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Common Writing Errors: Characters Performing Two Impossible Actions at One Time

2014 July 18
by Fay Lamb

GrammarAnother common writing error is to have a character performing two actions at the same time when doing so is impossible.

Most often these errors are born from the infamous “ing” construction, as in this sentence: Drinking his water, he told his wife she needed to rest.

Man, I bet the wife enjoyed that bath.

I want to caution those who pick up a rule and run with it. This week, we’ve discussed a couple of troublesome “ing” structured sentences, but that does not mean that every use of the “ing” structure should be eliminated. When done correctly, this type of sentences adds variety to the paragraph and avoids a constant noun/verb construction that becomes monotonous.

However, when editing, “ing” structures should be looked over carefully to determine if the dual actions being described are impossible or if the sentence does not have a clear subject.

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