Thursday, August 27, 2015

Trap: Independent Body Part Syndrome

This is when we see body parts apparently acting independently of their owners:

His hand reached out to stroke her hair.

His foot kicked her ankle.

Unless you specifically mean to indicate that the character’s hand, foot, or other body part is acting without his conscious volition, it is preferable to write:

He reached out to stroke her hair


He stroked her hair – in many cases his reaching out will go without saying.

He kicked her ankle.

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