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Old 01-02-2013, 12:19 PM   #1
Nyfinscyf
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Entrance or Exit

This may seem like a stupid question, but which is the correct term to use in which situation?

Examples:
1) Your main character is in a cave and wants to leave. Character goes to the exit/entrance. (I would say exit as that's the action the character is wanting to do)

2) Your outside and want to enter a cave. You go to the exit/entrance. (Entrance, as you're trying to Enter the cave)

But now, if these situations occur at the same time:
3) Main character is in the cave about to exit but someone is at the exit/entrance of the cave.

Do you take it from the perspective of the character you are currently describing or of the perspective of the main character in the scene?
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:24 PM   #2
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The commonly used expressions may be different in NZ, but I probably wouldn't use exit at all for a cave (or egress). Maybe opening or mouth of the cave. I'm not sure.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:34 PM   #3
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What about a House or an Underground Prison? There's a door separating the two areas.
Is this a situation that is best to not directly use "exit" or "entrance"?
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:45 PM   #4
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Entrance is fine for either a cave or underground prison, I think. The entrance to the cave, or the entrance to the bunker, etc.

I might very well use exit for something man made in the right circumstance. The reason I said I probably wouldn't use exit for a cave is because it sounds odd if it's part of the narrative (which is what I think you were asking) from whichever POV (Bob was at the exit of the cave, He was at the exit of the cave, I saw him at the exit of the cave, I was at the exit of the cave). However, I can see someone saying something like "We've got to find an exit out of here" if they were in a cave.

I think we're going to need more information before we can help with your POV question.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:00 PM   #5
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Your description has helped. When I asked it was more hypothetical because I started thinking about different locations and point of views.

I have my two characters escaping a underground prison. When they get to the only door in or out of the place they find guards. I started thinking of what each person would "see" the doorway as, which then spawned my question.
As for my situation though, I've gone for a "they're blocking the way out" solution.
I figured changing POVs is not a good thing, so exit/entrance doesn't really conflict.

Thanks for the help alleycat.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:07 PM   #6
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I just didn't know whether you were using first-person or third, and what viewpoint you were using, so I didn't try to answer that part of your question.

Remember too that things can be done differently depending on whether it's narrative or dialogue.

And sometimes the choice of words just depends on what sounds more natural. Bob searched to find the exit to the cave sounds okay to me, while Bob was at the exit of the cave doesn't sound as natural to me.

But, it's 3:30 in the morning where I am--I might not be completely awake at the moment.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:10 PM   #7
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What you say makes sense. It's not your tiredness don't worry
If it sounds more natural and makes sense it's probably right.

And I'm writing in third person.
I think my question has been answered anyways.
Still quite interesting to think that one thing has many different names depending on perspective.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:25 PM   #8
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The POV character would see what he sees. A gate is a gate - a door is a door - an exit is an exit - an entrance is an entrance. Perspective doesn't change meaning.

It's context that determines what image the reader gets.

Aim for clarity so the reader knows what is going on.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyfinscyf View Post
This may seem like a stupid question, but which is the correct term to use in which situation?

Examples:
1) Your main character is in a cave and wants to leave. Character goes to the exit/entrance. (I would say exit as that's the action the character is wanting to do)

2) Your outside and want to enter a cave. You go to the exit/entrance. (Entrance, as you're trying to Enter the cave)

But now, if these situations occur at the same time:
3) Main character is in the cave about to exit but someone is at the exit/entrance of the cave.

Do you take it from the perspective of the character you are currently describing or of the perspective of the main character in the scene?
It seems like you're making this unnecessarily complicated. How about the person arriving enters the cave, and the person leaving leaves the cave?
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:26 PM   #10
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Cave mouth? Cave entrance?

The horizontal opening to a mine is called an adit, but I'm not sure the term would apply to a cave. May want to look up some spelunking terms too.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:37 PM   #11
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How about not using entrance or exit?
Cave openeing.
Cave mouth.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:47 PM   #12
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If something doesn't sound quite right, or you're not sure of the proper term, try rewriting the scene and see if you can find a different way of saying it. This is a good writing exercise anyway (it teaches you flexibility), but it comes in handy when you're stumped with a particular scene.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:24 AM   #13
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I've always considered the main "door" to be the entrance, even if one may exit through it. After all, you can't exit until you enter. An exit, on the other hand, would be a separate way to leave. (As to a cave, I've never heard 'exit' used, only entrance.)
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:51 AM   #14
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I'd vote for "mouth of the cave" but I understand geologists zone caves into entrance, twilight and dark zones.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bufty View Post
The POV character would see what he sees. A gate is a gate - a door is a door - an exit is an exit - an entrance is an entrance. Perspective doesn't change meaning.

It's context that determines what image the reader gets.

Aim for clarity so the reader knows what is going on.
Excellent points.

If the OP has problems with nouns in these circumstances, does a switch to a verb help?
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:21 AM   #16
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Laurie was fifty feet inside the cave when she noticed Bill wasn't with her. She looked back toward the entrance and saw him standing there.

That sounds natural and right to me. It seems weird to think of a cave opening as anything but an entrance, no matter which side of it you're on.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:20 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guttersquid View Post
Laurie was fifty feet inside the cave when she noticed Bill wasn't with her. She looked back toward the entrance and saw him standing there.

That sounds natural and right to me. It seems weird to think of a cave opening as anything but an entrance, no matter which side of it you're on.
I agree with this.

I don't think I use 'exit' to describe a passageway unless it's actually labelled as an exit.

The idea of someone returning to the entrance in order to leave seems logical to me, unless there is one set way in and one set way out, as in a maze or a supermarket.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:11 AM   #18
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Totally thought I was in the erotica section when I saw the title to this thread . . .

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Old 01-03-2013, 07:30 AM   #19
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Again, I'd say that this is a bit of a superfluous concern. As its a cave, I wouldn't worry about whether or not it's an entrance or an exit because, really, it's both! I'd just stick to referring to it as the mouth of the cave or the entrance. Like annaspargoryan says, unless something is distinctly an exit (i.e. in a maze) it's both an entrance and an exit and while either is correct, I'd stick with entrance.
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