General Writing and Grammar Help/GRAMMAR CORRECTION

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Question
Hello.

I am an editor on a Religious magazine so I will need to brush up on my English grammar.  Can you tell me what is wrong with the following sentence and how to correct it?  The full article itself is on life's disappointments.

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How do you continue to smile and laugh with people and all the while you are saying to yourself if they only knew my silent pain.
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This sentence confuses me because it starts out as question then seems to end up as a statement that is a question.  I am tempted to place the last part in quotations but that does not seem quite right.  Please re-write the sentence and explain the reason for your answer.

Thanks So Much, Hardie.

Answer
Dear Hardie:

I am an editor on a Religious magazine so I will need to brush up on my English grammar.  Can you tell me what is wrong with the following sentence and how to correct it?  The full article itself is on life's disappointments.

==================================
How do you continue to smile and laugh with people and all the while you are saying to yourself if they only knew my silent pain.
==================================
This sentence confuses me because it starts out as question then seems to end up as a statement that is a question.  I am tempted to place the last part in quotations but that does not seem quite right.  Please re-write the sentence and explain the reason for your answer.

*** I see the problem.  You are mixing a first person pronoun [my] with a question directed to a second person pronoun [you].  That should NOT be done.

You have written too much in one sentence.  Divide the sentence into two parts.  Here's just ONE way to do it:

How can a person continue to smile and laugh outwardly with other people while he is suffering inwardly?  Some people are able to feel pain silently while seeming to show happiness to those around them.

Hardie, there are, of course, other ways of writing these sentiments.  The important thing to remember is that you cannot refer to a person as "you" and then refer to the same person as "me."  You will end up with problems every time you attempt to mix first, second, and third persons.

I am here to help you, if you need me.  Please evaluate my response to you.

Thank you.

Ted Nesbitt  

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Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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