Hi smart English people! I'm writing a sentence in the active past tense describing a notebook. The wording is awkward. "I treasured my mint green, pocket-sized notebook designed with silhouettes of songbirds perched on daisies."

"I treasured... notebook" is a complete thought, but the rest of the sentence seems to long and wordy of a clause. Would the sentence make more sense if I changed to "I treasured my mint green, pocket-sized notebook that was designed with silhouettes of songbirds perched on daisies."?

I want to keep writing in the active voice, so this isn't the perfect solution. Any suggestions? Is my original sentence correct?

  • The main problem is not one of tense. 'designed' is not quite right: 'decorated' is what you need here. But actually, a you need is '...notebook with its silhouettes of ...' The word 'pocket-sized ' is unnecessary. If it's a notebook it's probably smallish. – Tuffy Sep 24 '20 at 23:54
  • Thank you Tuffy! – Rachel J Sep 25 '20 at 0:55
  • @Tuffy I agree with you about "decorated with" rather than "designed with" but disagree that "pocket-sized" is unnecessary. Most dealers in stationery in the UK like this one sell A4 notebooks and you need a pretty big pocket for one of those. – BoldBen Sep 25 '20 at 2:13
  • @BoldBen Yes, Rachael, I was thinking about that fact, and you are right. My point, perhaps should have been pocket-sized' is more the kind of description you might give to the assistant in a railway lost property office, and so detracts from the literary description of its appearance. The colour and design make it pretty, while the size makes it convenient. 'little' would be a more 'aesthetic' word. "I treasured my mint green little notebook, decorated with ...". But I have, I'm afraid, gone off topic by departing from strict language usage. – Tuffy Sep 25 '20 at 7:53

I agree with all the comments but would insist that your original sentence is just fine the way it is. You can add more detail to make it a more formal description but it adds nothing and takes away a little bit here and there until it has no charm to offer. Leave it be.

  • @ Elliot, Agree with you. – Ram Pillai Sep 25 '20 at 10:09

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