1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Not crazy about this sentense - is something off?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by peachalulu, Aug 28, 2012.

    Here's a sentense from my recent project - something about it doesn't feel right. Any suggestions. Am I
    missing a comma? - was / firelight doesn't sound right - though - were / firelight sounds worse.


    He blew out the lanterns til there was only firelight.
     
  2. Dilfill
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    Dilfill Member

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    you could use until instead.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    It doesn't make a great deal of sense floating in a vacuum like that, but if you've already clarified that there is a fire of some sort, then I guess it works. I don't think it needs a comma. You could rephrase the end to only firelight remained or similar.

    But you do need to change til to either 'til or until, because as it stands that's not a word.
     
  4. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    or you could say

    He blew out the lanterns until only one still burned/flickered/shone

    Something like that. Hope that helps!
     
  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Whoops I should add - the firelight is from a fireplace - two characters are in a cabin and one blows out the lanterns. Leaving only the firelight
    left.
     
  6. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I think it'd be better a different way, which might not agree with all people:

    He blew out the lanterns, one by one, his breath flowing over them until the fires died out, til only firelight remained.
     
  7. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    Give us context. Is it used properly? How can I see anything? I'm blind unless I know the cause for the sentence and its effect on the next line.
     
  8. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    Given your clarification it might make sense to add in the 'the', so it's 'He blew out the lanterns 'til there was only the firelight'.
     
  9. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    Is that sentence all you have in the thing that's off? How do you know it's that sentence?
     
  10. DanesDarkLand
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    DanesDarkLand Senior Member

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    I am having a little trouble with context as well. Is it in a thriller style situation, or for ambiance in a romantic setting. Lanterns denote a lack of power, as an emergency measure, rather then candles, or it might be a history setting.

    Romantic - With a small smile, he blew out the flame from each lantern until there remained only the light from the fireplace.

    Thriller - He raced to quickly extinguish the light from the lanterns until there was only the light from the fire.

    I think keeping the word firelight might be the problem. You're trying to work around that word instead of the action itself.
     
  11. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    Original sentence is correct as-is.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Your main problem is - firelight IS the light coming out of lanterns, and you've just blown out all the firelight, until there was only firelight left. Hence the confusion.

    How about:
    1) He blew out the lanterns one by one until all that was left was the glow of the fire.
    2) He blew out the lanterns, leaving the fireplace alone still burning in the night.
    3) He blew out the lanterns one by one, until the fireplace was the only thing that kept burning.
    4) He blew out the lanterns til all that was left was the fire.
    5) He blew out the lanterns til all that kept warmed the cabin was the flickering flames set in the fireplace.
     
  13. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    With the death of each lantern’s glow, the darkness grew deeper. The shadow dancers born to flickering light froze to black one by one, until only those created by the crackling flames of hearth remained. The quiet of night and depth of shadow hung as a cloak of tension soaked in the cold sweat of a nightmare.
     
  14. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    @DanesDarkland
    HAHAHAHAHAH. seriously, took a lot of time outta your day to rock my world. seriously, amazing post
     
  15. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    Some seriously awful rewrites happening ITT.
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I liked the original sentence just fine. Neat and simple and it gives me a visual.
     
  17. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    I don't think anything is wrong with the sentence technically, but it's clunky. It may just be me, but it feels like you need something to complete the thought in a more simple manner. "'Til" is a conjunction that is setting up the second half of the sentence. In that second half, you give us the noun, but the verb feels like (though it may not be so) a helping verb here with no main verb. So change the verb:

    "He blew out the lanterns until only firelight remained."

    Then, to clarify what kind of light it was (lantern or fireplace) I'd break up the compound word.

    "He blew out the lanterns until only the light from the fireplace remained."

    However, now another issue shows up. "Until" is really signifying light here, and maybe even the same kind, which makes it a little unbalanced. So. . . .

    "He blew out the lanterns, allowing only the light from the fireplace to bathe the room with a deep orange glow." or something like that.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the most serious problem with the original sentence is that the 'til' part doesn't make sense [aside from its spelling]... that would be like saying:

    what you really mean there, peachy, is:

     
  19. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Here is the sentense - in it's section - which may or may not help - the story is about a hermit who rescues a guy trying
    to commit suicide and takes him back to his cabin. ( There's more to it than that but that's the gist of it. )

    “Gimme my clothes.”

    “Planning on leaving?”

    “Yes.”

    Harken nodded digesting this bit of information. “We got wild cats in these hills. And we're miles from the cabins. When I say miles,
    I mean miles. If you want to leave, be my guest. But you’re going in your birthday suit. I don’t want to give them cougars indigestion
    trying to chew through your Levi’s. And you don’t want to get eaten do you? No, that would spoil your plans. Wouldn't it? Nobody would
    find you, then there would be no lesson to teach someone. No one to mourn you. Naw. You’ll stay the night.”

    “Sonofabitch.”

    “I’ll be in the next room, you gotta go to the john? I suggest you go now. It’s outdoors.”

    Drius glared.

    “Goodnight, then, Prettyboy.” He blew out the lanterns til there was only firelight.

    Or - He blew out the lanterns leaving Drius alone in the light of the fire.
     
  20. DanesDarkLand
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    DanesDarkLand Senior Member

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    He blew out the lanterns until only the light from the fire danced on the walls.

    One by one, he extinguished the flame from each lantern until only the light from the fire remained.

    The second choice might show that he was giving Drius an opportunity to stop him from blowing out the lanterns, but his stubbornness kept him stationary until the fire was the only remaining source of light.
     
  21. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    Peach, your last sentence is the better one. E.C. had some good suggestions also.

    I think the risk from cougars is overplayed, perhaps intentionally.

    I hate to argue with maia, who usually has some of the best advice. But I think, while she may be technically correct, the usage of 'til or until is quite understandable here and is commonly used. It describes a sequence of actions that results in a stated condition. Lanterns and fireplace light have sufficient relationship here to warrant its use.
     
  22. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    These sentences say basically the same thing, except the latter is bloated and tries to explain too much.

    He blew out the lanterns until there was only firelight. -- This remains the simplest, best way. All of the other poeticisms happening here are simply overwrought.
     
  23. lachesis77
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    lachesis77 Member

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    I disagree. When I read the first sentence, I was confused. If the lanterns had all been blown out, why was there still firelight? I didn't know that there was a lit fireplace until it was explained further on in this thread (though that may just be me, since I don't associate firelight with a fireplace and since it seems like some of the other posters who've responded understood this better than I did). I'm all for economy of prose, but if it creates unnecessary confusion, then I don't see the harm in writing a few extra words to clarify things.
     
  24. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    It's not the responsibility of one sentence to explain all things. Just because the context has been stripped away does not mean the sentence itself is poor.
     
  25. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    "sonofabitch" nice word
    Post the whole thing. It's sort of fascinating
     

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