Do You See What I See?

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
MikePhillip
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Do You See What I See?

Postby MikePhillip » Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:15 am

"... from the most unlikeliest of depths... "

Is the phrase grammatically correct? Is there something else 'wrong' with it that makes me grind my teeth and I don't know why?

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ostarella
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Re: Do You See What I See?

Postby ostarella » Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:46 am

It's the "most" with the "est". Might as well have written "from the mostest unlikely of depths".
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Re: Do You See What I See?

Postby wdarcy » Sat Apr 28, 2018 12:00 pm

How about simply: "from the most unlikely depth"?

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"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

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Re: Do You See What I See?

Postby ostarella » Sat Apr 28, 2018 2:35 pm

wdarcy wrote:
> How about simply: "from the most unlikely depth"?
>
> --Warren

Yeah, that's the correct way.
"The trick of the fiction writer is the beautiful lie..." Thomas Fox Averill

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MikePhillip
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Re: Do You See What I See?

Postby MikePhillip » Tue May 01, 2018 6:04 am

Would you believe that line is a direct quote from a professional journal for writers?

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ostarella
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Re: Do You See What I See?

Postby ostarella » Tue May 01, 2018 8:19 am

MikePhillip wrote:
> Would you believe that line is a direct quote from a professional journal
> for writers?

Doesn't surprise me. Just another example of why writers have to take advice as just that - advice - and not the Gospel.
"The trick of the fiction writer is the beautiful lie..." Thomas Fox Averill

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MikePhillip
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Re: Do You See What I See?

Postby MikePhillip » Thu May 03, 2018 6:44 am

Here's one I saw this morning. Headline: "In Rwandan Mass Graves, Clothing Is One Of The Only Ways To Identify Dead".

"Only" in this sense, to me, screams "exclusivity" so it should read, "... Clothing is One of the "Few Ways"... "

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Re: Do You See What I See?

Postby Shorty3.0 » Thu May 10, 2018 10:45 am

MikePhillip wrote:
> "... from the most unlikeliest of depths... "
>
> Is the phrase grammatically correct? Is there something else 'wrong' with
> it that makes me grind my teeth and I don't know why?


I can see what you're getting at, and in some stories/genres that phrasing is likely perfect for what a writer-storyteller's trying to convey. However, pulled out from the larger picture of a story's context and to your point specifically, after a university writing class with William Brohaugh's book WriteTight as the foundation of if it, I'm thinking he'd classify use of "...most unlikeliest..: as redundant or wordy. It's either '...the unlikeliest..." or it's not, basically, IMO, further qualifying a word such as unlikeliest would essentially be unnecessary as it defines itself.

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Re: Do You See What I See?

Postby Oldtimer » Fri May 11, 2018 7:39 am

Unless it is said by a character who always speaks that way, e.g., "a circular sphere'". I read that in a story recently. :(
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