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  1. #1
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    I could not imagine

    Please, would you take a look at this sentence and correct my mistakes. I am not sure if I need the article "the" in front of the words "books" and "writers":

    I could not imagine myself sitting year after year in dusty libraries, bent over books of the famous writers, and filling my mind with their poems, stories and novels.

  2. #2
    tzfujimino's Avatar
    tzfujimino is offline Key Member
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    Re: I could not imagine

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Please, would you take a look at this sentence and correct my mistakes. I am not sure if I need the article "the" in front of the words "books" and "writers":

    I could not imagine myself sitting year after year in dusty libraries, bent over books of the famous writers, and filling my mind with their poems, stories and novels.
    Hello.
    Please let me try. (We'll need comments from native speakers. OK?)

    I would write:

    "I could not imagine myself sitting year after year in dusty libraries, bending over the books of famous writers and filling (...)"

    I'm not really sure if it's natural or not.

  3. #3
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Re: I could not imagine

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Please, would you take a look at this sentence and correct my mistakes. I am not sure if I need the article "the" in front of the words "books" and "writers":

    I could not imagine myself sitting year after year in dusty libraries, bent over books of the famous writers, and filling my mind with their poems, stories and novels.
    I see this as a stylistic choice. There are at least three different ways to write this:
    1. bent over books of the famous writers
    2. bent over the books of the famous writers
    3. bent over the books of famous writers

    #1 seems to limit the writers to a certain group.
    #2 seems to limit both the books and the writers to certain books and to a certain group.
    #3 seems to be non-limiting except for the provision that the writers are famous. While this option appears to be the same as #1, there is a difference. That difference is that "the famous writers" are of a certain group while "famous writers" are not restricted to a certain group. They just have to be famous writers - not a member of "the famous writers" - whatever that is.

    I would opt for #3 but you may want to select another option depending on the total context of the writing.

  4. #4
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Re: I could not imagine

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    Hello.
    Please let me try. (We'll need comments from native speakers. OK?)

    I would write:

    "I could not imagine myself sitting year after year in dusty libraries, bending over the books of famous writers and filling (...)"

    I'm not really sure if it's natural or not.
    There is a difference between "bending" and "bent". "bending" seems to be about the action of moving from an upright position to one where the back is inclined downward. "bent" is more about the position achieved after "bending" has occurred. If one is to spend hours reading a book, it could be said that he "bent" over the book.

  5. #5
    tzfujimino's Avatar
    tzfujimino is offline Key Member
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    Re: I could not imagine

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    There is a difference between "bending" and "bent". "bending" seems to be about the action of moving from an upright position to one where the back is inclined downward. "bent" is more about the position achieved after "bending" has occurred. If one is to spend hours reading a book, it could be said that he "bent" over the book.
    Thank you for your comment.
    Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with you, but the sentence begins with:
    "I could not imagine myself sitting..."

    Should it be 'bent'?

  6. #6
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Re: I could not imagine

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    Thank you for your comment.
    Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with you, but the sentence begins with:
    "I could not imagine myself sitting..."

    Should it be 'bent'?
    It doesn't much difference whether a person is standing or sitting. "He was bent over tying his shoe laces when the attack happened". "He was sitting at his desk, bent over and reading the old document".

  7. #7
    tzfujimino's Avatar
    tzfujimino is offline Key Member
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    Re: I could not imagine

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    It doesn't much difference whether a person is standing or sitting. "He was bent over tying his shoe laces when the attack happened". "He was sitting at his desk, bent over and reading the old document".
    Thank you for your comment again.

    Well, I'm sorry my point was not clear.
    What I meant was this:

    I couldn't imagine myself doing what?
    1. sitting year after year in dusty libraries
    2. bending over the books of famous writers
    3. filling my mind with their poems, stories and novels.

    I thought 1, 2 and 3 were all the objects of the verb 'imagine' and thus they should be in the '-ing form'.

    I might be wrong.

    (Edit) On second thoughts, is the following possible?

    "I could not imagine myself sitting year after year in dusty libraries, (being) bent over the books of famous writers and filling my mind with their poems, stories and novels." - the 'being' is left out.

    I'm really sorry, Bassim. I feel as if I were hijacking your thread.
    I guess 'bent' is OK, since billmcd has nothing to say about it.
    Last edited by tzfujimino; 03-Jul-2013 at 20:14.

  8. #8
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Re: I could not imagine

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Please, would you take a look at this sentence and correct my mistakes. I am not sure if I need the article "the" in front of the words "books" and "writers":

    I could not imagine myself sitting year after year in dusty libraries, bent over the* books of the **famous writers, and filling my mind with their poems, stories and novels.
    My preference:
    *Specific reference to only the books written by famous authors. **General reference to unidentified writers who are famous.

  9. #9
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: I could not imagine

    I prefer "by" and no article before "famous writers".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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