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The dark guy took a week to fall down. He stumbled, caught himself, waved one arm, stumbled again. His hat fell off, and then he hit the floor with his face. After he hit it he might have been poured concrete for all the fuss he made.

I just guess the guy fell on the floor (by a gun-shot) wouldn't move like a concret cast???

Any missing word in this sentence, like a preposition?

It's a part of Red Wind by Raymond Chandler.

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  • Proofreading is off-topic here. If you have a specific identifiable question related to a point of confusion, please rework the question to reflect that.
    – SrJoven
    Jan 8, 2015 at 21:36
  • I don't think he's asking for proofreading. That would have been Chandler's editor's job.
    – Barmar
    Jan 8, 2015 at 21:45
  • Question seems to be about grammar as well as meaning. As in, "is the sentence ungrammatical, does it need a preposition?" Would a grammar tag be appropriate here? (Or is there a better tag?)
    – Celery Man
    Jan 12, 2015 at 17:59

2 Answers 2

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Yes, "might have been poured concrete" does mean that he was immobile like a poured-concrete cast.

The sentence could use a comma:

After he hit it, he might ...

Also the part “been poured concrete” seems odd. I was half expecting it to end “... he might have been poured out and shaken up for all he could remember.” In other words, coming after been, I tended to parse poured as a verb at first; its use as an adjective threw me briefly.

But I can't think how one would improve that except by being more verbose, as in:

... have been made of poured concrete ...

That's two missing words, rather than one, and it seems to weaken the directness of the author's style.

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    If not trying to be so stylistic, he could have written he was like poured concrete.
    – Barmar
    Jan 8, 2015 at 22:46
  • Good point. It changes the metaphor to a simile, but it reads better than "made of".
    – Celery Man
    Jan 12, 2015 at 17:50
  • Right. Colorful and unique metaphors and similes are the hallmark of this style of writing. You can hear it these days in the "Guy Noir" segment of "Prairie Home Companion".
    – Barmar
    Jan 12, 2015 at 18:02
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Chandler's style works to describe the scene and actions but grammatically there are several redundancies such as "fall (down)", "after he hit (it) (he)", "for all the fuss (he) made". All of these point to possible improvements. Also the floor-hitting face should be reversed to "then his face hit the floor". So, in my opinion, there are no missing words but several extra could be eliminated.

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  • The question was specifically about the highlighted sentence, which is the only one you made no comments on.
    – Barmar
    Jan 8, 2015 at 22:45

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