My job was to shelve books correctly and to keep the library clean that was hectic and bustling with large volume of visitors.

Now the sentence above is what I just wrote to ask this question regarding the nuance of two words: hectic and bustling. I wonder the two words are right words for this sentence. I somehow feel the two words are too much to describe what's going on in the library; especailly word bustling sounds like it is associated with loud sounds (am I right)?

What I wanted to describe was something like a library with many people seating in chairs, people roaming around the shelves, people lining up in front of the library counter for book rental services, etc, but with no loud sounds.

What will be the words suited for such environment?

Plus, if I want to say that library was getting chaotic day by days, how should I say it?

Will the following sentence be perfectly fine?

My job was to shelve books correctly and to keep the library clean that was kepy getting hectic and bustling with large volume of visitors.

Any revision or paraphrase will be appreciated. Thank you!

1 Answer 1


There is nothing wrong with either hectic or bustling per se, but the sentence itself is a little strange.

  • You don't need to mention shelving books correctly as it's assumed your job would not be to shelve them incorrectly.
  • It's not quite right that there's a conjunction between shelve books and keep the library clean. With the flow of the sentence, your job could possibly involve shelving books somewhere other than the library.
  • The construction of the final noun phrase describing the library is a bit odd coming after keep the library clean.
  • There's nothing wrong with hectic or bustle, aside from the fact that they aren't the same type of words. This causes a slight problem with parallelism. So, maybe something else would work better.
  • It should be a large volume not just large volume. However, I find the use of volume a little technical.
  • You also mention daily chaos in your description, even though neither of those things are explicitly part of the sentence.

I would suggest a rephrasing similar to the following:

My job at the library was to shelve books and clean up the chaos caused by the daily hustle and bustle of many visitors.

Of course, there are many other ways of writing this. My revision is only one way of addressing the issues I see.

By the way, bustle does not imply noise. It means to either move quickly or to be busy. It's normally used in the phrase hustle and bustle—something that works better than hectic and bustling.

  • Will native speakers imediately find out that English is not my dominant language when they read sentences like this?
    – MAT
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 9:01
  • @MAT I certainly would not have jumped to that conclusion from reading your sentence. Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 9:15
  • Oh ok thank you. I hear many times that there are some awkward expressions and word usages in my writings and I am struggling to fix that. Even though I graduated from an American university and still continuing my study in English, I can't write grammatically, semantically impeccable sentences. Anyway thank you for your answer.
    – MAT
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 12:44

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