But everything will shatter when life puts into one equation a great problem, ambitions and a million of dollars. And this story won't be about mathematics.

I am trying to describe the life of one mathematician. He solved a great problem and was awarded a million dollars for it. But there were a lot of scandals, disappointments. He refused the prize and everything was bleak.

I am using figurative speech and it sounds fine in my language, but what about English? Of course, the equation mentioned is imaginary, it is just a way to say that his life changed when all those things got mixed up in his life. And since it is about mathematics, I used an equation as a figurative object.

  • I'm trying hard to understand the sentence! – Maulik V Mar 20 '14 at 9:18
  • @MaulikV Can you understand the unshifted version? "But everything will shatter when life puts [ a great problem, ambition and a million dollars ] into one equation." – snailplane Mar 20 '14 at 9:20
  • @snailplane Okay! – Maulik V Mar 20 '14 at 9:22

The sentence seems fine to me, but I am (this is just a personal style-issue, I guess) a bit thrown off by the fact that the problem and the dollars are specified, but the ambitions stand alone. The three parts would flow better by adding something to the ambition(s) like this:

Also, I would say "a million dollars", not "a million of dollars" - or possible "one million dollars".

Not sure why - I would say "millions of dollars" if that were applicable.

But everything will shatter when life puts into one equation a great problem, burning ambition and a million dollars.

I assume it is a matter of taste, I leave the consideration up to the author. :)

  • What do you mean by the ambitions are not specified? I didn't use an adjective with the ambitions? – Graduate Mar 20 '14 at 9:28
  • Yes, they are a bit "left on their own", I feel. great problem, a million dollars, but "just" ambitions. – oerkelens Mar 20 '14 at 9:28
  • You wouldn't shift 'into one equation' to the end of the sentence, like snailplane did in the comments? – Graduate Mar 20 '14 at 9:31
  • Sorry, there was just one million :) Otherwise we exaggerate. – Graduate Mar 20 '14 at 9:32
  • I like it where it is, actually - although snailplane's version is easier to understand, I don't enjoy it as much :) – oerkelens Mar 20 '14 at 9:32

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