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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Weird line.

   
Author Topic: Weird line.
Zero
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I'm trying to say:

"The noise grew louder. Whoever it was was dangerous."

But I hate seeing "was was" like that. Should it be "Whoever it was, was dangerous" ?


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Rhaythe
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Whoever it (may be|could be|could have been) was dangerous.
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Toby Western
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The noise grew louder and more menacing.
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extrinsic
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The comma following the first was is grammatically appropriate according to Chicago. Rule 6.45: Homonym, applies for ease of reading when two spellled-alike words that have different uses if a slight pause is intended.

The Chicago example closest to the exemplar is: "Whatever is, is good."

Because it wasn't asked, and there's insufficient context to assess, I won't get into the relative/objective pronoun issue, nor the prounoun-subject agreement. Whomever was coming . . . Whatever it was . . .


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marchpane
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How about 'Whoever it was, they were dangerous'?
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Robert Nowall
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I'd go with "was-comma-was" as grammatically correct...but the whole of it we see seems awkward...a noise, followed by identification of the source as "who," having identity and intelligence, rather than "what."

Perhaps rephrased as a question, and edited down a little: "The noise grew louder. Was it dangerous?"


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skadder
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You can usually change things about without disturbing meaning. Two things happen here:

1st: The noise increases in volume--presumably this triggers the thoughts that follow, so this sentence needs to remain first.

2nd: The realisation the unnamed/unknown person was dangerous. The clauses in the sentence don't have to follow any particular order to retain meaning.

The noise grew louder. They were dangerous, whoever it was.

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited September 23, 2008).]


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philocinemas
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Grammatically, you should structure the sentence either singular, singular or plural, plural. "Whoever" can be either singular or plural, but you can't change this mid-sentence. "It" cannot be "they." I'm sure extrinsic can elaborate on this more fluently than I can, but nevertheless, it's true. Therefore, what "was" must remain "was" unless you change your wording, which would be my choice. May I suggest:

"The noise grew louder. Whoever this was, he or she was dangerous."

or

"The noise grew louder. Whatever it was, it was dangerous."

On a side note, I find it interesting that it seems to be the second half of the sentence in the original version that determines it is "whoever" instead of "whomever".

[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited September 23, 2008).]


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Zero
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In this case the source of the noise has already been identified as a person. And I believe "whomever" is more correct. As for knowing the comma is necessary, thanks a million. Ultimately, though, I decided to rephrase it.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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"Whomever" is for when the pronoun represents a noun that is the object of the sentence. "Was" does not take an object when it's the only verb in the sentence. So "whoever" is correct.
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Zero
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Thanks.
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Devnal
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how about "These pretzels(!) are making me, THIRSTY!!!"
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Zero
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No, no, you gotta do it like this. "These PRETZELS are makin' me THIRSTY!"
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