Check that sentence

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Check that sentence

I'm new to Oxford and Jericho Writers, and thought it might be helpful to have a place where we can submit sentences that we would like feedback on, whether we are struggling with them, proud of them, or just testing them out. Critiquing a sentence is certainly less daunting than a paragraph or chapter, encouraging more of us to chip in. While the Elements of Style and Google can answer many of our questions, nothing beats feedback from a fellow writer!

As with the other groups, there's no judgement here; we're all learning.

Not a sentence wording question, but a punctuation one. I have a line of dialogue, interrupted by an explanation (which is realistic as part of the character's peripheral thoughts). However, given that it is an aside, it feels wrong to separate it out with commas. Instead, I believe n-dashes are the way to go. But should the quotes be inside or outside?


1) “To make matters worse, no member of the House of Sisters –” Oethur’s House, and hers “– is eligible.”

2) “To make matters worse, no member of the House of Sisters” – Oethur’s House, and hers – “is eligible.”

Which reads better?

(I think #a is grammatically better, but #2 is visually nicer.)

Two quick questions.

“Seed has a nest with six eggs,” Luca shouted over the song. (If I used 'said', this would be correct. With 'shouted' I'm unsure if I need a full stop?)

Which one of the following is better?

His eyes had the same look as Gumball’s did whenever she found a juicy spider. 

His eyes had the same look as Gumball's when she found a juicy spider.

His eyes held the same look that Gumball got when she found a juicy spider.

Hello all, I'm new to this group. Nice to meet you all! 

Hello. Just to introduce myself. I am new to writing. Just learning and trying my hand at things. This looks like a great place to dip my toe in the water to exchange feedback. Only just joined the forum so will have a good look around but will be back to check out those sentences.


Hi everyone--would love your opinion on this dilemma. I'm withholding articles ("the") in two sentences for brevity and hoping to create power when using them for the point in the last sentence. Does it work?? 

"Harsh winds that whipped between hovel and shed when they visited last month were less bitter now, and subtle snowdrops of February bowed to a flash of yellow splendor. Daffodils, however, made Mercia edgy. The beauty of spring brought the threat of invasion, and she hated the tension."

Thanks for any input!


Hey everyone,

Just want to introduce myself. I'm Pamela and currently working on a manuscript. This group looks to be just what I need. 

Looking forward to reading your sentences.


Hey everyone, hope you had a great Christmas, however you managed to spend it...

A quick one today as I write my penultimate(!) scene:

A -  ...and he wondered what might happen if he were to vomit onto the table.

B - ...and he wondered what might happen if he vomited onto the table.

I just changed A to B, cutting the 'if he were'. Is that all right? Thanks!

Hi guys -- as usual, I'm really struggling with my tenses. I just don't always hear it. I'm on a writing course and the editor has said I keep shifting tenses. 

Eg. With his narrowed beady eye on me, he dropped it. My eyes widened as I stepped forwards. It was a key. I wrinkled my nose in curiosity. 

I'm writing in first person, past tense. Well trying. I can't see what's wrong. Please help.

OK, everybody knows what they are, they're annoying and make lots of mess but what do you call them?

My protagonist is in class at school and has just been asked to do something she doesn't want to do. Everyone is looking at her waiting for her response. My sentence is this:

I heard the click of a pen, felt the crumbs of rubbed out pencil beneath my fingertips and a slow heat crept up my face. 

I like it (of course I do, I wrote it!) but my mentor didn't understand the middle action. Is it just a British/American thing? (she's American, I'm writing for a British audience) Or a child/adult thing? (would a kid understand this better than an adult perhaps?) Do you understand it?

I like the idea of 'crumbs' of pencil rubbings, but maybe there's an alternative to 'rubbed out pencil'? Any ideas? Please bear in mind that since it's BrE eraser is out of the question and it has to be rubber if I use the noun, no sniggering ;-)

Hello everyone. Just a quicky. Would you consider the term 'A far cry' at all a cliché? As in my narrator stating that a character is 'A far cry from home.' She is unsettled by a tiger in an enclosure near wear she lives, but she's not a native.

Hey all, as I redraft, I continue to remove 'that' from sentences where I think it's unnecessary, but internet searches suggest there's no hard and fast rule here.

A) When you told me he was missing...

B) When you told me that he was missing...

That/no that?

Hi All, Hope you can help, I want to make it as smooth as posible

Burrus rose waving his good arm to beckon the visitor into the room, while Longidus slid out of the picture. “Suetonius my dear fellow, come in, come in. You’ve met Seneca before haven’t you. Come in, join us.” Suetonius smiled at the goodwill of the greeting. It had been fifteen years since he last talked with Burrus and he had never met Seneca before. So he knew this would be a night of political manoeuvres. He polished up his smile a little more and hoped it looked genuine enough without making him look a gullible idiot.