1. CatnipCupid
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    CatnipCupid Member

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    Something'a wrong here. Naughty word alert!

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by CatnipCupid, May 1, 2013.

    Could someone please take a look at this paragraph and tell me what's off about this?



    John thought anything having to do with the occult was bullshit, especially witchcraft and Satanism. While discussing the Salem Witch Trials, his U.S. History teacher, Mr. Reynolds, said, “People practicing spells and rituals in the modern age are just misfits and castoffs of society. These folks are lacking in direction and need to find positive role models fast." During lunch, he told Devin what Mr. Reynolds said, but he could tell it had little effect.
     
  2. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    What makes you think there's something 'off'?
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    not a lot, I'd just switch it around, break up Mr.Reynold's quote, and take out the repetition of 'castoffs of' or switch castoffs to outcasts

    John thought anything to do with the occult was bullshit, especially witchcraft and satanism. In a discussion of the Salem Witch Trails with his US history teacher, Mr Reynolds said, "People practicing spells and rituals in the modern age are just misfits and societal castoffs." He followed it up with, "These folks are lacking in direction and need to find positive role models fast.“ During lunch, John told Devin what Mr.Reynolds said, but he could tell it had little effect.
     
  4. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    You are a bit heavy on the commas here. There is also a bit of an issue with vague pronouns and a dangling modifier. I would rewrite it as:
    Here is why:
    John thought anything having to do with the occult was bullshit, especially witchcraft and Satanism. While the comma here is correct, it is more impactful to use an em dash, which emphasizes what part of the occult he found to be bullshit.

    While discussing the Salem Witch Trials, his U.S. History teacher, Mr. Reynolds, said, All the sub clauses here kill the flow of the sentence. Again, they are correctly placed, but rearranging the sentence produces a clearer and more active version.

    “People practicing spells and rituals in the modern age are just misfits and castoffs of society. These folks are lacking in direction and need to find positive role models fast." Fast is dangling at the end of this and can actually modify the preceding clause in multiple ways. Does he mean that they need to quickly find positive role models, or does he mean that they need to realize that positive role models are 'fast' (just as they might find them humorous or terrifying). That is obviously not the intended meaning, but fast CAN be interpreted that way. The modifier also needs to be preceded by a comma. Rewording again, solves the issue.

    During lunch, he told Devin what Mr. Reynolds said, but he could tell it had little effect.
    He, is actually referring to Mr. Reynolds in this case, as that is the most recently addressed noun/subject (it's a vague pronoun that can point to multiple persons in the preceding text). It seems odd that he would talk about himself in the 3rd person, so I assume you meant John, instead.

    The dialog is also in the present tense, but (presumably) referring to past activities. I left it alone, as speech is not the same as text, so I'm assuming Mr. Reynolds is doing so on purpose.

    I hope that helps :)
     
  5. CatnipCupid
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    CatnipCupid Member

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    Ok, I took what you all said into consideration and this is what I've come up with:


    John thought anything having to do with the occult was bullshit—especially witchcraft and Satanism. Last Friday, after discussing the Salem Witch Trials, his U.S. History teacher, Mr. Reynolds, said people who practiced spells and rituals in the modern age were just misfits and outcasts of society. These people were lacking in direction and would do well to find positive role models instead. During lunch, John told Devin what Mr. Reynolds said, but could tell it had little effect.


    Thank you all for your help!
     
  6. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your 'last Friday' sentence still has more commas than what I'd use, but I'm glad we were able to help!
     
  7. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    The only things that are a tad off is in the first line you should use a em dash, instead of a coma.

    And where it reads: "During lunch, he told Devin what Mr. Reynolds..." It needs to read: "During lunch, john told Devin..."

    And where you have Mr. Reynolds saying: "...and need to find positive role models fast." perhaps "right away" or "in a hurry." would work better.
     
  8. CatnipCupid
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    CatnipCupid Member

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    I disposed of 1 comma. Is this better?

    After a discussion on the Salem Witch Trials last Friday, his U.S. History teacher, Mr. Reynolds, said people who practiced spells and rituals in the modern age were just misfits and outcasts of society.


    OR:


    After a discussion on the Salem Witch Trials last Friday, his U.S. History teacher, Mr. Reynolds, said people who practiced spells and rituals in the modern age were headed on a lonely path.
     
  9. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Either of those work.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This is not the right place to ask for feedback.
     
  11. CatnipCupid
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    CatnipCupid Member

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    Thanks, Kyle.

    Sorry, Cogito.
     

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