Are there any grammar/stylistic errors in this passage?When I opened it, I found Casey, sitting in the corner with her head facing the wall. Now, I never believed in [Essay removed to protect...

Are there any grammar/stylistic errors in this passage?

When I opened it, I found Casey, sitting in the corner with her head facing the wall. Now, I never believed in [Essay removed to protect against Internet plagiarism. Staff]

Asked on by thi-dallas

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

 First, let me say that the sentence structure is sound.  “Put me on end” should probably be “put me on edge.”

Now, to comma use.  A comma’s main function is to make the reader’s job easier, to reduce “recursive reading.”  Let me adjust your use and then explain:

  • When I opened it, I found Casey sitting in the corner with her head facing the wall. Now, I never believed in paranormal activities, but-- was there a chance [that] Casey saw a ghost and chased it, only to have it fly into the wall? Once again, I shrugged it off and went to bed, with Casey following close behind. I tucked myself in once more, but did not fall asleep that easily. The thought of my apartment being haunted really put me on [edge] end. After a little while, I gave up my fruitless attempt to stay awake, and dozed off.

1.      The difference between “Casey, sitting in the corner,..” and “Casey sitting in the corner…”  is subtle, but has to do with restrictive vs. non-restrictive adjectives, and clarifies whether Casey was sitting in the corner, or the narrator was sitting in the corner when she saw Casey.

2.       “chased it only” vs. “chased it, only… grammatically helps the reader “turn the corner” to the next clause.

3.      “went to bed, with Casey following…”   Removes the temporary ambiguity of the phrase “went to bed with Casey”, thus avoiding recursive reading.

4.      “stay awake, and dozed off.”  The comma avoids the temporary ambiguity of a false compound verb (stay and dozed).

Generally, this passage is well within English grammar conventions, but could use a little “reader-response” tweaking.

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