Re: Trouble writing this sentence

#1
All of the boy’s weight fell onto him. He was not heavy at all. Advay took him in and laid him on his side of the bed.

Context: There are two people in this scene. Advay and the boy (nameless).
So what did I write exactly? On which of the bed is the boy lying now? Advay's or his?
I want to convey that he is lying on his own side.


All of the boy’s weight fell onto him. He was not heavy at all. Advay took him in and laid him on his own side of the bed.

Or does this sentence do the job better?

All of the boy’s weight fell onto him. He was not heavy at all. Advay took him in and laid him on the boy's side of the bed.

Or is this better? But I feel this kind of splits the boy into two characters...
English is not my first language but I don't know any other language as well as I do English... :(

Thanks.

Re: Trouble writing this sentence

#3

Quote:All of the boy’s weight fell onto him. He was not heavy at all. Advay took him in and laid him on the boy's side of the bed.



That's the clearest, although technically you can get away with


Quote:All of the boy’s weight fell onto him. He was not heavy at all. Advay took him in and laid him on his side of the bed.



If you switched it a little, to ensure that the pronoun 'he' is only used for the boy in that paragraph, so:


Quote:All of the boy’s weight fell onto Advay. He was not heavy at all. Advay took him in and laid him on his side of the bed.



It's not the clearest way to do it? But by using Advay's name in each instance, it does imply that any use of the pronoun means the boy.

Maximum clarity would be:


Quote:All of the boy’s weight fell onto Advay. The boy was not heavy at all. Advay took the boy in and laid the boy on the boy's side of the bed.



But that is also super awkward.

The tricky part of 'his side' is that 'his side' feels possessive, and I think as I read it, I want the possessive statement to belong to the agent (the person doing stuff) in the sentence? So this definitely has room to trip up native speakers.

Gave it a try rewriting it entirely, and it took some thinking:



Quote:Advay caught the boy's weight, finding him to not be heavy at all while carrying him inside. <He was skin and bones/He was thin and delicate/He was [appropriate physical description showing lightness.]> The boy needed rest, to be on his own side of the bed, so that's where Advay brought him.




Re: Trouble writing this sentence

#4

parkertallan Wrote: I'd suggest taking a step back. Is it really important which side of the bed he put the boy on? I'd suggest something like this.

All of the boy's weight fell on him, but he wasn't heavy at all. Advay carried him over and placed him on the bed.

Now that you point if it is important, not quite!

But I did not even think of the importance... Just sat there sulking for 5 whole minutes trying to set the sentence exactly to image in my mind.
Thanks! It helped. Next time something like this happens I'll first question the necessity.



Flenser Wrote: The tricky part of 'his side' is that 'his side' feels possessive, and I think as I read it, I want the possessive statement to belong to the agent (the person doing stuff) in the sentence? So this definitely has room to trip up native speakers.





Wow, that gave me good insight.

Flenser Wrote: Quote:
Advay caught the boy's weight, finding him to not be heavy at all while carrying him inside. <He was skin and bones/He was thin and delicate/He was [appropriate physical description showing lightness.]> The boy needed rest, to be on his own side of the bed, so that's where Advay brought him.


Now that fit the images in my head exactly...

Thanks, you two!

peolove

Re: Trouble writing this sentence

#5

kmd_dgkr Wrote: All of the boy’s weight fell onto him. He was not heavy at all. Advay took him in and laid him on his side of the bed.

Okay!  Grammar time! First and foremost, and I don't believe anyone has said this yet, but saying ALL OF before a common noun is bad grammar.

You use the phrase ALL OF only when it comes before a pronoun or a proper noun:
ALL OF it. 
ALL OF them. 
ALL OF France. 

When it comes before a common noun you just use the word ALL by itself.
ALL the fish. 
ALL her marbles. 
ALL birds

And of course, ALL THE WEIGHT. 

Next -- and again, I don't think anyone has mentioned this to you yet -- you are using the word ONTO incorrectly. The word ONTO implies physical movement has occurred between the Subject and the Object of the sentence, going from one place to another. Furthermore, the phrase FELL ON is typically a Phrasal Verb.
The country FELL ON hard times. 
Responsibility FELL ON the president.
Sunlight FELL ON his face. 

Of course sometimes FELL is just a verb that does of course imply movement. So was the boy in your sentence actually falling, like off a staircase or from or a high place? If so, then you could say THE BOY FELL ONTO HIM. Even so, saying THE BOY'S WEIGHT FELL ONTO HIM is still kind of bad grammar, because like the words RESPONSBILITY, SUNLIGHT and HARD TIMES in my examples, WEIGHT is a concept rather than an object -- it does not have the actual capacity to move. 

And of course, if the boy just leaned into him, or perhaps collapsed in his arms, then the proper phrase is FELL ON.

Okay! So next you use the pronoun HIM to refer to someone, and then immediately use the pronoun HE to refer to someone else. This also is not good grammar, because HIM and HE can also refer to just one single person. It can be difficult writing a scene where people of the same sex are interacting, or sexless objects too, like a car and a truck. Rules of grammar dictate that a pronoun refers back to the nearest noun in which such a pronoun can be used.

However, in your passage, the boy is never mentioned at all -- the Subject of the passage is WEIGHT, and the proper pronoun for WEIGHT is IT. The only person who is ever mentioned is some nameless HIM, so all male pronouns in the passage must also refer to HIM

Next, you mention ADVAY after the pronoun which you use to refer to him. This also is bad grammar. Proper grammar dictates that the noun comes first, and the pronoun come after.

I hope you can now see why you feel uncomfortable with your passage. It has a number of errors. But hopefully, you can now also see how to correctly fix it, and how to avoid similar mistakes in the future!

All the boy's weight fell on Advay, and it was not heavy at all. He took the boy inside and laid him on his side of the bed.

😸

Re: Trouble writing this sentence

#7
I'm confused. Doesn't <Boy's Weight> goes from being an abstract noun to being a concrete noun by referring to a concrete and physical quality of the boy? Compound noun or phrasal nouns or something? Like, 'weight' on its own, in the sense of referring to something's weight, does not grammatically exist independently of something which possesses that weight, does it?

As for fell on/onto, onto's a preposition indicating movement, yes. But if we accept the boy's weight as a concrete and physical quality, then it works, I think? The weight of the boy has moved.

Using 'it' to refer to the boy's weight also doesn't read right to me. 'The boy's weight fell onto Advay, it was not heavy at all'... I can appreciate this from an extremely formal logic standpoint, but as I read it the boys' weight isn't a free floating concept in the aether. It is the boy's weight. 'The boy's weight fell onto Advay, it was 5 kilograms', yes, because we're describing the weight. But we are describing the owner of the weight - he was heavy. 'Was' is basically the same as 'be', isn't it? Intransitive verb, like 'weighed'. So if we rewrite that as 'The boy's weight fell onto Advay, it weighed 5 kilograms', what is 'it' referring to? 'The boy's weight fell onto Advay, he weighed five kilograms', that makes sense. Something here has to possess weight, the quality of heavy - what possesses the quality of heavy? The boy does.

Of course this is where grammar as a formal system of logic and the way fleshy brains turn words into meaning kinda don't necessarily add up with each other.So. Lots of interpretations available, possibly.

Re: Trouble writing this sentence

#8

Flenser Wrote: I'm confused. Doesn't <Boy's Weight> goes from being an abstract noun to being a concrete noun by referring to a concrete and physical quality of the boy? Compound noun or phrasal nouns or something?

A person's WEIGHT is an abstract concept.  In fact, WEIGHT depends entirely depends on where an object is. A person has less WEIGHT on top of a mountain than they do at sea level. On the Moon a person's WEIGHT is one-sixth of what it is on Earth. On the International Space Station a person has no WEIGHT at all. 

A person's WEIGHT is an abstract concept, subject in its entirety to where the person is. Furthermore, a person's WEIGHT remains always and forever where that person is. It doesn't go anywhere.

A Concrete Noun is something you can see hear smell taste or touch. And at no time is it possible to do that with a person's WEIGHT. A Compound Noun is something that uses two nouns to describe it, like PAPER AIRPLANE or FISHING POLE. The word BOY'S is an adjective and not a noun, describing whose WEIGHT we are referring to.

Now something like a FISHING WEIGHT or a PAPER WEIGHT is both a concrete noun and a compound noun -- they can be seen and touched and such, and two nouns are being used to describe one object. 

Flenser Wrote: The weight of the boy has moved.

That is incorrect. The weight of the boy remains with the boy. It doesn't go anywhere. The weight of the boy is always with the boy. 

Flenser Wrote: The boy's weight fell onto Advay, it weighed 5 kilograms

This is flawed logic. THE BOY'S WEIGHT does not WEIGH anything. WEIGHT has no WEIGHT. It does not weigh anything. 

Flenser Wrote: The boy's weight fell onto Advay, he weighed five kilograms

Again, at no time in this sentence has the BOY ever been mentioned. BOY'S is a Possessive Noun, and a possessive noun functions as an adjective. Adjectives do not get pronouns. The only true nouns in this sentence are WEIGHT and ADVAY (and KILOGRAMS of course, but let's not get into that.) By rule, a pronoun refers back to the last instance in which there is a noun that can use that particular pronoun.

WEIGHT is an IT. ADVAY is a HE. There are no other nouns preceeding the word HE. BOY'S is an adjective, and adjectives don't get pronouns. 

Now to be sure, and don't get me wrong, your arguments make sense. Even when corrected, the passage still could be improved, and by the points you've given. I only corrected the passage from a grammatical point of view, and its grammar was flawed in more than a few ways.

I did not change the intent of the passage and I did not embellish upon what the author wrote, nor did I imply things that were not said. I only fixed the grammar. And yet as you say, yes -- the passage still reads poorly. 

That is something the author must fix. It's his story, after all. And hopefully, from the advice I've given, when he does improve the passage, he won't ruin its grammar. 😸