Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another participle thing

A student sent me this from his revision: "Thought you might get a kick out my original. Don't worry. I fixed it."

Jeremy, bending forward in the doorway, stood straight up and glared at her.

Participles mean simultaneous action. You can't bend and stand straight at the same time.

How to fix? Well, I would probably imply sequence:

Jeremy, who had been bending forward in the doorway, straightened and glared at her.

Not a very good sentence, perhaps, but at least logical!

Alicia who loves students like this!


Anonymous said...

What amazes me is how many of those make it into a published novel.

James Pray said...

If he had to straighten, then it's not really necessary to say he was bent over before. He could have been slouching or stooping, sure, but unless the prior gesture carries some meaning with regards to the story, it's cuttable.

"Jeremy straightened in the doorway [and glared]/[to glare?] at her." for instance.

Joanna St. James said...

show vs tell, glad said student fixed it