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Switch Blayde

I started reading a story called "Wynter" by Russell Hoisington. I found a major error and was going to let him know. But he seems to have turned off feedback so I warn authors about doing that.

In the beginning of his story he writes:

"And she said she'd had to remove the catheter this morning..."

Then, shortly afterward, he writes:

"Slowly, gently, but with some sense of urgency because he had waited until he thought his bladder was about to explode, he talked her through removing the limp three inches from his pajamas, uncovering the head of his uncircumcised spigot, inserting it into the neck of the urinal, and then holding everything steady with the tips of her long, gentle fingers while he voided his urine."

If he has a catheter in, that wouldn't happen.

So, don't turn off feedback.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

I can understand Russell's feedback being turned off, I believe he died a few years back.

edit to add: Ayep, his profile says:

Russell Hoisington passed away on the 16th of February of 2010. He will be missed.

It's always good to check and author's profile.

Reluctant_Sir

@Switch Blayde

I am missing the problem here, but I am sick as a dog, so maybe it is me.

The first line you quoted is past tense... 'she'd had to remove it this morning'

That means she had already removed it this morning, not that she needed to remove it later in the morning or whatever.

Switch Blayde

@Reluctant_Sir

That means she had already removed it


You're right. My mistake. I guess it was foreshadowing that his daughter would have to help him pee, whereas if the catheter was still in she wouldn't.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

You're right. My mistake.

Another valid reason for not turning reader feedback on. 'D

BlacKnight

@Switch Blayde

"Slowly, gently, but with some sense of urgency because he had waited until he thought his bladder was about to explode, he talked her through removing the limp three inches from his pajamas, uncovering the head of his uncircumcised spigot, inserting it into the neck of the urinal, and then holding everything steady with the tips of her long, gentle fingers while he voided his urine."


That is the purplest description of someone pissing I've ever seen.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Reluctant_Sir


The first line you quoted is past tense... 'she'd had to remove it this morning'

That means she had already removed it this morning,


It just dawned on me why I thought it was wrong.

It should be "she had." When I saw "she'd had" I assumed "had" should be "have."

"She'd have to remove it this morning" means it's still inside.

So there is an error anyway.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

It should be "she had." When I saw "she'd had" I assumed "had" should be "have."

How does "she had had" translate to the present tense? Is this like a double negative equaling a positive, if you put something in a double post tense verb, it automatically becomes present tense? What happens if he's written "she have have", does that then automatically become "She did it in the distant past"?

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

How does "she had had" translate to the present tense?


Reading that, I wouldn't assume that she'd had makes a double had. I'd probably thing she would for she'd in that context, but then had should be have.

Replies:   Reluctant_Sir
Reluctant_Sir

@Dominions Son

Reading that, I wouldn't assume that she'd had makes a double had. I'd probably thing she would for she'd in that context, but then had should be have.


So you would assume something that makes no sense, attributing an error to the author rather than assume something that makes perfect sense in context?

Not sure I understand that.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Reluctant_Sir
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


It should be "she had." When I saw "she'd had" I assumed "had" should be "have."

"She'd have to remove it this morning" means it's still inside. So there is an error anyway.


Absolutely not. In this context:

She had done it (She did this thing)

and

She had had to do it[She'd had] (Something forced her to do this thing)

Both would have been correct in context.

She'd have to (She would have to in the future) is NOT correct in context even if you assumed it would be or wanted it to be.

The error is STILL yours for assuming instead of reading what is there.

Replies:   REP
Dominions Son

@Reluctant_Sir

So you would assume something that makes no sense, attributing an error to the author rather than assume something that makes perfect sense in context?


No, to me at least had had makes even less sense in context.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

How does "she had had" translate to the present tense?


I guess I would never use the contraction "she'd" for "she had." I read it as "she would."

So I thought it was "she would have" since "she would had" made no sense.

Replies:   Ross at Play
REP
Updated:

@Reluctant_Sir


The error is STILL yours for assuming instead of reading what is there.


If you go back to the OP, Switch presented the sentence and then he also stated that shortly after there was a passage describing the catheter being removed.

Obviously the sentence was supposed to be future tense. In this case you need to read all of what was in the OP.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I guess I would never use the contraction "she'd" for "she had." I read it as "she would."

"She'd" may be used to mean either "she had" or "she would". If the verb has a present tense it means "she would". If it has a past tense it means "she had".

In your example, "she'd had to" means "she had had to", while "she'd have to" means "she would have to".

There is kind of momentary ambiguity whenever "'d" contractions are used. They could mean either at first, but the ambiguity is resolved later when it becomes clear whether a present or past tense is being used.

It works because of the fixed order of components in verb phrases. However, any attempt to explain how it works would only confuse people here even more.

Switch Blayde

@REP

If you go back to the OP, Switch presented the sentence and then he also stated that shortly after there was a passage describing the catheter being removed.


If I said that I didn't mean it. In the later passage, there was no catheter. The daughter was holding his "spigot" (awful word for dick) to the urinal. Since I thought the catheter hadn't been removed yet I thought it was an error. But it was my error for not thinking the catheter had been removed previously.

Replies:   REP
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

"She'd" may be used to mean either "she had" or "she would".


I agree. But there are certain contractions I wouldn't use. This is one of them so I automatically assumed it was "she would".

Replies:   Ross at Play
REP

@Switch Blayde

You are right. Your passage didn't mention catheter. I read it too fast, thought it was going to be a description of the catheter being removed, and missed catheter not being mentioned. My error.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

there are certain contractions I wouldn't use. This is one of them

I consider that a legitimate style choice a careful author may make: I did say a 'momentary ambiguity [results] whenever "'d" contractions are used.'

... so I automatically assumed it was "she would".

That doesn't work if other authors are prepared to contract "she had". My point of grammar is you cannot assume what "'d" means; you must wait until the it becomes clear whether the rest of the verb phrase has a present tense (it means "would") or a past tense (it means "had").

Admittedly, your example was a bit confusing. The verb have (with the possible forms have, has, had) appears in all verbs with any complete (perfect) tense. But the verbs have and have to also have independent meanings as primary verbs.

In case you're thinking that "would have to" is a future tense, not a present tense? The answer to that is 'sort of'. English grammar doesn't have real future tenses. It only has present and past tenses, with future tense meanings constructed by merely adding an auxiliary verb (e.g. will, going to, might) to the present tense.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

In case you're thinking that "would have to" is a future tense, not a present tense? The answer to that is 'sort of'. English grammar doesn't have real future tenses. It only has present and past tenses, with future tense meanings constructed by merely adding an auxiliary verb (e.g. will, going to, might) to the present tense.

"I will so have had fun at the party tonight, Mom!" ;D

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

It works because of the fixed order of components in verb phrases. However, any attempt to explain how it works would only confuse people here even more.

Yeah, we've all learned, rather painfully, just how pointless it is teaching budding and experienced authors how to string sentences together properly. :(

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ross at Play


My point of grammar is you cannot assume what "'d" means; you must wait until the it becomes clear whether the rest of the verb phrase has a present tense (it means "would") or a past tense (it means "had").


That's probably why I don't use "she'd" to be "she had."

For the fun of it, come up with a sentence using "where'd." Do it before you read further.

I bet it was "Where did…" But it can also be "Where had…" However, I doubt you'd never use it as "where had." If you do, the reader would probably stumble over it.

Same with "when'd." It can be either "when did" or "when had." I actually wouldn't contract either, but if I read it I would assume "when did."

ETA:

"Contractions belong in the delivery room, not in professional writing."—Oscar Wilde.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

"I will so have had fun at the party tonight, Mom!" ;D

Have a look at the-conjugation.com.

The present perfect tense of have is "I have had".

The future perfect tense of have, "I will have had", is formed by simply adding the auxiliary verb 'will' before the corresponding present tense.

Yes, people think in terms of present, past, and future tenses but, grammatically, what we think of as future tenses are nothing more than using 'will', one of many auxiliary verbs, with a present tense.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

That's probably why I don't use "she'd" to be "she had."

I thought I was explicit enough in stating I think that's a reasonable choice for you to make.

I was trying to explain why others have no problem using "she'd" for either "she had" or "she would". Any momentary ambiguity is resolved by whether what follows is a past or present tense.

As for "where'd" and "when'd" ... I probably wouldn't stumble on those; I'm more like to puke on them instead. :-)

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

As for "where'd" and "when'd" ... I probably wouldn't stumble on those; I'm more like to puke on them instead. :-)


Even "where'd"?

"Where'd you go" is common.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

"Where'd you go" is common.

As a question in dialogue, I suppose so.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

"Contractions belong in the delivery room, not in professional writing."—Oscar Wilde.

Nice quote. I hadn't encountered that one before.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

As for "where'd" and "when'd" ... I probably wouldn't stumble on those; I'm more like to puke on them instead.

I concur. Let's all gather at the local purgatorium and dump all over those uses. Seriously "when'd"? Who the hell would ever use such a term in a serious piece of writing? I understand that you're making a point, but creating abstract contractions just to argue a point is, well, pointless.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

"Where'd you go" is common.

It might be more common than "when'd" (which I've never encountered before) but it's hardly a 'common contraction'.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I understand that you're making a point, but creating abstract contractions just to argue a point is, well, pointless.


You missed the point I was making. Let's go back to "where'd."

That contraction could mean "where did" and "where had." I didn't even know it could mean "where had" until I read an article on contractions not to use (that's where "when'd" came from).

"Where'd you go" is something you'd hear (where did you go).

"Where'd you gone" is not (where had you gone).

My point was that just because there's a contraction for something, it doesn't mean you should use it. "When'd" is a great example. But so is "where'd" when the second word is "had." If you need to write "where had you gone," don't use a contraction.

I feel that way about "she'd." It's fine to use as "she would" but not "she had."

The sentence in the story is:

"And she said she'd had to remove the catheter this morning..."


Expand the contraction and it reads:

"And she said she had had to remove the catheter this morning..."


Why two "had"s? Why not simply, "And she said she had to remove the catheter this morning..."

And if "she'd" can be "she had," then does the following sentence make sense:

"And she said she'd to remove the catheter this morning..."


Does the above look right to you? If you expand "she'd" to "she had" it's correct, but not as a contraction. So why would anyone use "she'd" to mean "she had"? Even though it's a valid contraction.

That was my point. The "when'd" just emphasized that some valid contractions should not be used.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde


"Contractions belong in the delivery room, not in professional writing."—Oscar Wilde.


Which is why academic books are so damn boring. However, contraction belong in story telling, and every good story teller uses them.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

"Contractions belong in the delivery room, not in professional writing."—Oscar Wilde.

Which is why academic books are so damn boring.

Except, Oscar Wilde was a Fictional novelist and didn't write 'boring' stories, although, given that he wrote then very early in the 19th century, he likely didn't include many contractions, which are mostly a 'modern' concession.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I feel that way about "she'd." It's fine to use as "she would" but not "she had."

In this case, I agree with Ross. While I'd be cautious about my approach, I wouldn't rule it out, since the major determinate regarding understanding the sentence is the attached very form. Declaring that you'd Never include a contraction means you pointedly avoid contractions for any scene occurring in the distant past, which seems unrealistic if you're discussing character dialogues.

And if "she'd" can be "she had," then does the following sentence make sense:

"And she said she'd to remove the catheter this morning..."

If you drop the unnecessary "to", your example sentence is entirely sensible and understandable (assuming you rewrote it as "And she said she'd removed the catheter this morning …"). But that's why I criticized your use of "she'd had", as it's obviously a contraction of "she had had", which should NEVER be included in a work of fiction! Rather than avoiding past-tense contractions entirely, how about if we simply decide to avoid insipid or stupid ones?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Oscar Wilde was a Fictional novelist


I never found one of his works I liked. Mind you, I found most 19th century authors boring as they often took 250 words to describe a room that could've been done in 25 words.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

But that's why I criticized your use of "she'd had"


It wasn't mine. That's what was in the story. That's what threw me.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

It wasn't mine. That's what was in the story. That's what threw me.

In that case, we should both criticize the initial line for being unclear and confusing, rather than publicly declaring that ALL past-perfect contractions are inherently invalid. It all depends upon the context, and is something that each author should be aware of. But they're no reason to avoid them if the context makes the meaning clear.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I never found one of his works I liked. Mind you, I found most 19th century authors boring as they often took 250 words to describe a room that could've been done in 25 words.

Whereas, in my case, I actually prefer the pre-1960s novels to the later, more 'modernized' writing styles, and have gone out of my way to write similar 'old style' stories.

To each their own. It merely accounts for why my stories aren't as popular as the more modern stories with much simpler language, not for how much my readers might thoroughly enjoy my stories as a result.

Just because styles change doesn't always make them an 'improvement' in the long run, it just means they're 'more acceptable' in the hear and now.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

And if "she'd" can be "she had," then does the following sentence make sense:
"And she said she'd to remove the catheter this morning..."

The verb have has two functions:
1. as a primary verb, meaning to possess, or part of a phrasal verb, e.g. have to meaning must do
2. as a word within a verb phrase showing a complete tense

I cannot think of any situation where I would contract have when being used as a primary or phrasal verb.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Whereas, in my case, I actually prefer the pre-1960s novels


most of my favorite authors wrote between 1920 and 1970, but they're 20th century authors, not 19th century authors.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

I cannot think of any situation where I would contract have when being used as a primary or phrasal verb.


That's what I've been saying. When I see "she'd" I read "she would."

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

That's what I've been saying.

I was saying something different.

I have no problems with writing either:
I'd buy it = I would buy it
I'd bought it = I had bought it

However, I'd never write "I've it" or "I'd it." I'd always write "I have it" or "I had it" instead.

The distinction I make with the latter examples is that "have" and "had" are main verbs. I would not contract any form of have when it is being used as a main verb. I am willing to contract forms of have when they are not used as a main verb, as in "I'd bought it."

And I repeat ... I've no problem with your preference to not contract 'had'. I'm simply trying to explain which situations others may reasonably contract it and which they should not.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
helmut_meukel

@Crumbly Writer

it just means they're 'more acceptable' in the hear and now.


Uhh, that's another nice example for the ongoing discussion in Words that trip you up... :)

HM.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

I would not contract any form of have when it is being used as a main verb.


Maybe that's it.

"She'd missed curfew three times before the police came after her."

The above is a case where a contraction for "she had" makes sense to me, but I would not contract it because I'd want the "had" to stand out to make the tense perfectly clear.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

"She'd missed curfew three times before the police came after her."

The above is a case where a contraction for "she had" makes sense to me

Agreed. But would you agree this sounds pretty awful?

"She'd a curfew and missed it three times before the police came after her."

That's the only point I was trying to make.

robberhands

@Ross at Play

"She'd a curfew and missed it three times before the police came after her."

Was it a legal curfew she'd missed three times or was she arrested for contraction violation?

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

Agreed. But would you agree this sounds pretty awful?

"She'd a curfew and missed it three times before the police came after her."


Yes. Awful. I would never write that. That was my point. Just because you can use a contraction doesn't mean you should.

In my example (curfew one), "She'd" there sounds okay. But it would be in something like a flashback (past perfect tense) so I'd want to make it crystal clear to the reader that I was going back in time. I'd want the "had" to jump out at them so I wouldn't bury it in a contraction.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

OK, SB. I think we're done now.

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