1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Can I use the word fingers to sum up a thumb and finger?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by peachalulu, Nov 28, 2012.

    A character in a short story I'm working on has two remaining fingers.
    That's how it's phrased - he examins his two remaining fingers.
    A thumb and the pointer finger.

    Is it okay to call them remaining fingers when one is a thumb? Or will readers get technical and
    think well one's a thumb and a thumb isn't a finger.
     
  2. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    Finger and thumb. I would say like in the pincher movement of a crab, still pretty handy for picking up things though. Otherwise it might confuse the reader.
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Well, the trouble is one of the fingers doesn't last long anyway - here's the opening sentence-

    John examined his butchered hand, the left, wondering which of his remaining fingers to cut off now; The thumb or pointer finger?
    He tried to imagine each gone leaving behind a patchy scar above a knobby knuckle.

    It sounds gruesome but it's actually a semi-humorous sci-fi story.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You can call them digits...
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    cog beat me to it!... that's what i'd suggest, too...

    or simply leave that part out, as it's clear enough without labeling the parts:

    that best of all writer's axioms, 'less is more' applies here... also note the corrected punctuation and no capital letter for 'the'...
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    What if instead of "John examined his butchered hand, the left, wondering which of his remaining fingers to cut off now; The thumb or pointer finger?"

    you wrote

    John examined his butchered left hand, wondering which to cut off next: the thumb or the pointer finger?
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Thanks guys - you've given me the same advice I've dished out and forgotten myself - cut to the point!
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't see any good reason to use a colon instead of a comma, liz...
     
  9. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    Dammit. I was going to say that, too.
     
  10. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    What about a dash? You're right, though. It probably doesn't need a colon.
     
  11. the antithesis
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    the antithesis Member

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    Fingers works fine. Anyone who'd give you crap about it is being pedantic and can be safely ignored.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you don't have a colon, you will certainly dash frequently!
     
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    :D:D lol
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no call for one of those, either... only a minimal pause is needed, so a comma is the best option...
     

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