
     
  14. lameri
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    lameri Senior Member

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    Thanks so much for your suggestions. I'll use commas.
     

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