1. Miguel A. Wilder
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    Miguel A. Wilder Member

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    Grammar Would someone help with word phrasing, please?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Miguel A. Wilder, Dec 10, 2014.

    If you don't mind, I need your help. Can you please tell me, while wring in "Third Person Limited", which way is the proper way to write these phrases. I am hitting a wall trying to figure this out.

    A: A group of medical staff gathered in a room at a long table full of surgical tools and equipment. They huddled together, in discussion of the procedures for the operation they were about to perform, when things began to get heated.

    B: A group of medical staff gathered in a room at a long table full of surgical tools and equipment. They huddled together, having a heated discussion about the procedures for the operation they were about to perform.

    ***

    A:
    The assistant spoke in reference to the manner in which the delivery had been handled, but the man in the suit was fixated on the woman giving birth.

    B: The assistant was referring to the manner in which the delivery was being handled, but the man in the suit was fixated on the woman giving birth.

    ***

    A: The pregnant woman squeezed tight, and wrenched her thick scaly fingers around the nurse's gullet, as the nurse struggled for freedom.

    B: The pregnant woman squeezed tight, wrenching her thick scaly fingers around the struggling nurse's gullet.

    Both ways sound correct to me, sentence wise, but in the realm of "Third person Limited" I have no clue.

    Can anyone help me?

    Miguel
     
  2. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    First: both are valid. They mean very slightly different things.

    A: the reader gets to observe the discussion transitioning from not-heated to heated.

    B: the discussion is already heated by the time the reader starts to observe it.

    Second: both are valid, but they mean much different things:

    A: The people delivering the thing (I assume the baby) finish delivering it, and then the assistant talks about how the people handled it.

    B: The people are currently in the process of delivering the thing, and the assistant is talking about that process as it happens.

    Third: both are grammatically valid and mean the same thing. However, I do not think "wrench" refers to the action you want it to refer to. To wrench is to yank something away from something else, in a twisting motion. You mean the pregnant woman grips the nurse's gullet.

    I prefer the second sentence because it is more concise and it does not repeat "the nurse". However, I would change the order of the actions:

    The pregnant woman wrapped her thick, scaly fingers around the struggling nurse's gullet in a vice grip.
     
  3. Miguel A. Wilder
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    Miguel A. Wilder Member

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    Daemon, Thank you, that helps a lot.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    In all three cases, both sentences are essentially the same in terms of whether they present a correct third person limited POV. They don't make the POV character clear, but they mostly don't offer a POV conflict either.

    I say "mostly" because for the second one, it depends on on how "fixated" is determined. If it can be determined by watching the man in the suit, then again you have no clear POV character but no conflict. If it's determined by the man's thoughts and feelings, then that man is the POV character, and in that case if the man is so fixated, I don't think that he's going to be aware of what the assistant is focused on, so I think that we do have a conflict.

    But in general, there's no way to tell from these setnences whether you're writing in third person limited or third person omniscient.
     
  5. Miguel A. Wilder
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    Miguel A. Wilder Member

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    Good point. I will try to be more clear in my rewrites, thanks.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    To clarify, I'm not necessarily saying that you've done anything wrong. A third person limited piece may quite legitimately have many, many sentences that could be either third person limited or third person omniscient. I'm just saying that these examples are that sort of sentence, so they won't help you much with the discussion of third person limited.
     
  7. Miguel A. Wilder
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    Miguel A. Wilder Member

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    Absolutely. You have a valid point.
     

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