Best place for the adjective in the given sentence

yamgo

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Hi again, everyone. I'm unsure about where to put the adjective "mercilessly" in the following sentence or if I should restructure the entire sentence itself, as it sounds kind of weird to me. I've included the preceding sentence for a better understanding of the context:

Alternative 1:
The pained cries of grief and silent sniffles of suffering seemed deafening to Ryn. They made apparent the girl had witnessed someone dear to her being mercilessly ripped out of her life.

Alternative 2:
They made apparent the girl had witnessed someone dear to her being ripped mercilessly out of her life.

Alternative 3:
They made apparent the girl had witnessed someone dear to her being ripped out of her life mercilessly.

I'm also wondering if the tense is used correctly. She had witnessed something before at that point in the past, so 'to witness' is in the past perfect tense. But is there a name for the tense used for 'to rip out'? She had witnessed someone being ripped out of her life.
 

The Judge

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I really do know what it's like to anguish over individual words and their placement like this, so this is coming from a place of sympathy, but I can't help thinking that the problem of the correct place to put "mercilessly" in that sentence isn't (a) the best use of your time unless you're on a final, final edit and (b) the most important issue here.

To be frank, there's an awful lot of telling going on in this, to me it feels very over-written, and for my taste at least there's rather too much alliteration which threatens to make the whole rather bathetic. I'd suggest you cut and restructure, to make it stronger

Anyhow, of the three alternatives, I'd probably go with the first, though the second also works, but definitely dump the third. But in all of them you need an extra "it" as in "They made it apparent" or reword to eg "It was apparent" or rather more simply "Clearly, the girl..."

The tense is OK if Ryn knows for sure the ripping out was a continuous action -- ie long and slow -- otherwise I'm pretty sure it should be "be mercilessly ripped..." (Which thinking about it might be splitting the infinitive, but what the hell.)
 

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1 Possibly has the "boldly go" problem.
2 There still seems to be a vague ambiguity about who the mercilessly is refrerring to, her or the someone.
3 Is the least troublesome
However "ripped without mercy from her life." might roll better.

However my grammar is is well established as flawed :whistle: so others with sharper scalpels will be along soon I'm sure.
 

yamgo

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Thanks to both of you. I'm trying to get rid of such mistakes now to avoid repeating them in the future.

I've rewritten the sentences a bit and would like to know what you think.

The pained cries and silent sniffles seemed deafening to Ryn. In all likelihood, someone had forced the girl to watch as they mercilessly ripped a person dear to her out of her life.
 
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yamgo

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Could you elaborate, J Riff?
I assume it's not a good style to use 'seemed' in writing?
 

tegeus-Cromis

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"Mercilessly" is an adverb, not an adjective.

Also, how exactly can "silent sniffles" seem deafening?
 
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sule

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I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but: for my personal taste I would consider excising the phrase "seemed deafening" for another phrase that gives that same impression. I assume that the point you're trying to make there is that those sounds--albeit quiet and seemingly private--are to Ryn the loudest sounds in the entire room. So perhaps you could contrast what Ryn should be hearing (or would otherwise be hearing if these particular sounds weren't so important to her) while drilling in that the only sounds she really hears are the pained cries and silent sniffles. Or some other fix that works best for you. I only say this because the strange contrast between "Silent sniffles" and "seemed deafening" is a bit too abrupt for my reading tastes.
 

Bagpuss

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I think 2 is grammatically wrong, because you can't put an adverb after a verb unless the verb is a form of "to have" or "to be" (or another auxiliary verb) and it isn't the main verb. 1 & 3 are grammatically both fine. Just pick the one you prefer and go with it. I would go with 1.
 
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ginny

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Your way does have a certain style to it. However either way I would get rid of the adjective and adverbs that ends in ly if I could.
And to emphasize the lack of mercy here is how I might approach this.

Pained cries and silent sniffles deafened Ryn. They'd forced the girl to witness someone dear ripped out of her life, without mercy.

However I like to deal in absolutes in writing--rather than conjectures such as seemed and likely

Of course they might not be certain so I'd go with...
Pained cries and silent sniffles deafened Ryn. As though they'd forced the girl to witness someone dear ripped out of her life, without mercy.

It's clear that everyone has a different style of writing so this question should best yield mostly answers that might relate to the use of ly adverbs and adjectives and the strength of those adverbs and adjectives--some do say that if your verb or noun is so weak that it requires an adverb or adjective then perhaps it's not the correct verb or noun.
 
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paranoid marvin

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Hi again, everyone. I'm unsure about where to put the adjective "mercilessly" in the following sentence or if I should restructure the entire sentence itself, as it sounds kind of weird to me. I've included the preceding sentence for a better understanding of the context:

Alternative 1:
The pained cries of grief and silent sniffles of suffering seemed deafening to Ryn. They made apparent the girl had witnessed someone dear to her being mercilessly ripped out of her life.

Alternative 2:
They made apparent the girl had witnessed someone dear to her being ripped mercilessly out of her life.

Alternative 3:
They made apparent the girl had witnessed someone dear to her being ripped out of her life mercilessly.

I'm also wondering if the tense is used correctly. She had witnessed something before at that point in the past, so 'to witness' is in the past perfect tense. But is there a name for the tense used for 'to rip out'? She had witnessed someone being ripped out of her life.


Personally I think the first sentence could be altered. If she has pained cries they would be loud; the 'seemed deafening' suggests that they aren't and only appear so. Also the 'silent sniffles' would not be heard at all. And I don't think you need two sentences, a semi colon would work just as well. How about:

The whimpers of grief and sniffles of suffering seemed deafening to Ryn; it was obvious that the girl had witnessed a person dear to her being mercilessly ripped out of her life.

Ps. I don't know if others would agree, but it would suggest to me that Ryn finding her anguish 'deafening' would mean that he has no feelings of sympathy for her plight; that he is more annoyed than concerned. Empathising with her in the second sentence (specifically the word 'mercilessly') in some ways contradicts this.
 
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KiraAnn

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This last is better, but...

I think making that two sentences not one long one would read a tad bit better. Sorry, Marvin.

A question rises in my mind - who is Ryn and who is the girl? Any of these examples are somewhat ambiguous.

Finally, the phrase “ripped out of her life” sounds awkward to me. I suggest something else. It doesn’t “flow”
 

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