1. Greenwood
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    Greenwood Active Member

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    Is this choice of word correct?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Greenwood, Jun 24, 2015.

    Hi there,

    I have this sentence, and I was wondering if the use of the word "fixed" below is correct, and if so, what you think would be a more attractive alternative, if any. Also, in this context, should it be "fixed at" or "fixed on"? English is not my native language, so I sometimes struggle with little stuff like this :) Thanks!

    "Don't you say nothing at all, young man." She snapped at him with her raspy voice, pointing her bony finger as if it were a rapier fixed at an adversary.
     
  2. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    You want "fixed on".
     
  3. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    I wonder if
    1. you need to mention the adversary at all? rapiers are used for fighting / dueling - the adversary is a given.
    2. in my experience with sword fighting, when you point a sword at an adversary, you point it at their throat / neck area. When someone is pointing at you to make a er .. um point, they point it at your face. So the pointing finger here would not necessarily be pointing like a rapier at an adversary.

    Does this sound ok?

    "Don't you say nothing at all, young man," she snapped at him with her raspy voice, pointing her bony finger as if it were a rapier.

    Otherwise, I am with @izzybot: you should use "fixed on".
     
  4. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, how tall is she? Because if I were to point my finger threateningly at someone, they'd more than likely be taller than me, so my finger would be aimed in the general direction of their throat/face area. Lol.
     
  5. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    This is an inaccurate aim, and explains why you die in act 2.

    Alas, poor slob, I knew her well.

    :p
     
    No-Name Slob likes this.
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    With dialogue you can have poor grammar but technically 'don't say nothing' is a double negative. "Don't say anything" would be the correct grammar. But again, if the character talks that way, leave it.

    I'd drop a few unnecessary words, and I agree it should be "fixed on" not "fixed at".

    "Don't you say nothing at all, young man." She snapped at him with her raspy voice, pointing her bony finger as if it were [like] a rapier fixed at [on] an adversary.

    And the two adjectives, raspy and bony, bog the sentence down just an itty bitty bit. I'd take 'bony' out but it's a personal preference.

    Welcome to the forum. :superhello:
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  7. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    I'd leave out reference to rapier and let the reader decide the significance, or draw an image. To me, a bony finger could be indicative of an arthritic condition, i.e. crooked, and therefore makes for an odd-looking rapier.

    No rapier but image:

    "Don't you say nuthin', young man," a bony finger stabbing to each rasped word.
     
  8. Greenwood
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    Greenwood Active Member

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    Thanks to all for the constructive feedback.

    There's a lot to be said for all suggestions given.

    After reading it again this afternoon, I agree with you that adversary is a bit too much, and can be left out. If we get really technical, a rapier is often used for parrying the incoming attacks of foes, in which case it would be pointed at their weapon height ;)

    In any other situation, I would agree with you a 100%. The reason I chose to mention those two adjectives in this sentence is because it is the first time any description about her is given, so I chose them more to let the reader get a quick image of her while she speaks. :)

    I'll leave out the adversary part and will edit to "fixed on"

    Thanks again people, I appreciate it a lot!
     

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