1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Adverbial Phrases a Problem for me?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by waitingforzion, Jan 16, 2015.

    On another site I posted the following sentence:

    Therefore this is my last letter to you, and I will not write you another, knowing that you are overcome by scorn, and that you cannot escape from hating me.

    Someone posted the following revision

    This is my last letter to you and I will not write any more, because I know you still hate and scorn me


    Is there something wrong with my sentence? It seems like every time I add an adverbial clause to a sentence somebody wants to split it into two sentences or do something else with it. Is my sentence not clear?
     
  2. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    The revision is clear and concise. I imagine someone would write that in a letter far more than the first example.
     
  3. Dunning Kruger
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    Dunning Kruger Active Member

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    Its not the clause but the verb. It's a passive sentence. "I know you still hate and scorn me" is a powerful statement. Your clause is flowery and melodramatic.
     
  4. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or: This will be my last letter since I know you still hate me.
    Says the same thing with half the effort.
     
  5. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    But those two sentence don't even say the same thing.

    In the revision, the recipient simply still hates me.
    In the original, the recipient is stuck and overcome by hatred for me.
     
  6. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the distinction is too subtle for me.
     
  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It's true that the sentences read differently. The revision is more direct and thus comes across are more harsh. But the bigger issue is the verbosity in your original sentence. Though this could be interpreted as an idiosyncrasy of the narrator/character, knowing your style of writing, I find this unlikely. It's just something you need to work on, that's all.
     
  8. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    That seems to totally change the register and of the letter, though.
     
  9. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    Trying to keep your tone, I'd change it to:

    I know you are overcome by scorn and that you cannot escape your hatred of me; therefore, this is my last letter to you. I will not write another.

    I think you need to put a cap on how many clauses you use in a single sentence.
     
  10. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I must agree. While it definitely is possible to shorten the sentence by doing so the tone of the letter is changed completely. Personally I find the original version to have more impact than the revisions.

    ETA: Like @lustrousonion showed it is definitely possible to improve upon the sentence without loosing the tone.
     
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  11. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    One thing I think would seriously help you in your endeavor is to point out the kind of work that is being written. Outside of Hellenistic and Roman study, the only place the average Joe is likely to come across an epistle is while reading a religious text. It's not a genre or form that has a great following outside of esoteric circles. Point it out, maybe even include a wiki-link for those unfamiliar with the form so that if they choose to return to give opinion, it's an opinion that at least understands the basis of the question.
     
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  12. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with @Wreybies . It's difficult to answer your question, @waitingforzion, because your sentence has no context for us. Who is writing it? Is this a story? Or a letter you are writing to your senator? Or your evil mother-in-law?

    If this is you, yourself, writing a letter to somebody, I'd suggest making it more direct in tone, like the excellent example given by @lustrousonion, which seems to include all your points. Or you could be even more direct, as a couple of other people have suggested.

    However, if this is a line written by a fictional character who is overfond of stating things in a grandiose way, then this might be perfect.
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    This is a character issue. If the character would write the letter as in the first example, stick with it.
     

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