Is the sentence correct? Does it sound natural?

The room was on the street side, and agricultural machinery and commercial vehicles were running behind the windows.

I am not sure whether it is okay to say 'running behind the windows'. The meaning of the second part would be that there was heavy traffic of trucks and cargo vehicles outside the house (facing the windows of the room).

Maybe there is a better way to formulate the second part of the sentence?

  • Please include the intended meaning. Also, why do you think it’s wrong? What specifically concerns you? – Em. Sep 17 '19 at 20:15
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    Also, did you write this sentence? Or did you find it somewhere and now you are asking about it? If you found it, please tell us where. If you wrote it, please let us know how it would be used (e.g., in an email, or in a short story, etc.). – J.R. Sep 17 '19 at 21:31
  • I am translating a text (informal style) and wrote it myself. That is why I ask since I am not a native speaker. Thank you for your effort! – Ronja Sep 18 '19 at 11:04

The thing that sounds odd to me is that vehicles, and especially 'agricultural vehicles' can 'stand still while they are running'. For example - while they are being used to thresh corn.

So, while I think you can get away with 'running' if you say 'cars' - because our normal expectation of cars is that they 'run around' - as soon as you mention 'agricultural vehicles' or 'commercial vehicles' - my mind jumps to a big paned window with hulking machines sitting behind it, processing stuff. Which I think, isn't what you mean.

So I think you'd need to add something like 'back and forth' to your 'running', so that we know that these vehicles are indeed moving.

  • agricultural machinery and commercial vehicles were running back and forth behind the windows.

Or choose another creative word like 'lumbering' to communicate that these big heavy machines are moving along.

  • agricultural machinery and commercial vehicles were lumbering their ungainly way along, behind the windows.
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  • But engines can run, too. So, when I read "agricultural machines were running," I assumed the writer was talking about engine noise. – J.R. Sep 17 '19 at 22:23
  • Lumber may not be the right verb for the context. Lumber has a connotation of moving clumsily or awkwardly. They mention "there was heavy traffic of trucks and cargo vehicles". It seems unlikely that all of these passing vehicles would be moving slowly and awkwardly. Would you agree? – AIQ Sep 17 '19 at 22:25
  • @J.R. I think the person is having difficulty explaining that the noise is coming from two different sources: moving vehicles and stationary agricultural machinery (like a water pump for irrigation purposes) – AIQ Sep 17 '19 at 22:28
  • I am merely giving an example of how additional words could be used, to make the phrase clearer. I chose fairly outre words to make that clear. The writer will need to choose their own words according to exactly what their goal is. @AIQ – Jelila Sep 17 '19 at 22:33
  • Yes exactly, @J.R. - that's exactly what I meant when I said 'vehicles, and especially agricultural vehicles, can stand still when they are running'. – Jelila Sep 17 '19 at 22:36

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