After 30 minutes' wait - after 30 minutes of waiting

kitesandeater

Senior Member
Spanish
Are these two sentences correct? It comes from a Spanish into English. Thank you advance.


After 30 minutes of waiting, the coach stopped and the four mules were immediately unhitched and taken to the stables.

After 30 minutes’ wait the coach stopped and the four mules were immediately unhitched and taken to the stables.
 
  • ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    Both are grammatically correct, but I don't understand the situation; why do they say the coach "stopped" after waiting for 30 minutes? What was it doing during that 30 minutes' wait before it stopped? It couldn't have been standing still, because it couldn't 'stop' in that case, and if it had been moving, it wouldn't have been waiting. :confused: Does it mean the passengers at the halt waited 30 minutes for the coach to arrive and stop and the mules to be unhitched (to be replaced by a new team and continue on its journey with the waiting passengers now aboard)?
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Who or what is doing the waiting? It does not seem to be the coach since wait means not moving.
    Assuming that someone was waiting, I would change minutes' wait to minutes' delay to avoid the absence of a subject for wait.
    I can't see anything ungrammatical with either of the wait expressions, only a semantic objection.
     
    Last edited:

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Perhaps stopped should be changed to arrived, in which case I would see no problem with after a 30-minute wait. After 30 minutes of waiting runs into the problem of who was waiting.

    In other words, we really have no adequate context. :)
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    Well, kitesandeater did say it was "from..Spanish into English". Perhaps he should have given the original and posted his question in the SP->EN forum?
     
    Hi, ain't. That sounds good advice. Your earlier post (2) summed up the problem. "After 30 minutes of waiting, the coach stopped..." seems like a classic case of a dangling participle.
    I don't know much Spanish, but a recent thread on the Italian-English forum relating to dangling participles raised some interesting questions.
     

    kitesandeater

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    First of all thank you for your useful comments and patience. I have not the Spanish wording because a college has given to me the text already in English. Maybe the previous paragraph would help.

    It was a grey, rainy day in Warwickshire, a typical autumn day of 1606. That day, a group of people were waiting in Stratford-upon-Avon for the arrival of a coach coming from London. They all patiently stood in the rain in Main Street, just at the stagecoach stop. In the coach there sat a woman and two girls who were looking for a new and more peaceful family life.

    After 30-minute wait the coach arrived and the four mules were immediately unhitched and taken to the stables.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    That makes it much clearer. In the original sentence, by itself, it seemed that first the coach was waiting, then it stopped. Now it is clear that first the people were waiting, then the coach stopped (or arrived).

    The choice between "stopped" and "arrived" depends on whether one wants to focus on the people inside the coach, the woman and two girls, or on the group of people waiting at the stagecoach stop. The first group would think of the coach as stopping (because it had arrived). The second group would think of it as arriving (and of course stopping, because it could not discharge passengers, take on new passengers, or unhitch the mules while it was moving). I'd probably choose arriving, but it's not one-sided.

    The real problem is that the structure of the whole passage is confusing. The topic shifts without notice from the people who are waiting, to the people in the coach, and then back to the people who are waiting. That problem is surely present in the Spanish original as well. A translator can't fix it without deviating from the original. We're not going to fix it here, either.
     
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