1. CJStarkey
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    CJStarkey Member

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    Sentence structure

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by CJStarkey, Jan 18, 2011.

    I need help with the punctuation and structure of this sentence. I've read it over so many times, I can't even distinguish one word form another and I know it's a disaster!

    Professor Bryant let the matter go for both her and the fortunate Edwin because he couldn not believe that Elinora-who much preferred to go by Ellie-would intentionally do something to get herself in trouble-not with her mentor being the school's Master of Arms, a formidable man that no one wished to find themselves in trouble with.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you mind if I reorder it a bit ?
     
  3. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    This is actually one whole sentence! There should totally be another full stop there. I think the because shouldn't be there as it drags on the sentence. Maybe a full stop.

    'Master of Arms, a formidable man that no one wished to find themselves in trouble with.'
    When I read that bit, It kinda made my head spin. Like Whoa! Too much information. Just say formidable, or even use a different word, to show that that people wouldn't want to get trouble with.

    And It's couldn't by the way, typo most probably xD but I thought i'd say it anyway.

    Anyway I hope this helped.
     
  4. CJStarkey
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    CJStarkey Member

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    Have at it. I'm so frustrated with it.
     
  5. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    There's too much information in this sentence. You must have introduced the character of Elinora before, couldn't you have said then that she preferred to be called Ellie? That would help avoid information overload.


    Just a suggestion:

    'Professor Bryant let the matter go for both her and the fortunate Edwin. He couldnt believe that Ellie would intentionally get herself in trouble - not with her mentor being the formidable Master of Arms. No-one wished to find themselves in trouble with him!'
     
  6. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    I think you are dealing with too many ideas here to be constrained to a single sentence.

    You have Professor Bryant's decision. Ellie's prefrence of name. The reason for his decision, and, finally the nature of the Master of Arms. Whew!
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    OK not great I may come back to it, and punctuation is not my strongest. Once kids are in bed and not screaming round me I will reread it.

    I think this may flow a little better:
    Edwin couldn't believe that Elinora, better known as Ellie, would intentionally do something to get herself in trouble. Her mentor, the Master of Arms, has a formidable reputation. Professor Bryant decided to let Edwin off the hook; it was too much effort to pursue.
     
  8. CJStarkey
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    CJStarkey Member

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    Thanks for the comments guys. They're very helpful. Seeing it broken up by others has definitely helped me get a new perspective on it. I think I might just strike it all together. The information is elsewhere in the story, close enough to this poor explanation, that most of it really isn't necessary. I have no clue why this one part has given me so much trouble when everything else has flowed really well...and is much better written! ;)
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you'll save yourself a lot of headaches if you stop yourself from trying to cram so much into one poor sentence... it's a bad habit a lot of new writers need to curb, so you're not alone, if that helps...

    'less is more' is still the best axiom for all writers to follow... along with its old army cousin, 'the K.I.S.S.! principle'...
     
  10. Mr_Swashbuckler
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    Mr_Swashbuckler Member

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    Can anyone recommend a good book/guide that goes over the basics for sentence structure, punctuation and grammar?
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes

    Getting the Point: A Panic-free Guide to English Punctuation for Adults - I love it. Also have the Penguin Punctuation Guide.
     
  12. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    Strunk and White, The Elements of Style
     
  13. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Professor Bryant let the matter go for both her and the fortunate Dwin, because he couldn't believe that Elinora, who rather be preferred to go by Ellie, would intentionally do something to get herself in trouble. Not with her mentor being the school's Master of Arms, he is a formidable man who no one wished to find themselves in trouble with.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...it's a way-over-crammed sentence that makes no sense as is... here's one way to solve the problem:

     
  15. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    There's still too much information in this sentence:

    The fact that Elinor prefers to be called Ellie is not relevant to this particular sentence. Presumably this character has already been introduced, her choice of name could have been made clear then. This is totally the wrong place to mention it.




    For the sake of Elinor and the fortunate Edwin, Professor Bryant let the matter go. He couldn't believe she would have intentionally done such a thing, particularly as her mentor was the Master at Arms.
     
  16. Spacer
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    Spacer Active Member

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    Writing non-fiction, I quickly learned to recognize this and pull out parts of the sentence. For non-fiction, it is easy to take the "crammed in" stuff out and present it first.
     
  17. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unfortunately, that one gets a lot of it wrong.
     
  18. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    Can't say I've noticed anything, but then I haven't used it much. What I have read seems ok.

    Have you got any examples?
     
  19. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Google for "50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice".
     
  20. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    I just have. Long article. I've read through it quickly, but need to read it again to let it sink in.

    I think the writers' assertions that White and Strunk were

    is a little over the top.

    Need to spend more time reading it. Some things I've seen I disagree with, others make sense. Just need to study it some more.

    Thanks for the info.
     
  21. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Makes it a beggar for getting a word count up though. One thing academia teaches is how to say an awful lot in just a few words lol
     

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