1. rachel21321
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    rachel21321 Member

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    Tense Help! -ed and -ing.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by rachel21321, Dec 4, 2009.

    Sometimes I have real trouble when it comes to tenses. I posted an example for where I get confused. Any punctuation changes are also welcome:

    I had wondered what the trick would be to ensuring no one would get a face full of ash in the boat's backdraft, but the captain switched to reverse -forcing the opposite effect.

    or

    I had wondered what the trick would be to ensure no one got a face full of ash in the boat's backdraft, but the captain switched to reverse and forced the opposite effect.

    T.I.A.
     
  2. CaliWriterWV
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    CaliWriterWV Member

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    Your second paragraph comes closest, in my opinion.

    But I would write it like this:


    I had wondered what the trick would be to ensure no one getting a face full of ash in the boat's backdraft, but the captain switched to reverse and forced the opposite effect.
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or something less wordy?

    I had wondered how the captain would ensure no one got a faceful of ash in (from?) the boat's backdraft, but he switched to reverse and forced the opposite effect.

    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by 'forced the opposite effect'. Do you mean ash was sucked INTO the boat's backdraft instead of throwing it out in their faces? And what's a backdraft? What kind of boat produces 'backdraft'? Or do you mean the outboard motor produced it? *puzzled*
     
  4. CaliWriterWV
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    CaliWriterWV Member

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    Yea, I was a bit confused to. Like the above member said, it can sometimes be too wordy therefore throwing the feel of the sentence (or paragraph) off course.

    Maybe change the words somehow.
     
  5. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    I don't see any issue at all with the tenses. You have some problems with wordiness and incorrect punctuation, (the dash should be a comma, for example) but apart from that, it's all fine. I'm pretty sure it comes down to a matter of preference between those variations you wrote and those provided by others.

    In hypothetical situations, such as a future possibility your character is contemplating, the past tense is often used. "I wanted to make sure no one got/received/would get/would receive . . ." All of those are fine. It's up to you to decide which words sound better. I'd be inclined to use, "would get," but that's just me. . . It is the wordier option, though. Sometimes, the other is just much more efficient and easier to read.

    Someone, do correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...as usual, however, you're trying to do too much with one sentence and being annoyingly over-wordy... it would read better if you followed the 'less is more' and 'K.I.S.S.!' axioms... plus, i don't know what you mean by 'backdraft' or what ash is being blown about from where, or how going in reverse would solve the problem... nevertheless, i'd suggest paring it down to essentials, to make better sense... such as:

    I'd wondered how to avoid getting a faceful of ash from the boat's backdraft, but the captain kicked it into reverse and made it a non-issue.

    hope that helps... m
     
  7. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Maia's example is great. I think it's the only version posted, so far, that successfully eliminates any awkwardness.

    I had been wondering how to rewrite it, myself, and wasn't able to come up with much.:redface:
     
  8. dgraham
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    dgraham Senior Member

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    The two "that"s which Maia inserted are optional, so you could take them or leave them. Otherwise, I agree with Kas' first post, and Maia's other suggestions as well.

    No tense issues here...
     
  9. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think Maia's re-wording fo the sentence was a great example of paring down to get better impact.

    Nobody has touched on this yet but I would consider taking out the 'had' and saying "I wondered how to avoid...."?
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the 'had' would be needed, if this is an event that happened in the 'past' past, which i assumed it was, since that's how the op worded it...
     

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