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I would like to know which version of this sentence is correct ? I don't know if it's ok to write "with the other" or if it's best to write "in the other" ...

Ben is pasha-style slumped in his chair, a large iced coffee mug in hand, playing with one of Lili's hair clip in the other (hand).

or

Ben is pasha-style slumped in his chair, a large iced coffee mug in hand, playing with one of Lili's hair clip with the other (hand).

Thank you !

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  • "in the other hand" suggests holding the clip in the hand and playing with it, "with the other hand" suggests the clip is somewhere else, e.g. in Lili's hair. BTW, it would be more usual to write "slumped pasha-style" rather than the other way round, although your word order is sometimes seen; and it should be "one of Lili's hair clips".
    – Stuart F
    Sep 17 at 14:59
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Welcome to SE !!

Here, "mug in hand" should ideally be "mug in one hand" ; then "the other" will imply "the other hand".
Also, "clip" should be "clips".

The way I see it, using in:

Ben is slumped, pasha-style, in his chair, with a large iced-coffee mug in one hand, and one of Lili's hair clips in the other.

The way I see it, using with:

Ben is slumped, pasha-style, in his chair, one hand holding a large iced-coffee mug, and the other playing with one of Lili's hair clips.

Hope this Commentary Answer helps you to reframe your sentence, according to your requirements !!

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  • Hello and thank you for your welcome !! You helped me a lot ! I can see now which version is better for me to use. Thank you !!
    – Lou
    Sep 17 at 15:04
  • @Lou "mug in hand". It suits the content and style.
    – Greybeard
    Sep 17 at 15:32
  • @Greybeard , I agree with your comment !! I DID realize that "mug in hand" suits the content and style, but that was jarring or conflicting with "one hair clip" and thus, "the other" could be misinterpreted as "the other hair clip". Hence, I mentioned it should IDEALLY be "mug in one hand" ....
    – Prem
    Sep 18 at 11:26
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A couple of suggestions. Both variants are correct in isolation but the sentence structure as a whole is not clear.

-"playing with something in the other hand" means that he is playing with something that is in his other hand (but which hand is doing the playing is not specified, although people would assume his other hand).

-"playing with something with the other hand" means that he is playing with something using his other hand.

They are sort of saying similar thing, the difference is whether you want to emphasise what he has in each hand or what the hands are doing.

But the sentence doesn't flow well as it is. "something in hand" means he is holding something but does not necessarily mean that it's one-handed. As the sentence moves on to say what each hand is doing, it's better to say "X in one hand, ...".

"a large iced coffee mug in one hand" means he is holding a mug meant for iced coffee (or that it is a coffee mug which has been iced). If you mean to say he is holding a drink, you would say "a large mug of iced coffee."

Formally you would say "doing X like Y" but if this is literary or casual writing, stylistically it sounds more natural to say "Doing X, Y style". Finally, in "one of the hair clips" the word should be plural.

So as alternatives:

Ben is slumped in his chair, pasha-style, a large mug of iced coffee in one hand, playing with one of Lili's hair clip with the other.

Or

Ben is slumped in his chair, pasha-style, a large mug of iced coffee in one hand, the other playing with one of Lili's hair clips.

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  • Hello ! Thank you very much for your explanations. Now, I better understand the differences regarding the structure of the sentence... Thank you for helping me out !
    – Lou
    Sep 17 at 15:17

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