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Hesitated vs. Paused

Crumbly Writer

I know people are getting tired of these, but ... I'm wondering whether saying that some "hesitated" might be unintentionally telling the reader what they're thinking. Would a simple "pause" work better, or does "hesitate" get to the heart of the matter quicker.

The sentence that raises the issue is:

"I'm calling from a pay phone." Francine hesitated. "We're hoping to stay in New York. I figured the last place he'd look for us was in his sister's apartment."

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

I see no difference in hesitated and paused.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I see no difference in hesitated and paused.

In that case, I prefer "hesitated", as it's more specific. Someone might pause because they're thinking about lunch, or cat videos. Someone hesitates because they're reluctant to continue for whatever reason.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hesitate

1.
to be reluctant or wait to act because of fear, indecision, or disinclination:
She hesitated to take the job.
2.
to have scruples or doubts; be unwilling:
He hesitated to break the law.
3.
to pause:
I hesitated before reciting the next line.
4.
to falter in speech; stammer:
Embarrassment caused the speaker to hesitate.


Definition 4 is very different than paused, and I think can be applied to action as well.

For example, I have seen in some cases of laceration injuries a reference to "hesitation marks" which refers to the cutter starting to cut and stopping before inflicting serious injury only to make another attempt. The "hesitation marks are short, shallow lacerations surrounding the main laceration.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
TDydl

I see them as having different levels of planning.

A pause is something you have anticipated in advance, a hesitation occurs with no forethought.

Just my take on it, with no references to back it up.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@TDydl

A pause is something you have anticipated in advance, a hesitation occurs with no forethought.

I'm not so sure a pause implies advanced planning. Using my previous example, many people pause in conversations because they're glancing out the window, or thinking about what to order.

I see the difference to be more one of intent. A pause is devoid of intent (i.e. you aren't pausing for effect), whereas hesitation implies you're uncertain about how something will be accepted. It also (many times) involves a different attitude (glancing at the other party instead of looking away, playing with your hands, wiping your palms on your clothes, etc.).

It's for those reasons I suspected using "hesitated" might be telling, instead of showing how the person responds while waiting.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

Definition 4 is very different than paused.


I was responding to his question of whether hesitating is more "unintentionally telling" than pausing. My response was that I didn't see any difference between the two as it relates to "unintentional telling."

I don't believe either is telling.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

It's for those reasons I suspected using "hesitated" might be telling, instead of showing how the person responds while waiting.


It's less graphic than describing fidgeting, but there are a number of different emotional states that could lead to hesitation. Without more description of the specific motivation, I wouldn't call it telling.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

It's less graphic than describing fidgeting, but there are a number of different emotional states that could lead to hesitation.

Which, I suspect, is why it works. If a character hesitates, it's bait to continue reading. You're not telling what someone is thinking, but inviting the reader to guess why. The reason is revealed in the dialogue, which Switch keeps reminding us, is the essential part of most stories.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

which Switch keeps reminding us, is the essential part of most stories.


No, he keeps asserting that. I tend to disagree.

Serena Jones

I tend to use (and read) hesitated as someone being unsure or reluctant about what they will say/do next. I see a pause as more deliberate - you pause to see if someone else will act first or to give someone else a chance to say something.

"...speak now, or forever hold your peace." The minister paused.

Mary hesitated. Amy seemed so happy; revealing Alex's affair would be cruel.

Just my take on things.

SJ

(PS - finally remembered my login! Hi all; Happy New Year to those I haven't seen since 2015.)

Switch Blayde

@Serena Jones

(PS - finally remembered my login! Hi all; Happy New Year to those I haven't seen since 2015.)


Welcome back. Happy New Year!

Ernest Bywater

@Serena Jones

PS - finally remembered my login! Hi all;


Good to see you're back. You've been missed!

Crumbly Writer

@Serena Jones

Welcome back, and we appreciate the feedback, Serena.

You do know, SOL accounts are free. If you can't log in, you could always change the password or simply create a new account? 'D

Serena Jones

Ya'll say the sweetest things! And CW - I can't remember the passwords I got, why on earth would create a new account to forget? I knew it was written somewhere. Turned out to be in storage with my needlecraft stuff (long story.)

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Serena Jones

Unless it has to do with money, use the same login for most of your accounts. I know its not secure, really, but what do you have on your computer you don't want others to see? I suppose there is a possibility of vandalism, but hackers have bigger fish to fry. It just makes life easier to know one password, and not to have to change them constantly. With reasonable backup of data, hopefully automatically, a new computer these days costs under $300. A pair and a half of these shoes we keep talking about.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

Going back to the original question of pause versus hesitate I feel that they have quite different meanings. They both refer to the actions of a human - the army paused - but it was the CO who made the decision.

So, hesitate suggests that the person involved is uncertain as to the result of a proposed action. The CO might hesitate to continue the advance because he is worried that the behind-the-lines support will be lacking.

Pause is a deliberate act to wait until a certain event occurs. The CO might pause the advance until the behind-the-lines support has been organised. He has no doubt that it will be.

When driving I might pause at traffic lights - I KNOW that eventually they will go to green. I might hesitate if I have doubt that I can get across before the green goes to red.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

A pause is a deliberate action for a specific reason while you hesitate due to uncertainty. The difference in usage is reliant on the underlying cause for the action.

tppm

@Serena Jones

(PS - finally remembered my login! Hi all; Happy New Year to those I haven't seen since 2015.)


Welcome back, um, hesitating, Mother.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Unless it has to do with money, use the same login for most of your accounts.

I use a standard password for every site which doesn't contain essential information. Those that have my credit card number, for instance, or can be used to charge stuff to my account, I use unique passwords which I write down. Bank accounts, however, get secure passwords.

I like the systems that remember passwords, until I got burned by Apple. They insist, when you first set it up, that the password "Is the same as your Apple ID, so you can access by logging in". However, that's a blatant lie! If you do the wrong thing, it'll ask you for your ID, you enter your Apple ID, but it's asking for the Apple ID five generations ago, or was it seven? They also have an option to "erase the password file", but after it deletes all your passwords, you informs you that you can't create a new one without knowing the master password, which no longer exists!

Always write your Apple password ID!!!

For my PC, I let Firefox remember my passwords, but I have a plug in which allows me to see the keywords (you click on the box with the encripted key, and it reveals the text version). That's a decent way to remember what your old passwords were.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

For my PC, I let Firefox remember my passwords, but I have a plug in which allows me to see the keywords (you click on the box with the encripted key, and it reveals the text version). That's a decent way to remember what your old passwords were.


CW, could I get the name and possibly the site for that plug in.

Capt Zapp

@docholladay

For my PC, I let Firefox remember my passwords, but I have a plug in which allows me to see the keywords (you click on the box with the encripted key, and it reveals the text version). That's a decent way to remember what your old passwords were.

CW, could I get the name and possibly the site for that plug in.


Yes, please share it with us.

Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

CW, could I get the name and possibly the site for that plug in.

It's called "Show My Password". Search for the name under "Add-ons". There are also similar tools (under different names) for Chrome and Safari. (It's "Password Peek" for Chrome.)

Replies:   Capt Zapp
Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

(It's "Password Peek" for Chrome.)


After reading the descriptions (there are two different add-ons with the same name), I feel safer using the password manager built into the browser. At least that way I know there is no chance that the add-on might be broadcasting my passwords to some unknown third party.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Capt Zapp

After reading the descriptions (there are two different add-ons with the same name), I feel safer using the password manager built into the browser. At least that way I know there is no chance that the add-on might be broadcasting my passwords to some unknown third party.

I'll admit, I've never used "Password Peek". However, before installing "Show My Password", I checked the reviews of it. And yes, people checked it out, determining how much of what types of information were being passed. (By the way, the Facebook app on the iPhone chews up 15% of your battery life, based on independent research.)

The key is, if your computer is stolen (and the thief knows about the app), you're up shit's creek (I don't use it for my banking apps). I wouldn't use it on a laptop as it's more likely to be stolen.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Facebook app on the iPhone chews up 15% of your battery life


I just deleted it (and Instagram) from my Samsung Galaxy. It came with them installed but I never used them. I hope that helps with my battery life.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I just deleted it (and Instagram) from my Samsung Galaxy. It came with them installed but I never used them. I hope that helps with my battery life.

On iOS, the Facebook app eats up 500mb and eats up battery life. If you visit facebook via your browser, you don't have the overhead nor the battery drain. Haven't heard whether the same is true on Galaxy phones, but they're made by the same people, so ...

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