1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Is this a good sentence?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by waitingforzion, Aug 18, 2014.

    Many times have I declared my truth, but my tutor would not listen, who in spite of being patient and kind as she was known to many, would not grant me the hearing of my words, even as in the beginning she scorned my words when I was without knowledge that she scorned them, for she was set against me all along.
     
  2. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    It reads best as "speech..." as a monologue on stage.

    ...but lacks a hard consonant sound to bite upon , so all the rambling repetition of "words' and the qualified clauses is tiring on the eye, kind of circular, and a little bit confusing like a riddle. Interesting though :)
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The word "who" needs to go right after "tutor" because the relative pronoun always comes after the noun it modifies. So it would be something like this:
    "...but my tutor, who in spite of being patient, would not listen..." You could even have a comma after "who" in my example if you wanted; technically, that would be correct.

    This issue aside, it's hard to say if a sentence by itself is "good" or not. Context is important.
     
  4. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Here's a cropped piece from something a girl painted for me:
    [​IMG]

    I don't want an opinion on the entire painting, only that one thumbnail-sized section. Do you think it's a good colour choice, stroke?


    It kind of depends on the whole picture, doesn't it?


    Context decides a bad or good sentence, so I can't judge much. I'll say what I can, though, because posting just to antagonize isn't so cool either...;)

    I got totally confused at the last half: even as in the beginning she scorned my words when I was without knowledge that she scorned for them

    The 'as' should be setting something up or following through with a point, but it doesn't, so I'm left dangling. Also, the last part really just doesn't make sense: She scorned my words, even when I didn't know she was scorning my words? Uh, that goes without saying, doesn't it?

    Edited for clarity.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  5. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Is this better?

    I declared my words to Marie, and that many times, but denying their truth she refused them, even as she refused them when we first began to speak, not showing me her patience, nor showing me her kindness, these virtues that were found in her by many, which toward me she failed to demonstrate to the time of revelation, the time that was a witness of her way, and the time that of her way now utters the truth, her hatred from the very first day.​
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Clarity. I say again, clarity. And when I say it, I imagine you saying, "Heh, clarity, very funny, who cares? Rhythm! How's my rhythm?"

    Both sentences are extremely unclear. I'm going to copy/paste them into an editor and write myself translations of them, to try to work out what they're saying.

    Tentative translations:

    > Many times have I declared my truth,

    I've often said things.

    > but my tutor would not listen,

    But my tutor wouldn't listen to what I said.

    > who in spite of being patient and kind as she was known to many,

    Even though she was always nice to other people,

    > would not grant me the hearing of my words,

    she wouldn't listen to me.

    > even as in the beginning she scorned my words when I was without knowledge that she scorned them,

    She never believed me, but I didn't know that

    > for she was set against me all along.

    she always hated me.

    The second sentence:

    > I declared my words to Marie,

    I talked to Marie

    > and that many times,

    many times

    > but denying their truth she refused them,

    but she didn't believe what I said.

    > even as she refused them when we first began to speak,

    There was also a time in the past when she didn't believe me.

    > not showing me her patience, nor showing me her kindness,

    She wasn't nice or kind to me

    > these virtues that were found in her by many,

    even though she was nice and kind to other people.

    > which toward me she failed to demonstrate to the time of revelation,

    ... From this point on, I can't guess what you mean.

    > the time that was a witness of her way,
    > and the time that of her way now utters the truth,
    > her hatred from the very first day.

    My best guess as to what you mean:

    Marie was always kind and understanding with others, but when I spoke to her, she refused to believe me. I realized, eventually, that she had always disliked me.

    I'm going to say again: Clarity. You seem to disdain clarity, to have contempt for it, to see it as a lowly, perhaps rather dirty goal for writing. I don't know how to persuade you otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    An added thought. I notice that you asked

    "Is this a good sentence?"

    You didn't ask, for example:

    "Would you observe that this fragment, this piece of alphabetical painting, this morsel of expression, that it is perhaps less than, short of, not entirely to be described as, encompassing excessive flaw?"

    The second is perhaps more poetic and more rhythmic than the first. It's also very, very unclear. When you wanted an answer, you were clear. You're able to be clear. I struggle to understand why you so very strongly reject clarity in other writing.
     
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  8. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I'll put it this way: if that's the first sentence in your story, I wouldn't get to the second. If a reader has to read a sentence more than once to grasp its meaning, you have failed as a writer.
     
  9. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    This is quite a sentence, more like an elongated monologue so to speak. It's not terrible or bad, but it could use some basic improvement. It would sound and look better if you split it into two sentences in a way that would be vastly coherent so you don't confuse the reader.
     
  10. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Many times I declared my truth, but my tutor would not listen. Despite being a kind and patient woman, she would not grant me a hearing, as she was set against me all along.

    There's loads of ways you could make it a clearer sentence. As is, it's a lot of words with little meaning. Over-cramming your sentences does not equal a poetic feel, it just makes for a confusing read.
     
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  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Feels a little forced and windy Jane Eyre. I think you could cut back and change some word choices and still get the same flavor if that's what you're going for.
    Still feels like you're trying to cram too many ideas into one sentence. Maybe break it up. There's also an interesting technique which might help you rework this - for impact keep your strongest idea at the front or end of the sentence. But watch your length if the impact is at the end. Despite her reputation for being kind, Marie showed me only hatred - example only.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I prefer this rewrite over the OP's versions (both versions that the OP posted)

    OP - it just feels like you want to make it poetic, so you add some rambling clause at the end to drag it out without adding meaning.

    I second what @stevesh said - if this was the first sentence of the novel, I wouldn't bother to read on. In itself it's not a bad sentence per se, it just doesn't really say anything so striking that it warrants such a lengthy and old-fashioned sentence.
     

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