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Questions tagged [word-choice]

Questions about word choice where the focus is on etymology or grammar may be more on-topic at Stack Exchange's English Language & Usage site.

14
votes
7answers
2k views

How is simplicity better than precision and clarity in prose?

Many recommend the Hemingway app, which pushes simplicity and the lowest possible reading level. Where I live, an illiterate person is defined as any person who reads below a grade nine level. The ...
27
votes
12answers
5k views

Tiptoe or tiphoof? Adjusting words to better fit fantasy races

English is a language invented by humans, for humans. Which means some words don't fit well when you're writing about characters who aren't human. For example: Suppose I write "The demon tiptoed ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Writing based on the context or theme

I'm totally new to this field as well as this site and going to learn on my own and need a direction for this specific area I want to learn. I want to understand what I need to learn and which ...
3
votes
1answer
46 views

Using rhythm to evoke emotion

When writing there is one area I am not great at leveraging. That's rhythm or meter. I don't hear meter naturally like some people do so I have to really break down the meter in order to work on it. ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Writing effectively under very brief constraints

I recently noticed a trend to a few of my questions. I am attracted to writing in places with extreme brevity. This makes sense to me on a personal level. I've always been attracted to one-liners and ...
4
votes
3answers
93 views

Sentence starters for summaries?

I'm writing a technical book (step-by-step sort of book) and noticed that all my summaries start with 'In this chapter we ...'. What would be some other sentence starters that I could use to make the ...
36
votes
8answers
7k views

How do I stop using 'the' to start sentences so much?

Something that always bothers me in my writing is how often I start sentences with the word "the". A terrible nonsensical example: The dog ran through the rain-swept streets, chasing a ball he ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Are there situations where using an anastrophe is ill-advised?

I wrote a (unrhymed) couplet, because I couldn't find a good enough example: She ran the comb through her hair ebony As the night fell upon the land of light. Is there a situation where ...
0
votes
1answer
64 views

What are some of the tricks used to end a verse with a specific word?

I guess the answer depends on whether the word is an adverb, noun, adjective, or verb. When I write a poem, I often find myself with limited choices when I want to make the verse rhyme, so this would ...
0
votes
2answers
97 views

Is it redundant to use “billowing winds” and “petulant waves” in the same sentence? [closed]

"The ship sailed through the billowing winds and the petulant waves." Is it redundant? Because, if I say billowing, the reader would probably think petulant waves is too redundant. What do you think?
29
votes
7answers
9k views

Is it ok to use “aluminium” in an otherwise American English text?

I am not an American English native (I'm actually a German native speaker) but, when I write, I use the American style of words predominantly. However, I always use aluminium instead of aluminum, ...
-1
votes
3answers
196 views

Is the sentence “Love not self - love no one” easily understandable to an English reader?

This question is not about syntactical correctness. I do not care about that. The only thing I care about is to be understood properly. That's why I'm asking it here and not ELL. The meaning of ...
2
votes
3answers
164 views

“Ocular” versus “Optical”

I am writing a SciFi novel in which military officers have electronic lenses implanted in their eyes to act as a tactical overlay. It is likely of little consequence, but I am unsure whether or not to ...
6
votes
2answers
144 views

How to determine which details are important enough to be mentioned in a text-based roleplay?

I have recently joined a real-time chat-based roleplay group. Most of the people seem to be sticking to 100 to 250 words when it comes to making their posts, but sometimes I get overly descriptive and ...
3
votes
2answers
93 views

Repetitive sentences

How do I start off sentences without them being too repetitive and boring? I have a problem of starting a sentence with something like "The person" and end up using "The person" in the next one again.
74
votes
9answers
14k views

Using real words from a foreign culture feels like 'Calling a rabbit a “smeerp”'

I'm working on a novel, that's set in pre-Islamic Persia, in the same general way that The Lord of the Rings is set in Britain. (Meaning, it's set in a world all its own, but there's this source of ...
0
votes
2answers
127 views

What are good techniques to describe eyes? [closed]

I would like to describe the beautiful brown eyes of a character, much like a real-life friend of mine. Are there good techniques for describing eyes? How does one go about describing eyes in writing?
1
vote
2answers
89 views

What do you call a self-liberated slave?

In my story, Tsidia is a slave who managed to inspire people into making slavery illegal, thus setting her free. Is there a word I can use to describe her status in a way that highlights she was the ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

How to write good email for applying leaves [closed]

I want to write polite mail for applying leaves. As of now I have written this, I am going wrong please correct me or suggest better way to do that Subject: Apply Leave. Hi sir, I am writing ...
8
votes
4answers
239 views

Coining words - when and how?

Writing an answer to another question, I stumbled upon a quote from The Hobbit: Bilbo rushed along the passage, very angry, and altogether bewildered and bewuthered - this was the most awkward ...
1
vote
2answers
117 views

Noble styles and forms of address

Style is a manner of address, an honorific that comes with a noble title. For example, HM Elizabeth II is addressed "Your Majesty". In a fantasy setting that does not pretend to be Europe, I have ...
2
votes
5answers
497 views

Writing compelling dialogue [duplicate]

I try to avoid repeating the prosaic "he said", "she said" structure as much as possible when writing dialogue. But I think overload of complex descriptors "he articulated", "he intoned" is ...
1
vote
3answers
89 views

“unique-looking” vs “look unique” [closed]

I'm writing a text and there is a part of it that's making me uneasy. I'm talking about gameworlds with unique art styles as opposed to worlds that look realistic. Do you think the word unique-looking ...
10
votes
9answers
348 views

Should a non-native writer try to use complex English words?

I am a non-native English user and whenever I write something is it better that I use simple words or some rare and seldomly used words? I mean native-speakers should surely understand basic English ...
2
votes
2answers
92 views

How to use professional jargon when writing fiction?

The military, the medical professions, police, etc. - they have their professional jargon. One noteworthy characteristic of this jargon is the extensive use of abbreviations. Those abbreviations are ...
-5
votes
2answers
162 views

Why are Americans obsessed with acronyms, abreviations and initials? [closed]

If anybody has an answer to this question I'd love to hear it. And, yes, it is on topic because I've used the obsession in a story. Here's the thing . . . There's a difference between text and ...
3
votes
4answers
164 views

Is it possible to use the word “it” too much?

I'm describing a creature in my story, and I'm worried I'm using the word "it" too much. Is there a substitute I can use for the word? Can I keep using it? Beady eyes look back at him, inky and ...
5
votes
3answers
249 views

How can I avoid using I repetitively in a resume/about me?

My Question How can I avoid using I repetitively in a resume/about me, should it be avoided or is it to be expected in that kind of writing? Are there any substitutes that can be used in place of it, ...
10
votes
2answers
349 views

Colloquial speech in pre-modern setting

Following this question, I'm struggling with writing the speech of pre-modern (in my case - 5th century) noble-born children among themselves. Characters who are well-educated would not be making ...
6
votes
5answers
329 views

“Too modern” words

In a story set in a fantasy version of 5th century Persia, I've been told by a beta reader that a boy wouldn't call his father "dad", (would use "father" instead), wouldn't say "no spoilers", etc. I ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Using profanity

I'm working on a war novel (sci-fi). My initial plan was for my MC to start out with a very clean language, almost comically clean, and as the plot progresses and the situation gets more FUBAR, his ...
3
votes
2answers
90 views

On what basis can existing writings be analyzed? [closed]

On what basis can I analyze the piece of writing? Like, what are the things that tells me writers state of mind, or certain effects that a writer has tried to create for a purpose or why has the ...
7
votes
3answers
192 views

'for example' and 'e.g.' in a thesis

I'm writing a thesis in English (I'm not a native speaker) and I suddenly wondered: should I use 'for example' or 'e.g.'? should try to completely avoid both? There are no university specific ...
36
votes
15answers
13k views

Is it acceptable to use words like “heaven” and “god” when the narrator is agnostic?

The main character, and the person whose viewpoint the story is told from, is a scientist and subscribes to agnosticism. And there are sentences in my story like: "Trees stretched into the sky ...
-4
votes
1answer
581 views

Sending an email to follow up with the client about a project deadline [closed]

We are waiting on a document for a project from the client to complete. If we don't get it in 2 days we'll be unable to proceed until we do. When and how do you follow up with the client? Give a ...
6
votes
4answers
112 views

What are alternatives to “is that” as in “[something] is that [something]”?

I am writing a thesis and I frequently find my self using the phrase 'is that'. For example: "The other feature that has been neglected is that the expert system would ..." I have been told that ...
6
votes
3answers
156 views

Which authors' style would be more appropriate for me to write in? [closed]

When I study the style of Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, and other authors, I find that they use very simple language and simple words. But when I look at present day authors, such as Stephenie ...
6
votes
3answers
202 views

A question about Past Participle vs Simple Past in a novel

The novel is in past tense and the character is recounting things that happened before the novel began. Should I be using the past participle? Everything I read says that using the word "had" is a big ...
3
votes
2answers
113 views

How to incorporate figurative language into a simple statement [closed]

Suppose you have a simple statement like: We should not run away from problems but face them and overcome them What, in general, is the way to go about expressing a simple, direct statement like ...
1
vote
2answers
180 views

How to write a sentence with expression, tone, emphasis, and more in the same line [closed]

That might not be the correct way of writing the title. I just find it really confusing on how to write that. Anyways, my question is about having those "things" in the same sentence. Let say that I ...
1
vote
1answer
117 views

How to confidently attract the other party to your side?

I have the following sentence: Once they realize they have no chance of defeating you, they'll end up joining you. I feel this sentence may come across as a bit "cocky" because I would want the ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

How to link two sentences? [closed]

I have the following sentences: Anyone can use stock footage. and Only you know how to use it correctly. I am wondering if it makes sense to combine them as such Anyone can use stock ...
8
votes
2answers
229 views

Moving away from a gender-based analysis

I'm writing a short essay on gender undercurrents of conversations, i.e. how do different people approach communication and problem-solving in their relationships. One way to phrase this is in terms ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Is this line in a song/poem grammatically correct: “But oh how the love, it still wrecks me every time.”? [closed]

Is this line in a song (or might just end up as a poem) grammatically correct: "But oh how the love, it still wrecks me every time." ?? It seems to not be grammatically correct to me, but I just ...
5
votes
3answers
109 views

Explain something being written out

I am working on a story where a character is witnessing something being written out but I don't know the correct way to write that. It will write out death I wrote out I witnessed something being ...
45
votes
15answers
20k views

If I'm writing in US English, am I not allowed to use the metric system?

For example, can I say this if my book is written in US English (in non-dialog): The car was going at least 140 kilometers per hour! Or should I convert them to miles or what have you? It's for a ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

How do I express that others and I were unable to find literature about a topic?

Given this question of mine I wondered: If one wants to publish a new result which one couldn't find any information where the result could have possibly been covered (and neither could one's ...
19
votes
7answers
3k views

Pretty flowers with clunky Latin names

I am writing a fantasy novel set in the Middle East. For multiple reasons related to both plot and atmosphere, I'm using flowers and flowering trees a lot in both descriptions and dialogue. Trouble is,...
3
votes
2answers
70 views

What is a good “to be” verb substitute in this scenario?

My teacher does not like "to-be verbs" (is, are, etc.) to be used in our sentences. Here is the section in question: A significant scene in the novel is after... How can I replace the 'is' in the ...
7
votes
6answers
2k views

Am I describing a zombie?

I introduced a young person (called Raven) who the main character was friends with in my story; Raven is an excellent student who the main character is also teaching music to. The story is the result ...