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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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-2
votes
2answers
41 views

Are using the adverbs gradually and greedily to describe the same verb contradicting? [closed]

For example, the man eats greedily, gradually, with no hesitation
0
votes
2answers
101 views

How to get more powerfull on expensive words? [closed]

How to learn the powerful words, that usually gets the attention of readers first?
17
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10answers
10k views

Why are one-word titles so dominant in books, film, and games?

Something I talk about with friends when planning and sharing our projects & media we like is titles - and specifically my disdain for one-word titles. They seem to be more than dominant in ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

The use of “expression” or “expressing” Is this the expressing or the expression of the problem? [migrated]

Do you present the re-telling of an old tale as "the expression of the tale or the expressing of the tale?
28
votes
13answers
8k views

Should I avoid “big words” when writing to a younger audience?

I was writing the other day and I used the word "ubiquitous". While I don't think "ubiquitous" is the most egregious example of "Using Big Words To Sound Intelligent", and would be perfectly ...
2
votes
4answers
163 views

Is it the right call to title my romance a 'legend'?

I am writing a book and I plan to call it "Legend of (name of the protagonist)". But I'm writing in first person (protagonist). Searching the meaning of the word "legend" in google I get: "a ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

How do you use the interjection for snorting?

How do you use the interjection for snorting? I was told that "snort" is an onomatopoeia, but I disagree. "Haha" and "Heh heh" would be onomatopoeia, because they are pronounced the way they are ...
-1
votes
3answers
104 views

Is there a convention about the use of Old English in Hymns? Is it wrong to modernise the words?

Although most hymns were written in earlier centuries, I notice that modern-day collections of them tend to keep the use of old English in them. For example: Use of Begger instead of the more modern ...
2
votes
2answers
126 views

Is there any popular wisdom on the word “seem”?

I've just started noticing this word a lot in books. Something about it rubs me the wrong way. For example, I read a book where the following happened I stumbled to the ground and hit my head. I ...
35
votes
13answers
14k views

Should I use the words “pyromancy” and “necromancy” even if they don't mean what people think they do?

If you look up the exact definition for "pyromancy" or "necromancy" they refer to divination using fire and the dead, respectively. However, if you were to ask a layperson what those words mean, they ...
2
votes
2answers
63 views

Autobiography vs Perspective

When discussing the life story (fictional/non-fictional) of an inanimate object (like a brick not AI), is it appropriate to claim this endeavor as an autobiography of an inanimate object, when it ...
25
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9answers
4k views

A torrent of foreign terms

I am writing a short story, about a particular field with multiple specific terms, none of which are in English. (Specifically, I'm writing about bullfighting, but the question could apply to other ...
4
votes
1answer
81 views

A pulse, a throb, and a beat

I wrote a passage where one of my characters heard beats, (i.e., the sound) then he found the beating object and, when he held it in his hand, it started throbbing like a heart, (i.e., the feeling). ...
10
votes
8answers
639 views

How do I sound like Thanos when I write?

This is really a dumb question but as a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I have watched Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame so many times. One of the most interesting things that popped ...
4
votes
2answers
72 views

What effect does compounding bring when used in the title of a song, poem, story?

What effect does compounding bring when used in the title of a song, poem, story? Sometimes, you see word that are made of two conjoined words, and you wonder what's the point of it. Does it make a ...
6
votes
1answer
105 views

Is there any tool that gives us a list of verbs often used with a certain word?

Is there any tool that gives you a list of verbs often used with a certain word? Sometimes, you forget certain words so you spend time trying to remember and it can be really frustrating at times. Is ...
15
votes
2answers
967 views

Preferred word for “preferred”, “target”, “chosen” in end user support documentation

I'm having trouble finding and sticking to one word to indicate whatever value the user intends to use with my instructions. For example: Select your preferred printer. I'm wondering what ...
2
votes
1answer
39 views

Can I use a slightly informal approach using words such as 'we' and 'you' in an English essay?

From the first WE see of Macbeth, he is a battle-hardened warrior that does anything for the greater good. Or Act II Scene II is where WE first begin to notice the skin under this seemingly ...
8
votes
4answers
973 views

Using “sparkling” as a diminutive of “spark” in a poem

How would you react if you saw the word “sparkling” being used as a diminutive of “spark” in a poem? Although poetry does allow for potentially unlimited flexibility, as a non-native speaker I wonder ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

A flower's head or heart?

I’m currently writing a story and one of my characters is a butterfly. In one of the scenes, she manages to run away from a bunch of hungry lizards and hides into a flower; let’s say a Zinnia. When ...
3
votes
1answer
83 views

Does the word 'authored by' imply the non-existence of co-authors? [closed]

In an article I'm co-authoring, I'm about to say the following: ... d is the number of articles authored by John Doe ... But then I thought this would be better: ... d is the number of articles ...
3
votes
2answers
131 views

How do I improve my “impact” in writing?

I don't know the exact word for it, but I hope I make it clear what I mean by "impact" soon. My favorite pieces of writing are Rosa Luxemburg's Junius Pamphlet, the lyrics to this Phil Ochs song, and ...
13
votes
8answers
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
58 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
60 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
59 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
165 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
68 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
133 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?
28
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
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3answers
203 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
177 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
151 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
104 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.
81
votes
9answers
15k 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
207 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
98 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
85 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
313 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
204 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
523 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
127 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
426 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
138 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
199 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
172 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
284 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, ...