Happy July 4th!

 

 

 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: "Then" vs "And then" vs "And"

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW AP7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    264

    "Then" vs "And then" vs "And"

    I could use some opinions on the following sentences. Thanks!


    The handsome man smiled at her, then winked.

    The handsome man smiled at her and then winked.


    She walks inside then pushes the door closed.

    She walks inside and pushes the door closed.


    She takes a deep breath, looks back, then descends into the darkness.

    She takes a deep breath, looks back and descends into the darkness.

  2. #2
    toogrey2 toogrey2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Rural area, Texas
    Posts
    148
    I'm new at this too and learning so my opinion might not be right.
    Here's my suggestions:

    1. The handsome man smiled winking at her.

    2. She walks inside pushing the door closed behind her.

    I see nothing wrong with the last sentence.
    3. "She takes a deep breath, looks back and descends into the darkness."

    Like I said I'm a noobie and still learning. I have problems with this issue too. I'm interested in what more experienced writers have to say. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    13,405
    This keeps coming up - here was the last one

    http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...d.php?t=226920
    Everything yields to treatment.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW AP7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    264
    Thanks Bufty. That is helpful. The problem in my case is that I'm not arguing with my spell check, I'm arguing with my editor...but it sounds like a lot of people are on my side.

  5. #5
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Havatoo
    Posts
    934
    I think that muchof the discussion is misplace, then again, maybe it isn't. "Then" isn' oneof the words on the list that can begin independent clauses after a comma, except in an "if-then" statement. In many cases either the "if" of the "then" is omitted from such a statement, so then can be acceptable by itself sometimes. Otherwise, It's best to start another sentence. In the examples that you gave
    The handsome man smiled at her, then winked.
    This one does need a comma at all.

    The handsome man smiled at her and then winked.
    This one is O.K., but I think that, "The handsome man smiled at her, and then he winked," would be better.

    She walks inside then pushes the door closed.
    This would be better in the past tense, but it is grammatical.

    She walks inside and pushes the door closed.
    I think the same of this as the prior sentence.

    She takes a deep breath, looks back, then descends into the darkness.
    This would also be better in the past tense:
    "She took a deep breath, looked back, and descended into the darkness"

    If you are writing a series of verb clauses, then you should use the commas to separate them. The matter of "and" and/or "then" is not an issue here, because you did not make them independent clauses. If it's a matter of the editor wanting all to say "and then", then you might suggest that it's usually a good idea to vary verbiage sometimes. Long series of clauses the start with "and then" seem breathless, as if a character was rushing around and getting nothing done.
    Last edited by Snick; 12-10-2011 at 10:45 PM.

  6. #6
    Needs More Hands.... Fallen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    West Madlands UK
    Posts
    4,852
    The handsome man smiled at her, then winked.

    This is good usage. The comma represents the missing 'and' in your next example:

    The handsome man smiled at her and then winked.

    Both are correct, just different variants.

    I'm not keen on 'The handsome man smiled at her, and then winked' as it seems more a stylistic choice than a grammatical one. It brings back the old 'use a comma for a pause'.


    She walks inside then pushes the door closed.


    Some will say this is okay: two predicates to one subject, so therefore no 'and' used. Some will argue it's not, that you need the coordinator between 'then':

    She walks inside and then pushes the door closed.

    As this is just a style issue, consistency would be the answer (pick one method and stick to it)

    She walks inside and pushes the door closed.

    I think the arguement would be can that you can't do both actions together (walk inside AND push the door). You'd need the 'then':

    She walks inside and then pushes the door closed.


    She takes a deep breath, looks back, then descends into the darkness.

    Just looking at it grammatically:

    Punctuation suggests you're doing three actions in a sequence here.
    1: takes a deep breath
    2: looks back
    3: descends into darkness

    She takes a deep breath, looks back and descends into the darkness.

    Punctuation suggests two actions:
    1: takes a deep breath
    2: looks back AND descends into darkness.

    Well, if 'descends into the darkness' is a state of mind then, okay if it's she's moving down into darkness, I'd question 'how' if she's looking back. Lol.

    Either is correct depending on when you want the 'action sequence' to happen. But again, if it's a state of mind that she's descending into, you can have her look back and descend into darkness. If it's two actions: looking back, descending, I'd question whether you could do both at the same time without falling over.
    Last edited by Fallen; 12-11-2011 at 07:20 AM.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW Architectus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    387
    Using then to replace and is not grammatically correct yet, but it is used often in novels, so as long as the publishing house digs it, it's all good.

    I think it is just a matter of what flows best per sentence.

    It really depends if you want the action to follow the first action or not. And seems to be used for things that happen simultaneously.
    Last edited by Architectus; 12-11-2011 at 03:31 AM.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW Architectus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    387
    Quote Originally Posted by toogrey2 View Post
    I'm new at this too and learning so my opinion might not be right.
    Here's my suggestions:

    1. The handsome man smiled winking at her.

    2. She walks inside pushing the door closed behind her.

    I see nothing wrong with the last sentence.
    3. "She takes a deep breath, looks back and descends into the darkness."

    Like I said I'm a noobie and still learning. I have problems with this issue too. I'm interested in what more experienced writers have to say. Good luck.
    In such sentences, a comma is needed.

    She walks inside, pushing the door closed behind her.

    Personally, I would avoid writing too many sentences with the ing.

    She walks inside and pushes the door closed behind her.

  9. #9
    Smart donkey. Please don't call me- Chekurtab's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    479
    Quote Originally Posted by AP7 View Post
    Thanks Bufty. That is helpful. The problem in my case is that I'm not arguing with my spell check, I'm arguing with my editor...but it sounds like a lot of people are on my side.
    I think you are doing well with your editor if you, guys, don't have any bigger fish to fry.

  10. #10
    A Gentleman of a refined age... thothguard51's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Out side the beltway...
    Posts
    9,296
    Quote Originally Posted by toogrey2 View Post
    I'm new at this too and learning so my opinion might not be right.
    Here's my suggestions:

    1. The handsome man smiled winking at her.

    2. She walks inside pushing the door closed behind her.
    These two example have their own problems. In both the examples use a ed ending word which is a past participle and then a ing ending word which is present participle.

    In #2, she walks inside, pushes the door closed behind her. This sequence misses a lot. How can someone push the door close behind her?

    I agree more with Fallen about the comma replacing and with used with then...

    "You're an asshole," she said, then shut the door in his face.

    In a case like this, the comma separates the dialogue tag from the after action and works better IMHO than she said and shut the door.

    And yes, how ever you do it, consistency is the key...
    Knowledge is learned while wisdom is earned.

    Currently working on...

    From, The Tales of Netherron,
    Book 1, A Game of Pawns
    Book 2, Pawn takes Queen,
    Book 3, Pawn's Gambit,

    In the pipeline,
    Children of Netherron, follow up trilogy
    Guardians of Netherron, prequel trilogy

    http://nickanthony51.wordpress.com (on hiatus)

    Nick Anthony

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW AP7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    264
    Is consistency the key? Because I thought we were mixing up word choices to keep some variety...but maybe the problem is I dont quite have a handle on the gramatical particulars but I know what feels right in the flow of the story.

    I wrote:

    "Go on," Mario said, then put the fork full of pasta in his mouth.

    My editor changed it to:

    "Go on," Mario said. Then he put the fork full of pasta in his mouth.

    I dont think it's horrible as two sentences but it's a bit more economical as one sentence.

  12. #12
    Needs More Hands.... Fallen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    West Madlands UK
    Posts
    4,852
    "Go on," Mario said, then put the fork full of pasta in his mouth.

    My editor changed it to:

    "Go on," Mario said. Then he put the fork full of pasta in his mouth.
    There's nothing wrong with your original at all. It looks like your Editor purely opted for clarity. They gave it a subject of its own and made the sentence (Then he put the fork...) independent.

    You could play around with the Editor's suggestion a number of ways:

    "Go on," Mario said, and then he put the fork full of pasta in his mouth.

    "Go on," Mario said; then he put the fork full of pasta in his mouth.

    "Go on," Mario said. Then he put the fork full of pasta in his mouth.

    When I said consistency, I meant there are only so many ways you can represent something (eg: the above has the danger of running into a comma splice if not punctuated properly, and (to some) you need to represent it as such in either of the ways above. Doesn't mean you have to pick one and stay with it: you can vary between the options so long as you don't go: "Go on," Mario said, then he put the...' ('then' is argued not to be a coordinating conjuntion so you need to punctuate as in the examples above, or rewrite it in another way)).

    Your version is different from your editor's, but still perfectly good, and I like the feel of it too. It's working one subject with two predicates:

    'he said, then put the fork in his mouth

    Perhaps your editor is working more on easing the flow of images. Yours is more compact with two images, (you get that run-on feel 'he said then...'). The Editor has broken that up.

    But it seems you have a clash purely of style here and compromise may be the best solution.
    Last edited by Fallen; 12-11-2011 at 07:20 AM. Reason: predicatives... wtf?

  13. #13
    A Gentleman of a refined age... thothguard51's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Out side the beltway...
    Posts
    9,296
    It may be a house style issue with that particular publisher/editor...
    Knowledge is learned while wisdom is earned.

    Currently working on...

    From, The Tales of Netherron,
    Book 1, A Game of Pawns
    Book 2, Pawn takes Queen,
    Book 3, Pawn's Gambit,

    In the pipeline,
    Children of Netherron, follow up trilogy
    Guardians of Netherron, prequel trilogy

    http://nickanthony51.wordpress.com (on hiatus)

    Nick Anthony

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW AP7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    264
    Thanks for all the input. You guys have been very helpful.

  15. #15
    Needs More Hands.... Fallen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    West Madlands UK
    Posts
    4,852
    It would be interesting to see which way you go with this. Will you let me know?

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW AP7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    264
    Quote Originally Posted by Fallen View Post
    It would be interesting to see which way you go with this. Will you let me know?
    I'm self publishing the novel, so the final decisions are mine. But I'm certainly taking a good look at the manuscript and these issues are all over. So, I'm trying to vary them up and add stronger words where possible. Sometimes use a semi colon or period, other times use "and" but I am definitely keeping some of the commas in place of "and" because I think it flows. Thank you for helping me with that.

  17. #17
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    In the land of cheese and chocolate
    Posts
    7,574
    Quote Originally Posted by AP7 View Post
    Is consistency the key? Because I thought we were mixing up word choices to keep some variety...but maybe the problem is I dont quite have a handle on the gramatical particulars but I know what feels right in the flow of the story.

    I wrote:

    "Go on," Mario said, then put the fork full of pasta in his mouth.

    My editor changed it to:

    "Go on," Mario said. Then he put the fork full of pasta in his mouth.

    I dont think it's horrible as two sentences but it's a bit more economical as one sentence.
    It could go either way, but your version is more graceful.

    I personally might have written it like this--

    "Go on," Mario said, and put the fork full of pasta in his mouth.

    Though if you're self-publishing, how is it that you have an editor?
    Last edited by BethS; 12-12-2011 at 06:04 AM.

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW brianjanuary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    chicago, IL
    Posts
    552
    The handsome man smiled at her, then winked. (This one flows better)

    The handsome man smiled at her and then winked. (This sentence structure reads a bit clunky)


    She walks inside then pushes the door closed.

    She walks inside and pushes the door closed.

    (If you use the first sentence, then you need a comma after
    "then"; the second one is okay, but better would be: She walks inside, pushing the door closed behind her.


    She takes a deep breath, looks back, then descends into the darkness.

    She takes a deep breath, looks back and descends into the darkness.

    (Either of these work--I would prefer the first, because it structures a temporal chain of events; although in the second sentence, I would add a comma after "looks back")

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW Architectus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    387
    BethS, you can hire editors.

  20. #20
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    13,405
    Can be one heck of an extra expense when self-publishing a novel - with absolutely no guarantee the cost will be recouped.

    Quote Originally Posted by Architectus View Post
    BethS, you can hire editors.
    Everything yields to treatment.

  21. #21
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    In the land of cheese and chocolate
    Posts
    7,574
    Quote Originally Posted by Bufty View Post
    Can be one heck of an extra expense when self-publishing a novel - with absolutely no guarantee the cost will be recouped.
    Also no guarantee you'll end up with editor who knows what s/he is doing, and who can avoid wrecking an author's natural voice.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    234
    My vote:

    Quote Originally Posted by AP7 View Post


    The handsome man smiled at her, then winked.


    She walks inside and pushes the door closed.


    She takes a deep breath, looks back, then descends into the darkness.

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW B.D. Eyeslie's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Where the dirty water has all been cleaned.
    Posts
    1,124
    Then is not a coordinating conjunction; it is an adverb that can be used as a conjunctive adverb. When used as a conjunctive adverb, then gets a semicolon (maybe an EM dash) in front of it. When then is just an adverb it gets no punctuation before it. We can all vote on grace or what we like best, but it won't make a coma spice any more palatable to an editor or agent.

    Last edited by B.D. Eyeslie; 12-16-2011 at 12:21 AM. Reason: Fallen, you're right; there are none in the OP.

  24. #24
    Needs More Hands.... Fallen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    West Madlands UK
    Posts
    4,852
    Quote Originally Posted by B.D. Eyeslie View Post
    Then is not a coordinating conjunction; it is an adverb that can be used as a conjunctive adverb. When used as a conjunctive adverb, then gets a semicolon (maybe an EM dash) in front of it. When then is just an adverb it gets no punctuation before it. We can all vote on grace or what we like best, but it won't make a coma spice any more palatable to an editor or agent.
    There were no comma splices in AP7's original post.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search