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(For Native English Speakers only) Would a Native English Speaker talk like this?

  1. Yes

    4 vote(s)
    80.0%
  2. No

    1 vote(s)
    20.0%
  1. rja2015
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    rja2015 New Member

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    Would a Native English Speaker talk like this? Does it sound awkward?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by rja2015, Jan 22, 2016.

    A: She only loves you for your money, obviously. If you told her you sold your car and quit your job, she'd be gone in a minute.

    B (being sarcastic): Sure, I'll take your word for it. You're a self-proclaimed authority in dating, aren't you? You made me realize that every woman I've ever met or fallen in love with was either a sociopath or a gold digger.

     
  2. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    All sounds fine to me! Except, in line B, I would change, "You made me realize" to "You've made me realize." Can't explain why, because I don't know the proper terms... lol But it just sounds better to me.
     
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  3. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    A is fine, but B is strange for a number of reasons.

    Although there's nothing wrong with it, "I'll take your word for it" is rarely used sarcastically, so there might be something that makes the intention more clear. I'd nix 'self-proclaimed' as well since that would be more of an ironic statement than a sarcastic one, if that's what you want to have B's tone be.

    What I think you want to have B express would be something more along the lines of:

    "I think you might be right about that. And you're an expert on successful dating, too, aren't you? You've helped me realize every woman ... [Here I don't know if you want to say every woman and the ones he fell in love with are whatever because the ones he fell in love with are a group belonging to all women he's met, right? Unless that's an attempt at colloquial speech that you have in mind, in which case it does seem realistic, but it's something that you should be aware of if that wasn't already known to you.]

    Edit: I missed a comma.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
  4. Wolfmaster1234
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    Wolfmaster1234 Member

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    I would say it sounds mostly fine, I agree with the comments that have already been made. Though I think it depends on where the speaker is from and their background, for instance, a teenager from central London would speak very differently to an English teacher from the south-west.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Regardless of the English, it needs a rewrite to work on the page.

    A: She only loves you for your money, obviously. If you told her you sold your car and quit your job, she'd be gone in a minute.

    B (being sarcastic): Sure, I'll take your word for it. You're a self-proclaimed authority in dating, aren't you? You made me realize that every woman I've ever met or fallen in love with was either a sociopath or a gold digger.
    People don't usually talk in such wordy sentences. Try something like this:

    A: "She doesn't love you, she loves your money. Without your car and your job, she'd be gone in a minute."

    B: "I should take your word for it, the self-proclaimed authority in dating? According to you, every woman I've ever met or fallen in love with was a sociopath or a gold digger."
     
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  6. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I don't think making things more concise should be offered as a definitive solution. We don't know what the context of the situation is, so the terseness could be "heard" as more tactless and forceful than what the author intends. There's a lot of room for allowing nuance and tone before things become a matter of being verbose.
     
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  7. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, okay. Can I take back my like from GC? Is that allowed, where's @Wreybies .
     
  8. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    Line A sounds fairly natural for me, but GingerCoffee makes a point about the flow. It has a distinctly masucline and casual feel. I do not see such patterns in casual feminine conversations. Just from the dialogue I assume that the characters are probably around 16-28 and middle class. Though that is just a general assumption from two lines.

    The problem with B is the nuance and wording, it sounds strange because the emphasis is on the wrong part. This segment "You're a self-proclaimed authority in dating, aren't you? You made me realize that" - is really not necessary to convey the meaning. Instead try:

    Sure... I'll take your word for it. Just like how every woman I've loved with was either a sociopath or a gold digger, right?

    Just a thought.
     
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  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's not a matter of making it more concise. It's a matter of listening to how people actually talk. It doesn't mean you can't consciously choose different styles.

    Have you watched any classic movies lately? The black and white ones from the 50s are great examples of how people don't really talk. That is drama but not realism.

    The dialogue in His Girl Friday is a good example.


    Now compare that to people speaking normal dialogue, in When Harry met Sally.


    When you are writing, you can chose a style of dialogue like that in His Girl Friday. If you want colorful characters, go for it. I'm not saying one should never write unrealistic but nonetheless wonderful dialogue.

    But the OP asked, is this how characters talk? So unless you are going for a specific style, you want dialogue that sounds natural. People replying in this thread for the most part, recognized there was something unnatural about the dialogue, especially 'B'. It's because people don't talk like that in real life.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    :supertongue:

    All you have to do is hit the unlike button. Go ahead. I'm curious if one gets an alert if that happens. Seriously.
     
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  11. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    That is a good point, but my concern was based on how a lot of writing guides make an iron law out of being concise, but this should not apply at all to written dialogue if the author is conscious of what purpose not being concise serves.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    There are only a few things in writing I consider iron rules and even those have exceptions.

    But don't let the anti-rule knee-jerk reflex get in the way of learning writing principles. For example, I didn't mention any rules. I said, "People don't usually talk in such wordy sentences."

    Think about the underlying principles rather than rules per se.
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with this sentiment, but in this particular case I agree with @GingerCoffee. The originals are written perfectly well, but if what is being sought is idiomatically typical diction, the originals are a little flowery if we are talking about modern, 21st century native speakers of English, especially "B" where the OP has indicated to us that sarcasm is in play. I would go so far as to remove the "self-proclaimed" part as well and instead italicize authority for sarcastic emphasis, unless the character is being written with a voice of being melodramatic, not for the sake of conciseness (because god knows I am long-winded myself) but because it sounds more natural, unless the person is a little OTT.
     
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  14. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Yes, I cannot speak to what persona or tone the author envisioned for B, so the last thing I want to say about all this is just that conciseness does not equal best. Maybe I didn't interpret GC correctly, but I was thinking about what the OP could've potentially walked away thinking, especially in light of the ever-pervasive pressure of succinctness.
     
  15. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    I found the lines to be of a reflective nature - signifying that this is a personal and sensitive subject that is also being handled with some casualness to soften a troubling situation. It is both comforting and places some emotional distance to more objectively consider the circumstances in a thought provoking way.

    More directly, the character speaking Line A is comforting his friend and is trying to act as a mentor while also being of the same 'status'. He does not want to see his friend hurt and does not want to talk down to his friend, but he carries his own personal baggage into the conversation. He avoids making direct references if he has them though.

    The character responding in Line B has been directly affected and may have sought out his friend about the situation. If so, he uses sarcasm to lessen the impact the words have while still understanding that the statement is likely true. The realization has dawned on him and he takes a friendly jab at his friend. With the right nuance and tone, this is a really masculine way for two characters to show their affection.
     

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