1. Nordmarker

    Nordmarker Member

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    Sitting down in a specific manner

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Nordmarker, Aug 10, 2019.

    First, is there a word in english for sitting down in that heavy, defeated way Cristopher Walken does at the end of the video "Weapon of Choice" @ 3:36?

    Second, how is the word "down" playing into things? Could it just as easily be omitted? English isn't my first language so I find the subtle things a bit challenging. Just "sitting" as a verb seems strange to me.

    Edit: Spelling
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  2. Malisky

    Malisky Mercury Retroblade Contributor

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    "Plop down" perhaps? I'm not 100% certain this is a common way to express this manner of sitting.
     
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  3. Nordmarker

    Nordmarker Member

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    I'm glad I looked it up because I was close to tell you something impolite. ;)
    Plop down.. Hmm interesting. I've never heard it before. Literally never. Is it really a current way of speaking?
     
  4. Malisky

    Malisky Mercury Retroblade Contributor

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    Not a native myself, so... I'm not sure. It's funny sounding though. Yes, I can guess what your first impression was. :p
    I think that it's the closest word that corresponds with what you are looking for, but maybe you could somehow skip using this word by describing the characters psychology in the scene, which could lead the reader to imagine that he sat down heavily in a defeated manner.
     
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  5. Nordmarker

    Nordmarker Member

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    My story doesn't really fit with a psychological description with that character in this moment. I'm kind of stuck in the hunt for simplicity. If I can skip an adjective here or an adverb there I'll gladly do it. Thanks for your input, though, of course. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
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  6. Malisky

    Malisky Mercury Retroblade Contributor

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    After further research I also found these synonyms: flop (Flopped into the armchair), slump down (He slumped down wearily on the sofa), plump down and collapsed (of course).
     
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  7. Nordmarker

    Nordmarker Member

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    I'm answering myself here, but I just came to think of "slump down". Do you Malisky or any other think it's a good fit?
     
  8. Nordmarker

    Nordmarker Member

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    Ha, it seems we replied at the same time. :) "Slump" may be a good bet then.
     
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  9. Malisky

    Malisky Mercury Retroblade Contributor

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    Yep. I'd choose "slump" myself. Go for it! :D
     
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  10. Nordmarker

    Nordmarker Member

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    Yep, will do! :D
     
  11. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    I've learned the hard way not to use the word plop at least around Brits. In Sweden we've got a chocolate brand called Plop... and my boyfriend still think it's funny every time he sees it. To them it's apparently more bathroom humor than appetizing chocolate.

    Aside from that I'd personally would've visualized it the right way if I read it in a book, but it seems the questions already answered further down. I mainly wanted to talk about Swedish chocolate anyway...
     
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  12. Nordmarker

    Nordmarker Member

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    I'm new here and I know I shouldn't, but you are here mainly to talk about your boyfriend and Swedish chocolate?
     
  13. Katibel

    Katibel Member

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    "Sitting" implies the act of taking a seat or already being "sat" (seated). So, affixing "down" clarifies which type of "sitting" is occuring, either the action in motion or the completed act.

    E.g.
    Victoria sat.
    Victoria sat down.
    Victoria sat up.
    Victoria sat against _____.​

    Just saying "Victoria sat" or "Victoria, sitting, opened her book" could lead to confusion about what Victoria is actually doing. We can make her actions more clear by saying "Victoria sat up" or "Victoria, sitting against the wall, opened her book." The context changes the meaning of the word.

    I realize now how that could be a confusing dynamic for a non-native English speaker, so I hope that made sense?

    As others have mentioned, "plop down" in (edit: American) English indicates a more abrupt dropping into one's seat, and it is a fairly common, albeit informal, phrase. However, I would much sooner use "slumped."

    To "slump" means to drop, fall, or sit abruptly and heavily. There is no reason to add "down."

    E.g.
    Victoria slumped into her bed.
    So you have made a great choice. :) Good luck!
     
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  14. Nordmarker

    Nordmarker Member

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    Thanks! Good info!
     
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  15. Nordmarker

    Nordmarker Member

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    Is there a difference between "Victoria sat down on the ground" or "Victoria sat on the ground"? To me, the former indicates that she was sitting down at that moment, while the latter indicates she was already sitting.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  16. Katibel

    Katibel Member

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    You're correct, that is the difference.

    However, that isn't the difference necessarily, which is what makes the modifying words (down, up, against, etc.) so important--it staves off potential confusion.

    "Victoria sat on the ground" can mean she was either standing and then sat down or was already sitting (depending on tense and perspective). So, if you meant the former translation then you would say "Victoria sat down." Otherwise you would have to use past tense terminology and write "Victoria was sitting," to imply she has already been sitting for an indeterminate period of time.

    Context can clarify which type of sitting is taking place too, though.

    E.g.
    Victoria sat on the ground playing with her dolls.​

    The word "playing" indicates an ongoing action (she's actively playing with dolls on the ground). In this example, Victoria could not have been playing with her dolls if she was standing first (that's the assumption). Therefore, she must already be seated on the ground.

    "Victoria sat on the ground with a huff," on the other hand, changes the meaning of "sat" to the action of sitting down. In this case, "on the ground" is serving a similar function as "down."

    But again, yes, generally-speaking your interpretation is correct.
     
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  17. Nordmarker

    Nordmarker Member

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    Good take.. The main reason I'm asking is that I've heard that the word "down" used together with "sit" is superfluous, much like the word "that" is in the first instance, at least, of this sentence. I'm in agreement with the notion of skipping words which are really superfluous but I'm not convinced "down" connected to "sit" is necessarily just that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  18. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeeks. Another owl. :)

    You could also consider 'sank,' as in 'he sank into a chair.' For some reason, that implies a bit more control than 'slumped.' Slumped would be like a flabby sack, while 'sank' implies the act of sitting slowly, while keeping control. Both would work, but the nuances are slightly different.

    Sank down into a chair
    might imply that the chair seat was squishy, though.

    Context matters.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
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  19. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    Or as I like to sum it up with in one word - Plop!
     
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  20. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    This would be the expression which (that?) would naturally come to me if I were writing such a scene.

    You could also go with 'crashed/collapsed/fell/dropped'
     
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  21. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd go for "sank". It implies a certain melancholy, defeat, a sort of giving up and exhaustion.

    "Slump" sounds very casual. You could be slumping on the couch at the end of a work day. But you might "sink" into a chair if you'd just discovered your wife was cheating on you.

    It depends on the gravity of what you're trying to say, what sort of mood.

    I would not use plop/flop - both of these imply something comical. Use it only if the mood you're going for is rather light and you intend to make the audience possibly smile or tickle them somehow.

    There's nothing wrong with the word "sat" in this context either, however. It depends on how you're build things up previously. All emotions are not carried in one single word - they never are. And to try and make it so would be a mistake. If the rest of the paragraph was heavy with words and emotions, simply "sat" could hold more weight than being elaborate about it because of the contrast and because all that needed to be said had already been said.

    Again, gravity. What's the gravity of the situation? How have you established it previously? How much weight do you want this line to hold? What mood are you trying to convey?
     
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  22. Nordmarker

    Nordmarker Member

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    @jannert @OurJud @Mckk Good suggestions and I have to say it feels kind of irritating I somehow didn't think of looking at a wider array of words that can have more of a metaphorical use here. Even in my own language (Swedish) "sank" would be a good contender.

    @Mckk "All emotions are not carried in one single word - they never are. And to try and make it so would be a mistake." I hear you. But an aggregate of concise sentences (which describes how he acted earlier) could capture a broader aspect of the emotion in question. I'm by no means an expert but readers are also usually quite proficient at subconsciously adding their own personal overtones to what is read. Which can be good or bad depending on what the writer wants I guess.

    @Lemie Touché ;)
     
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  23. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Is there a non-English phrase you'd use?
     
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  24. Nordmarker

    Nordmarker Member

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    Check the post just above. ;) "Sank down" is the corresponding idiom I'd probably use.
    Edit: Appreciated though of course.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  25. Nordmarker

    Nordmarker Member

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    Yep :)
    I should add though that the artist is Bordalo II and the photographer is Pedro Seixo Rodrigues.
     
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