hang tough, dig in heels

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redgiant

Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
I know that "dig in heels" can mean "to be determined and resolved, not letting oneself to be swayed by others", which, in my view, is very similar in meaning to "hung tough". Do you think using "dug in her heels" in place of "hung tough" wouldn't make much difference?

Example
: It doesn’t matter what he says. It’s all just air coming out of a tire going flat. All she can feel is elation. His standing here means Christy didn’t lose her nerve; she told him and hung tough. Their plan is fragile, but it’s Friday, a whole day after they made it, and the plan is still alive.

Source: The Last Speaker Of The Language, CAROL ANSHAW

Background: Lesbian lovers Christy and Darlyn were in love with each other and had been making assignations at their workplace. Darlyn understood that it was just a fling because Christy was never going to leave her husband. She would've never expected that her wish would come true - Christy promised her that she was going to tell her husband about their affair and demand a divorce. After receiving the bad news, the angry husband showed up at Darlyn's front door, with Christy in tow, and prepared himself for a confrontation with Darlyn.
 
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  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "Digging in your heels" is a preparatory step. Changing it would tell us how she started out but not necessarily how she continued or how she finished.
     
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    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    I'm a bit puzzled, Redgiant, by the shift in tenses here. I don't see why some should be present when the others are preterites. Are you sure it's down right?
    Would it help if you changed the preterites to past perfect, and then changed the present-tense verbs to past (thus achieving a more normal narrative style)?

    "It didn’t matter what he said. It was all just air coming out of a tire going flat. All she could feel was elation. His standing here meant Christy hadn’t lost her nerve; she had told him and had hung tough. Their plan was fragile, but it was Friday, a whole day after they had made it, and the plan was still alive."
     

    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Thank you all.

    Would it help if you changed the preterites to past perfect, and then changed the present-tense verbs to past (thus achieving a more normal narrative style)?

    "It didn’t matter what he said. It was all just air coming out of a tire going flat. All she could feel was elation. His standing here meant Christy hadn’t lost her nerve; she had told him and had hung tough. Their plan was fragile, but it was Friday, a whole day after they had made it, and the plan was still alive."
    Yes, the story is told in present tense. Darlyn is getting yelled at by Christy's husband at the front door. But it isn't a bad thing because it means Christy didn't change her mind when she first told her husband about the affair. If Christy had changed her mind and caved in to her husband, he wouldn't have probably showed up at Darlyn's front door and confronted with her.
     
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