1. tlm89
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    tlm89 New Member

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    An ajar door... Help me with this sentence please.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by tlm89, Jan 20, 2013.

    Hi there. I'm currently editing my WIP (and have been doing so for the past 4 months!) and i have just came across this sentence:

    'Michael stared at the ajar door ahead of him.'

    Now, this doesn't look or sound grammatically correct to me. Namely because 'ajar' is an adverb (unless i'm mistaken) and i'm using it in the above sentence as if it's an adjective.

    I've thought about rewording it, such as:

    The door in front of Michael was ajar.

    OR

    Michael stared at the partly opened door ahead of him.

    But i much prefer my original sentence; it fits in with the tone of the scene better. I'm just worried it isn't correct.

    There aren't many (if any) one-word alternatives to 'ajar'. If i say the 'open door', it gives the wrong impression.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks.
     
  2. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    I think 'partly open' sounds better - not partly opened.

    Even if you think it ajar 'fits in', if its wrong, its wrong.

    'Michael stared at the partly open door ahead of him,' sounds better to me.
     
  3. Jack Dawkins
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    Jack Dawkins Member

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    What is wrong with open door? It's simple and describes the situation. If your looking for something more dramatic try gaping door ahead of him.
     
  4. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    'partly open' door is more specific than open door. And open door can be anything from ajar to wide open. Gaping suggests wide open.
     
  5. Em_Anders
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    Em_Anders Member

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    Maybe breaking it up into two sentences would help.
    "Michael stared. The door stood ajar..."
    If it's part of a fast-paced segment the shorter sentences would work better. But if it's a segment that slows down with fear and hesitation, then I'd go with evelon's suggestion of the partly open door and keeping it all one sentence.
     
  6. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    Michael stared at the partially opened door ahead of him
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The word "ajar" is an adjective or an adverb, according to my dictionary. However, I've never seen it used adjacent to the word "door", as in your example. Although it should be equivalent to "The door in front of Michael was ajar," which is legitimate usage, I'd avoid referring to an "ajar door."

    Spend the extra words. It's less disruptive to the flow of the scene than "ajar door".

    Michael stared at the door. It was ajar.
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can't have "an ajar door" because ajar is a predicative adjective, which means that it can only come after the noun it describes, not in front of it. Attributive adjectives come before the noun. Or, "ajar" is an adverb, e.g. "the door had been left ajar".
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    much better than your awkward-read original, tim... though i'd simplify the second to:

     

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