1. Fiction General

    Fiction General New Member

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    Using +ing clauses vs compound structures

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Fiction General, May 20, 2020.

    Hi all,

    I'm new here but I'm an aspiring writer who was hoping you could help me with some feedback on grammar and style.

    Here are some examples from my writing:

    On the southern wing of the building was a tall clock tower, but the clock face was missing, and it left a large circular hole.

    On the southern wing of the building was a tall clock tower, but the clock face was missing, leaving a large circular hole.


    Then, realising its own had gone ahead, it raced away and bounded over a large plastic water tank, and leapt across to the next building.

    Then, realising its own had gone ahead, it raced away and bounded over a large plastic water tank, leaping across to the next building.

    Obviously in the second examples, I'm using the +ing clause, as far as I understand it, whereas in the first I'm using a compound structure with an independent clause.

    I suppose my question is what effect does each have on the reader? Is one preferable to the other? Any general feedback would be appreciated. Sometimes I wonder if my writing has too many of the +ing clauses.

     
  2. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber marshmallow Contributor

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    I usually prefer the first examples in sentences like these, but that is completely attributable to preference.
    In reference to your second pair of sentences, technically use of the participle means that the leaping is occurring simultaneously to the bounding, which makes no sense.
     
    J.D. Ray likes this.
  3. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    The first pair, I would choose the second. The hole is still there, so continuous tense is more appropriate.

    The first sentence implies that the clock face being missing is the active cause of the hole - it isn't, it's whatever caused the clock face to be missing in the first place.

    The second pair, I would rewrite it as follows:
    "Then, realising its own had gone ahead, it raced away and bounded over a large plastic water tank across to the next building."

    I'm not fond of multiple clauses. "John did this and he did that and he did something else." - it reads awkwardly and runs on.

    The second version is better but there is a tense conflict. I must admit, I do this all the time so this is a case of "do as I say not as I do".
     
  4. Lazaares

    Lazaares Contributor Contributor

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    Hello there, gonna provide my insight on this.

    First pair, second sentence. The first sentence there, at least to me, implies an action or active participation from the "clock face", which feels incorrect unless the context is some absurdist prose.

    Second pair, first sentence. Same reason, but its inverse. Here I feel you should emphasise active participation.

    As a non-native speaker I love playing around with English tenses. I have always felt they provide an additional way to convey subtext. My only issue is that I am never sure whether this subtext actually comes through.
     
  5. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    Try this: "On the southern wing of the building stood a clock tower, a large circular hold where the clock had been."

    And: "Then, realising its own had gone ahead, it raced away, bounded over a large plastic water tank, and leapt across to the next building."
     

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