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Should I use the base form of the verb “flinch” after "and", or should I use the past tense?

a. When she stared back at him, he didn’t look ashamed and flinch away from his gaze.

b. When she stared back at him, he didn’t look ashamed and didn’t flinch away from his gaze.

Here's what I think: I believe they are both correct. The “didn’t” applies both to “feel ashamed” and to “flinch away”.

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    I prefer or instead of and in sentence (a).
    – J.R.
    Nov 26, 2018 at 19:51
  • I agree with J.R. that "or" sounds better than "and", because the sentence is generally framed as a negative, "she neither A nor B" => "She didn't do A or B". Otherwise the choice of whether to repeat the "didn't" is entirely personal style.
    – Andrew
    Nov 26, 2018 at 20:03
  • Hi, there, J.R. and Andrew: I understand where you guys are coming from and I agree with you, but don’t you think that in (a) the “didn’t” applies both to “feel ashamed” and to “flinch away”? I mean If I wrote the sentence in the past, it would be like this: [she felt ashamed and flinched away from her gaze.]
    – GrammarBoy
    Nov 26, 2018 at 20:12
  • Whatever you decide, except it's her gaze not his. She was staring at him and he didn't flinch. Usually, one would not add gaze here. "away from her gaze". Or: He didn't avert his eyes from her gaze. You have some semantic issues there.
    – Lambie
    Nov 26, 2018 at 21:26
  • Lambie: Yes, you are right that it should be "her gaze", but I can easily change it to [When she stared back at him, he didn’t look ashamed and flinch his gaze away from her.]
    – GrammarBoy
    Nov 26, 2018 at 22:29

1 Answer 1

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I agree with you both are correct. In the first sentence, I can just about see the "didn't" applying to both the "ashamed" and "flinch away" part.

Your second sentence sounds clearer to me though:

When she stared back at him, he didn’t look ashamed and didn’t flinch away from his gaze.

Or:

When she stared back at him, he didn’t look ashamed or flinch away from his gaze.

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    You are repeating the mistakes made by the OP.
    – Lambie
    Nov 26, 2018 at 21:28
  • Hi, there, D Manokhin: Nor can follow neither in such constructions as this: She neither felt ashamed nor flinched away from her gaze. But as H.W. Fowler says: any other negative such as “no”, “not”, “never”, should be followed with “OR”. The negative’s force is carried on.[I couldn’t eat or sleep] not [ I couldn’t eat nor sleep]. So, I think the “nor” in your example should be changed to “or”.
    – GrammarBoy
    Nov 26, 2018 at 22:09
  • @Lambie is correct. The use of flinch is wrong here, because the man can flinch his gaze away from her, or he can flinch away from her gaze, be he cannot flinch away from his own gaze. He is not in his own gaze unless he is looking in the mirror.
    – Tashus
    Jan 17, 2019 at 20:56

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