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  1. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Contributor Contributor

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    Chose versus Chosen

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Bone2pick, Sep 18, 2019.

    I ran across this sentence in Sanderson's Warbreaker and it immediately sounded off. I'm sure the fault is with me, but I wanted to double check here to clear things up.

    Sentence in question:

    With Nightblood, she and Vasher had spent much time in thought, then finally chosen a simple, yet elegant, Command.

    For whatever reason I have an urge to substitute "chose" for "chosen". Regardless it's an awkward sentence for me.
     
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  2. Malisky

    Malisky Mercury Retroblade Contributor

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    It starts with past perfect and ends in past perfect. If it was written differently, started with pp and ended with past, then the timeline would be different. If the final act "(had) chosen" was to be replaced with "chose" that would bring us to the "now", if the whole narration is in 3rd person, past tense.
     
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  3. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks for the clarification. Unfortunately it still sounds wrong to me, but at least I know what's "correct."
     
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  4. Malisky

    Malisky Mercury Retroblade Contributor

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    Maybe because of skipping the "had" before the "chosen" in the attempt to skip the "had" before the "chosen". Get it? :p

    Anyhow, I also stumble in places when reading a book. It's not so uncommon. I really struggled reading "Under Heaven" in the beginning, because every now and then I would find sentences that were... just unpleasantly structured for me. I still don't know if I'm mistaken. I can only hypothesise since he is an American (I think) published writer and I'm just the novice reader, that he is correct.
     
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  5. booksofkae

    booksofkae New Member

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    This seems wrong to me too. Chosen is a participle. I feel like it also needs a 'had' in front of it to agree with the pp of 'had spent', or to change it to chose to make it more present in the story line. Or make chosen an adjective, but that would require rejigging the sentence a bit.

    I don't feel 100% about this, so feel free to correct.
     
  6. The Piper

    The Piper Senior Member

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    @booksofkae it does, technically, have a "had" in front of it, but it's such a long-winded sentence it gets a little lost. So yes, it's right, but if the sentence throws the reader this far off does it matter if it's correct?
     
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  7. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I would use 'chose' as well.
     
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  8. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    either chose or had chosen, by my ear
     
  9. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    Chosen is correct. As other have said the sentence is in past perfect, and the 'had' in the first part also represents the 'chosen' towards the end of the sentence.
     
  10. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Contributor Contributor

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    Even with the clarification it still sounds out of tune when I read it out loud. Again, I understand the problem lies with me. Something about the "then finally" that precedes it.

    then finally chosen . . .

    then finally chosen . . .

    then finally chosen . . .

    :superthink:
     
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  11. Malisky

    Malisky Mercury Retroblade Contributor

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    Indeed. It would have sounded better if it was " ... and finally..." or even better
    "... time in thought. Finally they had chosen..."

    This sentence doesn't flow so nicely in general. Why do you pay so much attention to it though? Just curious.
     
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  12. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The bastards hung me in the spring of '25.... Contributor

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    That's a terrible sentence. It's technically correct but awkward as hell. Shame on you, Sanderson.
     
  13. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    It's funny how we all 'hear' things differently when we read. The sentence as it is, sounds perfectly proper and correct to my inner ear.
     
  14. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    An action in the past perfect should always have another action that follows on from it, because past perfect expresses an action which happens before another action.

    My feeling is that "chose" is the correct tense in the second part. I disagree about the timeline. If you used "chose", then followed the sentence with another one in the past tense, the timeline would still be in the past:

    With Nightblood, she and Vasher had spent much time in thought, then finally chose a simple, yet elegant, Command. They settled down to wait for the Command to take effect.
     
  15. Hammer

    Hammer Contributor Contributor

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    I'm gonna chuck a bit of hammer at this... I think the issue with this sentence is the juxtaposition of the words "then" and "finally"

    I can't see any interpretation where "chose" could be grammatically correct (despite @Naomasa298's eloquent discourse above), but the "then finally" sets the reader up for "ooh, ooh, what happened next" which leads us into "chose".

    They did this and that then finally chose a nice red, they did this and that then finally chose a duplex suite, BUT these don't actually agree with the structure of the sentence which, fundamentally, is that they had messed about and chosen to get a room.
     
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  16. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    I like this explanation. Ignore everything I said. :) (I'm serious - this explanation makes it a lot clearer for me).
     
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  17. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Contributor Contributor

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    @Hammer Nice explanation!
     
  18. KiraAnn

    KiraAnn Member

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    However the grammar works, that is one very poorly written sentence.
     
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