[Mark Trail , November 15, 2016.]
Two things to consider. One is the importance of choosing the right word: Mark means to say impending . Garner’s Modern English Usage explains the distinction: “What is pending is awaiting an outcome”; “what is impending is imminent (in the literal sense of the word, ‘hanging over one’s head’) and harmful.” Volcanic eruptions are always harmful.
The second thing to consider: writing that represents speech should resemble speech. (And here I remember the English teacher who took off points when my daughter used contractions in a story’s dialogue.) Writing that represents the speech of someone fleeing an erupting volcano should exhibit greater terseness, greater urgency. A possible revision:
[Mark Trail revised.]
Or better yet: just keep your mouth shut and run, Mark, as Abbey Powell is doing. Run, Mark, run.
All OCA “How to improve writing” posts : “How to improve writing” and Mark Trail posts : Mark Trail posts (Pinboard)
Please imagine the links in the form of a Venn diagram.
[I wrote a note to the teacher about the contractions but, as you might guess, I got nowhere. This post is no. 69 in a series, “How to improve writing,” dedicated to improving stray bits of public prose.]
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
By Michael Leddy at 11:22 AM