How does this sounds? The sharp tips from the Holly leaves ripped...

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The sharp tips from the Holly leaves ripped the frills from his trousers. He climbed the moss-covered rocks and left dirt all over his jacket. He ran through the forest until he reached the riverbank, and stood by the mysterious river. He watched the water flow through the river channel and remembered the scary stories he heard. Jay had doubts in whether to hop on the stones, to get to the other side of the river.
         “I heard so much about this river,” he said to himself. “Anyone that goes for a swim never returns.”
        “Because this is a haunted river,” a voice said, which came from behind a tree. Jay swung round and saw an old man covered in a greyish gown. He sat under a tree with a straw in his mouth.
 

asked Jan 31 '11 at 13:53 Noel Jones New member

1 answer


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Noel,

 

Line by line:

 

The sharp tips from the Holly leaves ripped the frills from his trousers. 

 

1) You use the incorrect preposition describing 'the sharp tips.'  'From' should be changed to 'of'.

2) 'Holly' doesn't need to be capitalised.

 

He climbed the moss-covered rocks and left dirt all over his jacket.

 

1) Did Jay leave dirt on his jacket or the moss-covered rocks? Make sure it's clear who or what is making him dirty.

 

He ran through the forest until he reached the riverbank, and stood by the mysterious river.

 

1) This sounds like he ran until two things happened: until he reached the riverbank an until he stood by the river.  It may be more clear if you make this into two sentences.  You can make it more clear by adding a 'he' in the final thought. If you decide to keep it this way, you don't need a comma before 'and'.

 

He watched the water flow through the river channel and remembered the scary stories he heard.

 

1) This sentence is correct, except for the tense of 'he heard'. Here you should say 'he had heard' (past perfect simple) because these are stories that he has heard multiple times in past that ended in the past.

 

Jay had doubts in whether to hop on the stones, to get to the other side of the river.

 

1) You use the incorrect preposition after 'doubts'.  You should use 'about'.  

2) When you use 'whether' you should always provide an alternative.  For example, "I don't know whether I should buy this shirt or that one." OR "I will see you on Friday whether or not you come to the meeting tonight."

3) You do not need a comma after 'stones.'

 

“I heard so much about this river,” he said to himself. “Anyone that goes for a swim never returns.”

 

1) When you refer to people it is best to use an animate pronoun.  In this case, you use 'anyone that', but it is better to use 'anyone who' because 'anyone' is a person.

 

“Because this is a haunted river,” a voice said, which came from behind a tree.

 

1) Normally, it is best to out relative clauses next to the noun that they modify.  Your relative clause begins with 'which' and ends at the end of the sentence.  You should reword this so that voice is next to the comma and its modifying relative clause.

 

Jay swung round and saw an old man covered in a greyish gown. 

 

1) You should put an apostrophe before 'round' because it is a shortened form of 'around'.  When words are written with letters missing, we show that letters are missing by using an apostrophe. Think about the word cannot and its contraction can't.

2) This is a stylistic comment.  Is the old man's gown grey or isn't it?  It can be a greyish blue,

but not simply greyish.  It's grey or it isn't.  Maybe it's not a grey gown?

 

He sat under a tree with a straw in his mouth.

 

1) This is correct grammatically; however, your details aren't quite concrete enough.  Do mean a straw for drinking or a piece of straw, like a piece or dried grass?  If you mean a piece of straw you should say so.  

 

In general, you should aim for concrete, sensory details, avoiding ambiguity whenever you can.  Only saying 'a straw' can be confusing because we normally say 'straw' when we want to talk about the things we use to drink liquids. You should be more precise.  Similarly, 'greyish' is not very precise, try making the description more concrete.

 

Best, 

 

Kim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

link comment edited Jan 31 '11 at 16:33 Kimberly Expert

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