1. vanilla16
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    vanilla16 New Member

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    Did I use "mutually" correctly in this sentence?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by vanilla16, Apr 2, 2012.

    Their friendship ended on account of the mutually-crushed-on Andy.
    ___________________________________________________________

    :) Just wondering. . . .

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  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    makes no sense whatsoever, sorry to say...

    first of all, i'd change 'on account of' to 'because of' or 'due to' just because it would read better, imo... and what is 'the mutually-crushed-on' supposed to mean in re 'andy'?...

    'mutually' means the same on both sides, or equal to both parties, but you have only andy mentioned, so how does 'mutually' factor into the equation?... and what's the 'the' there for?
     
  3. Protar
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    Protar Member

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    I don't know that it's grammatically correct, and it's a tad clunky, but it makes sense to me.
     
  4. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    I get what you mean - both of them had a crush on Andy, and this ended their friendship. But you've phrased it very awkwardly by turning it into an adjectival phrase, further complicated by the definite article. If you remove the adjectival phrase it would read 'Their friendship ended on account of Andy.' This makes sense. Similarly, 'their friendship ended on account of Andy, the boy they both had a crush on' makes sense.

    And yes, 'mutually' is used incorrectly - mutual implies reciprocity, whereas you've used it to mean 'shared in common'.
     
  5. Eliot Wild
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    Eliot Wild New Member

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    According to dictionary.com, you've used the word correctly. Here is a link: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mutual?s=t

    3. of or pertaining to each of two or more; held in common; shared: mutual interests.

    Furthermore, I think your sentence is fine. Just sayin'...
     
  6. digitig
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    digitig Senior Member Contributor

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    No. Mutually-crushed-on would mean that Andy had the crush too. Jointly-crushed-on or multiply-crushed-on would mean what I think what you want it to mean. It's a non-standard construction, of course, but I think it's a good one that would work well in the right dialogue or first-person narration.
     
  7. Just Jon
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    Just Jon New Member

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    I think that mutually is used correctly. As for the "on account of" being awkward, it depends on the dialect in the rest of the story. It sounds like a rural expression, as if Huck Finn would say "on account of" (e.g. I had nothing left but the dirt in my shoes, on account of nobody would hire me.)
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's definitely not... for the reason dig just gave so clearly...

    the meaning was intended to be that the other two parties both had a crush on andy... so 'mutually' used to described andy doesn't work, can't mean that...

    that's what was meant... 'crushed-on' doesn't even make any sense to me... one can 'have a crush on' someone but 'crushed-on' as an adjective sounds too much like someone having a very fat person sit on their lap...
     
  9. Eliot Wild
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    Eliot Wild New Member

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    With all due respect, why would a "mutually-crushed-on" Andy involve Andy? Andy is the object of their mutual crush. That seems clear to me. If the girls mutually like ice cream, that doesn't mean the ice cream is involved. If the girls mutually like golfer Phil Mickleson, it doesn't mean Phil Mickleson is involved in the "liking".

    I don't mean to be argumentative, especially since I'm a newbie and this is just my second post, but I think this isn't as hard as some people are making it out to be.

    And furthermore some people these days say "crushed-on". I crushed on her when I was sixteen. English, as a language, is perpetually changing, evolving, and sometimes devolving, so to speak. The word "bad", at one time, carried only a negative connotation, but now it can also be used to mean something entirely different. The word "hot" -- she is "hot" -- doesn't necessarily mean she has a body temperature above normal; it can also mean she is attractive and sexy, or it could mean she is an up-and-coming star. It all depends on context.

    The girls apparently had a mutual crush on Andy, hence, they mutually crushed on him and it ended their friendship. It makes use of a particular vernacular. True, it is not formal English. It isn't even "common" English, being more regional or even "cultural" slang. Some kids might say "crushed on" in one geographical region, while others might use a less trendy vernacular.

    But it's all good. I'm just saying I understood it, and I believe it could work in the right context, in the right narrative. If the narrator is a teenage kid maybe, then we might expect him or her to use strange, hipster vernacular. I'm not arguing. Only giving my perspective. I very well could be wrong.
     
  10. digitig
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    digitig Senior Member Contributor

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    "The girls mutually like ice cream" is generally considered a mistake (though a common one, and some great writes have made it). They both like ice cream, but they don't mutually like it. "The girls mutually like golfer Phil Mickleson" does technically mean that Phil Mickleson returns the liking. Again, you really mean "The girls both like golfer Phil Mickleson". "Mutually" is not a synonym for "both": the primary meaning of "mutual" (and still the only relevant one generally considered correct) is a reciprocal relationship: "Of a feeling, action, undertaking, condition, etc.: possessed, experienced, or performed by each of two or more persons, animals, or things towards or with regard to the other; reciprocal." (Oxford English Dictionary, my emphasis).

    Of course, if it's a mistake your character is likely to make then let them make it.
    I agree with that, except for the "devolving" bit -- there's strong academic research to show that language maintains its overall expressive power through all changes, but the distinctions that one generation finds significant are not always the same ones the next generation finds significant. I don't think any case has been found of a language devolving.

    Oh, and I take it you realise that "devolve" is not the opposite of "evolve"? In most senses it means the same as "evolve". I assume you are using it in the archaic sense meaning "degenerate", which fell out of use in the first half of the 19th century.
     
  11. Eliot Wild
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    Eliot Wild New Member

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    Thanks for the explanation digitig. I understand what you're saying. Even the source I cited, dictionary.com, indicates in it's primary definition the word mutual involves reciprocity.

    So, I can see what you mean. However, I agree more with your statement about characterization. When considering the "correctness" of it, it all seems to come down to how correct it is for a particular character or aother to use such phrasing, and how clear and authentic it reads to the audience.

    Again, it rang clear and authentic to my ears. Given the evident subject matter of "crushes", it sounded a lot like something my teenage niece or nephew might say when discussing some of their friends. It seemed apt and genuine.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Contributing Member Contributor

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    While I understood the sentence, it reads very awkwardly. My advice - take mama's rephrased version - "Their friendship ended on account of them both having a crush on Andy" is clear, and reads smoothly.

    Your own sentence is comprehensible, but definitely bad writing.
     
  13. RowenaFW
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    RowenaFW New Member

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    I'd reorganise to...

    Their friendship ended due to their mutual crush on Andy.

    It sounds like the crush is shared, rather than the fact of having a crush (i.e there are two crushes, but identical ones, not one crush, which they houseshare with). Also, I think crushed on is strange enough to most of us that compounding with mutually make the language convoluted and confusing. It doesn't matter if it's correct or not: we stop to think about it. You don't want you readers stopping to think about whether a sentence makes sense/is correct, do you?

    Personally, I would go for simultaneous or similar.

    Their friendship ended due to their simultaneous crushes on Andy.
    Their friendship ended due to a simultaneous crush on Andy.
     
  14. Just Jon
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    Just Jon New Member

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    Curious.

    So the term "mutually agreed upon" (which I hear so often in spoken language and read in printed text and contracts) is wrong?

    For example, I often see the phrase "the mutually agreed upon terms". I take this to mean that both (or all) parties agree on the terms. It seems to have a similar structure to "mutually crushed-on Andy" (i.e. both parties crushed on Andy).
     
  15. madhoca
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    madhoca Senior Member Contributor

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    ^^ As you say yourself, this means everyone concerned is in agreement. Andy is not an active part of this crush, maybe even oblivious to it. In order for the crush to be mutual, he has to have a crush on the girls in return. And 'crushed-on' is an invented phrase that only makes sense as teenage jargon or something, in which case, it could work, but it's a bit unclear. Maybe in dialogue? Perhaps the character is prone to coin phrases like this--as such, I rather like it. It sounds like the kind of thing my neices say.
     
  16. digitig
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    digitig Senior Member Contributor

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    No, because the agreement is reciprocal. "Mutually" there describes a 2-way (or many-way) relationship between the parties to the agreement. "Mutually crushed-on Andy" doesn't describe a reciprocal relationship between those with a crush on Andy, it describes a common relationship they all have to Andy.
     
  17. digitig
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    digitig Senior Member Contributor

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    No, because the agreement is reciprocal. "Mutually" there describes a 2-way (or many-way) relationship between the parties to the agreement. "Mutually crushed-on Andy" doesn't describe a reciprocal relationship between those with a crush on Andy, it describes a common relationship they all have to Andy.
     

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