Please take a look at the following quote:

“Happiness is a fatality,” wrote the poet Rimbaud. I remember being somewhat puzzled when I first read that line, and then feeling a sense of ease and liberation wash over me. Turning the idea of happiness on its head had suddenly made me very happy.

-- Crazy Wisdom Saves the World Again! by Wes "Scoop" Nisker, page 69.

Is it better to change wash into washing? Because I think this would be more suitable according to grammatical rules.

  • Again, man you don't need to give the link to the book. Instead, just quote the whole passage where the line is situated. – Mistu4u Sep 27 '13 at 3:54
  • See this question for example. – Mistu4u Sep 27 '13 at 3:55
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    A link to the book is welcome, however :-) For starters, it lets us see additional context. Sometimes it's difficult to tell exactly how much or how little you should quote... – snailcar Sep 27 '13 at 5:27
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    @s, Agreed. However the fact we have to find ourselves where is a particular line placed, irritates me. In this kind of situations, he should at least say page no X (At least) and line no Y (if possible)! – Mistu4u Sep 27 '13 at 5:56
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    Hello, Lincoln! I've reformatted your question and made the link go straight to the original quote. I think you could improve this question by explaining why you think it would be more suitable. "Grammatical rules" is, unfortunately, rather vague. – snailcar Sep 27 '13 at 6:39

Either can be correct. There's a very subtle difference in meaning, but neither is generally better than the other.

  • Shouldn't it be "Neither of them", instead of "neither" only? – Mistu4u Sep 27 '13 at 5:53
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    @Mistu4u Not necessary. "Neither" is a pronoun and can stand on its own; "of them" is just a prepositional phrase indicating which things are all excluded. In this case, it's clear from the context which options "neither" refers to. – chrylis -on strike- Sep 27 '13 at 6:16
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    I support you as far as retaining the same meaning is concerned. But you said there is a subtle difference. What is it? – Mistu4u Sep 27 '13 at 7:33
  • @Mistu4u If I could articulate it, I'd have explained it. It has something to do with a difference in emphasis between a point-in-time event (wash) and a past-tense but less clearly defined experience (washing). Sort of the difference between preterite and aorist. – chrylis -on strike- Sep 27 '13 at 7:53
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    @Mistu4u, chrylis The technical category for the difference is aspect: wash expresses perfective aspect and washing expresses imperfective aspect. This very sketchy treatment may help. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 27 '13 at 9:39

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