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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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In a writing test, if the question uses British terms, but I tend to follow American style guides, should I use the American terms instead?

In a writing test where I need to report data given in a table, if the question uses British terms, but I tend to follow American style guides, should I use the equivalent American terms instead? For ...
user63970's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
84 views

Is there a word or a phrase for faking a laugh [closed]

I want to know how to describe someone faking a laugh without having to say "faking a laugh"
Min's user avatar
  • 33
2 votes
3 answers
190 views

Onomatopoeia for a noise people make when shutting someone up?

When someone wants to shut someone else up, they often make a noise that sounds kind of like "up-up-up," or "ah-ah-ah," often while putting a finger to the person's mouth. How ...
Papa Solen'ya's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do you convey that an action is subconscious when writing in first person?

My protagonist had a traumatic experience that means she keeps her distance from men. Sometimes, if she genuinely feels in danger, all her actions will be calculated and thought-through. However, most ...
BubbleQueen's user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
533 views

Is there another, more formal, word for 'ride' in this circumstance?

Imagine a man standing by the highway, asking for a ride. Not a free ride like in hitchhiking, but a paid one. Is there another term for 'ride' that would better suit the situation here? Setting is a ...
EMS's user avatar
  • 141
1 vote
2 answers
178 views

How do you describe someone who's talking while brushing their teeth?

I don't think there's a specific word for that, so how would you describe it? The scene is that someone shouts something while they're in the bathroom, brushing their teeth. It's still intelligible, ...
Flibidi's user avatar
  • 11
0 votes
1 answer
54 views

Is this sentence unneeded, or even detrimental?

I'm writing an essay, and I have in it this paragraph clip: "Finally, euphemisms are constantly used in both films in order to lessen the impact of what the American government was doing to ...
Daemons's user avatar
  • 105
0 votes
0 answers
48 views

'Finally' in penultimate paragraph

I'm writing a professional essay for an argument, and I'm trying to find a good paragraph starter to use for the penultimate essay. I'm leaning towards writing something similar to 'finally,' or 'last ...
Daemons's user avatar
  • 105
3 votes
2 answers
110 views

Help with writing letters!

In a story I'm writing, the two main characters write letters to each other frequently. The characters are close, and have a romantic relationship that starts midway through the story. The story takes ...
ratKING28's user avatar
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 ...
TobiR's user avatar
  • 133
1 vote
2 answers
252 views

Does it come off as weird/offensive to describe someone as 'brown' in partial reference to their skin color, but in absence of a specific descriptor?

I'm not talking about describing someone as 'brown-skinned' or 'having brown skin' or even specific phrases like 'brown people', I should expect the former two to be acceptable and the I know the last ...
user61513's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
85 views

Thoughts on using "looking to" in marketing content

I've been writing content for years, and over the last 6 or so, in marketing for software companies. Very often, I'll see sentences include "looking to" as a way to explain that the reader ...
DKBingham's user avatar
1 vote
5 answers
220 views

I need ideas for what to refer to animal characters as. For humans, we have the word "people." I'm looking for a similar one for animals

The main characters in my book are all animals, and I'm writing the first scene that takes place in a large group. Recently I've come across several instances where I need to use a word similar to &...
Mochi-artist's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
162 views

Is it better to create a new word, or add anew connotation to an already existing word? Does it matter?

This question arose from another question I asked on the English Language & Usage Stack: "Is there a specific name for that singular exhalation laugh that happens when you read something only ...
Curious Layman's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
763 views

About the proper way to call a female dog

In a story set in the mid-nineteenth century, a girl refers to her female dog, but having this girl say “my female dog” sounds emotionless to me for a beloved pet. There is a word and an expression, “...
Roberto's user avatar
  • 23
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 ...
yukimoda's user avatar
  • 133
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,...
Ira's user avatar
  • 13
2 votes
1 answer
266 views

How to rephrase and simplify a title? Need help with sentence structure

I have the following title: Why drinking from a glass bottle is better than drinking from a glass cup at work? I meant to say that there are lots of benefits to drinking from a glass bottle such ...
code_legend's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
64 views

Word order for adverbs in professional prose

I've been editing for my girlfriend, a non-native speaker, recently, and she asked me an interesting question, which we have modified to the following two questions: Which sounds more natural? Which ...
Sean Campbell's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
82 views

Searching for a word in sentence ending in a question

I would like to search for words in a sentence that ends with a question mark - ? For example I have a pdf document or a word document with the following sentence: Which of the following describes a ...
Patterson's user avatar
  • 113
1 vote
1 answer
428 views

How do I list a married couple when one of them is deceased?

I need to list a married couple as honorees on an event invitation. They are the recipients of an award, but the husband has recently passed. If I say the late Joe and Jane Smith, does that imply they ...
Mimi B.'s user avatar
  • 11
2 votes
2 answers
249 views

Difference between "purpose" and "a purpose"

If an author of a book is trying to convey that someone exists for a reason, would this mean the individual has "purpose" or "a purpose"? Or are the terms interchangeable? Here are ...
The Editor's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
61 views

Why use "a throb of sensation" when referring to arousal?

I found this in Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas, set in Victorian England. She felt a throb verb of sensation noun. Shouldn't "sensation" be an adjective instead?
Remove's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote
3 answers
67 views

Alternate Word Choice

I am currently writing a story for fun and was looking for some advice on a scene. The scene involves two lovers having an exchange that goes something like this: Character A smiles warmly. "You ...
Casual Writer's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
76 views

"morally dialectical" is this phrase usable?

I'm wondering if this phrase can be used to characterize two characters, one who is morally good and one who is bad. Specifically I am trying to say that "I want to examine character A and ...
platypus222's user avatar
10 votes
6 answers
6k views

Is there a word that can replace the phrase "said sarcastically"?

Suppose that,during a conversation in a book, one character says something sarcastically. As the author, I want the readers to know that the character was being sarcastic, but I do not want to say ...
Mathematician's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
201 views

Describing light like water

I am currently working on writing a storyline for a text-based videogame. I am trying to describe how there is very little light coming into the room that the character is entering, as the window is ...
hjpoe's user avatar
  • 11
8 votes
9 answers
4k views

Is there an adjective or phrase for trying not to smile at a joke?

I know there exists already "suppressing a smile" or "stifling a smile", but I feel that those phrases imply a lack of a smile. In this situation, something is funny, but the ...
user57350's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
58 views

Narrative flow - word order

Which version sounds more natural and engaging? When Tom got out of the water, he was still scared but at the same time relieved. Everyone else was laughing at what had happened. So, he thought aloud, ...
Simo Ita's user avatar
  • 119
0 votes
4 answers
474 views

Can someone "have a moment of reprieve"?

I'm editing a friend's essay for graduate school. They use the sentence: "I want to help patients have a moment of reprieve." It feels odd to me, but I don't want to make an edit if it's ...
T. Esther's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
100 views

Have you ever heard of the word electromobilists?

I have to check my company's English translations for a new product they have made. The product is an electrical wall box for charging electric cars. They wrote the following sentence: Ideal for ...
Nick's user avatar
  • 103
0 votes
1 answer
73 views

What's the word that means the same as 'compatriots/fellow citizens' but is in a more close-knit and affectionate way?

I'm writing about Vietnamese culture and I want to use a word that is synonymous to compatriots/fellow citizens but the relationship it refers to here must be more intense and intimate like blood ...
Hai Duong's user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
112 views

Is there a word for someone who completely agrees with a political party's platform?

Joe, a <this word> Republican, believes that high taxes and strict business regulations hurt the economy, supports gun rights, and believes abortion should be illegal. John, a <this word> ...
Someone's user avatar
  • 181
0 votes
3 answers
107 views

Are corporations "theys" or "its"?

Because Acme Inc. didn't deliver the item to Joe, he sued them. Because Acme Inc. didn't deliver the item to Joe, he sued it. Which is correct? "Them" sounds right, but because a ...
Someone's user avatar
  • 181
-2 votes
3 answers
89 views

What is a word that would best fit in this sentence?

The Harlem Renaissance has changed America in a ________ way. I'm trying to make the sentence sound professional. Here is what I had at first: The Harlem Renaissance has changed America in a great way....
Boochie Bun's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
48 views

A good one-word synonym for "over-spent'

If you throw a party for 100 people and it ends up with only 5 people showing up, it looks like an over-spent party. It shows that the money has been wasted but it's also unintentionally. Can I also ...
BM of Spadana's user avatar
2 votes
5 answers
474 views

How do you write verbal abuse without it coming off as cheesy?

I have a character who's being abused by his father. While most of the abuse is only implied/referenced and readers instead see the fallout or emotional/physical effects of it, there are a few scenes ...
searchingforareason's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
321 views

Is there an unbiased term for undocumented/illegal immigrants?

"Illegal immigrant" is often used by conservatives to refer to a person who enters a country in violation of that country's laws; "undocumented immigrant" is often used by liberals....
Someone's user avatar
  • 181
1 vote
2 answers
105 views

If one is in a hall of mirrors, at a carnival for example, would this sentence make sense, or is kaleidoscope incorrect (Also Me's?)

I have this sentence in a flash fiction. My alpha/beta readers are unsure if the wording is correct, and I am starting to doubt myself. As I entered, I picked a mirror ahead of me and locked eyes ...
Mikayla's user avatar
  • 11
-1 votes
1 answer
147 views

describing a child's footsteps on stairs

I am trying to write a scene where dad is trying to get house ready for his mother visiting, so he has got up early to tidy and sweep stuff under the sofa (not literally lol) His daughter has woken up ...
Nomdeploom's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
51 views

Supporting letter for business visa application

As part as my application for a business visa, I'm required to provide a supporting letter from my company. However, I'm a bit lost at how to word this correctly, since this is my own company, and I ...
Mike's user avatar
  • 3
2 votes
1 answer
162 views

Using English idioms in a particular fantasy setting?

Using idioms such as "the pot calling the kettle black" in fantasy novels considered to be something that breaks immersion? In a fantasy setting, you wouldn't expect that particular ...
Sayaman's user avatar
  • 14.9k
-1 votes
1 answer
712 views

How to describe types of hum a character uses to convey their thoughts and opinions

I have a character who struggles to put his thoughts, feelings and opinions into words - he finds words somewhat too contained and specifically defined to adequately convey what he wants to say. He ...
aurorajack's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
137 views

How can I justify a choice that seems too binary?

My universe is a fantastical universe, and the area is a Viking area. My three characters are : S, a character who was born female but raised to think they are a man to protect them from their father ...
Kiara Clément-Martin's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
1k views

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 ...
KeiraKnox's user avatar
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 ...
Wojtek's user avatar
  • 131
1 vote
1 answer
423 views

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
Joleneholmes's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
86 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....
Carambamucho's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
740 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 ...
Someone's user avatar
  • 181
3 votes
2 answers
171 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 "...
CLAUDE's user avatar
  • 141

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