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help with the structure please

English translation: Keep the references clear

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:help with the structure please
English translation:Keep the references clear
Entered by: zaphod
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03:09 Dec 19, 2005
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / children's literature
English term or phrase: help with the structure please
During the rest of the way the girls were no longer filled with ***the kind of fear making one hold his breath at the slightest noise with his heart in his mouth.***
(i.e. the girls were filled with deep and strong fear, but now their fear is over for they've been supported by another character)

Dear native English speakers!
Please advise on the second part of the sentence. Does it really sound somewhat awkward, or is it just me? If it does, could there be a way to rephrase it to make it sound more natural?
Also, is it OK to use 'his', not 'her', though the talk is about girls? Seems quite a problem to me.
Thank you!
Andrew Vdovin
Local time: 19:07
Keep the references clear
Explanation:
For the rest of the trip the girls were no longer filled with ***the kind of fear that had made them hold their breath at the slightest noise with their hearts in their throats.

If your talking about girlS stay in the plural and refer to them.

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Note added at 2005-12-19 22:46:34 (GMT)
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Oh yeah, hearts generally stay out of mouths...
Selected response from:

zaphod
Local time: 14:07
Grading comment
Well, I think I like your version more than any other. You're right, using 'them' with Past Perfect is perfect, IMHO. Thanks eberybody!!!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +7hold ones's breath...heart in mouth
Elizabeth Lyons
5 +2see commentKNielsen
5 +1Keep the references clearzaphod
5Structure already answered. Comment on the idiom.Aotearoa
4the kind of fear that makes you hold your breath at the slightest noise
Yvette Neisser Moreno


  

Answers


8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +7
hold ones's breath...heart in mouth


Explanation:
During the rest of the way the girls were no longer filled with ***the kind of fear that makes us hold our breaths at the slightest noise, heart in mouth.***

I would not use "his", you are right.


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Note added at 9 mins (2005-12-19 03:18:21 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

hold our breaths or hold one's breath. I like the former, perhaps better.

Elizabeth Lyons
United States
Local time: 05:07
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Carmen Schultz: I like your solution and would also stay away from his-one's is ok also and I would not use breath in plural (I see it more collectively).
7 mins
  -> Thanks, Carmen - I debated the singular or plural on breath, my first impulse being singular--then I changed it. I think singular is more universal and abstract, so good idea.

agree  Jack Doughty: also with Carmen about breath.
18 mins
  -> Hi there Jack, thanks, you are both right, I am sure.

agree  Dave Calderhead: and with Carmen and Jack on breath
4 hrs
  -> Hi Dave, thank you !

agree  Nikos Mastrakoulis: I'll go for breath, too.
7 hrs
  -> Nikos, thanks - I agree : )

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
7 hrs
  -> Hi there Marju! Thank you : )

agree  Juan Hernández: yes, breath.
14 hrs
  -> Thanks, Juan : )

agree  Peter Shortall: breath for me too
2 days17 hrs
  -> Thanks Peter : )
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
see comment


Explanation:
I'd suggest

the kind of fear that makes you hold your breath with your heart in your mouth at the slightest noise

"You" is a commonly-used way to escape all that "he/she/one" business, and sounds very natural. It's used the same way as "one", except in formal writing (such as essays).

KNielsen
Japan
Local time: 21:07
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  jccantrell: For sure, in the USA, only a stilted speaker uses 'one.' You should personalize it with 'you.'
1 min
  -> Thanks! I agree, it does sound really stilted in N. America.

agree  Nikos Mastrakoulis: It's fine, though I prefer Elizabeth's version.
5 hrs
  -> OK...thanks.

neutral  Elizabeth Lyons: I think the use of all these "you's" and "yours" creates a different problem. That is why I suggested "our" which also makes this seem universal, including us as part of the collective. : )
12 hrs
  -> I liked your version fine too, but if I were writing it, I would use "you" and make it seem more immediate and personal. I think both are fine but the nuance of each is slightly different.
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11 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
the kind of fear that makes you hold your breath at the slightest noise


Explanation:
Andrew, you are right that the second part of the sentence sounds awkward in English. It's not just the use of "his", which as the others have pointed out, is not appropriate here, but I also find the construction "were no longer filled with the kind of fear..." and even the expression "heart in mouth" a bit unnatural. Since this is literature, and especially children's literature, I would think you'd want this to sound quite natural to a child's ear. So, depending on the surrounding text, I would suggest changing it along these lines:

"For the rest of the way the girls were no longer filled with the kind of fear that makes you hold your breath at the slightest noise."

Still, even as I wrote that sentence, I think it sounds awkward, and I personally would try to rewrite the preceding sentence or even the whole paragraph. I think the unnaturalness stems from the fact that it's unusual in English to describe the fear (or any feeling) in such detail after it has already subsided. Also, if you feel it's important to keep the heart image/metaphor, I'd change it to "makes your heart beat faster", which is a common expression in English.

Hope this helps.

Yvette Neisser Moreno
United States
Local time: 08:07
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 20
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19 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Keep the references clear


Explanation:
For the rest of the trip the girls were no longer filled with ***the kind of fear that had made them hold their breath at the slightest noise with their hearts in their throats.

If your talking about girlS stay in the plural and refer to them.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2005-12-19 22:46:34 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Oh yeah, hearts generally stay out of mouths...

zaphod
Local time: 14:07
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 8
Grading comment
Well, I think I like your version more than any other. You're right, using 'them' with Past Perfect is perfect, IMHO. Thanks eberybody!!!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Aotearoa: I agree. Although heart in mouth is not wrong (I will add a couple of references) hearts in throats sounds better in this context.
1 day3 hrs
  -> Fiona, WIll you marry me?
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2 days0 min   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Structure already answered. Comment on the idiom.


Explanation:
You have a few alternatives to consider regarding you/your/our/their
but I just wanted to add a comment about the idiom "heart in the mouth". Apparently it was first used by Homer thousands of years ago when he wrote the famous poem The Iliad. There is a children's website that explains,
When your heart starts pounding so much that you can feel a thumping in your throat, it may feel like you "have your heart in your mouth." But the good news is that your heart can't move into your throat, mouth, or anywhere else. It stays put!

That's reassuring! This idiom is used with either heart or throat. But I agree with using throat in this context because the throat is a vulnerable part of the body, and in your story perhaps there is real danger as well as fear. Talking about girls with their hearts in their throats also makes me think of the vulnerability of their throats...to vampires or wolves or whatever is lurking along the way! :-)



    Reference: http://kidshealth.org/kid/talk/come_from/heart_mouth.html
    Reference: http://www.allwords.com/word-heart%20of%20oak.html
Aotearoa
New Zealand
Local time: 00:07
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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