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Questions tagged [phrasing]

This tag should be used for questions dealing with the phrasing in your writing, such as questions dealing with techniques to come up with a certain way of phrasing or common resources that can help with finding the correct phrasing. Please note that "What should I write?" requests are off-topic here. You might also want to check out our sister site EnglishLanguage&Usage.SE and their phrase-requests tag.

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1 vote
4 answers
151 views

is "next evolution" redundant?

Does saying "next evolution" sound redundant? Isn't evolution already something that comes next? I'm editing an article and the author talks about the "next evolution" of a theory,...
4 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why Do People Write Prose with Poor Rhythm?

First, I do not practice writing often, nor for a long time when I do. So that might be a reason I am struggling with rhythm lately. Second, I do not intend this post to be an example of good rhythm. ...
1 vote
3 answers
291 views

How can we revise sentences so that they remain clear and concise but gain a rhythm of a specific kind?

I have written poems in iambic meter before, and they didn't seem to be wordy. And for a long time I have wanted to use metrical effects in my prose, which is called prose rhythm. But I am wondering ...
0 votes
1 answer
151 views

How can I phrase common terms and proper nouns in a different or more poetic fashion?

I have a problem. I want to write in a certain kind of voice, which requires me to pay attention to prose numbers (or feet), but I cannot seem to phrase certain common terms and proper nouns so that ...
3 votes
1 answer
375 views

How to modify the title "All paths lead to hubs: the case of water isotopologues" such that it will be one statement only?

We are in the process of publishing a paper in Communications Chemistry, for which we devised the following title: All paths lead to hubs: the case of water isotopologues However, the editor asked ...
3 votes
5 answers
942 views

Trouble describing people standing around three of four sides of a rectangle?

As the title says, I am having trouble describing a group standing around 3/4ths of a rectangle. This is what I have written The students stood along the sides and far side of the stage, creating a ...
6 votes
2 answers
338 views

For people of color, are there unique ways to describe emotional state through skin tone, besides 'going pale,' 'turning red,' 'looking green,' etc?

Are there some words or phrases to describe a person of color, specifically darker colors, when their skin tone changes with emotion? Like for a white person, they'd turn pale when scared or turn red ...
0 votes
2 answers
223 views

Is "Truth be told" a valid expression to be used in a written essay?

Can we use the expressions "Truth be told" or "To tell the truth" to describe something factual in our opinion in written arguments? Example: Truth be told, I think no one is ...
3 votes
2 answers
90 views

Good time to get your dream out of the drawer?

I'm trying to properly phrase a main sentence on a banner. Imagine that you had a dream to do something but it had to be put aside (let's say into a drawer) to wait for a better times. Now, I want to ...
-2 votes
1 answer
92 views

Singular or plural verb after a list of single activities? [closed]

In the following sentence, which one is correct? "requires" or "require"? Reading all recent papers, relating them together, and finally drawing a conclusion from them require(s) ...
10 votes
5 answers
4k views

Should I use the term vis-à-vis? How should I decide when to use/avoid a term?

I wrote a vision statement for a project using the term vis-à-vis (All X investments should be justified vis-à-vis quantified gain). A colleague suggested I shouldn't use vis-à-vis, and prefer simpler ...
6 votes
4 answers
2k views

How should you describe turning pages quickly? [closed]

I want to describe this action. How should I describe this action?
1 vote
5 answers
344 views

How can I show a character looking around without just saying "I looked around"?

I'm looking for another way to say, “I looked around, until my eyes landed on a man.” I’m sick of the sentence “I looked around”, but it’s important that she does since she wakes up in an unfamiliar ...
2 votes
1 answer
120 views

I have another question about adverbs. Can you check my instincts?

I like adverbs, and I think they're a great component of language. I see them as a good means to communicate efficiently. I also understand that they can be a sloppy shortcut, and that writing that ...
2 votes
2 answers
67 views

Using alternative phrases to "meanwhile" or "elsewhen" to describe a non-linear flow of time as two consecutive events

I am currently writing a "time-travel" themed story that is more of a first-person perspective of all involved characters, and I want it to include the before and after reactions to the &...
10 votes
8 answers
11k views

In fiction, what is meant by phrases such as "his eyes flashed anger for a moment"?

I've read a lot of such phrases, but that one in particular doesn't make sense to me. Physically, what is supposed to be described here? How long is the moment? I've personally tried to make my ...
2 votes
3 answers
182 views

Is it really necessary for a novelist to follow phrase structure rules radically?

I have read many novels and found that the writers do not follow basic phrase structure rules while constructing a sentence. For example, they may write a sentence with only one word like "Fear" And ...
1 vote
1 answer
122 views

A phrase similar to murmurs of laughter [closed]

I am writing an essay and one thing I am talking about is that I hear small laughs among the crowd while I nervously give a speech. I used the phrase "murmurs of laughter" but a peer said ...
4 votes
7 answers
1k views

Alternative to "it is commonly said"

I have a sentence I am trying to write that just doesn't feel right. It currently reads "It is commonly said that X, but the truth is that Y." The second part feels okay, but the first part feels like ...
1 vote
2 answers
199 views

How to ask a question and define what I mean?

I am in the middle of the painful process of buying a car. I am trying to do much of my legwork online before going into a dealership. One of the things I hate the most about purchasing a car is ...
1 vote
2 answers
69 views

How to use the phrase 'by my undertanding' in a formal essay? Or it is formal already? [closed]

Is it appropriate to use phrases such as "by my understanding" in a formal setting? If I can't, please suggest alternatives.
8 votes
2 answers
207k views

"I have/am" - what are other short ways to not repeat this in a cover letter?

I use the GIS/Programing ones extensively. For a cover letter, what are ways that you can avoid repeating I have done .... I have experience with ... I am experienced in... ...
3 votes
1 answer
143 views

How to describe a feeding hand motion in the following context

In context, a guy and a girl have a date, and in restaurant, they are having this moment, where girl feeds guy with "Say 'Ah!'". What is the best way to describe this motion from the guy's ...
7 votes
7 answers
2k views

Do writers copy other writers?

Good artists copy; great artists steal. This famous Picasso quote often reminds me that the best artworks are rather a mix of many other artworks instead of something completely new. Walt Disney ...
0 votes
1 answer
73 views

Fear/reluctance of doing something terrible [closed]

**I asked this question in English.SE, but someone suggested to move it here What are some phrases/expressions that explains someone's fear/reluctance of doing something terrible (like murder for ...
-1 votes
1 answer
198 views

Opening of a cover letter [closed]

I am currently writing a cover letter (for a job application) and after a long 'struggle' with the opening paragraph, I've decided to start it by briefly presenting myself and then continuing with "...
1 vote
1 answer
3k views

An adjective relating to the circus? [closed]

I'm looking for an adjective which essentially means "of or relating to the circus." My context is: As they stood in the doorway, taking in the circus-like activities around them... But "circus-...
3 votes
4 answers
313 views

What's a shorter way of saying, "If you had asked me, I would have said, 'I suppose'"?

I have this sentence: Rebecca lived in the building and was one of my wife's closest friends. One of mine too, I supposed. With "I supposed", I'm trying to convey that if you had asked the ...
25 votes
6 answers
7k views

When my story has a powerful phrase but that loses its power when I read it again in the next day, should I keep it or remove it?

Sometimes I have a great idea of sentence (usually for a dialogue) and it is just so nice, beautiful, epic, badass, powerful, or whatever other positive impression. However, sometimes I read it again ...
2 votes
4 answers
454 views

Creating Slogans/Rallying Cries

The culture I have created needs some unifying phrases but I'm having trouble thinking of some that spur emotion but do not sound silly or too technical. Are there there any techniques for generating ...
0 votes
3 answers
95 views

Overusing "with the aim of..." in a scientific paper

I'm currently writing a scientific report and repeatedly found myself sneaking sentences like "with the aim of..." or "with the purpose of" in my text. Despite how trivial this problem may seem, it ...
0 votes
2 answers
89 views

Unable to identify this phrase as sarcasm [closed]

I am unable to understand if this phrase is meant to be sarcastic. "I'm glad you're constantly thinking about how to make your life easier :)." This is made by a higher ranking official in reference ...