as he wrote the story

Discussion in 'English Only' started by azz, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. azz Senior Member

    armenian
    Can one say:


    a. As he wrote the story, the main character dies at the end. But when they made a movie based on the book, they changed the ending.

    b. The way he wrote the story, the main character dies at the end. But when they made a movie based on the book, they changed the ending.

    I am pretty sure (b) works in spoken English. I am not at all sure that (a) works in any kind of English.

    But I think these work:

    c. In the story, as he had written it, the main character dies at the end. But when they made a movie based on the book, they changed the ending.
    d. In the story, as he wrote it, the main character dies at the end. But when they made a movie based on the book, they changed the ending.


    I don't know why I don't seem to like (a). Is it me, or is it really a bad sentence? What do you think of the other ones?

    Many Thanks.
     
  2. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    I think that a. and b. would require further explanation on your part, if not both of them, then certainly a. They are not an idiomatic way of saying it, at least to me.

    I could happily use c. and d., though. :) I think the past simple is a better tense here, which is to say I'd go with c.
     
  3. R1chard Senior Member

    UK
    British English
    Without the benefit of the preceding sentence to give it context:

    - Example a could be interpreted that it was written by the 'main character'.

    - Example b is ungrammatical but could also be interpreted as being written by the main character.

    - Example c is perfect.

    - Example d could be interpreted as the main character died while the author was in the process of writing the story. It's not until you get to the end of the sentence that you realise this interpretation is wrong.

    In spoken English you could probably use any of the examples and no-one would misunderstand.
     
  4. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    'As' is particularly liable to be (mis)understood as "because" in (a), less so in (c) and (d). There may be small intonational differences that distinguish them, but it's not obvious in speech, and "because" is probably a more likely meaning, so the meaning "in the way" would require a more precise context to be salient.
     

Share This Page