while those farther up were friendly and polite

kenny4528

Senior Member
Mandarin, Taiwan
Hi, please have a look at the following sentence I read:
He described the Indians who lived on the lower part of the river as strong and warlike, while those farther up were friendly and polite.
How would you like the one below transformed by me?
He described the Indians who lived on the lower part of the river as strong and warlike, while those farther up as friendly and polite.
Less or more elegant to your ear?
 
  • JudeMama

    Senior Member
    American English
    The second sentence would be fine if it read:

    He described the Indians who lived on the lower part of the river as strong and warlike, and those farther up as friendly and polite.

    Otherwise, the first sentence is better.
     

    kenny4528

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, Taiwan
    The second sentence would be fine if it read:

    He described the Indians who lived on the lower part of the river as strong and warlike, and those farther up as friendly and polite.

    Otherwise, the first sentence is better.

    Thank you~
    I wasn't aware of the difference between these two conjunctions in this case.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Hi, please have a look at the following sentence I read:
    He described the Indians who lived on the lower part of the river as strong and warlike, while those farther up were friendly and polite.
    How would you like the one below transformed by me?
    He described the Indians who lived on the lower part of the river as strong and warlike, while those farther up as friendly and polite.
    Less or more elegant to your ear?
    To me it is not a matter of elegance: the transformed sentence just does not work for me, but I find it difficult to say why. I think it does have to do with the type of conjunction being used.

    The original sentence works with but, while, though, or whereas. It works with a semicolon and no conjunction at all. It almost works with and.

    All these conjunctions except whereas can also fit a simple structure like:

    He described the people as friendly while strong.

    But they don't work as well in so complex an environment as the transformed sentence.

    The transformed sentence works with no conjunction at all: He described the Indians who lived on the lower part of the river as strong and warlike, while those farther up as friendly and polite.

    And as others have already said, it works fine with and, but to make it work with but, I feel it needs to be rearranged a little:

    He described as strong and warlike the Indians who lived on the lower part of the river, but as friendly and polite those who lived farther up.
    or
    He described the Indians who lived on the lower part of the river as strong and warlike, but those who lived farther up as friendly and polite.

    But seems to allow a parallel structure only, while and (like no conjunction at all) allows he described to be "understood" with the same type of elements included even out of order.

    I can almost accept though in place of but in the rearranged sentences, but I feel it creates a jarring effect. Whereas does not work at all. (It seems maybe the as of whereas interferes with the other as.)

    Somehow, the "heavier" conjunctions like whereas, while, and though separate the transformed sentence into two parts in a way that requires a subject and verb to follow:

    He described the Indians who lived on the lower part of the river as strong and warlike, while those farther up he described as friendly and polite.

     
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