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Timing of Events in a Sentence

Crumbly Writer

I've been working at the timing of events in phrasing because I typically use "," and -ing verbs (making it appear that events occur simultaneously). But, I've got a sentence I'm confused by. In the following sentence, does the "biting her lip" happen before, or while she's jumping?

Biting her lip, she ran as hard as she could and jumped off the ledge.

I don't mind her biting her lip while running, but it would be dangerous landing (12 stories up) while biting your lip. I'm hoping the "and" followed by a past-tense verb implies that one event follows the others.

How would you read that sentence?

Torsian
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

The way this reads the running and jumping are the same act. In reality the jumps ends the run. To me as a reader it would look better as "could, and jumped" or "could. Then jumped". Admittedly I write boring technical documents not entertaining fiction, so styles may vary.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I would say she's biting her lip the whole time she ran and jumped.

Dominions Son

@Torsian

In reality the jumps ends the run.


Ever hear of hurdles.

Replies:   Torsian
solitude

@Switch Blayde

Ditto to Switch Blayde. How about leaving out the current comma, and ending with "could, and then jumped."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

I would say she's biting her lip the whole time she ran and jumped.


agreed

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

CW, if you don't want her biting her lip when she lands, you'd do better to have her stop the biting action before hand with something like:

She bites her lip while studying the situation. She opens her mouth to take a deep breath before running and jumping of the ledge.

or something along those lines to show two clear sets of actions with the lip biting all over before the jump.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
sejintenej

@Switch Blayde

I also agree with Switch Blayde. I am far from dismayed by the use of the "ing" ending where appropriate.
To stop "biting her lip" before "jumping..." you could insert another word with or instead of the "and". Think "before jumping" or "and then jumped..." though I am not fully convinced about that latter idea.

garymrssn

@Crumbly Writer

You could remove the ambiguity by having her scream on the way down. I don't know if that would work because I don't know the context. Having her do something after she jumps could possibly solve the problem.

tppm

@Crumbly Writer

To me the lip biting and the and the running occur simultaneously, and it's a very short run to get enough momentum to complete the jump. It's unclear whether she's still biting her lip as she jumps.

Crumbly Writer

@solitude

Ditto to Switch Blayde. How about leaving out the current comma, and ending with "could, and then jumped."

Does the "and then" separate the "biting her lip" from the jumping, because the "and" should separate the running from the jumping. Otherwise, I'm not sure what the addition of the "then" accomplishes.

@Seijintenej

To stop "biting her lip" before "jumping..." you could insert another word with or instead of the "and". Think "before jumping" or "and then jumped..." though I am not fully convinced about that latter idea.

Technically, I don't mind her biting her lip as she jumps off the ledge (I'd be likely to do that if I jumped off a ledge). The full stop (before she lands) should resolve that.

@Garymrssn

You could remove the ambiguity by having her scream on the way down. I don't know if that would work because I don't know the context. Having her do something after she jumps could possibly solve the problem.

The context is, they're trying to escape bad guys, so screaming would alert them they're leaping from one building to another.

@Tppm

To me the lip biting and the running occur simultaneously, and it's a very short run to get enough momentum to complete the jump. It's unclear whether she's still biting her lip as she jumps.

That was really the design. The run is only five steps, which she took prior to this sentence.

Replies:   tppm  solitude
Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

She bites her lip while studying the situation. She opens her mouth to take a deep breath before running and jumping of the ledge.


Or if you wanted a more continuous sentence, like:

Biting her lip, she studied the situation, gauging the distance and then opening her mouth for a deep, calming breath, before setting off as if a gunshot signaled her start, her legs pumping as she ran with all her might, her arms pistoning as her body leaned forward, countering her momentum. She leaped from the edge, disappearing over the side.

tppm

@Crumbly Writer

The full stop (before she lands) should resolve that.


I would think the full stop when she lands would take care of her ever biting her lip while jumping, and possibly her having a lip to bite.

Oh, you mean the period at the end of the sentence.

Dicrostonyx
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Biting her lip, she ran as hard as she could and jumped off the ledge.


Like most here, I would initially interpret the biting as simultaneous with the running and jumping, but I would likely reread the sentence and realise that you meant it to be separate. Of course, that introduces its own problem as you don't really want people rereading sentences, it takes away from the action.

The way that I would solve the issue would be to separate the actions thus:


She bit her lip, then she ran as hard as she could and jumped off the ledge.


The word "then" implies the passage of time, so even though you do not specifically state that she stopped biting her lip, by separating the actions temporally you suggest that the biting is separate from the other actions.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Dicrostonyx


The word "then" implies the passage of time, so even though you do not specifically state that she stopped biting her lip, by separating the actions temporally you suggest that the biting is separate from the other actions.


You're right, it does separate the biting her lip from the jumping, but it also disassociates the biting her lip from the running, which I hadn't wanted to do. Adding "and then" to my original sentence seems redundant, while adding little real value to the sentence (hence the redundant redundancy 'D).

I guess I'll either have to remove the "biting her lip" reference entirely, or rework the entire passage.

How about:

Biting her lip, she ran as hard as she could. Leaping off the parapet, she swung her arms, arching off the ledge.

sejintenej

@Dicrostonyx


She bit her lip, then she ran as hard as she could and jumped off the ledge.

The word "then" implies the passage of time, so even though you do not specifically state that she stopped biting her lip, by separating the actions temporally you suggest that the biting is separate from the other actions.

Surely you want to imply the passage of time but I suspect you want her stopping biting her tongue as she launched herself into the air.
Another possibility:

She bit her lip whilst she ran as hard as she could and then she jumped off the ledge

REP

If I were in that type of situation, I would not be biting my lip as I ran, even if it was only five steps.

How about having her inhale deeply to prepare for the run and jump before starting the run. Most people would open their jaws to take that breath, which would end the biting.

REP

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
solitude
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

@Crumbly Writer

Re my suggestion

Biting her lip she ran as hard as she could, and then jumped off the ledge.


The "then" could be considered redundant, but it has the effect of ensuring the comma is seen as a list separator.

On consideration, though, while your original version may raise a wry grin in some of your readers, the intent is clear - and it's brevity recommends it over your later suggestion.

(Edited to correct formatting - it would be nice if this forum had a preview facility for posts.)

Replies:   aerosick
aerosick

@solitude

When you reply to someone how do you get the part of their Post that you want to highlight?

I've tried several of the HTML Tags showing at the bottom but I can't get it right so far.

(Sorry to take this Thread away from the original questions... :-(

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@aerosick


When you reply to someone how do you get the part of their Post that you want to highlight?


In the original post you use your mouse to drag over and highlight the text involved, then use the bent arrow reply to button and it shows as a quote in your reply.

remember to click the left button and hold it down while you do the highlighting.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

If I were in that type of situation, I would not be biting my lip as I ran, even if it was only five steps.

How about having her inhale deeply to prepare for the run and jump before starting the run. Most people would open their jaws to take that breath, which would end the biting.

The biting her lip was intended to show nervousness about taking the leap, not sure whether she could make it. Taking a deep breath conveys a different mindset (i.e. I'm determined to make this, rather than expressing doubt).

I could include both, but then it falls into Ernest's teasing sentence, where the side comments end up longer than the entire action sequence.

@Solitude

they could try asking an author who's posted a couple of gay stories if they'd edit for them. It's because I posted a couple of DiD stories a couple of newbie authors asked me to edit their DiD stories.

You can always post it onto a cloud sharing service and post a link to it. I've done that, using Dropbox, and although a couple people had issues with accessing the file, they still got through.

@Aerosick

When you reply to someone how do you get the part of their Post that you want to highlight?

There are two methods. The easiest is to highlight what you want featured, and then hit the 'automatic reply' button in the lower righthand corner of the post. The second is to code it by hand. The reason why you didn't succeed is that it isn't an html command. Instead it's an SOL specific command: open-curly-quote "quote" close-curly-quote.

I'd show the exact command, but the SOL processor tends to eat such commands. Here's my attempt at displaying it, though: { quote }Text.{ /quote }

Replies:   aerosick  sejintenej
aerosick
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I'd show the exact command, but the SOL processor tends to eat such commands. Here's my attempt at displaying it, though: { quote }Text.{ /quote }


"This works, thanks!"

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

There are two methods. The easiest is to highlight what you want featured, and then hit the 'automatic reply' button in the lower righthand corner of the post. The second is to code it by hand. The reason why you didn't succeed is that it isn't an html command. Instead it's an SOL specific command: open-curly-quote "quote" close-curly-quote.

If I want to get a second quote I cut and paste the text and then cut and paste the curly quote/unquote from your original quote. For me that is easier because my keyboard is littered with unusual symbols and finding the curlies and using Alt Gr ...

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@sejintenej

open-curly-quote "quote" close-curly-quote.


Just so people don't read this and use the wrong symbol, they are the { } which are called curly brackets. I believe they're also called squiggly brackets. But they're brackets, not quotes.

Dicrostonyx

Note that you can use the symbols < and > (greater than and less than signs) in lieu of the { and }. Additionally, the system accepts the term "blockquote" as well as "quote", but since it appears to do exactly the same thing, there's no reason to type the extra five letters.

Dominions Son

@Dicrostonyx

Note that you can use the symbols < and > (greater than and less than signs)


Also called (which is more relevant to this particular use) left and right angle brackets.

Crumbly Writer

@Dicrostonyx

Additionally, the system accepts the term "blockquote" as well as "quote", but since it appears to do exactly the same thing, there's no reason to type the extra five letters.

I didn't know it accepted the standard html < blockquote > command, though it sounds like it's only partially implemented, as it's normally intended and (on SOL) italicized.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I didn't know it accepted the standard html < blockquote > command,


That's relatively new. But it works just like "quote" so why type the extra letters?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

That's relatively new. But it works just like "quote" so why type the extra letters?

As I said, I suspect it's only partially implemented. Ideally, it would be a way to highlight text without having to shove it into a quote box, making Forum members think it was said by another member.

tppm
Updated:

A couple possible ways to highlight might be bold or


block quote, as SB suggested


or italic.

Now let's post this and see which, if any, of those work.

Note I typed { b }{ /b }, < blockquote >< /blockquote >, and { i }{ /i }. The program changed the {} to < > and vice versa, and also dropped the "block" from "blockquote".

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@tppm

Note I typed { b }{ /b }, < blockquote >< /blockquote >, and { i }{ /i }. The program changed the {} to < > and vice versa, and also dropped the "block" from "blockquote".

Apparently the block/blockquote is part of Lazeez's attempt to merge the html and SOL commands (i.e. they all do the same thing). As others have suggested, the angle bracket keys are easier to reach than the squiggly brackets.

Torsian

@Dominions Son

There is an exception to every rule. Except this one.

Dicrostonyx

I ran through some of the other major html text commands and confirmed that none of them work. Currently, we have the six listed under the "Post" button only.

Most of the html text commands are pretty useless, but I though underlining or font colours might have been stealth implemented.

Crumbly Writer

@Dicrostonyx

Most of the html text commands are pretty useless, but I though underlining or font colours might have been stealth implemented.

Tech advancements come slowly on SOL. Lazeez doesn't have a lot of spare time to invest on minor issues. What time he has available, he's busy trying to merge FS and SOL into the same coding.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

When that day (of merger) comes, perhaps it will be Fine Stories on Line. FSOL.

Astronomers say "Oh be a fine girl kiss me." We can say "Oh be a Fine SOL read me."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Dicrostonyx

but I thought underlining


I asked for underlining. It was intentionally left out because it looks like a link. So I use bold instead.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

When that day (of merger) comes, perhaps it will be Fine Stories on Line. FSOL.

He's not merging the sites. One will remain adult, while the other remains family friendly, but he's trying to merge the code so they're easier to maintain and add new features to. It's something I'm looking forward to.

@Switch

I asked for underlining. It was intentionally left out because it looks like a link. So I use bold instead.

Normally, links are identified by the combination of color and the underline, not by either one separately. However, I'm not sure SOL uses the traditional blue/red color with their links.

Still, underlining is a fairly unusual punctuation for fiction. Why would you underline anything, and what would it add that using italics wouldn't?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Still, underlining is a fairly unusual punctuation for fiction. Why would you underline anything, and what would it add that using italics wouldn't?


We were talking about posts on this forum, not stories on SOL.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

We were talking about posts on this forum, not stories on SOL.

Again, why would you underline a post, rather than simply hyphenating or bolding? What does underlining do that the others wouldn't?

I'm not attacking your choice, I just don't understand the thinking behind it.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I'm not attacking your choice, I just don't understand the thinking behind it.


If I remember, the time I wanted to use it was for headings, such as:

Pros
1. xx
2. xx

Cons
1. xx
2. xx

I wanted to underline "pros" and "cons."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Now I could see providing lists. I'd use those if they were available. But between you and Ernest, you both like inventing your own formatting conventions.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

But between you and Ernest, you both like inventing your own formatting conventions.


Hey, I resemble that remark. Seriously, I don't actually violate any of the grammar set in stone formatting conventions, but do ignore a lot of the ones promoted by certain style manuals to use ones that I see are more natural and free flowing. One advantage of writing in the vernacular is there is a lot more freedom in format and grammar than when writing in formal English. My main aim in all my formatting is to be easy to read, free flowing, and minimise the risk of confusion for the reader.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Hey, I resemble that remark.

I wasn't commenting on your grammar or style, but rather the way you both seem to adapt your own way of formatting the text (your color coding certain section heads, and his underlining certain column heads). The general rule of thumb for most style guides is to minimize extraneous formatting (i.e. leave the color variants, which many people can't see, or certain styles which might be confused, alone).

I'll admit, I've done the same, but mostly for specific uses, such as showing telepathic communication in certain stories. But I chose mine by accepting the currently accepted conventions on the site (SOL).

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

The general rule of thumb for most style guides is to minimize extraneous formatting (i.e. leave the color variants, which many people can't see, or certain styles which might be confused, alone).


CW,

In print there is no colour and the position on the page and the font size show what it is, but for the electronic versions you can't guarantee the page position or the font size or the colour, however, most of the programs only strip out two of the three so the third enables it to differentiate. It's also less of a hassle than having a lot of images in there.

As to SoL I use the conventions and options of the site that are available.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

In print there is no colour and the position on the page and the font size show what it is, but for the electronic versions you can't guarantee the page position or the font size or the colour, however, most of the programs only strip out two of the three so the third enables it to differentiate. It's also less of a hassle than having a lot of images in there.

Ernest, like blowup dolls, you can dress it however you want, but you use your color coding because you're playing games with chapter sizes, trying to post standard SOL pages when your book chapters aren't consistent. That's not a problem with formatting, but of trying to shoehorn in a structure designed for a different form factor. If you kept consistent chapters between your books and your postings, you wouldn't need the funky formatting. Your color coding is a work-around, needed because of your own actions.

I'm not complaining about it. If it helps your readers, then more power to you. But I'm just pointing out that you're using nonstandard formatting, which other authors are unlikely to emulate--or need to.

There are certain standard formatting tricks, but the key is to keep them to a minimum to prevent confusion. Italics, bolding and indentation (to one degree or another) are the general limits. If more options are available, authors will use them, but they don't necessarily help the reading process.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

but rather the way you both seem to adapt your own way of formatting the text (your color coding certain section heads, and his underlining certain column heads).


Again, I was talking about posting a comment on this forum. I've never underlined anything or used color in a story.

How many times do you see an article with an underlined heading followed by the meat of what the heading is about and then another underlined heading with the meat? Now if you copy that here to quote someone, you'd want to replicate his formatting, whether it be bold or underlining.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


That's not a problem with formatting, but of trying to shoehorn in a structure designed for a different form factor. If you kept consistent chapters between your books and your postings, you wouldn't need the funky formatting. Your color coding is a work-around, needed because of your own actions.


CW,

I do keep consist sizes between my chapters etc - it's just i don't see the item to keep consistent as being the number of words, but the content and relationship of the content. Like a story, I feel a chapter should be as long as it needs to be to properly convey what's being said in it. When that includes a number of different scenes I break it up, and sometimes that means sub-chapters because it's a major scene change.

next, not wanting to keep a number of different master files that all need to be adjusted when I make a change, I keep one master file that's formatted to allow me to use it for print and for e-book. I do have to do more work on it for SoL, but that's another aspect. The fact the colour I use for the e-book is useful to flow through to SoL is serendipity. But this is all about the chapter / sub-chapter titles - for which some people use images instead.

Within the text I use blue for notes and quotes simply to make them stand out in the e-book version as not part of the main story text, thus it looks nicer. For general story text I use bold, italics, indents, and quote marks for format purposes.

Bondi Beach

@Ernest Bywater

n print there is no colour and the position on the page and the font size show what it is, but for the electronic versions you can't guarantee the page position or the font size or the colour, however, most of the programs only strip out two of the three so the third enables it to differentiate.


I can't claim to have seen every reader, but the relationship between chapter or section headings and text, or vertical space between sections, etc. is constant in everything I've seen. So you can use that constant to differentiate. Font size may vary, but all-caps or small-caps remain what they are, ditto for kerning.

bb

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

I can't claim to have seen every reader, but the relationship between chapter or section headings and text, or vertical space between sections,


I've used two readers and two other reader programs on my desktop - and have four different visual presentations between them. Some strip out the position on the page, some don't. Some strip out the colour, some don't. Some strip out the font size and / or italics, some don't. But none strip out all three sets of information. Thus, as long as one set gets through the reader software changes the differences are visual and reasonably appealing to the reader's eye.

The master file has chapter headings in red a third of the way down the page, and sub-chapter headings are at the top of the page in blue and italics - both are centered and in 18 point font while the text is 10 point font. In the pdf file the position and font info is the same bu the colour is gone. In some of the e-pub readers both are at the top of the page some with colour some without, some with the larger font, some with the same font size as the main text. It's annoying, but the reader can tell the difference if only one of the options makes it through the software alterations.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Now if you copy that here to quote someone, you'd want to replicate his formatting, whether it be bold or underlining.

Now you see, duplicating someone else's formatting is a legitimate reason for including underlining in text. That I can understand. (I could also understand your including it, it was just the 'non-standard' usage of extraneous formatting that bugged me.)

@Ernest

Within the text I use blue for notes and quotes simply to make them stand out in the e-book version as not part of the main story text, thus it looks nicer. For general story text I use bold, italics, indents, and quote marks for format purposes.

I can understand wanting notes or explanations to stand out, though I'd either use indents for those, or more likely, add them as footnotes at the end, so they don't detract from the story. It's more a matter of standardized formatting that's less prone to 'the latest thing this writer comes up with'.

I've used two readers and two other reader programs on my desktop - and have four different visual presentations between them. Some strip out the position on the page, some don't. Some strip out the colour, some don't. Some strip out the font size and / or italics, some don't. But none strip out all three sets of information. Thus, as long as one set gets through the reader software changes the differences are visual and reasonably appealing to the reader's eye.

OK, I'll admit, that's the best explanation yet, as it clearly states the problem and the resolution to establish why you adopted the practice.

Perv Otaku

@Crumbly Writer

Biting her lip, she ran as hard as she could and jumped off the ledge.


Thread TL;DR, but:

Technically, I read this sentence as intended because of context. I know what the act of biting your lip means in this case, I know you would stop biting once you start running, and I know that you can only run towards a ledge until you get there, and then you must jump off.

But yes, from a strict and nitpicky grammatical sense, you might want something more like
"She bit her lip, ran as hard as she could, and then jumped off the ledge."

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