1. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Blargh, comma.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Melzaar the Almighty, Oct 18, 2010.

    I can't decide if one should be here or not:

    (talking about wine, before anyone wonders. :p)

    I don't like the unnatural pause after swallowed, but the other option is a phrase that begins, "once she'd swallowed her tongue..."

    Er... help? :redface:
     
  2. JaShinYa
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    JaShinYa Member

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    It sounds better with the comma in my mind. You could always try to rewrite to make it a separate thought?
     
  3. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    It was worse in her mouth, yet her tongue sorted itself out once she’d swallowed.

    Might work. The demand for a comma between out and once is weaker - indeed, is perhaps wholly a matter of preference - than that between swallowed and her in your original effort (where I do feel it is required).
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hrm, might use your suggestion, Art, minus the "yet", since I try not to use "yet", "but" etc in narrative if I can help it. :p Though then it wants a semicolon. Which everyone is slagging off in other threads today.

    Maybe the dash can come back?

    It was worse in her mouth -- her tongue sorted itself out once she’d swallowed.

    ... yeah, I think that looks like what I was trying to say. :D

    Thanks. :)
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It was worse in her mouth. Once she’d swallowed, her tongue sorted itself out.

    Once is used as a conjunction. The comma is needed because you are inverting the order, placing the dependent clause before the independent clause.

    The em-dash doesn't belong. You are using it to separate two independent sentences. Use a period.
     
  6. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't like the idea of "it was worse in her mouth" being one sentence all on its own, 'cause it makes it a lot more dramatic than it needs to be. Way too much emphasis on the wine. I'm only describing it at all to show that my character isn't very experienced with alcohol, explaining later actions. It's not the wine-taster's nightmare. :p
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In that case:

    It was worse in her mouth, but once she’d swallowed, her tongue sorted itself out.
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, it depends a bit on the mood you are trying to convey. I mean, 'yet' etc is a bit literary if you're writing Chick Lit. You'd have something more like:

    It was worse in her mouth. She swallowed, and was speechless for a second. Then her tongue sorted itself out.
    'So, where'd you say you bought this...this...'
    'Tesco's.' He picked up the bottle and scanned the label. '"A blend of finest quality grapes from the Dão". Like it, then? Fancy a bit more?'
     
  9. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Heh. :p You can go write that story yourself. :p Sounds interesting. :p

    Here's the wider context, with how I'm currently using it:


    Probably going to be a ton more things people will pick out now instead of just looking at the sentence that was bugging me. :p But you can see how it works with the rest of the scene.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Any critique beyond the troublesome sentence will be deleted. This is not the Review Room.
     
  11. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for the context, Mel. We aren't exactly trying to critique, but it's much easier to understand the tone of your writing after seeing a bit more.

    Since you have it in between dialogue, and your style is fairly modern and natural, I think the simple:

    It was worse in her mouth. Her tongue sorted itself out once she’d swallowed.

    suits it best :) It doesn't work with the em dash there.
     
  12. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    I think it needs a 'but'
     
  13. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Over the last year I've been using 'and' or 'but' a bit less when I'm writing stories. Now I'm getting used to the more punchy look--but each to their own.
     
  14. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've also been trying to cut back on such words. :p
     
  15. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    In this instance, the conjunction is needed because the two sentences are entwined, passing from one idea to another. I would put ,but

    If it were .... It was worse in her mouth. She made sure no one was looking and spat it out.

    then of course no need for a conjunction
     
  16. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    We need a conjuction which is kind of like "and" "then" and "but" all rolled into one. None of them really fit for me. "But" kind of stops the thoughts flowing by creating a contrast, while "and" just plain doesn't work in the sentence, and "then" feels a bit amature grammatically in the context, though perhaps has the best sort of meaning I would want.

    which was why I think I inversed it originally - going from "bad taste" to "gag it down" to "tongue all sorted now!"

    Argh, WORDS.
     
  17. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    An onomatopoetic interjection perhaps?

    "It was worse in her mouth – once she’d swallowed, gaaah, her tongue sorted itself out."
     
  18. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hrm.

    I just said "screw it" and stopped trying to be concise. :p It clearly was not working.

     
  19. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it would work with a colon. If you have "but" then you probably need to lose the full stop anyway, to avoid protests from the "never start a sentence with a conjunction" lobby.
     

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