1. Darkhorse
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    Darkhorse Member

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    Avoiding ambiguity: the tree trunks grew thicker

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Darkhorse, May 20, 2013.

    I wrote the sentence below today and I realised that it was ambiguous and probably grammatically incorrect. I don't want the reader to think the trees are visibly growing as the MC walks; rather, I would like to convey that the tree trunks are very large, and increasingly so, relative to those at the edge of the forest. I could say so explicitly, as I have done just then, but that seems unwieldy and wordy.

    Do you have any tips for eliminating ambiguity?

    [Not sure if this is a valid discussion or a problem due to the first day back writing in a while.]



    Or, maybe as below, which I also don't like.
     
  2. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Perhaps it's my vernacular, but your message was conveyed clearly to me in the first sentence. However, you need to look up the difference between farther and further.
    If you want a change, how about:

    The size of the trees increased the farther he walked into the forest.

    The farther he walked into the forest, the larger the trees were

    He walked farther into the forest where the larger trees grew (took root)
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'as' is one of the most overused and misused words by new writers... it means 'while' or 'at the same time' so if the two actions can't be happening at the same time [such as tree trunks growing thicker], then don't use it!

    first of all, starting a sentence with 'as' is not a good idea... should be avoided unless absolutely necessary, imo... and i never find it necessary, as there are many better alternatives... such as the ones suggested above by garball...

    and note the farther/further mistake he caught...

    then, 'trunks grew thicker' is somewhat confusing... do you mean the individual trunks were greater in circumference, than at the outer edges of the forest?... or that they were closer together?...
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^ I thought this was unclear, also. Do you mean: "The trees grew more thickly" (there were more trees around) or "The tree trunks grew thicker" (the trees were thicker i.e. bigger around, possibly because they were more mature trees)? If you mean the first, you need a comparative adverb--"more thickly"--to describe the verb "grow", not a comparative adjective--"thicker". And if you mean the first sentence, tree "trunks" don't grow, trees do.

    There are 2 threads on this topic, but I don't know how they can be united.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a moderator can combine them...

    darkhorse...
    contact a moderator and ask to have it done... and don't post more than one thread per topic in future...
     

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