I hate sentences

3 years ago | ChrysKelly (Member)

Current sentence: Under the totalitarian, fascist regime that England now languishes, powered individuals are slaves to the state.

My brain wants: Under the totalitarian, fascist regime that England now languishes under, powered individuals are slaves to the state.

Or: Under the totalitarian, fascist regime underwhich England now languishes, powered individuals are slaves to the state.

I don't think I should use under twice, but my brain insists the first one is wrong or weird, so can anyone spot a grammar problem, or a possible alternative?

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Responses

  1. Team Contract (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    The current sentence is okay.

  2. ubersoft (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Pardon me while I just muck around with the sentence for a while...

    "Under the totalitarian, fascist regime that England now languishes, powered individuals are slaves to the state."

    This can be thought of as two separate sentences:

    "England languishes under a totalitarian, fascist regime. Powered individuals are slaves to the state."

    In that construction, joining them would more appropriately require a semicolon:

    "England languishes under a totalitarian, fascist regime; powered individuals are slaves to the state."

    But your original sentence has a kind of Law & Order Vibe ("In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups:" and so on) and you really need the once sentence for that... maybe:

    "Languishing under a totalitarian, fascist regime, England's powered individuals are slaves to the state."

    Curveball (Updating)
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  3. Team Contract (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    oooo I like that! Good edits man :)

  4. Chris Poirier (Moderator)

    Posted 3 years ago

    First sentence is not fine. It's missing a word: under. ;)

    You could ditch the editorial, which would solve your problem:

    > Under the totalitarian, fascist regime now ruling England, powered individuals are slaves to the state.

    I also like @ubersoft's semicolon, but then I like the proper use of a semicolon. :)

  5. George M. Frost (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    The cause of your problem is the fact that the first "under" is not actually working off of the word "languishes," even though it seems like it is. The first "under" is, grammatically, being applied to the "powered individuals" after the comma.

    And we know this is the case because, before your comma, your sentence is incomplete. If you temporarily remove some of the extra verbiage, it reads like so:

    "Under the regime which now rules England..."

    But you have another problem, too, because this:

    "Under the regime, powered individuals are slaves to the state."

    --is a bit redundant. "the state" at the end there has already been referred to by the "regime" being talked about at the beginning.

    In fact, "Powered individuals are slaves to the state" already contains most of the information the reader needs. People don't usually imagine a nice government when they think of states keeping slaves. All that's really left out here is "England," which can be remedied easily enough. "Powered individuals in England are slaves to the state."

    If you really love your comma and your "languishes," though, then maybe something more like:

    "England now languishes under a totalitarian and fascist regime, and powered individuals are slaves to it."

    But also, why the government gotta be "fascist," huh? What, do you hate England or something? Alright, now I'm kidding. Write whatever gets your gears turning.

    Just my belated two cents.

    The Zombie Knight Saga -- undead superheroics
  6. unice5656 (Moderator)

    Posted 3 years ago

    That first sentence is super tricky to find the grammatical error. I just spent 10 minutes of my life staring at it.

    Basically, the "under" applies to the clause after the last comma. If I strip everything else out, it is, "Under the regime, powered individuals are slaves to the state."

    Therefore, Chris Poirier is correct in that it requires a second "under" to apply to the "England", and your second sentence is correct.

    However, your second sentence LOOKS wrong because in this kind of inverted sentence structure, it looks like the "under" should apply to "England" so that adding a second "under" looks redundant.

    Technically, I think it should actually be, "Under the fascist, totalitarian regime under which England now languishes, powered individuals are slaves to the state."

    (http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/which-vs-that)

    However, this looks even more wrong because the two "under"s are even closer together.

    Basically, you should definitely reword it so it doesn't need two "unders". Splitting it into two sentences or removing the "languish" altogether, as suggested above, are both viable alternatives.

    If you are strongly attached to having everything in one sentence, my suggestion would be to reverse the sentence inversion: "England now languishes under a fascist, totalitarian regime where powered individuals are slaves to the state."

    (I also think that "fascist" should go before "totalitarian" just because of the number of syllables in each word.)

  7. Walter (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @OP: Does the reader already know that England is ruled by a totalitarian regime when they read that statement, or is that new information?

    If they already know, consider leaving out the qualifiers? "Under England's current government, powered people are held in bondage." or something similar. The sentence is just communicating one thing, the fact that powered people are enslaved. It doesn't need to condemn the gov, the reader already knows that the gov is brutal and repressive based on previous info.

    If both parts of the sentence are news to the readers (England tyranny and how specifically it treats powered people), then I'd actually separate it out a lot. Like, the fact that England is ruled by a tyrant is a 'big' statement. It wants a sentence all its own, probably at the end of a paragraph. An invisible chord should strike when you read it. Once you've established that fact, you can slip the way that EvilEngland treats powered people in as part of a bigger description of the ways it is totalitarian.

  8. Shutsumon (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Is this sentence for a blub?
    If it is then probably should spit it in two and try to make it more active.

    If it's a sentence in thee narrative then you should probably try to communicate the information via a scene rather than just saying it.

  9. ChrysKelly (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Okay, I really should have responded before now, but life is such a distraction right now. Of course, it would be worse if I was dead, cause I wouldn't get any writing down at all.

    @TeamContract it's definitely wrong.

    @ubersoft, I second TeamContract, definiterly liking those edits.

    @ChrisPoirier thanks

    @George M Frost ah, thank you for the indepth explanation, I knew there was an error (I even knew what it was) but my understanding of English is an instinctual thing and I often can't explain why something is. Incidentally, England has to be a fascist totalitarian insular military-controlled country because the independent country of Scotland is such a perfect utopia. Just like in real life in a few years time :P

    @unice everything looks wrong, I definitely need to rework it. Incidentally, I'm of the opinion that fascist should go after totalitarian because the ending of the word is much stronger. It's a harder consonant sound. I'd love to know your thoughts on that theory?

    @Walter and @Shutsumon it is new info, it's the very beginning of my blurb, so it could potentially be the first thing people read.
    I'll post the paragraph.

  10. ChrysKelly (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Under the totalitarian, fascist regime that England now languishes, powered individuals are slaves to the state. Lexie, a young woman with a strong healing power, is being hunted through the streets of York by the powered Authority. Offered sanctuary by the Church, she knows it can be only a temporary reprieve, and turns her eyes northward, to the utopia that is Scotland.

    (Incidentally, the rest of the blurb goes on to point out that Scotland isn't the perfect country it is made out to be. I don't believe in utopias).

  11. ChrysKelly (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Actually, I've posted the full blurb, along with my revised first sentence, in another post.

  12. unice5656 (Moderator)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Ehe, when I read it out loud, "fascist, totalitarian" sounds better to me than "totalitarian, fascist", but this is just a personal preference, and I think 99.99% of readers don't care, either way.

    I guess "fascist" technically has a stronger ending sound, but the way I pronounce it is with little emphasis on the ending T in order to avoid making a spitting noise. "Totalitarian" is much easier to say, so even if its ending consonant is weaker, I pronounce it strongly.

    #TheLittleDetailsNobodyElseNoticesButDriveYouCrazy

  13. Shutsumon (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Incidentally, England has to be a fascist totalitarian insular military-controlled country because the independent country of Scotland is such a perfect utopia. Just like in real life in a few years time :P

    True that.

    I like the start of your blurb I shall go look at the rest of it.

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