1. PeterC
    Offline

    PeterC Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Vermont, USA

    Grammar Usage of "wrought"

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by PeterC, Jan 29, 2014.

    In my current WIP I have the following sentence:

    "Let us see what they have since wrought."

    This is spoken by one individual to another individual about a third party. In particular, the two characters are observing an engineering construction built in the past by a civilization they have just discovered. The speaker wants to explore more to find out what else that civilization has done since they built the observed construct.

    Is this an appropriate use of the word "wrought?" I could word the sentence differently but I like the flow and rhythm of the sentence as written... provided it's grammatical, of course!

    Thanks.

    P.S. I'm using American English if that matters.
     
  2. SweetOrbMace
    Offline

    SweetOrbMace Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2014
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    40
    I think it works grammatically, but it is quite archaic and sounds a bit forced. What kind of civilisation/period is the speaker from?

    Maybe "let us see what they have wrought since" is slightly more grammatically correct, but it doesn't make a difference to meaning and your version sounds better anyway (in my opinion).
     
  3. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,903
    Likes Received:
    10,090
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Wrought is fine there. The word that does give me pause in the use and context is since. It gives the feeling of from point X to the present, which may well be apropos of context I do not have, but it sounds like something one would say of present events, not of past.
     
  4. PeterC
    Offline

    PeterC Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Vermont, USA
    Thanks for your comments!

    To clarify, this is a science fiction work. The speakers are actually aliens who have just observed Earth. They are talking about our civilization. However, they are thousands of light years away so what they see is an image from the past due to the limited speed of light. What they are interested in knowing is what we are doing (in the present) since we constructed (in the past) the items they see now.

    As far as the archaic sound of the language goes, it might be okay... or maybe not. The speakers, being aliens, aren't actually speaking English anyway so we are reading a translation of some kind. They wouldn't necessarily speak like ordinary people but then again it might also be strange for them to be using archaic phrases.

    I might post the snippet containing that line to the writing workshop at some point. There are some other things about it I'd be interested in getting some feedback on but this isn't the place for that right here.
     
  5. JayG
    Offline

    JayG Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    358
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    Reads too much like you're being self-consciously literary.
     
  6. stevesh
    Offline

    stevesh Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    646
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan USA
    If the rest of the dialogue spoken by these beings is also archaic, I think it would work (and might be an interesting aspect of the story). If not, I agree with JayG.
     
    Catrin Lewis likes this.
  7. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    me, too!
     
  8. PBrady
    Offline

    PBrady Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2013
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    Nottingham UK
    Wrought, being a middle English past tense of 'work', is usually directly associated with an object or activity.

    In your usage it is being applied to some unspecified action by a group of people.
    It would work better if the action being referenced is apparent in a preceding sentence.

    in a similar vein to your example, when talking of "the havoc wrought by the Mongol hordes", the 'action' being worked is the havoc.

    I am not aware of this word being in common current use, but perhaps it is worth bringing it back into use.
     
  9. Macaberz
    Offline

    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2012
    Messages:
    3,146
    Likes Received:
    297
    Location:
    Arnhem, The Netherlands
    @PeterC I am just going to jump in and say that which others have already said. "Let us see what they have since wrought" sounds a little pompous to me. If I recall correctly, Tolkien does a lot of "Let us...xyz", and it bothered me then for the same reason. May I propose: "Let's see what they have wrought since" or "(And) what have they wrought since?"

    Lastly, if you feel you need further assistance with your dialogue, I personally have always found @blackstar21595's comments to be of great use.

    Best of luck!
     
  10. PeterC
    Offline

    PeterC Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Vermont, USA
    Thanks for all the comments! The concerns about the writing being "self-consciously literary," as JayG put it, are valid. The excerpt containing the utterance in question definitely may suffer from that problem. As I said I may post a larger fragment on the writing workshop at some point.
     
  11. wade-newb
    Offline

    wade-newb Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    South Africa
    As a line of dialogue spoken by an alien, its convoluted sound might work if their use of language was kept consistent. Keep notes on this species' grammar, and stick to it as much as you can.
     

Share This Page