Check that sentence

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Check that sentence
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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.

I'm struggling with a sentence which some helpful critiques flagged in my WIP - great sentiments, clumsy phrasing. In that typical way, it reads totally clear to me :-D

The context: the protag has recently changed school, this is about her fifth day, and she's in the playground at breaktime trying to find someone to click with.

Class is easier when you’re new: you hate the work, but at least you feel safe.

It might be the word 'class' that's confusing? I wondered if 'class time' makes it clear enough, though it still doesn't run right.

Any suggestions? I'd like to keep it succinct.



Struggling to find a consensus on as if/as though (and like, which is less formal of course...)

A) Jack glanced at his bag as if he had forgotten something.

B) Jack glanced at his bag as though he had forgotten something.

C) Jack glanced at his bag like he had forgotten something.

I'm thinking A or B... but can't make my mind up. And do you think it's better to stick to one throughout, or to vary across the manuscript?

All ideas appreciated!

Just a quickie:

A) Joe buried his hands in his trouser pockets, in an attempt to neutralise her urgency with patience.

B) Joe buried his hands in his trouser pockets, attempting to neutralise her urgency with patience.

Just changed A to B. Is this okay? Or am I breaking some forgotten rule... does that imply that the pockets are making the attempt??

(Also having issues with 'his'... Joe buried hands in his trouser pockets...?)

Thoughts? And if anyone else is editing please do post sentences of your own, the last few have all been me and I'd gladly reciprocate :)

Hey, just seen this. What a great idea! Hope both these sentences work! Lol. 

Another grammar-based query from me that's tricky to Google...

A) The fire inched down the wood toward the petrol-soaked panels that lined the floor of their cabin.

B) The fire inched down the wood toward the petrol-soaked panels lining the floor of their cabin.

In a continued effort to remove unnecessary words, I've been changing a lot of 'that ...ed' to '...ing', as above. (Sorry, I'm sure there's a term for this verb change, but I can never remember the words...) Does B still work, or am I better off keeping 'that'?

Many thanks!

Apologies - two sentences below! I'm trying to convey that sense of recklessness felt when we are over-tired (almost like being drunk), that makes it easier to face something you fear. I haven't quite got it... any ideas? I also think it's a bit of a mess grammatically, which is why I'm (gulp!) posting it here...

The fatigue that followed the sleepless night was not unwelcome. His senses laboured underwater: sound muffled, vision blurred, dampening his fear at facing his neighbour.

I've started a final edit of my manuscript and am trying to kill some 'felt's! It's proving easier in some sentences than others... any suggestions on the below:

Robert took a glance at the pristine, navy Surrey Police uniform that his uncle wore and felt like he might be arrested for possession of dangerous goods.

Here's another couple of sentences to have a go at. again all feedback much appreciated.

Typically, Michael was up and dressed by seven and was poking Percy with an umbrella from the cloak room at ten past. 

“Get your things and get out,” he said turning away as Percy woke with a shock, covering his eyes with the sheets as the curtains flew open and the light streamed in. Michael sucked on a cigarette, threw the umbrella onto the bed and left the room.


A couple of sentences I know, but like the way they work. all feedback welcome...thanks.

The train left the town and a scarecrow appeared, standing in the centre of a large, ploughed field. Surrounded by birds, it was sodden and beginning to rot, with It’s head hanging forward and its arms outstretched like some sort of agricultural crucifixion.

A bead of sweat slipped down his forehead, along the crease between his brows and into his eye.

- I struggle with eyes, arms, hands, feet... I don't want to write 'into his left eye', as it seems odd to specify which eye. I don't want to write 'into an eye', which sounds as though there is a random eye lying around. But does 'into his eye' suggest that he only has one?

Hello all.  This is an extract from a 100 word story.  I'm looking to find a non-telly sentence that shows Mr Harper's character.

‘Good morning, Mr Harper,’ I chirp, loud enough to twitch next door’s curtain.  His good ear is slightly forward.  The other never recovered from the blast.  He refuses to use his stick, so his left knee trembles as he fights to straighten.  He insisted they leave the bullet in.

Or the alternative, They left the bullet in, apparantly, much to their disapproval.

Any other suggestions are most welcome.

I'm struggling with the opening sentence to my first novel. I've rewritten my introductory paragraph probably over thirty times now and still can't quite get it right. This is the closest I think I've been to something I'm totally happy with, but I need to get some feedback on the below:

"Tom hated flowers; they seemed so normal and unaffected - nothing had changed for them."

"Tom hated the flowers; they seemed so normal and unaffected - nothing had changed for them."

In the second version, the addition of the definite article, I feel, makes the sentence flow better. But now it runs the risk of being ambiguous. Which flowers? All flowers? A bunch of flowers near Tom? Something else?

The first version, in comparison, is more technically correct, but I feel it falls a bit flat and has less impact. 

It could be that neither of these really work and i'll have to rewrite this sentence entirely, or perhaps even forget about using this as a book opener.