Why is this wrong?

Discussion in 'General Writing Discussion' started by AnyaKimlin, Apr 7, 2013.

  1.  
    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    I've been assured my grammar is off (which is not unusual) but I do not understand why.

    ‘You have three minutes to get dressed and present yourself in the family room or else...’ [his father is speaking]

    As I pulled on my jeans, I imagined him stood in the hallway, checking his watch and stamping his foot.

    I have been told it should be:

    ‘You have three minutes to get dressed and present yourself in the family room or else...’

    As I pulled on my jeans, I imagined him standing in the hallway, checking his watch and stamping his foot.

    Or

    ‘You have three minutes to get dressed and present yourself in the family room or else...’

    As I pulled on my jeans, I imagined he stood in the hallway, checking his watch and stamping his foot.

    Or could I use this instead:

    As I pulled on my jeans I imagined him stood in the hallway, checking his watch and stamping his foot.

    Is the comma the issue?
  2.  
    springs

    springs Juggling life

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    No, I think stood is the issue. I am not entirely sure why - I think in american english you'd get away with it - but I think it's he stood, not him stood. In english-english, I think it might be a tense change. But it definitely stands out as odd to me.
  3.  
    Dozmonic

    Dozmonic Member

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    I'd personally have "in the family room, or else..."

    In the second part, having someone stood does read as clumsy. They were standing, they weren't stood.
  4.  
    crystal haven

    crystal haven Member

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    I think it should be 'standing'. But please don't ask me why. It just feels right.

    You would say, I imagined him walking. You wouldn't say I imagined him walked. I think it's similar.

    But then I could be totally wrong.
  5.  
    alchemist

    alchemist Not on holidays

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    To me, "stood" (in this context) doesn't sound right at all. It sounds like a local idiom from some part of England (can't place it at the moment) which might be fine in dialogue but not elsewhere. Although I suppose you could argue it fitting in first person POV if the character speaks like that.
  6.  
    HareBrain

    HareBrain Lagomorphing Staff Member

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    I think it's that you're using "stood" as the continuous present tense of "to stand", and this usage is colloquial. Same with "he was sat on the bench". You really need TJ to wade in here (for 'twas she who put me right about the "was sat" usage).
  7.  
    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    He to me sounds wrong because the father is already identified as standing in the hallway. (He's shouting through the door)

    As I pulled on my jeans, I imagined him stood in the hallway, as he checked his watch and stamped his foot.

    Would that work better? Getting Mayhem to flow right in past tense is a headache.
  8.  
    Mouse

    Mouse roar

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    It's definitely 'I imagined him standing.' Can't tell you why, but it is. (Think yourself lucky you're not from where I'm from and it's perfectly acceptable to say 'he was stood standing...')
  9.  
    springs

    springs Juggling life

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    No, stood still needs to be standing. The imagined sets the past tense for you, the ing doesn't lift it from that.

    Darn, mouse, you're quick!
  10.  
    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    hmm OK but i don't like it lol It sounds so bland in comparison ;) Might have to redo the whole thing.
  11.  
    AMB

    AMB Advanced Muddle Brain

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    My brain isn't working at the moment, so I can't comment on the whole stood/standing issue (this might help, or not).
    I do think stood works colloquially though. It might depend entirely on narrative voice.

    As far as dropping a comma goes, I certainly would.

    As I pulled on my jeans I imagined him stood in the hallway, checking his watch and stamping his foot.

    The bolded parts both act as modifiers. Pick which is more important to the sentence and add the comma to the one with the not so important information.

    In this case I think you are right with which comma to drop because, while the checking his watch and stamping his foot adds colour to the sentence, the key is that he is imagining his father's impatience while getting dressed.

    I'm sure someone will stop by and tell me if my fuzzy brain is lying.
  12.  
    alchemist

    alchemist Not on holidays

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    I think you don't want to let go because it's "in voice." But I do think you can justify it that way, even if it's technically wrong.
  13.  
    Greenwoody

    Greenwoody New Member

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    I'm with:
    As I pulled on my jeans, I imagined him standing in the hallway, checking his watch and stamping his foot.
    Sounds best to me (though either stood or standing really sounds ok to me).

    Another poss (just to completely confuse you!):
    As I pulled on my jeans, I imagined him standing in the hallway checking his watch while stamping his foot.
    Gets rid of comma & 'and' for flow, but maybe clumsy without.
  14.  
    Toby Frost

    Toby Frost Active Member

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    It's standing. Stood is in the past, where as standing is, er, the present participle, I think. At any rate, "imagined" is the main verb, which governs the whole sentence. "Standing" is a secondary verb, and as it is governed by "imagined" isn't put into the past tense. Wikipedia gives the example "I saw John eating his dinner", which would read "I saw John ate his dinner" if "stood" was right here.

    Sorry this is a bit garbled. It's been about 20 years since I expressed this sort of thing in words, and even then, the words were in Latin.
  15.  
    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    Thanks, Toby, it makes more sense. Think it must be a regional thing as it doesn't 'sound' right to me.

    So I can keep checking and stamping as well? That was what I thought about the verb.

    I don't know why but my other stories I write the tense without any issue. I'm hoping to feel less muddled in a chapter or two.
  16.  
    Brev

    Brev Member

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    I don't think so. Like Springs said, it catches a little because of the tense.

    I'm not sure "As I..." works as the opening, it sounds too immediate. And do you need 'standing/stood'? It's implied.

    Also it might be worth making it two sentences, just to differentiate between the actions of him and his father.
  17.  
    Fishbowl Helmet

    Fishbowl Helmet Ask the next question...

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    The character is, at that moment, imagining the father out in the hallway. That switches it from past to present, just like dialogue. It's because it's her thinking about him doing so, instead of the narrator declaring it so.

    If it's the narrator declaring something true, it would be written in past: "He stood in the hall, tapping his foot" or "He was standing in the hall, tapping his foot."

    If it's the one character thinking the other is doing something it becomes present, or can be done in past with some reworking: "I imagined him standing" or "I imagined he was standing" or "I imagined that he stood," but those become increasingly awkward.
  18.  
    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    Ahh so hang on - he knows his father is stood in the hallway. (That has already been mentioned). The imagining is what he is doing there because he can't see him stamping his foot or checking his watch?
  19.  
    AMB

    AMB Advanced Muddle Brain

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    Imagined him there in the hallway, etc etc?
  20.  
    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    I was just going to suggest:
    As I pulled on my jeans, I imagined him on the other side of the door, checking his watch and tapping his foot.

    My issue was not that it was wrong but that I didn't understand it ;) I also decided stamping was a bit more childish than tapping.

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