1. Published on Amazon? If you have a book, e-book, or audiobook available on Amazon.com, we'll promote it on WritingForums.org for free. Simply add your book to our Member Publications section. Add your book here or read the full announcement.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
  1. waitingforzion

    waitingforzion Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    33

    Adverbial Phrases a Problem for me?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by waitingforzion, Jan 16, 2015.

    On another site I posted the following sentence:

    Therefore this is my last letter to you, and I will not write you another, knowing that you are overcome by scorn, and that you cannot escape from hating me.

    Someone posted the following revision

    This is my last letter to you and I will not write any more, because I know you still hate and scorn me


    Is there something wrong with my sentence? It seems like every time I add an adverbial clause to a sentence somebody wants to split it into two sentences or do something else with it. Is my sentence not clear?
     
  2. Gawler

    Gawler Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2014
    Messages:
    296
    Likes Received:
    145
    Location:
    Australia via Hawaii via Australia via England
    The revision is clear and concise. I imagine someone would write that in a letter far more than the first example.
     
  3. Dunning Kruger

    Dunning Kruger Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2014
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    128
    Its not the clause but the verb. It's a passive sentence. "I know you still hate and scorn me" is a powerful statement. Your clause is flowery and melodramatic.
     
  4. Chinspinner

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,020
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    Or: This will be my last letter since I know you still hate me.
    Says the same thing with half the effort.
     
  5. waitingforzion

    waitingforzion Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    33
    But those two sentence don't even say the same thing.

    In the revision, the recipient simply still hates me.
    In the original, the recipient is stuck and overcome by hatred for me.
     
  6. Chinspinner

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,020
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    I think the distinction is too subtle for me.
     
  7. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,407
    Likes Received:
    2,920
    Location:
    Boston
    It's true that the sentences read differently. The revision is more direct and thus comes across are more harsh. But the bigger issue is the verbosity in your original sentence. Though this could be interpreted as an idiosyncrasy of the narrator/character, knowing your style of writing, I find this unlikely. It's just something you need to work on, that's all.
     
  8. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Messages:
    465
    Likes Received:
    323
    Location:
    The middle of the UK
    That seems to totally change the register and of the letter, though.
     
  9. lustrousonion

    lustrousonion Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    132
    Location:
    Germany
    Trying to keep your tone, I'd change it to:

    I know you are overcome by scorn and that you cannot escape your hatred of me; therefore, this is my last letter to you. I will not write another.

    I think you need to put a cap on how many clauses you use in a single sentence.
     
  10. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    1,644
    Likes Received:
    693
    Location:
    Sweden
    I must agree. While it definitely is possible to shorten the sentence by doing so the tone of the letter is changed completely. Personally I find the original version to have more impact than the revisions.

    ETA: Like @lustrousonion showed it is definitely possible to improve upon the sentence without loosing the tone.
     
    lustrousonion likes this.
  11. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    19,645
    Likes Received:
    10,970
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    One thing I think would seriously help you in your endeavor is to point out the kind of work that is being written. Outside of Hellenistic and Roman study, the only place the average Joe is likely to come across an epistle is while reading a religious text. It's not a genre or form that has a great following outside of esoteric circles. Point it out, maybe even include a wiki-link for those unfamiliar with the form so that if they choose to return to give opinion, it's an opinion that at least understands the basis of the question.
     
    jannert likes this.
  12. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    8,369
    Likes Received:
    7,880
    Location:
    Scotland
    I agree with @Wreybies . It's difficult to answer your question, @waitingforzion, because your sentence has no context for us. Who is writing it? Is this a story? Or a letter you are writing to your senator? Or your evil mother-in-law?

    If this is you, yourself, writing a letter to somebody, I'd suggest making it more direct in tone, like the excellent example given by @lustrousonion, which seems to include all your points. Or you could be even more direct, as a couple of other people have suggested.

    However, if this is a line written by a fictional character who is overfond of stating things in a grandiose way, then this might be perfect.
     
  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,493
    Likes Received:
    5,652
    Location:
    California, US
    This is a character issue. If the character would write the letter as in the first example, stick with it.
     

Share This Page