Custom prescribes that Spartan boys be underfed so that they grow up tall, slender and hardy

These forums are a bit slow. They need to start getting some traction.

I have a sentence from my MS that I am not happy with.

"Custom prescribes that Spartan boys be underfed so that they grow up tall, slender and hardy. "

I find it awkward, perhaps because it is not originally mine, but paraphrasing something from Herodotus. My problem is not with the subjunctive, but with the two "that".

Views, suggestions, comments?

Replies (13)
  • Hi  Pablo, Is it just the balance of the sentence which is a bit off so, for example, substituting slim for slender would improve the rhythm a bit?

    • I'd just get rid of both instances of "that".  I am an inveterate "that" user myself and can usually cut my word count by astonishing amounts simply by seeking and destroying it in an edit.

      • Go for simplicity. It is the custom in Sparta that etc etc

        • Thank you all. Yes, I think simplicity is best, so I will go with Karen's option: "Custom prescribes Spartan boys should be underfed so they grow up tall, slender and hardy. "

          • Late to the party but,   'Custom dictates that Spartan boys receive only modest rations, so they grow up tall, hardy and slender.'   Gets rid of the notion that they are actually malnourished.