they just didn't have enough substance to be anything

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minhduc

Senior Member
vietnamese
Hi all, Please explain to me the meaning of the sentence in the title. I don't understand it. And the word "they" refers to "the characters" or "the manuscript"?
They are talking about choosing manuscript to publish.

Some (manuscripts) had dialogue so stilted it could have been examples from a grammar textbook. Others had characters who were not even dislikeable, let alone engaging; they just didn't have enough substance to be anything. Not one of them had a plot.

Thanks
 
  • idialegre

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It's not entirely clear whether "they" is meant to refer to the characters or the manuscripts. I would guess the latter, since clearly "them" in the last sentence refers to the manuscripts.

    At any rate, it's not a very carefully written text.
     

    pops91710

    Senior Member
    English, AE
    I agree with idialegre that it is poorly written. I think it is safe to say that 'they' refers to the characters, while the last sentence, which is misplaced, is a reference to the manuscripts. It should have read like this:

    Some (manuscripts) had dialogue so stilted it could have been examples from a grammar textbook. Not one of them had a plot. Others had characters who were not even dislikeable, let alone engaging; they just didn't have enough substance to be anything.
     
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