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Does the following correctly express potential consequences of meeting someone?

A chance encounter is a great idea. However, in this case, chances would be very slim to meet her this way. Even worse, if I went out of my way to meet her socially and randomly, chances that her two roommates would accompany her are pretty significant.

This question arose from my latest post on seddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/seduction/comments/ed4at/trying_to_get_with_a_9_but_she_is_hesitant_to/ as I was contriving the comment to one of the responders. Feel free to suggest modifications to my actual post.

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since proofreading is off-topic here (see meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/273/…), you should try to write a more specific question. –  b.roth Nov 29 '10 at 14:37
    
Brune, I have a specific question here. The rest of post is a reference (or a call for volunteers who want to meaningfully contribute to my post). I suggest you read the question carefully before voicing, in this case unfounded, opinion. I understand that English is not your first language; hence no judging here. thanks –  Anderson Silva Nov 29 '10 at 14:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Here is your original:

A chance encounter is a great idea. However, in this case, chances would be very slim to meet her this way. Even worse, if I went out of my way to meet her socially and randomly, chance that her two roommates would accompany her are pretty significant

Here it is with minor corrections to clear up the sense in meaning (noted in italics):

A chance encounter is a great idea. However, in this case, the chance would be very slim to meet her this way. Even worse, if I went out of my way to meet her socially and randomly, the chance that her two roommates would accompany her would be pretty significant.

This mainly drags the moods and tenses (and numbers) into agreement and adds articles where I believe they are necessary.

Now please forgive me for taking the liberty, but here's how I would modify the passage if I were your editor:

A chance encounter is a tempting idea. The chances are slim, however, that I would meet her this way. And even if I should contrive to meet her socially (and "randomly") in this way, there remains a strong likelihood that her two roommates would accompany her.

I changed great to tempting because everything that follows suggests the idea is not great; you are merely entertaining the notion. I shortened the next sentence and removed the intensifier very because it adds nothing. The last sense I cast more strongly as a final objection rejecting the premise set up in the first sentence. I also removed most of the uses of subjunctive mood and played it off against the indicative for effect.

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Subjunctive mood? –  Anderson Silva Nov 29 '10 at 14:02
    
@vehomzz: "relating to or denoting a mood of verbs expressing what is imagined or wished or possible"; it includes constructions like "If I were you" and modal verbs like might, could, should, etc. –  Robusto Nov 30 '10 at 1:01

These things in the original sentence seem odd to me:

chances would be very slim to meet her this way

I'd always avoid "chances ... to < do something >", preferring instead "the chances of < doing something > " (or even "chances that < something happening >")

The way I see it, "chance ... to..." suggests an opportunity to do something; "chance[s] of" implies a probability.

Not that there's anything wrong with

if I went out of my way to

but I feel

if I were to go out of my way to

would convey the implied meaning better.

Further, it's clear that "randomly" is being used to mean a contrived situation, not really a "random" meeting. So, it's better to double-quote it like Robusto has done.

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