1. ShortBus
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    ShortBus Member

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    Is this right?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by ShortBus, Apr 26, 2012.

    This won't be a one question thread. I'm sure I will refer to the thread quite often with examples. I don't even know what grammar means let alone how to use it correctly. Here is the 1st one ☺

    The green tint of the sun's rays filtering through the atmosphere reflects off of the sand, giving an omnipresent refractive aura in the surrounding distance.



    (I might go with this but I'm not sure yet)

    The green tint of the sun's rays filtering through the atmosphere reflects off of the sand, which gives an omnipresent refractive aura in the surrounding distance.
    _____________________________________

    It just seems a bit wordy to me, but the green tint is present throughout the entire story so I kind of want to emphasize it early on and often.

    Edit: omnipresent and surrounding are pretty much the same thing but since omnipresent is linked to the aura and surrounding is linked to distance would that be an issue?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Syntactically, grammatically valid. But the overall sentence is a mess, with a touch of technobabble and a bit of modifier soup.
     
  3. ShortBus
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    ShortBus Member

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    It is a futuristic western so there will be a lot of technobabble. I'm not sure what you mean by modifier soup.
     
  4. GaleSkies
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    GaleSkies Active Member

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    Right? I'd have to say not.

    Referring to technobabble: yes, light reflects off of sand, and yes, light refracts through a planet's atmosphere. But your word choice/tense choice of "giving/which gives" sounds more like the sand itself or the action of the reflection is the cause of the aura off in the distance as opposed to the original subject of the sentence, the green rays. I'm assuming you mean that the green rays, or the refraction of light through the atmosphere is the cause of the aura, not the sand itself or the reflection of light off the sand. In which case, I'd reword it so readers don't have to assume. If however it is the sand or the act of reflection causing the aura then refraction isn't quite the word you are looking for. If you are talking about a fuzzy haze on the horizon commonly seen in dessert areas, I'd hesitantly give it an okay. But I get the feeling that you want to direct the sentence toward the green skew in the wavelength of light as opposed to the sand or the reflection.

    Free modifiers are fun, but direction is needed too.

    Speaking of technobabble, did that make sense to anyone other than myself?
     
  5. ShortBus
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    ShortBus Member

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    good call.

    i meant that the aura itself is refractive. thats kind of what i meant when i said it might be too wordy. the aura is omnipresent and refractive.

    im kind of tired but ill try to explain what i was getting at.

    a combination of the sun light filtering through the atmosphere and the reflection off of the sand creates an aura in the distance. the aura is refracted light.

    you did make sense ☺ now i just gotta learn what a modifier is.
     
  6. GaleSkies
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    GaleSkies Active Member

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    What we've got with the modifiers is below:

    The green tint of the sun's rays filtering through the atmosphere reflects off of the sand, giving an omnipresent refractive aura in the surrounding distance.

    What we've got here is a little color scale showing the base clause in orange, each level of modification goes down the color scale skipping red and yellow because I don't like those colors.

    Modifiers come in lots of shapes and forms, like prepositions, in, on, off of, or the free modifiers with verbs like "giving".
    The modifying phrase in green splits the base clause as visualized, but then there is also the cyan color, telling you what the sun's rays are doing before you return to the base clause. That works, but you've got a blue free modifier in the next part.
    The modifier in blue, unless specifically directed, will refer to the object of the sentence as opposed to the subject because the subject is on the first half of that split base clause and the object is on the second half.
    Lastly the purple shifts the sentence into an even deeper specturm of modification adding location to the part in blue. Technically this should be cyan colored as well but who cares. This feels like the least important bit of information almost hanging of the end of the sentence. For me it brings the sentence down.

    Don't quote me on this as I am no instructor of English. Modifier soup seems to be the popular metaphor for bits of meat and veggies floating around without direction, as opposed to a club sandwich of neatly layered condiments.

    Edit: The second half of the base clause (the orange) could be two parts as well if you're picky.
    What I really want to add is that when you look at the sentence with or without colors it is still hard to tell which verbs are being applied to which objects or subjects. "Does a green tint reflect? or is it a sun's ray that reflects? and who is giving what which thing?"
     
  7. tbradt
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    tbradt New Member

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    I think you noticed this, but that is a very wordy phrase. I am no authority, but here are my thoughts.


    "omnipresent refractive aura" Is a bad phrase. It has no flow. "omnipresent" is redundant, and "refractive" is a word most people will not associate with any particular visual effect. You are left with "aura", which really makes no sense without the qualifiers.




    The green tint of the sun's rays filtering through the atmosphere reflects off of the sand, giving an omnipresent refractive aura in the surrounding distance.

    I would just say:

    The sun's rays, taking on a green tint as they were filtered by the clouds, bounced off the sand and spread a glow into the distance.


    That's not necessarily the "right" wording, but it is immediately clear.
     
  8. GaleSkies
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    GaleSkies Active Member

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    As you can tell by the color scheme this sentence is about a simple as a peanut butter sandwich and tbradt is right. It is immediately clear.

    Orange again being the base clause, the first green modifying phrase directly follows the subject, so its obvious the sun's rays are what it's referring to.
    The second modifying phrase stays green, as it repeats/directs back to the subject with the word they.
    The base clause finishes, with another modifier added by the word and,
    The last modifying phrase keeps the same tense as the base clause implying/directing back to the subject again.

    I won't call it a pretty sentence or even an interesting sentence, but it is clear.
     
  9. tbradt
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    tbradt New Member

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    yeah, it wasn't supposed to be pretty. I was just trying to show the simplest example I could think of that held true to the original.

    I really like your coloring system though. I am going to totally steal that for my own editing. :)
     
  10. simplyrachel
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    simplyrachel Member

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    despite what the others are saying, i liked the wordplay. it was very graphic :)
     
  11. ShortBus
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    ShortBus Member

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    thanks for your comments guys. and i think i learned something too ☺ i am a bit miffed though, on a few things actually.

    wasn't tbradt's sentence almost exactly the same as mine but he used different words? he/she substituted the clouds with atmosphere and bounced with reflected. the end of the sentence "spread a glow into the distance" isn't the perspective i was aiming for but i understand what he/she wrote.

    is modifier soup good or bad?

    i think of writing as an art form. in many instances i would rather prefer abstract rather than a normal run of the mill sentence. being that as it may, (see what i did there ☺) i would like to not look like a complete idiot if someone were to read some of my material. it's ok if i look semi stupid just not completely.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    They had the same meaning, but his was far, far clearer. It did a better job of communicating. I think that it's important to keep in mind that the first purpose of language is to communicate.

    That's not to say that complex structures and words are a bad thing, but when they cloud your meaning, that gives the impression that you haven't really mastered the use of those structures or words. It's more impressive to use simple tools well, than to use complex tools badly.
     

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