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Thread: Grammar Question - Pulling my hair out.

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW starlina's Avatar
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    Grammar Question - Pulling my hair out.

    The book is being written in 3rd person.

    The excerpt is below:


    “Where are the others?” Eilon said casting a quick measured look around the small grove. Servants of the Elders never traveled alone and in his current condition he’d never make it out alive if they wanted him dead. His mission to stop the Old Ones from awakening will have failed before it began."




    The last sentence.
    Would it be:

    His mission to stop the Old Ones from awakening would have failed before it begun.

    or

    His mission to stop the Old Ones from awakening will have failed before it began.

    I want to write, "will have failed," but I'm not sure.
    Last edited by starlina; 12-09-2012 at 01:44 AM.

  2. #2
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin light's Avatar
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    Not sure myself! But how about "would fail"?

  3. #3
    Is this dialogue? I'm confused by your quote mark at the end.

    What about his mission would fail before it began ?

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW starlina's Avatar
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    Yes, when in doubt, change the sentence. Thank you.

  5. #5
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlina View Post

    “Where are the others?” Eilon said casting a quick measured look around the small grove. Servants of the Elders never traveled alone and in his current condition he’d never make it out alive if they wanted him dead. His mission to stop the Old Ones from awakening will have failed before it began."
    would fail

    Also (bonus help ),

    It needs a comma here: Eilon said, casting

    and

    I'm not sure how a look can be quick and measured at the same time.

  6. #6
    Super Procrastinator Kallithrix's Avatar
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    Servants of the Elders never traveled alone and in his current condition he’d never make it out alive if they wanted him dead. His mission to stop the Old Ones from awakening would have failed before it began


    It's got to be 'would' because not only are you using past tense, ('will' is present), but you're talking in hypotheticals - IF they wanted him dead and IF he didn't make it out alive, then his mission WOULD have failed.

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."








  7. #7
    Into the fray of the query process
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    Hi Starlina,

    It's "would". Also, consider, “'Where are the others?' said E., casting a quick measured look around the small grove."

  8. #8
    jlw OhTheHorror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kallithrix View Post


    It's got to be 'would' because not only are you using past tense, ('will' is present), but you're talking in hypotheticals - IF they wanted him dead and IF he didn't make it out alive, then his mission WOULD have failed.

    This ^^^
    Current WIPs
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  9. #9
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    Hi Starlina. I think there may be more here needing attention than the would/were issue.

    Think what stimulated his glance and the question.

    He has obviously only met one Servant here in the glade, so if Eilon's glance and question are prompted by his remembering the Servants never travel alone then that ought to appear before he glances and then asks the question.

    Apart from that, I wonder whether all that follows his question is you trying to explain too much.

    If the reader already (presumably) knows Eilon is on a mission and that his condition is poor and the Servants are hunting for him and may have found him then it's surely not necessary to explain either that or about his mission being at risk- no?

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Bufty; 12-09-2012 at 04:53 PM.
    Everything yields to treatment.

  10. #10
    Short story-ist, editor for hire. Evan Henry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kallithrix View Post


    It's got to be 'would' because not only are you using past tense, ('will' is present), but you're talking in hypotheticals - IF they wanted him dead and IF he didn't make it out alive, then his mission WOULD have failed.

    This. It's always hard at first, but it really does pay to know what the subjunctive voice is. I promise it will only hurt a little!

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