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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.

3
votes
4answers
99 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
92 views

Can breathing be “uneven”? [migrated]

I wondered about the different expressions one can use for heavy or unstable breathing. Rather than being heavy breathing from exercising, it's heavy, laboured breathing due to negative emotions. ...
5
votes
3answers
188 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
143 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 between themselves. Characters who are well-educated, would not be making ...
5
votes
5answers
236 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
989 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
82 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
83 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
54 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
97 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
86 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
88 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
66 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
119 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
106 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
36 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
151 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
39 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
96 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
19k 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
49 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 ...
18
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
66 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
128 views

Words we may believe are neutral yet have restricted connotations

Edit: Perhaps a list of words prone to mis-use would serve the need, here. Is anyone aware of a resource that lists words with emotional baggage? Example: I use the expression 'enormity of x' (as ...
3
votes
4answers
81 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
468 views

Do you have to write in the tone of ordinary speech?

Must writing always be done in the tone/style of ordinary contemporary speech? For example, some people might say that the conjunction "for" is archaic and should not be used in modern prose, but it ...
5
votes
4answers
113 views

Is there a word or a sets of words that describe a persons beautiful dead face?

Imagine you're a protagonist in a story and you find a dead body, you go up to the corpse and find it's bloody face to be beautiful. How would you describe the corpse's face? Is there a specific word ...
3
votes
2answers
90 views

Is it okay to use “fell” in one sentence, and “fall” in the next sentence?

I am an adoptee writing a story about meeting my biological mother. I had to get on a plane to meet my mother. A couple of days before the trip I met with members of my adoptive family and other ...
4
votes
4answers
111 views

Is it acceptable to use synonyms to achieve rhythm?

There are some works that have a certain kind of voice, which is due to their rhythm. But is this due only to word order and like things, or do their authors actually choose synonyms to achieve rhythm?...
4
votes
5answers
109 views

How do I show dust/ ashes being blown away by the wind in a story?

I don't want to straight up say that the dust/ ash was blown away, I want it to have a creepy vibe to it so it's more interesting. So is there any way to show (not tell) ashes being blown away by the ...
1
vote
3answers
120 views

What is the best description for this particular kind of building (and apartment arrangement - Central European style of building)?

I'm looking for the word to describe of a particular type of apartment building. I attached a picture to illustrate it. It is a building that has several apartments on each story with an exterior ...
2
votes
5answers
91 views

Length as action [closed]

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
192 views

How do you use adverbs properly in fiction writing?

How do you use adverbs properly in fiction writing? In a related question, a reply states: When to use [adverbs]? When your alternative would be pretentious. There are strong nouns and verbs, that ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

How to describe the concept of 'humanity' when dealing with non-human characters

I'm dealing with a group of non-human characters and Character A is reflecting on how he knows Character B is a good person deep down, despite some of the things she has had to do throughout her life. ...
2
votes
5answers
830 views

What are good words to refer to the condition of objects?

In RPG games objects such as weapons or armor have a certain durability represented by a number. For example a sword has 100/100 Durability. After it becomes 0/100 it means the object is broken. I ...
3
votes
3answers
232 views

When Choosing Labels/titles for Characters instead of their names

This is probably a repeat of a previous question, but I have a slightly different problem when writing. I don't always want to refer to characters by their names (if I do, then I run into problems ...
2
votes
1answer
130 views

What's the name of this gesture? [closed]

Imagine yourself driving a car and and spotting someone on the sidewalk. You stop the car beside him and want him to get in the backseat. You say something like "Hey, get in." with a nod of head that ...
2
votes
3answers
149 views

How to talk about certain anatomy without sounding vulgar or cowardly?

Let's talk about butts, because butts are safe, but really this question is for other parts of the anatomy as well. There are 100s of words for butt. They seem to fall into one of a few categories. ...
0
votes
5answers
155 views

Less offensive words for 'sh*t' and 'f**k'? [duplicate]

I don't want to use for 'sh*t' and 'f**k' in my work. What else can I use that gives similar meaning?
13
votes
9answers
1k views

How to expand my vocabulary?

I wanted to write something for a long time. But what I think is, in writing the choice of words plays a very significant role. From where I can learn this thing? I think I don't have enough words in ...
0
votes
3answers
179 views

How to “Show” and not “Tell” for nervousness?

I was told to ask this question here. There’s a saying in writing to “show; don’t tell”. For example instead of saying: “She was angry”, you would write: “Steam started coming out of her ears”, or: “...
3
votes
2answers
147 views

How to express sarcasm in non-dialogue text?

You know how sometimes we say something sarcastically, and do the double-finger twitch that's supposed to symbolize quotation marks? How do you write that in non-dialogue text (narration)? Not ...
1
vote
1answer
229 views

Word for this behavior? Frustrated exhale through the nose [closed]

To describe the action of inhaling through one's nostrils and then blowing it back out as an expression of frustration? Or just blowing out through the nose without inhaling with the same ...
3
votes
3answers
304 views

To break free and write something new or finish the rough draft

I'm at a crossroads to figure out the better plan of action. I've heard you should always try to finish the rough draft, but...are there exceptions? I'm wondering if any readers here ran into this, ...
27
votes
11answers
10k views

Using fake swear words without them seeming out of place to the reader

This is not a question about slang, but about swearing and word creation. I have a character who uses swear words, and this is part of his voice. I do not use real swear words. I want the sense of ...
4
votes
1answer
63 views

Scientific article: How to say that with our result something could be done but hasn't

I am writing something similar to a review article about a scientific insight that connects and streamlines a number of seemingly different previous results. In the introduction, I give an example of ...
37
votes
7answers
8k views

How do I say that a character said something without resorting to “said Character” every time?

I have one big problem with my writing - when I'm doing dialogue, I find myself writing it and following it with "said Character" quite a lot. I can mix it up sometimes by using a synonym or ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

How to avoid being too wordy

How do I avoid being wordy? Do you know of any exercises or something similar to help with that? I feel, when reading my own writing, that I use "expensive" language, as we say in Portuguese, way ...