for one of the workers to declare<:> “This doctrine...." [colon?]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by George zhen, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. George zhen Member

    US
    Chinese
    Hi, everyone, do you think the following sentences is natural, especially the part in bold inserted in the sentence?

    Under God’s guidance, the brothers and sisters gradually accepted the new teaching. But what I hadn’t expected was for one of the church’s most talented co-workers to declare: “This doctrine sounds right, but we need to ask the pastor first and see what he says” after hearing the testimony.
     
  2. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    Leaving “after hearing the testimony” dangling at the end of the sentence does not work well. If it would still say what you mean, it would be better to move it to before the quote: … co-workers to declare, after hearing the testimony:

    Incorporating a piece of direct (as opposed to reported) speech into such a long sentence is unusual, but not wrong.
     
  3. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Senior Member

    Cumbria, UK
    British English
    A colon is one of the ways of marking off direct speech. It is usually too intrusive to use in ordinary prose, but here with the word "declare" it works well.

    I agree with lingobingo that the adverbial at the end is out of place. However, because "declare" and the colon go so well together, I would move "after hearing the testimony" to after "workers", placing it between commas. I'd probably then decide it wasn't worth keeping anyway; it gets in the way and doesn't really add enough meaning to justify the disruption to the flow of the sentence.
     
  4. George zhen Member

    US
    Chinese
    Got it. Thank you both.
     

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