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Tilda
04-13-2006, 11:16 AM
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triceretops
04-13-2006, 11:28 AM
How about: "Rain drummed against the window, while the guitar played softly."
Trying to remove the passive. Now some others:

Rain drummed a beat against the window, as though in concert with the softly strummed guitar.

The rain beat a rythum (sp?) against the window, while the guitar strings hummed.

Just playing around with voice, he he.

Tri

poetinahat
04-13-2006, 11:38 AM
Your advice sounds right, but I'll bet someone else can give a much better explanation.

In your example, I'd recommend:

Rain drummed against the window, and the guitar played quietly.

Using the imperfect tense (was drumming and was playing) leads the reader to expect something else to happen while this action continues:
- this was going on when that happened
- I was doing this regularly at the time of the event

For example:

Rain was drumming against the window when she picked up the guitar and began to play.

Does that make any sense? I'm looking forward to seeing more (better) detail on the answer to a very good question!

maestrowork
04-13-2006, 11:57 AM
Poet was right. Try to use simple tense (the rain drummed) unless you really mean something is going on when something else happens: "They were playing in the yard when the rain hit."

I am not totally sure what "balance" means but I suspect that it means something like:

When the rain hit, they ran inside the house, locked the door, and shivered in the hallway.

Each verb in that sentence is of the same tense.

Medievalist
04-13-2006, 12:26 PM
Poet was right. Try to use simple tense (the rain drummed) unless you really mean something is going on when something else happens: "They were playing in the yard when the rain hit."

I am not totally sure what "balance" means but I suspect that it means something like:

When the rain hit, they ran inside the house, locked the door, and shivered in the hallway.

Each verb in that sentence is of the same tense.

I think that "balance" is what's generally referred to as parallelism.

maestrowork
04-13-2006, 07:18 PM
What is parallelism? (I told you -- I might know my grammar, but I certainly am ignorant when it comes to terminology) Is it something like:

I walked to the lake and took a dip.
It was time to take action, to honor your family, and to begin a new life.
I had thought about her and had mentioned her to a friend.

The following are not "parallel"?

I had walked to the lake and took a dip. ("taken" would be the correct)
I was attacked by wolves and thought I would die. (It should be "I was attacked by wolves and I thought I would die.)

ComicBent
04-13-2006, 08:13 PM
1. Rain drummed against the window, and the guitar played quietly.

2. Rain was drumming against the window, and the guitar played quietly.
Technically, both 1 and 2 are correct. Number 2 is not parallel. In general, I would recommend 1 over 2 in narrative. However, it would not be right to say that 2 should never be used, since to the native speaker of English there are subtle nuances of meaning involved here.


The following are not "parallel"?

1. I had walked to the lake and took a dip. ("taken" would be the correct)

2. I was attacked by wolves and thought I would die. (It should be "I was attacked by wolves and I thought I would die.)

Number 1 is not parallel, but the real problem is that *took* should not be used here, since the meaning calls for a continuation of past perfect tense (*[had] taken*). It is not necessary to repeat the auxiliary *had*, but *taken* should be used to continue the past perfect tense.

Number 2 is not parallel, but works fine. Repeating the pronoun *I* does not really solve anything, since the two independent clauses are still not parallel. The real problem is that you have a passive voice mixed with an active voice. This is not an error, and it works, but you have to decide if you want to leave it like that or maybe make two separate sentences, as in:

*I was attacked by wolves. I thought I would die.*

Remember that breaking a troublesome sentence into two sentences is often the best solution.

maestrowork
04-13-2006, 08:22 PM
So by "parallel" it means something like:

The rain stopped, and the sun shone through the leaves.

Two subject+verb clauses. Same verb tense.

Medievalist
04-13-2006, 08:48 PM
Yep; that's it. I'm brain dead, more so than usual, this morning, and can't seem to come up with a decent explanation of parallelis, or parallel construction, though I've been explaining for nigh on twenty years now . . .

So here's a Wikipedia link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallelism_(grammar))

I'd like to point out that people keep erroneously describing parallelism as a grammar issue; it isn't. It's a usage and style issue--there's nothing that requires parallel construction; it's a nicety, a courtesy to your readers, and given the way sentence structure works in English an exceedingly seductive rhetorical flourish.

And it's been that way since Beowulf . . .

Jamesaritchie
04-16-2006, 02:16 PM
Yep; that's it. I'm brain dead, more so than usual, this morning, and can't seem to come up with a decent explanation of parallelis, or parallel construction, though I've been explaining for nigh on twenty years now . . .

So here's a Wikipedia link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallelism_(grammar))

I'd like to point out that people keep erroneously describing parallelism as a grammar issue; it isn't. It's a usage and style issue--there's nothing that requires parallel construction; it's a nicety, a courtesy to your readers, and given the way sentence structure works in English an exceedingly seductive rhetorical flourish.

And it's been that way since Beowulf . . .



Yes, but style is every bit as important as grammar, and usually more so in the eyes of an editor. Faulty parallelism with draw a rejection faster than you can say "Hasn't this dummy ever read a style manual."

Of course, I'd also say it's impossible to separate grammar and style. In many ways, they're one and the same.

Julie Worth
04-16-2006, 04:12 PM
Using the imperfect tense (was drumming and was playing) leads the reader to expect something else to happen while this action continues:

Rain was drumming against the window and the guitar was playing quietly. Suddenly forgetting where she was, she swerved into the oncoming lane, adding the clang of metal. An instant late as usual, which was why she’d been replaced as cymbalist that morning.

reph
04-17-2006, 02:18 AM
Rain was drumming against the window and the guitar was playing quietly. Suddenly forgetting where she was, she swerved into the oncoming lane, adding the clang of metal. An instant late as usual, which was why she’d been replaced as cymbalist that morning.


That really sings.