I need help, please!

Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by chrismackey, Jan 10, 2019 at 4:36 PM.

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  1. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Senior Member

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    Maybe I'm answering the wrong question though . . .

    That type of construction is often overused and I could definitely see an editor breaking it up (into simpler forms) to kill structural sentence repetitions.
     
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  2. davidm

    davidm Senior Member

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    Dyeing or dying is the present participle of dye. Your sentence is perfectly grammatically fine. The change made by your editor is also fine, but is a matter of taste, not grammar.
     
  3. EBohio

    EBohio Member

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    Yes! It was a matter of taste for the publisher/editor, not the tense. If he wanted to publish my stuff I'd think his taste is just great. Are you going to say "no thank you" to him if he wants it that way?
     
  4. davidm

    davidm Senior Member

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    You could also do:

    Tex’s arm dropped to the ground. His tattered flesh spurted blood across the cart, dying his gray beard crimson. (Again, “dying” is perfectly acceptable alternative to “dyeing.” I actually prefer it, provided the context is clear, as it is here.)

    Or:

    Tex’s arm dropped to the ground. His tattered flesh spurted blood across the cart, and dyed his gray beard crimson.

    Or:

    Tex’s arm dropped to the ground. His tattered flesh spurted blood across the cart and dyed his gray beard crimson.

    The third version differs from the second only in omitting the comma after the word “cart.”

    All of these are perfectly good.

    Cormac McCarthy and also sometimes Ernest Hemingway used multiple “ands” in the same sentence for reasons of mood and drama. I’ll go with two of the greatest writers in the English literary canon over BR Myers anytime. ;)
     
  5. davidm

    davidm Senior Member

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    Hemingway, from A Moveable Feast:

    Please ignore BR Myers, whoever he is. ;)
     
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  6. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    I can't find a source that agrees with you on the dyeing/dying thing, and I gave it a pretty good look. Can you link to one?
     
  7. J. J. Wilding

    J. J. Wilding Member

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    The original sentance is the way I write and I self-edited and self-published through Amazon. Writing really has no rules for 'how' a sentance should read, so long as it IS correct. His version is clunky but fundamentally works, however I prefer the original as it's a sentance I would totally write. The whole package though, with this kind of editing... yeah, not a fan. Get your own artist and editor, control the process so the finished article is exactly how you envisioned.
     
  8. davidm

    davidm Senior Member

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    Doing some research, the only place I can find the defense of “dyeing” as also “dying” is here: https://www.wordhippo.com/what-is/the-past-tense-of/dye.html

    I look at it this way: language, grammar, spelling and syntax is plastic, elastic, and always changing. There are no fixed rules beyond transitory, intersubjective ones. And since there is really no possibility to mix up the gerund verbs “dying” and “dyeing,” there is no reason they both can’t be spelled “dying.” (“dyeing,” with the letter “e” followed by “ing” just looks weird to me.)

    Why don’t we write “I am placeing my bet,” instead of “placing my bet”? Why don’t we write, “He is gameing the system” instead of “gaming the system”? Because the “e” is not needed.

    There is no reason to keep the final “e” in any gerund forms. Probably it is kept with “dyeing” because somebody or other, probably a cabal of grammar/spelling Nazis, thought that unless you kept the “e,” people would mix up the word “dyeing” with “dying,” i.e., with dropping dead.

    But the point is, you can’t mix them up!

    You can’t mix them up because “dying” is an intransitive verb, and “dyeing” is a transitive verb. “Die” takes no object, whereas “dye” does. Consider again the sentence, "Tex’s arm dropped to the ground and the tattered flesh spurted blood across the cart, dying his gray beard crimson.”

    Is there any possibility of any literate person interpreting this sentence to mean that Tex’s beard died of crimson, or dropped dead in a crimson way? Or that his beard died at all? Surely not. To do that, you would have to absurdly suppose the following sentence is grammatical, or even makes sense at all: “On Nov. 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald was dying President Kennedy by gunfire.” That sentence is nonsensical, because “dying” never takes an object!

    Thus the spelling for coloring one’s hair, whether “dyeing” or “dying,” is utterly immaterial. The meaning is clear, which is all that matters. Let there be "dying" to “dyeing”!
     
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  9. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    i ges if u cann reid it, it's oakay?
     
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  10. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I am not persuaded.
     
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  11. davidm

    davidm Senior Member

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    Honestly, this is such a trivial matter, so much less interesting than discussing why great writers like Cormac McCarthy and Ernest Hemingway often used multiple "ands" in sentences without commas, and why McCarthy entirely eliminated the use of quotation marks, apostrophes, semi-colons and exclamation points in his prose, but seriously ... with respect to "dyeing" vs. "dying," this is the best you two can come up with? You really can 't even address, or comprehend, the point I am making, can you?

    Really? You think this is the point that I was making? Seriously?

    This sort of feedback is pretty much why I stick to the writing contests here, and don’t wade into this sort of ignorant muck. No reason to waste my time on this crap.
     
  12. davidm

    davidm Senior Member

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    Here is some beautiful Middle English for those who think that the word “dyeing” is, was, and always will be, set in stone, because … reasons.


    Here bygynneth the Book of the tales of Caunterbury


    Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,

    The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,

    And bathed every veyne in swich licóur

    Of which vertú engendred is the flour;

    Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth

    Inspired hath in every holt and heeth

    The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne

    Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,

    And smale foweles maken melodye,

    That slepen al the nyght with open ye,

    So priketh hem Natúre in hir corages,

    Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,

    And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,

    To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;

    And specially, from every shires ende

    Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,

    The hooly blisful martir for to seke,

    That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
     
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  13. davidm

    davidm Senior Member

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    chrismackey, if you need help with word mechanics, feel free to PM me any time.
     
  14. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    Well, the original point you were making seemed to be that "Dyeing or dying is the present participle of dye. Your sentence is perfectly grammatically fine."

    When you couldn't support that, you seemed to shift to a sort of "language should evolve" argument. And... if language should evolve, what's wrong with the evolution I suggested?


    For clarity - yes, language evolves. But those who are in favour of descriptive rather than prescriptive grammar rarely make statements like your original one. So... it kinda feels like you made a misstatement and are now hiding behind a lot of bluster and silliness to avoid the simple act of saying "Huh. I guess I was wrong about that."
     
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  15. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    dyeing is the commonly understood and accepted word for this meaning.
    dying is not.

    If we don't have rules of accepted usage, we're going to struggle to communicate.

    Joe was weaving in the front room, while Jane was dying in the back.

    What's happening in the back? Does the ambiguity of using the nonstandard spelling win you anything?

    Shouldn't you argue with all the dictionaries that disagree with you, before you argue with us?
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019 at 12:30 AM
  16. Darius Marley

    Darius Marley New Member

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    Jane: "I'm dyin' over here!"
    :D
     
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  17. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Dying is a dangerous activity.
    Always put on your gloves and protective gear before dying.
    I'm taking a class about dying.
    I ordered a new book on dying.
     
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  18. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    I've been wanting to get into textiles, but I'm afraid of dying.
     
  19. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Non-practicing American Contributor

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    I always thought that "dyeing" meant coloring something, while "dying" referred to shuffling off this mortal coil. Keeping the terminal "e" in the non-terminal verb is one of those exceptions, like the way we have to leave the usually possessive apostrophe off of "its" to indicate that it possesses something, rather than it is something. Language has to have rules, and the first rule of English (and Japanese kanji) is that you need to memorize all the exceptions before taking the plunge.
     
  20. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    The big difference between dying and dyeing (as opposed to placing and placeing, or gaming and gameing) is this: the meaning of the word.

    There is a great deal of difference between the meaning of dyeing and dying. And yes, I've been seeing people mixing them up recently, but that doesn't mean it's a good thing to encourage. Two different spellings exist, for two different words with two totally different meanings. (As @ChickenFreak has just illustrated, with corroboration from others. :)) Makes sense to me.

    Why encourage confusion, when there is a way out?
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019 at 8:13 AM
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  21. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, Chaucer! Hem hath certainly holpen us to open our yes to straunge sondry spellings.
     
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  22. surrealscenes

    surrealscenes Senior Member

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    I'm with @davidm on this one.
    Joe should have been there for Jane in her time of need. I hope he isn't whining about his loss. It is not confusing at all, she is dead. There is no reference to color or material, except the cool blue of her lips.
     
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  23. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Weaving?

    I agree, it's not confusing at all. Because dying means in-the-process-of-becoming-dead. Dyeing means staining-with-a-colour. If we decided that spellings are whatever we want them to be, the sentence would be ambiguous at best.
     
  24. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Senior Member

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    It sounds like the Bible. For good or worse.
    Just saying.
     
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  25. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    I tried several times to read Cormac McCarthy's books and I just could NOT get past the first few pages. His writing style really irritates me. Of course saying I don't like Cormac McCarthy is like wearing a t-shirt that tells the world I'm a philistine. But hey. I'm not a great fan of heavy-duty literary 'style.' I like to read about weighty subject matter, but I can't really appreciate it when it comes cloaked in all this tomfoolery.
     

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