2

I put the question mark in the title, as I'm not entirely sure that's the correct term for the phenomenon I'd like to ask about.

I'd like to know if there's anything wrong - semantically, idiomatically and so on - in the following utterances:

A) What if there's a man trapped in this burning house, striving for air?

B) Imagine that there is actually an island like that - pillaged and attacked for centuries.

As for the first one, I think it's perfectly fine and sounds way better when phrased like I did, instead of, for example:

What if there's a man who is trapped in this burning house, who is striving for air?

But I'm not so sure about "B" sentence. Is it okay to leave it as it is, or should I not use this "non-finite clause", as I believe that's the name for it, with tenses other than "* simple" and go with:

Imagine that there is actually an island like that - one that has been pillaged and attacked for centuries.

2
  • Your sentence looks nice with the passive present perfect, but I'd add which: (...) which has been (...) – Alejandro Dec 28 '15 at 14:26
  • 2
    Grammatically both sentences are fine. Be we don't strive for air when the house is on fire around us. Rather, we struggle to breathe. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 29 '15 at 1:02
2

Your first sentence is not correct

What if there's a man trapped in this burning house, striving for air?

One does not strive for air, if he is having trouble breathing

What if there's a man trapped in this burning house, gasping for air?
What if there's a man trapped in this burning house, struggling for air?

would be a better way to say it.

Imagine that there is actually an island like that - pillaged and attacked for centuries.

is a little verbose, better might be

Imagine there is an island like that - pillaged and attacked for centuries.

is more compact. Actually could be used for effect, but in the act of imagining, one is already believing that something exists.

attacked and pillaged

is fine (reverse order due to chronology), but

pillaged and plundered

has aliteration, while

plundered and ransacked

implies violence and disarray.

Plundered, pillaged, ransacked all imply some sort of violence, which in turn implies some sort of attack.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.