I was wondering if using length in this sentence would add to take away from the message. Also am I constructing the sentence correctly.

A sudden outburst drew my gaze from lazy sky to chalk drenched room as the teacher took length to the couple’s quarrel.

5 Answers 5


With others, I cannot even be sure what the "take away message" is supposed to be. "took length to" does not make sense. "length" is a form of measurement, applied to an argument, "length" implies a duration of time. Is the teacher measuring the length of the argument? That is not a plausible action for a teacher.

So no, I don't think the word 'length' is helping you at all, it is just confusing.

I will also agree with Morgan that 'chalk drenched' sounds wrong; 'drenched' is for something in which a liquid drenching is a an appropriate metaphor, and chalk is a particularly dry and dusty solid. Unrelated to your question, I would suggest you DO increase the length of the passage, perhaps to multiple sentences, to convey the message you want.

Namely, I think the message is: Your pleasant daydream was interrupted by a quarrel, forcing your attention back to the tedium of blackboards covered with notes and equations as dry as the chalk that wrote them, and waited for the teacher to resolve this annoyance.


Agree with Thomo about "length". As for the construction and clarity: "chalk drenched" should be hyphenated ("chalk-drenched"). Also, the meaning of chalk-drenched is a bit unclear; if something is "drenched", the word is usually implying an idea of wetness, but chalk is dry and powdery. "Sun-drenched" and such still imply a fullness of volume that would be awkward usage with chalk, if that makes sense.


I'm assuming your question is about the use of the word "length" in that sentence, and not about the length of the sentence itself.

As a native English speaker, it does not make sense at all. I can infer what I think you are trying to get at, but it is not clear in the sentence itself. It appears that you are attempting to use a synonym of "measure", which would make sense, as in:

..the teacher took measure of the couple's quarrel...

In context, this means that the teacher is appraising or assessing the conflict, possibly deciding on how to best diffuse it.

A Thesaurus is not always your friend.

Incorrect phrasing aside, the sentence itself still needs a lot of work and, in the current form, very much Purple Prose.


IMO, the meaning is a little ambiguous. Simply based on reader logic, I'm assuming the teacher moved in the couple's direction but it is not explicitly clear to me. If you are set on using length, perhaps "made length" might work better. Again, just my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt.

I would probably replace the word with something like "stride"


Similarly, it is not clear to me what you are trying to convey - But my interpretation is that the 'teacher went on at length, at the couple that was quarreling.' As in, the teacher lectured the couple.

Length is not an action, AFAIK.

Does its use add action? (My original thought as to the intent of your post.) No, not really, though my interpretation of your sentence is colored by its use.

(Odd to use a quarreling couple in the classroom setting - a quarreling couple sounds like a romantic vignette.)

  • Yes the first statement. I meant to say he lectured them, though I didn’t know how to structure the sentence. ‘Went on at length’ sounds the most correct and closest to the style I was trying for. Thank you
    – O_Maina
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 14:44

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