I need a better way to describe a witness to an event. Here is the sentence that has stumped me:

Terrance had been witness to the whole event, but since he did not feel like taking over as storyteller, he simply sat back and corrected any falsehoods in Smith's tale.

The last part of the sentence, from "he sat back" to the end, seems clunky to me. Is there a word I can use to explain his position? He speaks up only to make sure Smith does not fabricate any part of the story. I thought of describing him as a "testament", "corrector", "truth speaker", or "objective eye", but I don't know if any of these are correct.

  • Witness is a great and neutral word. A thesaurus should be of great help to you here. :) You might also try Writers.SE, but this may be off topic there as well. Jul 10 '16 at 15:40
  • Yeah, I thought of witness too. The reason I didn't just go with that is because I already used witness in the sentence. Plus, saying "he was a witness" does not immediately tell the reader that he was also correcting the storyteller.
    – Symantra
    Jul 10 '16 at 15:46
  • @Symantra Terrence is a dirty no-good back-seat narrator, is what he is. He kept up a running commentary, making pointed observations where Smith's story diverged from the truth.
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 10 '16 at 16:04
  • Most people would probably content themselves with Terrance had witnessed the whole event, but to my mind the "strangest" thing about this sentence is the absence of a "contrastive" term after but since [reason for not doing expected action]. For example, he just, merely, simply sat back..., or similar. Jul 10 '16 at 16:11
  • @DanBron I wouldn't describe Terrence as dirty or no good, especially if Smith is prone to exaggerating. However, I like "back-seat narrator". The sentence was actually "he simply sat back", but I changed it without noticing.
    – Symantra
    Jul 10 '16 at 17:48

I'd say Terrance adopted the role of observer.

A person who follows events closely and comments publicly on them:
some observers expect interest rates to rise


  • Observer would definitely work here! Even though the definition varies and does not explicitly say that Terrance both watches and comments, the sentence could be modified. Thank you!
    – Symantra
    Jul 10 '16 at 17:53
  • Welcome, and glad to help!
    – Bookeater
    Jul 10 '16 at 17:59

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