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  1. zootle

    zootle New Member

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    Grammar is using "----- as they ---" correct?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by zootle, Mar 10, 2021.

    i really don't know how i can explain this or what this is called so, here are some basic examples:
    1- i shoved the food in my mouth as he walked beside me.
    2- i grab his arm, taking him with me as he struggles to catch up.

    now that you know what i mean (i think), i have some questions!
    1- is it grammatically correct to use "as" in this way?
    2- does using "as" in this way portray that i know what I'm doing as a writer?
    3- in what ways can i substitute this?

    please help! :cry:I'm a beginner at this sort of thing.
     
  2. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I don't think there's anything wrong with using it that way, as long as you don't overdo it (see what I did there?)

    Just be glad you're not British—on that side of the pond they abuse AS like nothing else!! It's sort of a multi-purpose word that covers just about everything.
     
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  3. zootle

    zootle New Member

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    i see! thank you!! (yes i do see what you did there :bigtongue:, very funny)
     
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  4. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber Contributor Contributor

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    It's fine English. I don't think there are many substitutes for it.
     
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  5. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    I don't see anything wrong with it, but that's because I'm so used to using it, myself, and have not heard anything suggesting that it's "wrong". It's best to spread its usage out, of course, so it's not repetitive (and on that note, I should make sure I'm not overusing it in my current project, but that'll be something I'll look at in the next sweep of edits!).
     
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  6. SapereAude

    SapereAude Senior Member

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    Perfectly correct.

    You could substitute "while" for "as" and convey the same idea.
     
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  7. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    Oh good. I love grammar questions!

    <independent clause> AS <dependent clause> is what you're using.

    1. It's not wrong. It is a favorite amateur structure though, so make sure you use it where you need its effect. Pay attention to how many times you're going to it. The pros use this structure exactly when they need to. The amateurs go to that structure as their second favorite. The "-ing phrase" is the never-to-be-dethroned god emperor of easy grammar structures. It's even in your second example.

    <I grab his arm, {taking him with me}> as <he struggles to catch up.>
    <independent clause w/ {present participle phrase}> AS <dependent clause>

    Present participle phrases (-ing phrases, by a shorter name) act like adjectives. This one's aiming back at "I."
    (I feel they can sometimes be adverbs, but that's just me. The books always call them adjectival.)
    The -ing phrase feels like an action, but it's a description. It happens in the same moment of time.

    The as-clause also happens in the same moment of time. For that reason, (this is an IMO thing), I would be VERY careful with that second sentence. There's so much timing going on that it starts to bog down the sentence and distract from its purpose. But not always . . . Nothing ever happens always. This could be a perfectly nice line. If there were another dozen on the page just like it, lines that were caught up in the concurrency of events, you should probably edit them down.

    2. It's not wrong. (I guess I already said this.) It's like if you see a bee in your kitchen. You go, "Oh! I shall free you," and open the windows to send it out. It's nothing to fret about. Maybe you even want it there. Who knows? But if there are a 100 bees in your kitchen, you have a problem. Something has gone wrong.

    3. Break apart the actions. Reconsider the connections. (I've got to add some details to get the feel right. I know these are just throwaway sentences of yours.)
    i shoved the food in my mouth as he walked beside me.
    Jerry and I walked down Sunset Strip. I shoved the last fry in my mouth and threw the container at him.

    i grab his arm, taking him with me as he struggles to catch up.
    I grabbed his arm and dragged him to the enlistment office. With his weak stride, he could barely keep up.
    But there's nothing inherently bad about the structure. It can't help what it is and that it gets used a lot. And it should get used some. For example, I kind of like this better because I want to stress the concurrency of events, just a little:
    As Jerry and I walked down Sunset Strip, I shoved the last fry in my mouth and threw the container at him.
    It's important to decide what the base action is and what the added-on detail is.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2021
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  8. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    I've abused 'as' pretty good between my first novel and unpubbed sequel.
    (Too afraid to see what the actual figures are). :bigeek::bigsmile:
     
  9. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Oh, it's not as bad as you think it is.
     
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  10. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Oh, I think it's exactly as bad as I think it as! :D
     
  11. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Pfft, as if.
     
  12. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    I had put my short stories together for a final edit. Now I looked and there are 257 'as' in the work, so here goes with, 'when,' 'like,' and 'while.'

    ETA I reduced the count to 37. Some I just deleted.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2021

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