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Is this sentence written correctly? Why or why not? Numerous times she lies in trifle...

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Parker101 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:07 AM via web

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Is this sentence written correctly? Why or why not?

Numerous times she lies in trifle situations, such as, not eating the forbidden maccaroons.

 

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:43 AM (Answer #1)

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I would suggest that in terms of grammar, the sentence is not correct. First of all, it is somewhat awkward.

"Numerous times she lies in trifle situations..." 

Understanding the word "trifle" is important to using it correctly. It is generally defined as...

...an article or thing of very little value...

It can also be defined as...

...a matter, affair, or circumstance of trivial importance or significance...

As an example, in Susan Glaspell's play, Trifles," the sheriff and the county attorney perceive that the work a woman does on a farm all day as unimportant:

While the men bluster and tramp around the farmhouse searching for clues, the women discover bits of evidence in the ‘‘trifles’’ of a farmer’s wife.

In essence in trying to find something of importance, the men ignore what they perceive as things with "very little value." In the sentence given, "trifle" is used as an adjective, modifying "situations." It is trying to impart the same sense as Glaspell's play title—something of little consequence. In this line, it specifically concentrates on unimportant situations.

"Trifle" is defined as a noun, but it can also describe an action, making it a verb—based upon the context of the sentence.

...she lies in trifle situations...

We understand that the subject of the sentence is in unimportant (trivial) situations; however, this portion of the sentence is also awkward. One might be better served to write:

Numerous times she finds herself in trifling situations.

In this case, "trifling" is a verb.

Consider the second part of the sentence:

Numerous times she lies in trifle situations, such as, not eating forbidden maccaroons.

First of all, "macaroon" has one "c" and one "r." In addition, the second comma is unnecessary.

To use correct grammar and punctuation, as well as to clearly convey the essence of the information contained in the sentence, I would write:

Numerous times she finds herself in trifling situations, such as being forbidden to eat macaroons.

In Ibsen's A Doll's House, Nora is also forbidden from eating macaroons. If I were to describe the specifics of this situation, I would present it as shown above.

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