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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

-1
votes
3answers
62 views

Avoid repeating specific words with no synonyms

For a short essay assignment (650 word limit), I'm writing about how my experiences with learning Norwegian shaped me as an individual with the underlying idea centered around how sharing a common ...
1
vote
0answers
69 views

This is right. Or that is right? [migrated]

Opinions sought. I vaguely remember that the expression "This is right" (meaning "I agree with what you just said") appeared in the 1970s. And I remember it because, if I remember correctly, it ...
1
vote
1answer
129 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
63 views

How do you describe the sound of someone being dragged across the floor? [closed]

So I'm writing this story and got stuck on the part where two of my main characters arrived at this house and they hear dragging but the problem is I don't know how to describe the dragging without ...
0
votes
0answers
9 views

In science writing, what to call the body in relation to the brain? [migrated]

The word "body" is problematic when writing about the brain. Look at these two sentences: "The brain sends signals to the body." "The brain is an organ in the body." The first sentence considers ...
1
vote
3answers
54 views

Using filler words like 'So', 'Anyway'

I find myself using these words all the time. Now (<-- there's one!), to be clear the context I'm using them is in conversational style writing, on social commentary, or in forum posts like ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

What phrase can I use to describe connected concepts [migrated]

I am searching for a more sophisticated phrase that would express a specific connection between items mentioned in my paper. I wish to explain that the connection is not like a vertical line but more ...
0
votes
2answers
41 views

Synonym for 'overly obvious'? [closed]

Writing about Waugh. Nanny Hawkins is first described thus: 'her hands lay open in her lap and, loosely between then, a rosary; she was fast asleep'. I find the rosary reference to be TOO blatant, ...
0
votes
2answers
31 views

How to avoid repeating the adjective “corresponding”? [closed]

I have the following sentence (I am not native): If the context relies on a single anchor (Self, Parent, Following), the nodes within the corresponding scope are treated with regard to this ...
2
votes
3answers
68 views

How to express myself in a sensible way

I find really hard to express myself I mean it's pretty difficult write clearly what I mean. Any time I try to write something even for my job I am stuck, I look at the page and no words come to my ...
4
votes
4answers
104 views

Should word choice be varied or consistent?

I've heard from some English teachers that word choice should be varied because consistent word choice is boring, but I've heard from a different English teacher that word choice should be consistent. ...
1
vote
3answers
36 views

How to describe a hypnotized state? [closed]

I'm making a computer game. In one of the dialogs, one of the characters observes some factory workers who have been brainwashed by some alien species and drive forklifts up and down the factory yard ...
1
vote
3answers
55 views

Is using “gonna” in first-person narrative acceptable?

From what i understand, an author is supposed to conform to proper grammatical convention both when writing in third-person and first-person narrative. Is a sentence like this considered "acceptable" ...
5
votes
4answers
96 views

Using “and/or” in a manuscript

I've used "and/or" in my writings in the past, but not for fiction manuscripts. Is it acceptable to use this? It's internal narration in a character's head and intended to have a bit of morbid humor ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

online database of clever phrases

Is there a website that has a collection of clever or poetic phrases or expressions that one can search or browse through. What about a book? I used to have a book like this but I lost it. It had ...
1
vote
3answers
128 views

Female Pet Names that a Londoner might use

I was wondering about female pet names, like darling, sweetie, pet, babe etc. One of my characters refers to his other half as "pet" but I've been told that this is common to the North East (UK). As ...
4
votes
2answers
563 views

Including a deceased person in a dedication

What is the convention when you want to dedicate a work to someone who is dead? It is necessary to be explicit about that? For example, I am writing my thesis and would like to dedicate it to my ...
1
vote
3answers
103 views

Does the word erection have a neutral tone with its non-sexual definition?

I want to write: Our higher-profile projects include the delivery and erection of large exhibition stands for --company name-- at --redacted-- Championship; The emphasis is only to highlight the ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

How to improve quality of this answer? [closed]

Someone asked on Quora I want to write my autobiography. How do I start? I have given following answer, You must be remembering lots of things when you were young. Just try to list them as you ...
2
votes
1answer
39 views

Satirical prophecy

I have been trying to write stories about possible but improbable futures sort of like Idiocracy or Conan O'Brian's "in the year two thousand" skit. Will sounds too much like must, and could makes ...
7
votes
5answers
398 views

Will using real-world cultural vocabulary in a fantasy setting disengage readers?

If I have certain minor rituals/garments/culture tidbits in a fantasy setting that mirror those of Earth, and I describe them using the real-world vocabulary, will that disengage readers from the ...
4
votes
3answers
78 views

Resource for idioms

I'm not a native English speaker and I have a hard time finding good words sometimes. Sometimes I feel like there should be an idiom for the thing I want to say, but cannot remember it correctly. For ...
13
votes
12answers
1k views

How do expert writers avoid using “I” when they have to refer to themselves in their article?

How do competent authors, in a refined and perhaps (slightly) formal way, refer to themselves without saying I? I've seen the term "this writer" somewhere. How is it with a native? Are there other ...
5
votes
1answer
436 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
323 views

Indicating a word choice you're unsure of

I've often had situations where I'm unsure of the correct word to be used, either when writing or proofreading. How can this sense be indicated in writing? Someone mentioned adding a question mark ...
2
votes
3answers
160 views

Thesis writing: how to address “self”

This came up when I was writing my thesis: Usually it is recommended that when writing a thesis, one sticks to passive voice and use sentences that read like "The study showed the effect that blah ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

What can I use instead of “but” and “however”?

I just noticed I tend to use "but" and 'however" in almost every paragraph. Examples (all of them are from the same story): I almost let everything out. But, funny, I didn't. I didn't want him ...
1
vote
3answers
273 views

Does the word 'bazaar' instead of 'market' seem more catchy?

Under what specific condition should I use 'bazaar'and what famous writers have used it? I know some Indian writers have, but does someone know any notable English writer who has used that word?
1
vote
1answer
133 views

how to make this thank quote sound more eloquent [closed]

I am trying to write a thank quote and wanted to seek advice on how to make it sound more eloquent... "To my joyful and loving /name of person/, who brings me the joy and peace to be able to do my ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

When to use pronouns, and when to repeat yourself?

This is a quote from one of my favorite movies: "There are nearly thirteen million people in the world. None of those people is an extra. They're all the leads of their own stories." - Synecdoche, ...
1
vote
1answer
125 views

young age, youthful age? [closed]

It would be great if you could help me phrase this sentence: Many primary schools students also fail to recognise the importance of consuming breakfast due to their age . Any suggestions for the ...
3
votes
2answers
534 views

Can I use idioms in my personal statement?

I was wondering if I can use expressions such as "I was flooded with ideas", "It would get me closer towards my desired career" or "it worked like a charm" in my personal statement as it is considered ...
3
votes
4answers
175 views

What's a word for a person who took a very rough story and made it into a book?

I have written a book. Well, actually, my mother-in-law told the story of her experiences as a German forced laborer in the Soviet Union after World War 2. This was given in German and recorded onto ...
1
vote
2answers
344 views

Ways to refers to two people who were about to marry or just married

I wrote the following: A bright red carpet ran all the way from the entrance to right beneath the altar. Enclosing it on both sides, were two rows of long benches—each of them with a tiny ...
7
votes
5answers
430 views

Swearing - Censor, allude, or include?

I was reading this thread, but it didn't quite the answer a question I had about creative writing and whether profanity should be used or not, in a way that is best for creative storytelling. Here's ...
-2
votes
1answer
189 views

Style Critique (1200 words) [closed]

The Shade of the Magnolia Tree Against the carmine coloured sand his robes seemed to fade. With a jump a bolt of pure crimson followed him like a shadow. His robes broke the unending horizon of the ...
8
votes
3answers
305 views

Techniques to write for a wider audience

Many years ago, I wrote a short story that used specific information from my cultural background e.g. a belief that if you dream something, it is a form of a vision (superstition, some may say!). This ...
4
votes
3answers
672 views

Is it better to omit phrases like: after a moment, after a while, for a moment, etc?

I also find myself writing stuff like this: (dialogue) They remained silent for a moment. A dog barked at the distance. (dialogue) and this: His stomach started to growl after a ...
-1
votes
2answers
162 views

how to use `and so on` or `blabla` in the middle of a sentence?

in the following sentence: We forge such concepts like agent's IP, agent's port, agent's sequence number and so on for ease of explanation. We forge such concepts like agent's IP, agent's port, ...
5
votes
4answers
274 views

think, I think, I don't think

I use "think", "I think" and "I don't think" in my writing a lot. Can you suggest a few ways to reduce it and few alternative ways of saying the same thing? Look at the below sentences I have ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Placing similes at the beginning and at the end of a sentence

Would the following sentences have different effects on the reader? He washed his hands thoroughly, like a surgeon after an operation. Like a surgeon after an operation, he washed his hands ...
4
votes
4answers
389 views

Does writing in a certain mood change how a writer writes?

I'm not sure if this is right for this part of Stackexchange, but since there is no psychology section, here we go: I'm currently writing the same short story several times with the intention of ...
0
votes
2answers
702 views

How to describe the dissipation of tension between two people?

I'd like to describe the sense of two people, one who is angry (call him Joe) at another (call him Bob), but upon hearing Bob's retort, Joe reconsiders his position and changes his mind about being ...
6
votes
4answers
453 views

How to avoid specifying the gender in English when the original text does not specify it?

I'm translating a short story from Korean into English. One problem I frequently face is the 'antecedent pronoun agreement' when the original text leaves the 'gender' of the subject unspecified (and ...
0
votes
2answers
213 views

Strange ungooglable symbol. What does it mean? What is it called? § [closed]

I'm not sure if this symbol will show up in everyone's browser, so I'll describe it also; It looks like an S with a o in the centre vertically. Here it is: § I've seen this symbol used as a bullet ...
1
vote
2answers
210 views

Which animal symbolises trade? [closed]

Different animals symbolise different objects or actions. For example: Bird for letter or postman. Horse for speed and power. Bull for aggressivitet and anger. Im looking for an animal or ...
6
votes
2answers
269 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
7k views

How do greetings vary with time of day?

A character in a story meets another and the author is keeping time of day, as in "the clock was indicating 12 noon". How do the characters greet each other? Kindly include salutations for each time ...
4
votes
5answers
312 views

What is the proper way to use the pronoun “I” without too much repetition?

I found a new job in London and while emailing with my soon-to-be boss, I noticed something that drove me off: the constant repetition of the pronoun I. This is very different from my native language ...
1
vote
2answers
205 views

Possible interactions of punctuation marks with the word “however” in a novel

When using the word however in my story, I feel like using a semicolon before it disrupts the flow of words in the readers head too much. So, is the usage of a comma or semicolon necessary in front ...