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Old 02-01-2013, 08:00 PM   #1
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"Each" followed by pronouns

I'm not in agreement with an editor. It's a small thing, but before I demand my way I should, of course, be sure I'm right. And I've thought about this enough that I've managed to thoroughly confuse myself.

The original sentence, with a noun change to make it suitable for all ages:

He kissed each finger, flicking it with his tongue, leaving it glistening.

The editor would like both uses of it to be changed to them. Yes? No? Reasons?

If it matters, editor is British, I'm American. Nearly all editor's other suggestions will make the manuscript better, as she clearly knows her stuff.

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Old 02-01-2013, 08:07 PM   #2
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alleycat is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsalleycat is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsalleycat is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsalleycat is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsalleycat is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsalleycat is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsalleycat is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsalleycat is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsalleycat is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsalleycat is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsalleycat is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Them sounds better to me.

Or maybe . .

He kissed each finger, flicking each with his tongue, leaving them glistening.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:08 PM   #3
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I think 'it' is correct, but to be honest I'm not actually that great at grammar (I am a story guy not a copy-ed.) Now I'm wondering what the original noun w- oh actually as I type I just realised what it probably is.

EDIT: Oh, balls, maybe 'them' does sound better. Ignore me.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:11 PM   #4
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I like alleycat's suggestion. "Each finger" sounds plural as a group to me.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:16 PM   #5
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Honestly, I think it's 'it' as the attention is given to each finger individually. Using 'them' makes me think all fingers all at once.

Ari, not a grammarian
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:20 PM   #6
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The more I look at the sentence the more I become unsure.

Now I'm thinking it is probably correct.

Call me Mr. Wishy-Washy.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ari Meermans View Post
Honestly, I think it's 'it' as the attention is given to each finger individually. Using 'them' makes me think all fingers all at once.

Ari, not a grammarian
I'd agree with this; use 'it' to match the singular of 'each'.

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Old 02-01-2013, 08:43 PM   #8
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There's this group of fingers, and something happens to each of them, whereupon they are all...whatever they ended up becoming.



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Old 02-01-2013, 08:48 PM   #9
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Maryn is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMaryn is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMaryn is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMaryn is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMaryn is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMaryn is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMaryn is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMaryn is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMaryn is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMaryn is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMaryn is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Ah, but it is safe to accept the word of someone who keeps shoes so far beyond their useful lives?

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Old 02-01-2013, 08:51 PM   #10
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Those shoes have, sadly, passed on.

ETA:

OK...I think I've figured out what makes my brain pop: I do not know where to look.

I'd address this scene in either of two ways:

All singular: He kissed Sam's left thumb, flicking it with his tongue, leaving it glistening. Then Sam's right thumb suffered the exact same fate.

All plural: He kissed both of Sam's thumbs, flicking each (of them - implied) with his tongue, leaving them glistening.


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Old 02-01-2013, 08:57 PM   #11
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I'd have him skip her fingers and head straight for her honeypot.

However, if you INSIST on taking the long route...'them', while probably not technically correct, sounds better to me.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quickWit View Post
I'd have him skip her fingers and head straight for her honeypot.

However, if you INSIST on taking the long route...'them', while probably not technically correct, sounds better to me.
Who says it's really fingers? Remember, I changed the noun to make it board appropriate. Also, who says it's a she?

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Old 02-01-2013, 09:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryn View Post
Who says it's really fingers?
Ooo, that's diabolical! Hmm...is it really gall bladders? OMG - is it really a chick with mulitple Gall Bladders?!

that would be sore hawt if it they them was.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryn View Post
He kissed each finger, flicking it with his tongue, leaving it glistening.
It sounds much better the way you've written it. It gives a much more vivid image of kissing and licking each one at a time. Besides, it's correct.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryn View Post
He kissed each finger, flicking it with his tongue, leaving it glistening.

The editor would like both uses of it to be changed to them. Yes? No? Reasons?
Your editor is one enamored with the singular them. Many are. Still, the style of matching pronouns to antecedents in number is always correct, so you're right whether your choice is all singular or all plural:

All singular: He kissed each finger, flicking it with his tongue, leaving it glistening.

All plural: He kissed the offered fingers, flicking them with his tongue, leaving a high-glistening five.

Your first choice is my choice.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:54 PM   #16
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Well, if these are not actually fingers but, uh, something else (of which there are two), then I would definitely go with it.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:05 PM   #17
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:06 PM   #18
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:13 PM   #19
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:17 PM   #20
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I'd go with "it" - I don't think this is a UK/US english thing.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:10 PM   #21
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Why not eliminate the problem word?

He kissed her fingers, flicking them with his tongue, etc.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:21 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Why not eliminate the problem word?

He kissed her fingers, flicking them with his tongue, etc.
This is best, and common sense tells you he's attacking each finger individually, not getting stuck into them all at once.

If you want to keep the fingers individual, my instincts say 'them' (just like in the above sentence, in fact). But I could be wrong.
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:05 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryn View Post
I'm not in agreement with an editor. It's a small thing, but before I demand my way I should, of course, be sure I'm right. And I've thought about this enough that I've managed to thoroughly confuse myself.

The original sentence, with a noun change to make it suitable for all ages:

He kissed each finger, flicking it with his tongue, leaving it glistening.

The editor would like both uses of it to be changed to them. Yes? No? Reasons?

If it matters, editor is British, I'm American. Nearly all editor's other suggestions will make the manuscript better, as she clearly knows her stuff.

Maryn, confuzzled
The second "it" means he left his tongue glistening.
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:25 AM   #24
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common sense tells you he's attacking each finger individually
For absolute clarity, she could say something like, "He kissed her fingers one by one..."
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:32 AM   #25
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Fallen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsFallen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsFallen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsFallen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsFallen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsFallen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsFallen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsFallen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsFallen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsFallen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsFallen is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
He kissed each finger, flicking it with his tongue, leaving it glistening.


You know, I fall on the 'them' side. Purely because I get the sense that he's finished kissing all the fingers before the participles kick in. (He's gone along 'flicking them with his tongue, leaving them glistening.)

He kissed one finger, then another, flicking each with his tongue, leaving them glistening.
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2013 Rainbow Honorable Mention Award (Don't)


Last edited by Fallen; 02-02-2013 at 03:42 AM.
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