1. sereda008

    sereda008 Member

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    Not sure about sentence

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by sereda008, Aug 6, 2010.

    I have this sentence in my book but as I look at it I am not sure if it is correctly formulated "Anyway, he had nothing to lose. If Jacob would still charge at Vladislav while he held the girl, Vladislav could use her as a living shield." Do you think it sounds that Jacob is holding the girl? Because Vladislav is, or would be to be more precise.
     
  2. madhoca

    madhoca Contributor Contributor

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    Not clear at all.

    I guess you want to say:

    Vladislav might use the girl as a living shield if Jacob charged him.

    But:

    Anyway, he had nothing to lose. -- Which man do you mean here, Jacob or Vladislav?
     
  3. sereda008

    sereda008 Member

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    By he I mean Vladislav.
     
  4. madhoca

    madhoca Contributor Contributor

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    So, the sentences could be:

    Anyway, Vladislav had nothing to lose. He could use the girl as a living shield if Jacob charged.
     
  5. sereda008

    sereda008 Member

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    Not the exact thing I need but thanks for the advice.
     
  6. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Your sentence is too busy, and that is why your pronouns are left flapping in the wind.

    Simplify. Break it up.
     
  7. thewordsmith

    thewordsmith Contributor Contributor

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    I actually read this to mean that "he" [Vladislav] had nothing to lose [because] if Jacob charged [then] Vladislav could use the girl as a living shield.

    This came across pretty clearly to me but there was one hiccup you might want to address to clean it up. Consider, "If Jacob would still charge while Vladislav held the girl, he could use her as a shield." (or something to that effect) Better yet, if you find too many people stumbling over it, you might want to reconsider the structure overall and just re-write the whole passage.
     
  8. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    do what cog said... and make it clear who'll do the charging and who's holding the girl...
     
  9. zaffy

    zaffy New Member

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    Anyway, he had nothing to lose. If Jacob would still charge at Vladislav while he held the girl, Vladislav could use her as a living shield."

    From whose perspective is this?

    There are three choices. The author, Vladislav or Jacob.
     
  10. Radrook

    Radrook Senior Member

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    "Anyway, he had nothing to lose. If Jacob would still charge at Vladislav while he held the girl, Vladislav could use her as a living shield."

    In context

    Such a sentence doesn't exist in a vacuum. If we can safely assume that the context prior to the pronoun "he" made the "he" immediately recognizable, then the reader would not be confused. The repetition of the pronoun's antecedent, "Jacob", would further reinforce recognition and avoid misunderstanding. Again, the one holding the girl would have been identified prior to writing such a sentence. So within context there would be no confusion.

    ====================================================



    "Anyway, he had nothing to lose. If Jacob would still charge at Vladislav while he held the girl, Vladislav could use her as a living shield."

    Without context
    Standing alone the sentence can confuse the reader. The first pronoun, "he", has no antecedent. The pronoun "he" in the second sentence has no clear antecedent making identification temporarily impossible until the clarification comes in and understanding is assured by reader common sense.

    All this somersaulting could be voided by assuring pronoun antecedent clarity.


    Suggested rewrite:

    "Anyway, he had nothing to lose. If Jacob would still charge at Vladislav, who was holding the girl, Vladislav could use her as a living shield."
     
  11. SandraLSC

    SandraLSC New Member

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    Wow, Radrook, that was a very concise reply, and I agree with everything you said! :D
     
  12. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    "Anyway, he had nothing to lose. If Jacob would still charge at Vladislav, who was holding the girl, Vladislav could use her as a living shield."

    not bad, but could be even better without repeating the name:

    "He had nothing to lose. If Jacob charged Vladislav while he still held the girl, she could be used as a shield."

    'living' is extraneous, if it's clear she's alive... some of the other filler words could be done away with also, as shown, to make it a more forceful, clearer sentence... it should have been mentioned that vlad was holding the girl earlier, thus there's no confusion re which 'he' is meant here that needs to be addressed with extra names/words...
     
  13. Daveyboyz

    Daveyboyz New Member

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    "He had nothing to lose. If Jacob charged Vladislav while he still held the girl, she could be used as a shield."

    I like this, I was going to say I think the "would still" was unhelpful, any sentence with would and could in it is going to sound messy. The poster above cleaned it up just how I would have.
     
  14. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    glad to oblige, d-b!
     

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