1. lostinwebspace
    Offline

    lostinwebspace Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    466
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Canada

    Worst. Sentence. Ever.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by lostinwebspace, Jul 11, 2011.

    I just read some of my old work, stuff I haven't looked at in six or seven years. I came across this little gem of a sentence:

    He took a step forward, feeling a tingling, sickening feeling twisting his gut.

    I can't count how many errors there are in that awful construction. Anyone have any horrendous bits of writing they'd like to impart for our humour?
     
  2. minstrel
    Online

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,725
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    That sentence isn't so bad. I've seen way worse. I've probably written way worse, but I'm not going to read through my collected works right now looking for crap. :)
     
  3. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    Have to agree with minstrel. Not so bad. Not searching my stuff for crap either :p
     
  4. KP Williams
    Offline

    KP Williams Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    My place
    I've hung onto some of my old, old handwritten stuff. There's a small stack of them on my shelf, all written when I was thirteen or fourteen. I shall pull out one at random and copy the worst sentence I can find.

    Her worn shoes slid smoothly down the equally smooth trunk, the bark worn away over time, and she jumped off halfway down, landing lightly and soundlessly on the ground in a crouch.

    It would seem I had a thing for adjectives and adverbs. :p
     
  5. e(g)
    Offline

    e(g) Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    New Orleans
    The only problem with your sentence is some unnecssary words and punctuation, but that's the typical stuff one revises and edits out, anyway.

    I would edit it to read:

    He took a step forward, a tingling, sickening feeling twisting his gut.

    I write horrendous sentences, but even worse is writing a paragrph that's all sickening and twisting and you have to find a way to completely re-write it. That happens to me a lot, too. But hey, that's writing, right? :cool:
     
  6. Ellipse
    Offline

    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    32
    The only flaw I see is you are saying he is feeling a feeling, which sounds kind of redundant. Just grab a thesaurus and replace one of the 'feelings'. :)
     
  7. VM80
    Offline

    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    UK
    I sometimes look over my hand-written notebooks etc, written when I was around 14-15. It's surprising what you can find or remember, good and bad.

    I guess overkill of adverbs was one of my 'novice' mistakes too. Too many dialogue tags followed by at least one, sometimes two...

    "xxxxxxx," he said slightly angrily.

    Nope, not too smooth...
     
  8. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    Well, it sure reads like "Ring-tingeling-ding-ding." in my head. Now I can see the 'avoid -ing words' rule make some sense. :cool:
     
  9. dizzyspell
    Offline

    dizzyspell Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2010
    Messages:
    421
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    I'm not going to search my old stuff, but when I first started writing I tried to replace adverb dialogue tags by describing the characters voice (in great detail) after everything they said. Icky.

    And your sentence isn't really that bad. Nothing a decent edit wouldn't fix. :)
     
  10. Felipe
    Offline

    Felipe Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Messages:
    232
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Texas!
    I am an ambulance, old and turned out to retirement in the bone yard, I thought they were coming to fix me once, but they just stripped a part off of me and walked away.
     
  11. AmyHolt
    Offline

    AmyHolt Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Messages:
    475
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Warsaw, IN
    This one made me laugh. I am an ambulance? :)

    One of my favorite "stupid" sentences that I wrote is - "His face registered alarm." Not quite as colorful as the -ing sentence that started this thread or the ambulance sentence but my writers' group still asks me what expression my face is registering today.
     
  12. Jessica_312
    Offline

    Jessica_312 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Florida
    Way back in the day I was the queen of adverbs... I also couldn't seem to use just plain "he said" and "she said", had lots of "she exclaimed" and "he retorted" and "she said breathlessly"... I think I have much improved since then :D
     
  13. minstrel
    Online

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,725
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I'm comforted by reading interviews with famous writers who confess to their early garbage. Eudora Welty admitted that, when she was young, she started a story with this:

    "Monsieur Boule inserted a delicate dagger in Mademoiselle's left side and departed with a poised immediacy."

    THAT is crap. But she turned out to be a wonderful writer, and was willing to laugh at herself.
     
  14. tehxiom
    Offline

    tehxiom New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I too used a lot of adjectives and adverbs. Perhaps one day I shall dig up those old gems...

    This discussion reminded me of "The Eye of Argon" by Jim Theis. I recommend googleing it, it's a classic.

    It starts with: "The weather beaten trail wound ahead into the dust racked climes of the baren land which dominates large portions of the Norgolian empire."

    And the rest does not disappoint.
     
  15. Gigi_GNR
    Offline

    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    12,143
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Sometimes I like reading my old stuff, just to see how much I've improved. :)
     
  16. flipflop
    Offline

    flipflop Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    5
    theres another way!?!?!?:eek:
     
  17. WriterDude
    Offline

    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Messages:
    738
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Icy cold wastes of Hell. Aka Norway.
    I read through the current draft of my story and came across:

    "At least I can hide here if people find the house up there until they leave."

    *shivers* Rewrite. Now. :D
     
  18. wolfi
    Offline

    wolfi Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    3
    I was here for so long and I knew I was here I hid fomr them and they did not know I was here and I was scared by them for they knew I was here and it was hard to hide form them when they did not know I was


    This is a peice of a 348 pages that is one long run on sentence. This was my GOOD work back then, after all i knew nothing of grammar.
     
  19. R-e-n-n-a-t
    Offline

    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    2
    I'm currently trying to cut my adverbs by 70% and replace 40% of those with verbs or correctly used adjectives.
     
  20. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada
    Problem with it is that it is too wordy. One of the most typical mistakes a writer will make is using a lot of fillers. I'm too lazy to go find a crappy sentence lol. But I have a lot, I can assure you that!
     
  21. martial_wolf
    Offline

    martial_wolf Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Spokane Valley, Wa
    This is out of something I never finished. At the time I was interested in "playing around" with first person.

    We finished the walk to her house and gave her a hungry peck outside the door.

    Sounds...interesting. lol.:rolleyes:
     
  22. wolfi
    Offline

    wolfi Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    3
    Here is one of mine again

    The warter was clear and blue like the clouds, cold like dry ice and plesaent to be in.
    back when i knew nothing of dry ice other then it was really really cold did not know it hurt and all that
    also i did not know clouds where blue...
     
  23. wildthing
    Offline

    wildthing Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tarzana
    I agree your sentence isn't bad at all. I tend to use to many descriptive words in some writings, because I get so into it that I start describing everything, lol. It happens to all of us.
     
  24. sprirj
    Offline

    sprirj Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    524
    Likes Received:
    159
    This is beautiful. I love the heartbreak and upset you can feel from rejection. I'd open a book with that!
     
  25. Rustgold
    Offline

    Rustgold New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Qld : Somewhere near Kangaroos & Possums &
    I thought that was worse than the original.

    Five second thought

    He took a step forward, with a sickening tingling sensation twisting his gut.
    (or maybe even get rid of tingling)
     

Share This Page