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

editing for authors ad

A publisher or agency using Google ads to solicit your novel probably isn't anyone you want to write for.


Go Back   Absolute Write Water Cooler > General Writing Interest > Basic Writing Questions
Register FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-27-2013, 06:07 PM   #1
DennisB
banned as an incurable tosspot
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Frankfort, Indiana
Posts: 397
DennisB is well-respected
To The or not to The

Just read where a guy's wife looked like "the actress Jean Simmons."

Is that better than writing "looked like actress Jean Simmons"?

I've read in (snarky) magazines that a celebrity married "one Jack Smith."

What are your thoughts? (Okay, this topic probably applies more to magazines, but I've always wondered.)
DennisB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 06:11 PM   #2
Bufty
Let's see what's on special today..
 
Bufty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Scotland
Posts: 12,012
Bufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Context is all.

Can't say I would stop to wonder about any of these too much.
__________________
Everything yields to treatment.
Bufty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 06:13 PM   #3
WillSauger
The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me.
 
WillSauger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Posts: 4,838
WillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
What Bufty said.
__________________
Don't Fear Failure.

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn" -- Alvin Toffler.

"The heights of great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night" -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
WillSauger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 06:14 PM   #4
ChristinaLayton
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 452
ChristinaLayton has a spectacular aura
In this case I wouldn't use "the actress", just "actress." Notice every time they give celebrity news in TV or online, they say "actor George Clooney" or "actor Richard Gere" instead of "the actor George Clooney" or "the actor Richard Gere".
ChristinaLayton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 06:16 PM   #5
Bufty
Let's see what's on special today..
 
Bufty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Scotland
Posts: 12,012
Bufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
,
__________________
Everything yields to treatment.
Bufty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 06:19 PM   #6
u.v.ray
greatest writer of his generation
 
u.v.ray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: U.K
Posts: 152
u.v.ray is on a distinguished road
Obviously one can write it either way. It depends on which best suits your intentions with a piece.

For instance, dropping the speeds up the pace. That's just one example.
__________________


"We Are Glass is a bruising encounter yet it flickers with compassion and is the best short story collection Iíve read since Dan Fanteís Corksucker back in 2005" -- Mark Raison.

http://www.uvray.moonfruit.com
u.v.ray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 06:21 PM   #7
ChristinaLayton
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 452
ChristinaLayton has a spectacular aura
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bufty View Post
,


What does this mean?
ChristinaLayton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 06:23 PM   #8
Buffysquirrel
Possibly not a real squirrel
 
Buffysquirrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Coldest corner of the living room, United Kingdom
Posts: 5,501
Buffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
I would say don't compare the wife to Jean Simmons at all. Especially if you don't think the reader will know who she is, which is suggested by using 'actress'. What's the use of comparing someone we can't see to someone we've never heard of?
__________________
Writing from a female point of view seems to be generally regarded as something more like writing from the perspective of a deer: you might get points for novelty, but it'd be impossible to get right, and who really wants to hear a deer narrate a story, anyway? Jennifer duBois

Self-sacrifice is vile. Joanna Russ

The Little Dog Laughed
Buffysquirrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 06:23 PM   #9
Bufty
Let's see what's on special today..
 
Bufty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Scotland
Posts: 12,012
Bufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBufty is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Poor little comma wants to be remembered- that's all.
__________________
Everything yields to treatment.
Bufty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 06:25 PM   #10
Buffysquirrel
Possibly not a real squirrel
 
Buffysquirrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Coldest corner of the living room, United Kingdom
Posts: 5,501
Buffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBuffysquirrel is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Comma, love,
__________________
Writing from a female point of view seems to be generally regarded as something more like writing from the perspective of a deer: you might get points for novelty, but it'd be impossible to get right, and who really wants to hear a deer narrate a story, anyway? Jennifer duBois

Self-sacrifice is vile. Joanna Russ

The Little Dog Laughed
Buffysquirrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 07:43 PM   #11
shadowwalker
empty-nester!
 
shadowwalker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: SE Minnesota
Posts: 4,431
shadowwalker is better than ice cream with hot fudgeshadowwalker is better than ice cream with hot fudgeshadowwalker is better than ice cream with hot fudgeshadowwalker is better than ice cream with hot fudgeshadowwalker is better than ice cream with hot fudgeshadowwalker is better than ice cream with hot fudgeshadowwalker is better than ice cream with hot fudge
I would say use "the" if you need to distinguish between two people with the same name. If, for example, there was an actress names Jean Simmons and a well-known author with the same name, then I would. But that's more a personal preference. Using "actress" or "actor" probably isn't necessary otherwise, but of course, there are people like me who lost track of actors/actresses sometime after the 80s so might need a hint as to who's being discussed...
__________________
I'd rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who is reaching for a star. I'd rather be a has-been than a might-have-been by far; for a might-have-been has never been, but a has-been was once an are. - Milton Berle

There's only one absolute in writing - Never listen to absolutes.
shadowwalker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 09:42 PM   #12
Jamesaritchie
resident curmudgeon
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 22,160
Jamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
I'd just say "looked like Jean Simmons". If readers know who Jean Simmons is, you don't need "actress". If readers don't know, using "actress" isn't going to help, and they still won't have a clue how the wife looks.
__________________
Blog http://jamesaritchie2.blogspot.com/
Jamesaritchie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 10:05 PM   #13
eparadysz
practical experience, FTW
 
eparadysz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: come, been, and gone
Posts: 395
eparadysz has a spectacular auraeparadysz has a spectacular aura
Perhaps in this case it was used to distinguish between Jean Simmons and Gene Simmons (the latter being a less flattering comparison).
__________________

It's always darkest before the bottom drops out.


eparadysz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 10:34 PM   #14
James D. Macdonald
Your Genial Uncle
Absolute Sage
 
James D. Macdonald's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 23,084
James D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by eparadysz View Post
Perhaps in this case it was used to distinguish between Jean Simmons and Gene Simmons (the latter being a less flattering comparison).
Could be worse. Could be Richard Simmons.

(As to using "the" or not: This depends on sentence rhythm. Let your ear tell you.)
__________________
Madhouse Manor
James D. Macdonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 10:37 PM   #15
Torgo
Formerly Phantom of Krankor.
AW Moderator
 
Torgo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: London, UK
Posts: 7,349
Torgo is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTorgo is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTorgo is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTorgo is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTorgo is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTorgo is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTorgo is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTorgo is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTorgo is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTorgo is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTorgo is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisB View Post
Just read where a guy's wife looked like "the actress Jean Simmons."

Is that better than writing "looked like actress Jean Simmons"?
"actress Jean Simmons" feels like journalese. You have the license - maybe the obligation - to take out the article to save space, even though I don't think it's grammatical in standard English. All things being equal, listen to your ear, as JDM says.
Torgo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 10:46 PM   #16
calieber
Rincewind the writter
 
calieber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: BK.NY.US
Posts: 625
calieber has a spectacular auracalieber has a spectacular aura
Best of all is probably to describe Jean Simmons, without using her name. If you must, use the article (and Bufty's comma after "actress").
__________________
"Everybody must get stoned" --Medusa

Projects for 2014:
Plotting/outlining In the Broad Ways

If you are seeing this after January 31, 2014, I'm falling behind.
calieber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 10:52 PM   #17
Rufus Coppertop
cum stulto sum
 
Rufus Coppertop's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 2,807
Rufus Coppertop is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRufus Coppertop is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRufus Coppertop is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRufus Coppertop is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRufus Coppertop is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRufus Coppertop is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRufus Coppertop is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRufus Coppertop is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRufus Coppertop is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisB View Post
Just read where a guy's wife looked like "the actress Jean Simmons."

Is that better than writing "looked like actress Jean Simmons"?

I've read in (snarky) magazines that a celebrity married "one Jack Smith."

What are your thoughts? (Okay, this topic probably applies more to magazines, but I've always wondered.)
So who is Jean Simmons and what does she look like?

Michelle Pfeiffer twenty years ago having a really good day?

Danny DaVito in a frock with a really bad make-up job and a shocking hangover last Monday?

Inclusion of current brand names and comparison of fictional characters to actual celebrities cheapens novels in the eyes of a lot of readers.
__________________
Dunny Budgies of Doom. Proudly swarming on a carcass near you.
Rufus Coppertop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 11:05 PM   #18
James D. Macdonald
Your Genial Uncle
Absolute Sage
 
James D. Macdonald's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 23,084
James D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJames D. Macdonald is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Jean Simmons was an actress in the 'forties through 'sixties. This is what she looked like.
__________________
Madhouse Manor
James D. Macdonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 12:05 AM   #19
Kallithrix
Bunneh is sleepeh...Zzz...
 
Kallithrix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Never very far from a bunneh
Posts: 2,145
Kallithrix is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKallithrix is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKallithrix is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKallithrix is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKallithrix is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKallithrix is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKallithrix is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKallithrix is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKallithrix is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
You use a definite article to add emphasis or to differentiate between things, so it could be that there is more than one Jean Simmons, in which case you're saying 'the actress, Jean Simmons' as opposed to, for instance, the celebrity chef Jean Simmons.

But in all honesty, I think it's just a style thing. To me it sounds better to use the definite article when making comparisons, but a comma is needed.
__________________
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."





Kallithrix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 12:51 AM   #20
BethS
writer, rider, reader
 
BethS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 5,545
BethS is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBethS is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBethS is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBethS is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBethS is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBethS is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBethS is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBethS is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisB View Post
Just read where a guy's wife looked like "the actress Jean Simmons."

Is that better than writing "looked like actress Jean Simmons"?

I've read in (snarky) magazines that a celebrity married "one Jack Smith."

What are your thoughts? (Okay, this topic probably applies more to magazines, but I've always wondered.)
I'd say -- don't make comparisons to obscure people. Thanks to Uncle Jim for posting a link to a Jean Simmons photo, because otherwise I would've been forced to Google her, never having heard of her before.

When you compare a character to something or someone, you want to produce an instant visual, not a blank canvas.
__________________
The Stone River
BethS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 01:29 AM   #21
Jamesaritchie
resident curmudgeon
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 22,160
Jamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by eparadysz View Post
Perhaps in this case it was used to distinguish between Jean Simmons and Gene Simmons (the latter being a less flattering comparison).
Even here, if the reader doesn't know the difference by the spelling, saying "actress" won't change it. If a reader has no clue what Jean Simmons looks like, saying "actress" won't change this.
__________________
Blog http://jamesaritchie2.blogspot.com/
Jamesaritchie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 03:44 AM   #22
BenPanced
...
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 13,303
BenPanced is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBenPanced is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBenPanced is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBenPanced is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBenPanced is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBenPanced is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBenPanced is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBenPanced is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBenPanced is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBenPanced is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBenPanced is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
"My wife looks like Jean Simmons. The actress, not the musician."
__________________
When you aren't looking, this sentence is in Courier font.

i can haz blogg nao? On The Frizz

Now available from Musa Publishing!
.
BenPanced is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 06:29 AM   #23
blacbird
That hairy-handed gent
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Who ran amok in Kent
Posts: 28,364
blacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
The presence or absence of the definite article is immaterial. Either works. As a reader, I'd never notice.

BUT: If you're going to compare someone's appearance to that of a famous person, you're well served to make sure the comparative celeb is REALLY well-known. As in, universally. "Jean Simmons" doesn't work for me, and I'm an old bastard. I know she was a famous actress, but I wouldn't recognize her face in a lineup of famous actresses of her era.

Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Elvis (either the thin one or the fat one), Groucho Marx, Adolf Hitler, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, those figures are pretty much timeless, known to everyone. Jean Simmons? Not so much. Nor Gene Simmons, either, without his makeup.

caw
__________________
Bugrit! Millennium hand and shrimp!
blacbird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 08:04 AM   #24
VoireyLinger
Angel Wing Fetish
 
VoireyLinger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Southern US
Posts: 1,308
VoireyLinger is a shiny, shiny jewelVoireyLinger is a shiny, shiny jewel
And i don't think it matters, personally. It depends on how you want the sentence to flow.

But as Bufty noted, it's "The actress, Jean Simmons."

If you drop "the," no comma is needed.
__________________
VoireyLinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 08:34 AM   #25
rwm4768
practical experience, FTW
 
rwm4768's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 9,817
rwm4768 has a golden reputationrwm4768 has a golden reputationrwm4768 has a golden reputationrwm4768 has a golden reputationrwm4768 has a golden reputationrwm4768 has a golden reputation
I would write it without the the.
__________________
My writing blog: http://ryanmuellerwriting.blogspot.com/ (updated 3/16)

WIP:
Empire of Chains (Epic Fantasy): 175K Revising
The Battle Stone (Upper MG Fantasy): 70K Revising
Lightweaver (Epic Fantasy): 37,000/120,000
rwm4768 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Custom Search

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.

Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)


All times are GMT +4.5. The time now is 01:42 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.