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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0
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1answer
72 views

Can one of my POV characters have the last name Thibodaux and get published?

I live in Louisiana, and names with french origins are very common here. So we all know how they're pronounced. I'm worried that a publisher will want me to change the name as it may not be so obvious ...
20
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7answers
7k views

How much detail is too much?

I've read a few amateur stories online and sometimes the author will include so much detail that the reader gets a little bored or distracted and forgets what the actual story is talking about. How do ...
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0answers
51 views

When writing a piece that will be published in multiple languages, are there any concessions a writer should make in tone, word choice, or style?

The piece in question aims to be accessible, informal, and conversational. A bit of slang strikes the right tone to my American ear. Will it come off alright to other English speakers? Will ...
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1answer
24 views

mentioning time span in a thesis (from 2019 to 2020)

I would like to know if there is a need for the word "year" in this part of the sentence: "..., that took place from the 2019 to 2020,...". Should it be: "..., that took ...
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0answers
20 views

References explaining the term “fire in the belly”? [migrated]

What is etymology of the phrase "fire in the belly"? What is known about what it refers to? Thank you.
2
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1answer
73 views

Any suggestions on how to romantically describe a woman's brown hair? [closed]

Does anyone know a heartfelt, romantic way to describe the brown hair of a woman/girl? For now, all I have is "silky brown hair," but it just doesn't flow in my poem. This is not official, ...
2
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1answer
74 views

Similar words/phrases random generator

I recall using a website where a user could input a set of words or phrases and the website would generate similar words or phrases, which "felt like" (but didn't repeat) the original words/...
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3answers
8k 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 naming the emotion, “She was angry”, you would show the emotions happening by saying, “...
2
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3answers
105 views

What name should I use?

I am writing about my local airport which has had two other names which name should I used through out the writing about it? An example is JFK in New York was originally called Idlewild Airport would ...
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4answers
94 views

How to refer to a crowd of many different species?

How could I say the equivalent of "A pouring wave of humanity," when there are more than one species in the scene being described?
3
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1answer
69 views

How to list main ideas in a conclusion chapter without being repetitive with the wording?

In the conclusions chapter of my book (technical, non fiction writing) I want to go over the main ideas I addressed throughout the entire book, as a reminder for the reader and really drive in some of ...
2
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4answers
123 views

Looking for a better word than “Yikes”

I'm trying to find the right word to use in a (serious) comic I'm writing. The character is an eighteen year old American girl, talking to some older women who she's just met. Suddenly, in mid-...
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1answer
53 views

What is a good name for my fantasy species that's not too long? [closed]

I made a fantasy species,a dragon. It's based off of a Siberian tiger, a bearded dragon, and a fruit bat. But the trouble is, i'm not sure how or what to name it. It's main features are it's throat, ...
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3answers
136 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
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1answer
165 views

Using “her/him” twice in a sentence

I'm an English learner, and I had a question about writing "her" twice in one sentence. For example, what would sound better for formal writing? (This is not an actual sentence that I'm using.) This ...
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2answers
3k views

How to “show” a “Yes” head confirmation

How can I "show" that my character is saying "yes" as a respond from a question? The only thing that comes to my mind is Mike moves his head, confirming that he is okay. I think this is not good ...
-1
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1answer
57 views

How can I make this formal paragraph more exciting, engaging and friendly? [closed]

Text: "Your order has been received. A digital proof of your personalized item will be sent to you via Etsy Conversation within 1 business day of placing your order. With your confirmation that the ...
1
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1answer
295 views

How to describe an innocent girl in a group of friends?

I'm writing a story and I'm trying to find words/phrases to describe the more innocent girl. These girls are all sophomores in high school, and this girl is kinda like the baby of the group that they ...
26
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12answers
6k views

How do I define smells I have never experienced?

I am a lifelong writer, who was also born without an ability to smell. I have been trained to engage the reader by applying the five senses, or as many of the five as is practical without becoming ...
8
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2answers
26k views

Alternative word for “she”

I am writing about a female person. I noticed most of my sentences start with "she". Is there a way to avoid using this pronoun too many times, and use an alternative word instead? I have tried ...
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1answer
55 views

Software or Softwares [closed]

It seems to me that softwares is incorrect. I am of the opinion that software is partitive. I try to use some software or piece of software. Do you think it is incorrect to say softwares?
4
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1answer
56 views

Ordinal form of an unknown value

In some science and engineering literature, it is common to right the ordinal form of an unknown number m as mth. While the ordinal form of number 1 is first, it is also commonly written as 1st. I was ...
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3answers
87 views

Searching for a word about a particular feeling

I'm trying to find a very specific word for a very specific feeling, and have had zero luck other places on the Internet with finding even a reference to this. I'm hoping to invoke this particular ...
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3answers
92 views

What's the rule on revealing something to the audience, but not the characters?

This is a common problem I have writing fantasy. Most of the trouble comes from revealing a monster, but for the characters who have never seen the monster before, they don't know what it is. One ...
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3answers
75 views

What word would people with outdated technology make up for a plane? [closed]

In my story, my characters live in the wilderness, and they have no modern technology. They do see ruins from the past (from now) but other than that they have no idea how advanced other parts of the ...
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2answers
33 views

Will I use “the” in that instance or leave it with no article? [closed]

If I'm given a choice, to put "the" or leave the word with no article, what's the better answer? The world helps in boosting young confidence. The world helps in boosting the young confidence. Thank ...
16
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5answers
10k views

How to refer to siblings who are friends?

Two of the MCs in the novel I'm working on are half-sisters, and also great friends. Currently, when referring to them, I alternate between using "sisters" and "friends". A Beta-Reader pointed out ...
1
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1answer
97 views

How to use the word “Dysphoria” in a sentence to show distress and sadness? [closed]

I'm writing a sentence which goes like this: I could sense the dysphoria setting in her voice even through a noisy phone call. Is this the correct use of the word?, what else can I use to make ...
2
votes
2answers
99 views

Referring to machines and sensors as “knowing”

I'm editing a technical text about autonomous systems. I feel the following sentence is anthropomorphizing a machine and also introduces some confusion because it can be easily misread as talking ...
28
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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 ...
4
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4answers
657 views

Usage of archaic words

I am a non-native speaker trying to write in English. Due to my reading of chiefly dated English literature, my vocabulary consists of many terms that are regarded as being archaic nowadays. In the ...
6
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5answers
1k views

Finding the right insults

As a non-native Anglophone, it can be a bit more of a challenge to do creative writing in English. Thesauri have helped me a lot, improving sentences like "Sokka caught his boomerang" to "Sokka ...
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1answer
129 views

What is the literary device called for a “serious” pun?

I ask this because I'm quoting a line from a song in my paper and the play on words is signifying something dark and somber, not something humourous which is what a pun would do. Specifically the ...
82
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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 ...
28
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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 ...
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2answers
105 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 ...
2
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4answers
183 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
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4answers
2k 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 ...
34
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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 ...
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3answers
2k views

How can I search for words by meaning/definition?

Where can I search for words using descriptive sentences? For example, now I'm looking for a word meaning "to purify (by hand) a quantity of grain and take away anything that isn't good grain." How ...
2
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2answers
136 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 ...
2
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2answers
66 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 ...
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3answers
1k views

Is concurrent first person / third person usage absolutely unacceptable?

Background: My understanding about first person / third person is this: choose a voice and maintain it throughout the piece. However, when writing marketing-type information, I find myself switching ...
11
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5answers
1k views

Should I use the terms “people” “person” “man” and “woman” in fantasy setting?

So I'm writing a story and the setting is that there are two worlds: the world of humans and the world of (insert species name here). Now I'm wondering if it's okay to use the terms/words "people," "...
10
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8answers
844 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 ...
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
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1answer
93 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
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3answers
2k views

How to have a character be nameless for the first few paragraphs of a book?

Let me first explain what is going in in the beginning of the story: My main character belongs to a tribal culture that requires their children pass a rite of passage to earn their name. So I'm kind ...

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