1. Brightsmiles
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    Brightsmiles Senior Member

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    I *hate* the word 'AS'

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Brightsmiles, Apr 12, 2009.

    I've decided i hate the word 'as.' Yes, hate is a strong word but i believe it quite fitting! its been driving me crazy so i turned to reading, trying to find inspiration by others who had conquered the twirp of a word only to get annoyed by the amount of 'as he' 'as she' 'as it' 'as the' 'as they' as as as's i found!

    now i'm worried about my view being zoned in on the word and ruining my overall perspective. My question is this. Am i over reacting to this word like others do over 'said' and in doing so need to accept its frequent existance and get over myself or am i justified in being aggravated and taking a minimal approach to it? (no, not replacing it, just anally watching my structure)

    your view is appreciated!
     
  2. Okie
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    Okie Member

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    You are obsessing about it.

    -AS-

    It's just a word, it happens in sentences all the time, as (<---look there it is now.) do other words, such as (<-- o_O) and, and said, then, as well as (Oh yea, I went there, watch me.) who, when, where, and why.
    Hope this helps desensitize you to the word -as-.
     
  3. Brightsmiles
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    Brightsmiles Senior Member

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    :p thanks okie. just one of those 'deal with it' things. got it ;) appreciate the input!
     
  4. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Perhaps you should avoid the word, then. It does not appear that often, does it? (I was forced to change the structure of my last sentence in order to avoid the word. XD )
     
  5. Brightsmiles
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    Brightsmiles Senior Member

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    atari, once you notice it, its everywhere! i made myself have a break and its not too bad now (too instead of as :rolleyes:) though it can't hurt being a little wary of my repetitive word use :D
     
  6. Tall and Weird
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    Tall and Weird New Member

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    It is just a word and if you decide to voluntarily forgo the use a one word you will limit yourself in a way similar to censorship.

    It is, of course your choice, but simply deciding to hate a word doesn't mean you shouldn't use it, you will just be more aware of, and focussed on, that particular word rather than the sentence, paragraph, manuscript in which it appears. An example of can't see the forest for the trees I think.

    Oh, I believe that I haven't actually used the hated word once but I feel that I have managed to get my point across without it.

    :p
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Is it the word you find objectionable, or the context of parallel action?

    If the latter, it is indeed overused, and very often inappropriately too.
     
  8. Addicted2aa
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    Addicted2aa Senior Member

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    I try never to use more than once a paragraph and even that is a lot. Most of the time, the sentence can be rewritten with out it, which will improve the flow. Things get boring if sentences have the exact same structure time after time.
     
  9. Okie
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    Okie Member

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    Excellent points. I never thought of it like that.

    When I read the OP, it looked a lot like what happens to me all the time. Where I obsess about a certain word and then it starts to sound weird in my head. For a while I will notice it everywhere and I begin to question my sanity at regular intervals.

    What helps is to make fun of it, so like make a whole sentence with as many as's in it as I could, and including some of the other short words I've found myself obsessing over in the past.

    Overall, I have to agree. If all of your sentences look like that one, you might want to rewrite that a little.
     
  10. giselle_zella
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    giselle_zella Member

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    "As" is one of the most frequently used words in the English language. It's also pretty essential. If you avoid it and try to write, you'll find that your writing just won't come out the way it should. I think it's just one of those little things you just have to accept. I agree that some people do overdo it, and when they do, it makes for very crappy reading. But it is a necessary word, and when used well, can only add to your writing. So accept its existence.
    ;)
     
  11. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I have seen amateurs make this mistake, often.

    Example: As I grabbed my fork, I ate the food.

    I think it is because using 'as' at the beginning SOUNDS professional, so they will use the sentence (often several times consecutively) without thinking about it.

    Another phrase, incidentally, is 'just because'.

    Example: Just because you did, doesn't mean everyone else should.

    That sentence LITERALLY make no sense.

    At least, in my mind, when I think about it. Oh well.
     
  12. Brightsmiles
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    Brightsmiles Senior Member

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    definately the context of parallel action! (thanks for pinpointing it for me Cogito!)

    thanks to everyone else who had an input on the matter too! i know the word is needed and trying to leave it out will be fatal to my writing. it was cogito's 'parallel action' that was driving me up the wall, particularly when i turned to books for help and got the same thing shoved in my face time and time again (maybe it was a bad choice of authors?) anyway, i love the idea of limiting the amount per paragraph rather than axing it completely, i really wasn't comfortable with doing that. needless to say its the start of a new day and the charming little word isn't anywhere near 'as' aggravating! :)
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's one of the worst, most oft-committed sins by beginners, sorry to say... i can't tell you how many of my mentees i've had to 'deprogram' to stop them from scrambling their syntax with the aid of that pesky li'l word...
     
  14. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    >< Who uses 'as' at the beginning of a sentence? I mean..it just looks aesthetically unsound. As for (haha!) parallel actions...wouldn't a conjunction do the trick more nicely? I.e. "I grabbed my fork and began to shovel food in my mouth." It just looks better...

    (sorry about the 'as for' sentence.. I couldn't resist..:p)

    ~Lynn
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    Who uses 'as' at the beginning of a sentence?

    ...if you mean in the sense of 'while' or 'at the same time as' probably 3 out of 4 among the thousands of writers i've mentored, that's who!...

    ...as for using it to begin a sentence like yours [or this one], all too few, which is a shame, because it's one of the few good ways you can use the word to start a sentence... ;-)
     
  16. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    As I don't recall doing so, I can't say whether I do it or not.

    The fork sentence is certainly incorrect, unless the person was eating while simultaneously grabbing a fork, which doesn't make a lot of sense.

    It might work for transition.

    For example...

    [Chapter about Bob getting ready to ride in a drag race.]

    As Bob was revving his engine, back at the ranch, Sally was packing her bags.

    [Chapter about Sally leaving Bob for drag racing.]

    Charlie
     
  17. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Does that mean I should avoid sentences like the following?

    As she waved a brush through her hair that she pulled from her bag, her stomach growled, and she thought about going back for her can of mixed fruit.

    As she rushed for the front doors, the blond said, “These are samples, not freebies.”




     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. Both of those examples describe simultaneous activities that seem somewhat absurd to link that closely in lockstep. Taking the second, simpler example, does the blonde (sic) synchonize wer motion with her protest? Does she interrupt the sentence when she reaches the door? Or stop dead in her tracks if she finishes te sentence before she reaches the door?

    Decouple the actions. Preserving most of the original wording:
     
  19. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Ah, I see why it seems odd. She and the blond are two different people. Zoey just sprayed some of the sample perfume and as she is rushing out of the store, the store lady, the blond, says, "These are samples, not freebies.

    I thought the best way to show that was the as sentence.

    She ran for the doors, and the blond said, "These are samples, not freebies."

    This sort of changes the timing, but it works. The first example, though, I am not sure how to rewrite and preserve the timing.

    She waved a brush through her hair that she pulled from her bag. Her stomach growled, and she thought about going back for her can of mixed fruit.

    Now she's not brushing her hair while thinking. I guess she could be. Perhaps changing the sentence like this is more important than trying to produce the image I wish?

    I notice good authors use this type of sentence. I'm trying to figure out if they are weak sentences.

    As her brother began speaking again, I took her hand. (Lilith's Brood)

    I suppose she could have wrote: Her brother began speaking, and I took her hand.

    As we rounded the final bend before the mountain people’s village, we kept hidden in the trees and undergrowth. (Lilith's Brood)

    I suppose she could have wrote: We rounded the final bend before the mountain people's village, keeping hidden in the trees and undergrowth.

    And when I see great writers use these "as" sentences, I really have to wonder if they are not worth using.

    For example, from the Great Gatsby.

    As I started my motor Daisy peremptorily called "Wait!

    As I waited for my hat in the hall the door of the library opened and Jordan Baker and Gatsby came out together.

    As the waiter brought my change I caught sight of Tom Buchanan across the crowded room.

    As the men around the table started to surge to their feet, Idaho's voice
    boomed across the room: "Hold!" (Dune)

    I could go on, but I think all great novels use them. So are they not worth using? Are they non-literary sentences? Are they frowned on by the judges that give out awards? I'm asking seriously, not sarcastically. If they are not worth using, I wish to stop using them.
     
  20. grnidone
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    grnidone Member

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    I dislike the word 'that'.

    Very often, it isn't needed and you can rewrite the sentence in a much clearer way without it.

    Though, I will say, I don't hate it. ;)
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    arch... the thing is, as your examples show, good writers like fsf know how to use 'as' well, in ways that make sense... while those of less talent/skill don't, so they shouldn't use it at all, rather than use it poorly...

    the other examples i don't find all that well done and i've no clue who the writer is... in the first instance, a straightforward order, 'She took my hand, when her brother...' would read better... as would the second, if it began, 'Rounding the bend,...'

    gr...
    overuse and misuse of 'that' is the other most common sin committed by new writers... and i do hate having to cross so many of them out, when correcting mss... and having to keep telling people to stop peppering their sentences with the li'l devils...
     
  22. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    I'd agree...very few new writers understand the proper way to use 'as.' It can be a difficult word to use correctly, as can the word 'thus.' I've been seeing that used a bit too frequently lately...

    I'll have to admit when I first started writing...I was one of those writers putting way too many "that's" in my work. I catch myself doing it every now and then and go back and make triply sure that I am getting rid of all the ones I don't need. We all have little words we get hung up on. For some people it's 'that,' and for others it's 'was' or 'has been/had/have'

    ~Lynn
     
  23. Brightsmiles
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    Brightsmiles Senior Member

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    lol, i've come to terms with it and made my peace. 'as' is no longer a word on my hit list! i do understand the 'that' issue. a lot of the time you can just delete the word and the sentence still works! (well, on a few of the shockers i've read!) :)
     
  24. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I think THIS is a matter of context.

    Let's pretend that someone is stealing something and they JUST walked out the door.

    Then:

    As the blond rushed for the door (which could be replaced with "rushed after them") she shouted, "Those were samples, not freebies!"


    These happened simultaneously and with good cause.
     
  25. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Atari, right, except my example is like FSF's sentence.

    As I started my motor Daisy peremptorily called "Wait!

    As I ran for the doors, the blond said, "Those are samples, not freebies."

    The structure is identical, except I am writing in third person. I don't see why I shouldn't use this sentence. In most of the examples I provided, as, could be replaced with while, correct?

    While I started the motor, Diasy . . .

    While I ran for the doors . . .

    Because we can reword all these sentences using the word while instead of the word as, is while often missused? And what about when?



    Maia, Octavia Butler is a good sci-fi author. Her awards.

    2000: lifetime achievement award in writing from the PEN American Center
    1999: Nebula Award for Best Novel - Parable of the Talents
    1995: MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant
    1985: Hugo Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
    1985: Locus Award for Best Novelette - "Bloodchild"[15]
    1985: Science Fiction Chronicle Award for Best Novelette - "Bloodchild"[16]
    1984: Nebula Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild
    1984: Hugo Award for Best Short Story - Speech Sounds
    1980: Creative Arts Award, L.A. YWCA


    As I started my motor Daisy peremptorily called "Wait!"

    While I started my motor, Daisy peremtorily called, "Wait!"

    I was starting my motor when Diasy peremtorily called, "Wait!"

    I think while or as sounds better, but COG said:

    Is it the word you find objectionable, or the context of parallel action?

    If the latter, it is indeed overused, and very often inappropriately too.

    So, I'm trying to iron this out. When FTS uses "as" for parallel action, would he have been better off writing those sentences differently? Does using while instead of as make it any different?

    Could someone give an example of a sloppy way to use the word as, so I could compare it to the ways FTS uses it. Thanks.
     

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