Editing required. "An old woman suffered..."


Could you please go through the following text and highlight the incorrect and unnatural sentences for me? I have underlined the sentences which I was very unsure of. I am grateful to you for your effort.


PS: Any suggestion is very welcome.

Hello Tom,

I don’t think there’s much wrong with that at all. Just one or two very minor points:

  1. Although she was a working woman she did not allow herself any hang ups

— “Hang-ups” isn’t quite in accord with the general tone of your tale. Perhaps “she didn’t allow herself to worry about it too much”.

  1. there came a wedding ceremony of her sister’s son.

— This isn’t quite idiomatic: did you want to try to rephrase it?

  1. one of the hairs [color=red](of the woman?) came off into his

— I would omit “of the woman”; “came off in his hands”.

  1. expected a big racket as he told the lady of what had happened.

— No need for “of” before “what”. “Big racket” isn’t quite right; maybe “anticipated a big row” would be quite close to your meaning.

All the best,


He was the inventor of the bag of dirt.

If you read the article, you may understand what Jamie wrote here

I am grateful MrPedantic.

So would you say the following sentence should be rephrased? If yes, please help me change it.


Maintaining the tone of the anecdote, you might say:

“Now it so happened that her sister’s son was about to get married.”

All the best,


Many thanks, MrPedantic

Could you please tell me now if the red sentence fits the rest of the story. By the way, can I also say: [color=red]A few months later her sister’s son got married.


Yes, I think that’s fine. I prefer it to my version.

I would say yes. Some people might not like this sequence of tenses:

  1. he got married
  2. she had looked forward
  3. she asked the hairdresser

since #2 and #3 would naturally precede #1. But in fact it isn’t unusual in a narrative of this kind.

Best wishes,


Again a huge thankyou to you, MrPedantic.

…but my understanding with about to is a bit different, which is why I also posted the simple past tense: her sister’s son got married.


Doesn’t it sound like he was yet to get married or the woman went to the parlour months before the marriage ceremony?

I am sorry for the incoherent thoughts.


No, that sounds fine to me! I would infer this sequence of events:

  1. [Several months ago] Her sister’s son decides to get married.
  2. [Several months ago] She begins to look forward to the event.
  3. [Now] Her sister’s son will soon be getting married (is about to get married)
  4. [Now] She goes to the hairdresser’s.

There is some slight awkwardness in the double mention of “months”. You could avoid it by saying e.g.

“A few months later her sister’s son was about to get married. She had looked forward to the event ever since he had first announced his engagement, and went…”

Post again if it’s still unclear, though – the use of idioms such as “about to do X” is quite difficult, and I may have explained myself badly!

All the best,