North face abyss vs northbound abyss

Discussion in 'English Only' started by lzarzalejo73, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. lzarzalejo73

    lzarzalejo73 Senior Member

    Hello. I am writing a short story which unfolds on a mountain, and I wonder which of the two expressions is correct or best: north face or northbound. This is the sentence: "The summit is the sanctuary of Sierra Nevada. It is formed by huge blocks of plate-shaped, copper-coloured rocks overlooking the northbound abyss".
    Thanks in advance for your kind cooperation.
  2. Florentia52

    Florentia52 Modwoman in the attic

    English - United States
    Please give us a little more context. An abyss can’t be “northbound” except possibly on a geological time scale. What are you trying to say about the abyss?
  3. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    Neither. I'm not sure at all what you're trying to say in either sentence.
    The north face of the mountain is the side of the mountain facing north. An abyss (nothingness) has no face to point in a direction.
    Something northbound is traveling north.
    Can't you see in all directions from the summit?
  4. lzarzalejo73

    lzarzalejo73 Senior Member

    I am afraid the rest of the text does not make any references to this, so it would not be of any help, Florentia52.
    The plate-shaped roks are like trampolines, springboards in a swimming-pool, "hanging" over the abyss, the vertical hillside. the high cliffs overlooking the north, near the summit of the Mulhacen. I am sorry I cannot explain myself better. Maybe these photos will help, I cannot find more appropriate ones.

  5. AnythingGoes Senior Member

    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    If the abyss faces north, call it the north-facing abyss.

    Use the definite article when referring to the Sierra Nevada. A major mountain range in California has the same name (though it's usually called "the Sierra Nevadas", Americans being unaware that "sierra" means "mountain range"). If this material targets an international audience, you might want to make it clear from the beginning that you're writing about the range in Spain.*

    *(I'm refraining from making any My Fair Lady references here.:))
  6. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Senior Member

    Cumbria, UK
    British English
    "North face abyss" sounds a little odd, and "northbound abyss" is wrong. I wonder if the phrase you want is "north-facing abyss".

    It might be better to not try to give a description to the abyss, but to describe the direction it is in from where you are: "...overlooking the abyss to the north".

  7. lzarzalejo73

    lzarzalejo73 Senior Member

    Thank you all for your valuable advice. It was very helpful.
  8. kentix

    kentix Senior Member

    English - U.S.
    It is formed by huge blocks of plate-shaped, copper-coloured rocks overlooking the abyss dropping away to the north.
  9. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    :eek: I would definitly change "usually" to "sometimes" but perhaps the error is more common in different areas of the country :D

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