1. Darkhorse
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    Darkhorse Member

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    Comparison of similar sentences.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Darkhorse, Feb 13, 2013.

    Braziers, which he wondered how they remained alight, were spaced regularly along the bridge, providing better light than the entrance.

    Braziers, which he wondered how they remained alight, spaced regularly along the bridge provided better light than the entrance.


    If anyone would please provide comment on the two sentences above it would be appreciated. I am mainly interested in which sounds better. However, I would be happy for any additional feedback, including grammar; because, after returning to writing from a long hiatus and never having been close to mastering it, I now find myself stumbling and second guessing myself when I write some basic sentences.

    Edit:

    Some of the confusion came from trying to combine the sentences below:

    Braziers spaced regularly along the bridge provided better light than the entrance. He wondered how they remained alight.
     
  2. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    an entrance does not give light - provided a better light than the (lights/candles or whatever) at the entrance.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Braziers spaced regularly along the bridge provided better light than the entrance. He wondered how they remained alight.

    Implied => provided better light than the entrance provided. I prefer to keep the structure parallel, even if it's an implied structure, and I also prefer direct verbs over participles, all else being equal. But that's a minor point.

    More important is dividing the sentence in two, because two separate thoughts are being conveyed: the lighting along the bridge, and speculation over how they remained alight.

    Don't work so hard to stuff more into a sentence. A sentence's best job is to convey a single pieces of information with clarity and precision.
     
  4. Darkhorse
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    Darkhorse Member

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    True, but I think in the context of the other paragraphs it will make more sense. I will try to resolve the conflict. :)


    Cheers, that was very helpful. Edit: I now realise that when I have a lot of ideas I try to cram them into one sentence for the sake of being concise, but it is to the detriment of clarity.
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with Cogito.

    But to be specific, your first sentence is better than the second. In the second, the word "spaced" doesn't really function as the verb. It would read better as "were spaced", as if "spaced" were an adjective. The second sentence doesn't read like a complete sentence for this reason.

    Also, "which he wondered how they remained alight" is very awkward. Rephrase, break the sentence into two sentences, or do whatever is necessary, but get rid of that construction. It's clumsy and it doesn't work.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm a firm believer in writing concisely. But cramming too much into sentences isn't really more concise. Periods take up less space than commas. :)
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    thanks for saving me a lot of typing, cog!

    dh...
    that makes no sense at all, grammatically... and his wondering certainly does not belong in a descriptive sentence... if absolutely necessary for some reason [which this isn't], the wondering part would best be contained within em dashes...
     
  8. Darkhorse
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    Darkhorse Member

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    Thanks Cogito, Ministrel and mamma. Your comments helped a lot. :)
     

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