1. sdunks
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    sdunks Member

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    Does this make sense?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by sdunks, Oct 19, 2013.

    Hi, I'd just like clarification if the word 'long' is being used correctly here:

    Nature had long taken a stranglehold of the village, spreading its ivy like a spider's web.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, long can act as an adverb, meaning for an extended period of time.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Nice sentence, too.
     
  4. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I agree, but I do think "spinning" instead of "spreading" might be nicer. Maybe that's just me.
     
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  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry to have to disagree with you, cog, but 'long' doesn't work with 'taken'... and 'taken a stranglehold of' makes no sense either, is poor grammar...

    would be ok as:

    '...had long had a stranglehold on...' but that's awkward w/ the doubled 'had'...

    better would be:

    '...had long kept/maintained...'

    best for entire sentence would be something like:

    'Nature had long ago obtained a stranglehold on the village, with ivy spread like a spider's web over all.'
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The verb wasn't ideal, Maia, I agree. But as I saw it, the question was whether the use of long as an adverb was legitimate.
     
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  7. GaleSkies
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    GaleSkies Active Member

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    I don't know if this adds too much specificity to the desired sentence, but I often see the word "since" paired with "long" in word choice that is trying to sound old.

    "Nature had long since taken a stranglehold......" I don't know the advantages of this particular word order, but I can vouch for its wide spread usage. It seems to be there for an extra beat more than adding any useful content. Unless, of course, the preceding or following sentences can make use of the denotation of time and transition more fluidly.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, it's a fairly common usage, though not as much used nowadays as in the past... as in 'long since forgotten'... but would work better with 'obtained' rather than 'taken,' imo...
     
  9. sdunks
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    sdunks Member

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    Thanks for the responses, I can always rely on this site to be constructive!

    Regarding the verb though, what about 'seized'?
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i can't see 'seized' working with 'a stranglehold'...
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You want a continuous verb, not a transitional one. By that, I mean a verb that reflects a continuous state, like holding, having, maintaining, as opposed to a verb that changes a condition, like grabbing, seizing, or taking.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    which is why i suggested 'kept/maintained'... but only if the writer still wants to use 'had long'...

    however, if the writer's intent is to indicate that the stranglehold had been gained on the town long ago and is not referring to the continuing state, but only to the onset of the 'condition' then a 'continuous verb' would not be appropriate... and the sentence would need to be something like:

    'Nature had long ago gained...'
     
  13. lasm
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    lasm Member

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    Grammatically it's fine. Kind of mixing your metaphors, though. I'd drop the "stranglehold" thing.
     
  14. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, I think "stranglehold" is the point - the idea of natural overgrowth strangling the life from the village.
     
  15. lasm
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    lasm Member

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    The spiderweb/ivy seemed to me a better comparison and a better image, which was the reason for my preference. Either way, the problem for me is that spiderwebs are normally very flimsy and temporary, so to say that nature has "long taken a stranglehold" with its spiderweb-like ivy does not make sense. Up to the OP to decide what's more important here.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i have to disagree about it being 'fine' grammatically... both the 'had long taken' and 'stranglehold of' parts of the sentence are ungrammatical...

    as for the ivy/spiderweb comparison, i see it as the writer describing the interwoven pattern of the ivy's tendrils, not the diameter or longevity of same...
     
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