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The street is filled with vehicles and people. Suddenly, the whole place vibrates for a couple of seconds and then stops. Suddenly, earthquake shakes the street. Pedestrians puzzle and look around. Vehicles stop and people peek out of the window.

Here "Vehicles stop and people peek out of the window." is correctly written? Is this how a native speaker will write it?

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closed as off topic by MετάEd, Gnawme, Kris, Andrew Leach, tchrist Apr 27 '13 at 8:30

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Is there a particular window that people are peeking out of? Or do you mean People peek out of (their) windows? As an aside, the two "suddenly" sentences back to back, don't flow well. I am assuming that the earthquake of sentence 3 and the vibration of sentence 2 are the same thing. But your sentences, as written, imply that the vibration started and stopped and then the earthquake started. –  Jim Apr 27 '13 at 1:27
I rewrote the sentence as follows. The street is filled with cars and people. Suddenly, the whole place vibrates for a couple of seconds and then stops. Pedestrians puzzle and look around. Cars stop and people peek out of their windows. –  user43286 Apr 27 '13 at 1:43
Off topic (writing advice request). Please read the FAQ. –  MετάEd Apr 27 '13 at 4:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Here's how one native English speaker would rewrite it. (What struck me as most odd was "Pedestrians puzzle".

The street is filled with vehicles and people. Suddenly, everything vibrates for a couple of seconds as an earthquake shakes the street, and then stops. Pedestrians glance about with puzzled looks. Vehicles halt and passengers peer out at the street.

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Bill Franke, your sentence is excellent, really avoid confusion, I can feel it. Being a non-english speaker many times I can't even understand what is the problem with the sentence but get feeling something is wrong but I fail to match that with grammar or schematic. Many times, the problem is that when the people give correct answer in the forum they don't tell what is reason, which grammar rule it violates or which schematic rule it violates, which keeps in confusion. Anyway, Thanks a lot, I appreciate your help. –  user43286 Apr 27 '13 at 18:29
Bill didn't write it I did, Bill did correct my "English" though, with just the right amount of irony. –  Tod Apr 28 '13 at 4:27

I might write "people peek out the window" (or even "windows") as more idiomatic, and I wouldn't use "stop" twice in one paragraph like that. Consider substituting an expression that describes how the vehicles stop. Also, the word "vehicle" is rather technical; what's wrong with "car"?

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The reason why I put vehicle instead of car is, on the road, you may not only see cars alone. There is could be other types of vehicles like truck, etc. right? Why do you say don't use stop twice? What others word other stop will be meaningful in this context? –  user43286 Apr 27 '13 at 1:22
Also why do you want to remove "of"? People from inside the car peek out of the window, right? Since in my sentence I didn't say "people from inside the car", wouldn't be good say "people peek out of the window"? If I put "people peek out the window", I feel it means people look at the window. Please correct me if I'm wrong. –  user43286 Apr 27 '13 at 1:27
@user43286 - the vehicle/car distinction is a question of technical accuracy versus euphony and fluency. "Stop" is perfectly idiomatic, but you just used in the sense of "cease a specific activity" and a few words later, you're using it again, in a very slightly different sense "cease forward movement". Better to say "screech to a halt" or something evocative like that. And it's my feeling that more people would say "out a window" than "out of a window"; besides, terseness is almost always a virtue. –  Malvolio Apr 27 '13 at 12:52
I think it should be "screech to halt" not "screech to a halt", Right? –  user43286 Apr 27 '13 at 18:42
Nope, it's "screech to a halt". I don't know why, but it is. –  Malvolio Apr 29 '13 at 2:04

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