Questions tagged [word-choice]

This tag should be used for questions about choosing the right words for the context of your writing. Questions about etymology and grammar are off-topic.

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How to describe someone whose eyes sparkle mischievously?

I've been told that I'm telling instead of showing when I say my characters' eyes sparkle 'mischievously.' How do you describe something like that? I've been looking it up and trying different tricks ...
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12 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is there a word for something that is structured like a parody, but utilizes an idealized or improved version of the original context?

(Edit: title frames the question better thanks to @TheRubberDuck) This has been bugging me for a while; enough to join this wonderful community - thanks for any help you can offer! Keep in mind ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How do you describe the sound of a body being dragged through the snow? [closed]

How to describe the sound of a body bring dragged through snow
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0 votes
2 answers
76 views

What's the word for shortened speech?

I've seen it everywhere where a character uses shortened words often with this single punctuation mark: '. Like G'day, G'night. I've seen it in some TV shows too. Like "'Bout time someone hit him....
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1 vote
0 answers
24 views

Is "point out" appropriate in formal writing?

Is it acceptable to say something like "[person] pointed out [things] as [things] that [action]" in formal academic writing? If not, what are some phrases with similar meaning that would be ...
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  • 111
3 votes
2 answers
131 views

Using "etc." at the end of list introduced by "e.g."

According to the Strunk & White's The Elements of Style (p. 46) at the end of a list introduced by such as, for example, or any similar expression, etc. is incorrect. However, I have seen "...
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  • 141
1 vote
1 answer
97 views

How do I describe a baby's cry?

How I describe a baby's cry in writing like the way baby Fig cried off-screen in part three of the movie Barney's Great Adventure? Do I just say, the baby started to cry, or the baby began to cry? ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
125 views

Can "splooge" be considered a form of onomatopoeia?

I know I've heard that sound. I can't quite remember where. If you Google it, it refers you to ejaculation. I did find one reference that identified it as a verb and a noun, but no mention of ...
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2 votes
2 answers
52 views

"From to" or "From Through"

Which is correct: "I got the chance to work there as an employee FROM 2013 TO 2014 or FROM 2013 THROUGH 2014"? Or does it depend on whether you worked there for the whole of 2014?
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  • 21
-2 votes
1 answer
100 views

Semicolon and period in software instructions

I'm writing a software manual and I worry about my semicolon usage. I believe I'm using them correctly, but it's not that I have to. My project is a software manual. People scan for the information ...
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5 votes
1 answer
599 views

What is this linguistic device called?

Consider these two sentences: I was considering taking a taxi, but realized that Uber was cheaper and more convenient, anyway. I was considering taking a taxi, but then I was like, "Hey, Uber ...
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1 vote
1 answer
85 views

Does anyone know any specific words that can be used to describe a character flying?

I feel like I've used words like "floating" and "hovering" too often, to the point of tedium.
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3 votes
2 answers
84 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 ...
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1 vote
2 answers
44 views

"Wicked sharp" - is this exclusively something a New Englander would say?

I have a character in my novel who describes a creature's talon as "wicked sharp". My wife says this is something she would only hear in New England (and my character isn't from there). I'm ...
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0 votes
2 answers
79 views

Avoiding two sentences ending with same word?

How can I avoid that these two sentences end up with medical system? I do not want to use a synonym for medical system to avoid ambiguity. I further do not want to change the word order of sentence ...
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5 votes
3 answers
3k views

Ways to show someone is whispering without using "he whispered"

I've seen a lot of advice that says you should scrap all non-'said' dialogue tags. I can see the value of this, but I'm not sure how to make it work in every instance. It's pretty easy to show things ...
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2 votes
2 answers
111 views

Turn 'Why' into a two syllable word

'Why' is a straight forward question asking the reason for something. "You should go to college." "Why?" Or "Why should I go to college?" BUT... "You should meet my ...
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  • 21
3 votes
1 answer
118 views

Writing unique character-based dialogue?

I have read this on many sites and articles: "When writing dialogue, you should give every character their own unique dialogue so that it would be recognizable without writing their names." ...
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  • 177
1 vote
3 answers
136 views

Equivalent expression to "cast pearls before swine"

I'm translating a novel that has an expression that means "cast pearls before swine." i.e., it would be wasted on them. She caresses the top of his head as she protests that a roast pig ...
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  • 11
1 vote
5 answers
290 views

I want to explain something in a novel that shouldn’t exist in it

In my novel, the world is made entirely out of islands, but I don’t know how to explain this without using the word islands. In that world, there are only islands so they are just called countries. ...
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  • 11
0 votes
1 answer
46 views

Is it acceptable to call my grandmother, nanny in my essay

I’m writing a senior reflection paper and I refer to my grandmother as nanny just as she called her grandmother. However I’m wondering if that is too informal for an essay. Also maybe a little ...
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0 votes
1 answer
82 views

using a word for another meaning

Sorry if it sounds stupid but here's the question: I have a character who thinks the Italian word "pronto" has a similar meaning as "stupid" no matter how much others tell him the ...
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  • 177
0 votes
0 answers
49 views

how to write the word "so as if it is slurred or exagerated [duplicate]

How should I write the word "so" as if it is slurred or exaggerated for example: I'm sooo sorry. I've been so miserable and lonely.
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1 vote
3 answers
73 views

Single term for "as a corollary"

In academic writing, I often have to say something like "We found that the percentage of X questions increased by 10%, and as a corollary, the percentage of Y questions decreased by a similar ...
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  • 11
0 votes
1 answer
74 views

City of [city name] or [city name] city?

I’m wondering what is more appropriate when referring to a city, let’s say Damascus for example. Is it better to say “city of Damascus” or “Damascus city”? Or are they both interchangeable. I know for ...
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0 votes
1 answer
102 views

"Pros" and "Cons" Separately

I am writing a paper. I am wondering can I use "Pros" and "Cons" as the title of two subsections separately? In other words, is it acceptable to use "pros" and "cons&...
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  • 101
1 vote
2 answers
100 views

Know a personal name’s pronunciation but not its spelling

Suppose I heard three local residents talking about the bridge construction on a radio or podcast show. Cara Deleon: I don’t know if it is Kara. Muhammad Alif: I don’t know if it is Mohammad, ...
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  • 143
1 vote
2 answers
175 views

How can I avoid repeating words while still writing clearly?

Since I'm the type of person that doesn't use a word over and over again, it turns my masterpiece into a synonym dictionary (Kind of like a thesaurus.) If I used the words 'informal conversation' two ...
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7 votes
3 answers
3k views

What should phrases like “um” or “erm” be replaced with?

It is generally considered bad practice to include these in your writing, so what should be used instead? How would you show that your character is pondering something, or unsure about something, ...
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2 votes
2 answers
103 views

In an action scene, what is it called when a flying/thrown object changes rotation quickly after hitting something?

I am writing an action scene in which a character is thrown/falls and while they are flying through the air either the top or bottom half of their body hits an immovable object mid air, causing them ...
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  • 225
1 vote
0 answers
70 views

When to use adjective forms of anatomical nouns in scientific writing?

Consider the following anatomical parts of crustacean: carapace, abdomen, and areola. In much of published literature, you'll see the phrases "carapace length", "abdomen length," ...
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2 votes
2 answers
56 views

How do you understand and what is the connotation of “to dwell on a dream”

I understand the phrase to dwell on a dream as to think about that dream after waking up, maybe often or maybe sometime after I had dreamed it. I also like the possibility that one can interpret ...
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2 votes
2 answers
122 views

What's an alternative, more generic word for "sky"?

I am looking for a word to describe what we see when we look up. For us, it's the sky. But, if you are, say, under the sea, that would be the surface of the sea. I need a word that can be used in both ...
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11 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is calling a character a "lunatic" or "crazy" ableist when it is in reference to their erratic behavior?

I am considering writing a line of dialogue in which character A calls character B (not to their face) "a lunatic". In the context of my story, it is clear that character A has a simplistic ...
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0 votes
2 answers
51 views

What is the correct usage of "sometimes" as a prefix?

For example, if one might describe themselves as an "occasional writer;" or, identifies as a writer, yet only "writes occasionally." Would "sometimes-writer" be a more ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
71 views

"not as well educated as..." vs "Not so well educated as..." [closed]

I am writing a scholarship essay and one of my sentences is: "Although both of my parents have bachelor’s degrees now, they were not as well educated or stably employed when I was growing up.&...
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0 votes
1 answer
60 views

What is the difference between "be embolden" or "be emboldened"?

In the context of a riddle, I am writing a couple of verses that should rhyme. The first verse ends with "golden"; looking for rhyme words, I found the word "embolden", so I wrote &...
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0 votes
2 answers
112 views

Use of the word "implement" discouraged in writer's workbench. Why?

I'm using the writer's workbench, which is a collection of tools that helps identifying errors in my writing. One tool, 'Diction', tells me that the word "implement" shouldn't be used, and ...
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4 votes
3 answers
335 views

Any resources for writing in Anglish?

"Anglish" is a variation on modern English that avoids or replaces all words that have non-Anglo-Saxon roots. I'm working on a story where I'll need to convert a lot of dialogue (just for a ...
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  • 929
12 votes
10 answers
2k views

Character with two names

I have a character with two names. Well not two distinct names, but rather two forms of the same name. My story is set in the later Roman Empire, but the characters are Romanized easterners living on ...
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  • 221
0 votes
1 answer
81 views

Is it wrong to describe multiple scenarios with the same words, and if it is, how can I avoid it?

First of all, I don't believe my question is a duplicate of this question, but tell me if you think it is. (I don't think it's the same, as that question is using one particular example and is asking ...
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0 votes
2 answers
124 views

What should I call each book in a series of similarly-themed books?

I am putting together a 'playbook' which contains resources related to a key growth driver for the operations team of my company. It is a series of playbooks designed to provide resources / guidelines ...
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2 votes
1 answer
69 views

Consistency related to use of comma before 'and'

I am writing in British English so do not use a comma before 'and' in a list. E.g The basket had oranges, apples and bananas. (In American English, there would be a comma before 'and') However, I ...
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3 votes
3 answers
109 views

Should I use "people" for non-human creatures with humane mannerisms?

First off, my question is not this question. I am asking about a creature resembling a human and not a bug. Also, I put this question on World-Building SE and it was recommended I post it here, but if ...
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  • 1,533
3 votes
2 answers
16k views

Words use to describe racing heartbeat

I think that it is too simple just to use "my heart pounded." I prefer something a little bit more elaborated. What sentence can I use besides from "my heart pounded?" Maybe you ...
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2 votes
5 answers
195 views

What pronoun to use for a sentient, self aware AI?

I have a sentient AI in a story. He sentience aspect is mostly an unexpected result and some characters in the story do not believe it. When they refer to the AI, should they use the "it" ...
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1 vote
1 answer
110 views

Saying that someone is lying in a response to a court [closed]

I was accused by a neighbour of some things that I can easily prove were not caused by me. I told her many times she's wrong, emailed her many times how the things actually happened and I can easily ...
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  • 121
1 vote
3 answers
127 views

How widely-used is the term "omnibus?"

I know "omnibus" to be a term describing multiple novels put into a single book, but I've never really heard or read the term anywhere else. Because of this, I'm curious: how widely used is ...
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1 vote
1 answer
81 views

Struggling with using correct tenses, please help! [closed]

I am writing my first book, which I am very passionate about, but there are small details in the art of writing that have me second guessing myself, and then comes the confusion. I am writing in deep ...
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2 votes
1 answer
70 views

Self Congratulation [closed]

I am looking for a positive connotation of self-congratulations. It's a part of a write-up where I wanna emphasize that we should take pat ourselves on the back for our achievements and acknowledge ...
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