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  1. #1
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    writing for my blog: grammar doubts.

    Hi,

    I have some doubts about the following sentences. Could you please check them and tell me what you think and which option, when italicized, is the best?

    Thanks in advance.

    0. "He's looking at the scene from/through the driver window."

    1. "Paramedics are giving him a cardiac massage." and "He is no longer trying to give him cardiac massages."

    2. "Traffic went back to normal" (context: after a traffic jam).

    3. "He ran into some guy walking his dog."

    4. "He went out only to see his bus move/moving away." (someone just went out of a building in hope to catch his bus)

    5. Does that sound correct: "The police officers put the man on the ground" in the context of an arrest?

    Regards,

    jj

  2. #2
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    0. either "from behind" or "through"
    1. singular for both sentences "a cardiac massage"
    2. "returned" would be better than "went back"
    3. OK for American English, but "ran into" may not translate well for non-native speakers who may take the meaning as literally instead of figuratively.
    4. "moving away"
    5. Put is more for objects such as "put the glass on the table". It would better read "forced the man to the ground".
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

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    For 4, I'd prefer move! I'm not sure why, though.

    I've scoured my references, but there's no explanation for my crazy preference. Move is present tense; moving is present participle. The bus is in the act of departing in both cases. The only argument toward moving is possibly to suggest that the bus was moving before he saw it, but that could equally be read into the version that uses move.

    As I said, there's no logic to my preference. Ultimately, I think both are equally correct. They certainly would be in ordinary speech.

    Oh with 0. you'll want to make it "driver's window", not "driver". And with 3. it's unclear whose dog you're talking about, as there are two males. Barry running into someone who was walking Barry's dog is potentially as noteworthy as Barry running into a guy walking a dog, so I thought I'd point this out. A small thing, but potentially worth considering.

    g

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    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    5. Put is more for objects such as "put the glass on the table". It would better read "forced the man to the ground".
    I have to disagree with this one. "Forced" has specific connotations. It implies that the officer is being aggressive, and the man was unwilling or even resisting. We also don't know the context of the sentence.

    "The officer walked out of the smoke-filled building carrying a man in his arms. When he reach the lawn, he put the man to the ground." (in which case the issue isn't with "put" but with "to").

    The verb in the original sentence is going to have a "high semantic value"--possibly setting the tone for the entire paragraph (or more). Without knowing the context and tone of the entire article, it's very difficult to suggest a good word.
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    SitePoint Wizard megamanXplosion's Avatar
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    0. "He's looking at the scene from/through the driver window."
    The "from" by itself is inappropriate because it indicates a specific location that you don't intend. That location would be the driver-side window. Interpreting your sentence, he's looking at the scene while being at the same location as the window. If that were the case, the window would be piercing his body. You mean "from behind" the window. "From behind" and "through" are both grammatically correct but I think "through" is more appropriate, assuming I'm right about the intent of the sentence.

    The first advantage is concision. "From behind" uses more words without adding any extra meaning. Useless words distract the reader from the story. The second possible advantage is invoking more imagery. The phrases "from behind" and "through" invoke the same mental picture of being inside of the car but when you look "through" the glass you think of the details of the glass--the smears, specks, and slight discolorations--and you also think of your eyesight focusing as if you were the camera zooming onto the scene itself. If the next sentence turns the reader's focus to something inside the vehicle, "from behind" would be better because the reader's mental image stays where you want it (the extra word is worth the extra control over the mental imagery), but if the next sentence turns the reader's focus to the scene, use "through."

    1. "Paramedics are giving him a cardiac massage." and "He is no longer trying to give him cardiac massages."
    The second sentence has two major problems. The first problem is the plurality of "massages." If the character in your story was recalling memories of the several heart attacks he had, for example, "massages" would be appropriate because it would be in reference to a plurality of events. With a single event, use the singular "massage." The second problem is "trying." Was there something that was working against the paramedic's attempts to compress the chest? Unless the paramedic was too weak to compress his chest, the paramedic was compressing the chest, not "trying" to compress it. Perhaps you mean "He is no longer trying to resuscitate him." The concision of that statement could be improved though. "He stopped his resuscitation efforts."

    I think both of the sentences could be improved with more imagery. The sentences do not excite the reader even though the subject matter is an exciting one. Perhaps you could write, "Paramedics are worriedly pounding on his chest" or something alone those lines. However, if this sentence is in the context of a character in the story saying it, the character himself/herself would probably not include such details. It's hard to give specific advice on these sentences, only general advice--spruce up the language.

    2. "Traffic went back to normal" (context: after a traffic jam).
    I prefer "returned," as ShyFlower does, though I cannot name any specific reason why.

    3. "He ran into some guy walking his dog."
    ShyFlower and Georgina's responses are fairly comprehensive.

    4. "He went out only to see his bus move/moving away." (someone just went out of a building in hope to catch his bus)
    There's not much difference, grammatically speaking. I would use "move." As the saying goes, "Don’t use a long word when a short one will do."

    5. Does that sound correct: "The police officers put the man on the ground" in the context of an arrest?
    It seems appropriate to me.

  6. #6
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazeMiskulin View Post
    I have to disagree with this one. "Forced" has specific connotations. It implies that the officer is being aggressive, and the man was unwilling or even resisting. We also don't know the context of the sentence.

    "The officer walked out of the smoke-filled building carrying a man in his arms. When he reach the lawn, he put the man to the ground." (in which case the issue isn't with "put" but with "to").

    The verb in the original sentence is going to have a "high semantic value"--possibly setting the tone for the entire paragraph (or more). Without knowing the context and tone of the entire article, it's very difficult to suggest a good word.
    You got me there! I agree!
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown


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