Tagged Questions

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.

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2
votes
3answers
142 views

Would it be weird if I write “a simple sample something”?

Not getting too technical, I am writing a configuration file for a piece of software I have developed. This software allows others to write "services" and attach them to my software. I have written a ...
4
votes
3answers
101 views

Floating vs Float

I was writing a short story piece where one person drops something in the water. I got puzzled by the following two choices. Google books seem to be using both of them. Jena and Mike went outside ...
-1
votes
1answer
90 views

Writing for all ages? [closed]

What writing style should be used if you are attempting to write a book for the general public between the ages 9 through 25?
6
votes
3answers
555 views

Problems with constructing a complex sentence with many ideas in it

I am trying to write a sentence that tells the reader that the works displayed that they are about to see will bring them back and forth between the real and virtual realms, in a figurative manner. ...
2
votes
3answers
83 views

My “Bio”. Is the language OK? [closed]

I have a personal website and I have an "about me" text. I though I'd post it here for professionals to tell me if it's OK (English is not my primary language). My name is Primož Kralj, I am 22 ...
2
votes
3answers
293 views

Is “sparkle” the correct word?

Is sparkle correct in this context? Is "Sparkle" used for positive thoughts or is it also possible to use it for negative thoughts? What is better alternative? (If any) What will happen if we ...
3
votes
2answers
249 views

How can I describe the effect of building up a mental exposures? [closed]

The idea that I wanted to convey is that a certain constant exposure to an object would build up a mental library of experiences with the object inside our minds. So, my intention is to write this ...
3
votes
3answers
243 views

A tricky sentence to construct

I'm writing a blog post, and with one of the sentences I want to say that I'm not judging anyone differently to how I judge myself. So I thought I'd go with the "hold someone to account" metaphor. ...
3
votes
5answers
545 views

How do you use “stardust” in a sentence? Is there a better word to describe what I am trying to convey?

I am looking for an expression or a word that will describe my attitude towards a country I've never visited. In this sentence, I want to show to the reader that I've created an idolized and ...
9
votes
9answers
1k views

How to write realistic female dialogue

I just can't make my dialogue sound like it's being said by a woman. As a friend of mine pointed out, "This woman talks just like you, Jack." I tried imitating the speech patterns of various females ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Using “the reader” or “the readers”

When discussing books in a formal essay, is it more appropriate to use "the reader" or "the readers"? For example: Like a true anthropologist, Bill Bryson takes [readers / the reader] on a highly ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

Replacing actually with a more formal alternative [closed]

I have a sentence that reads as follows, "This study shows that performance of method X and method Y are almost identical in ranking task and method X actually outperforms method Y in user ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

When is it correct to capitalize terms/phrases in a personal statement?

I'm writing a personal statement for graduate admissions, and I've a query regarding the use of capitalization in the midst of sentences. For example, is it correct/expected to capitalize the names of ...
6
votes
3answers
644 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
539 views

How to fix awkward “sufficiently… that…” sentence structure?

I have written the following sentence, but I am dissatisfied with its construction. In particular, the that joining the two parts of the sentence reads somewhat awkwardly. Can anyone suggest a better ...
2
votes
3answers
15k views

What is the other way to say “stay in touch”? [closed]

In one of the statements that I'm writing, I wanted to express the idea that the Internet has helped one to stay in touch with friends. I wrote it this way: It is undeniable that the Internet has ...
2
votes
2answers
303 views

Substitutions for 'which' and 'for which' that maintain the sentence's meaning

I am having a bit of a problem trying to substitute the words which and for without changing too much the meaning/flow of the sentence. I have tried the thesaurus, synonyms, etc with no luck. I ...
3
votes
5answers
385 views

How can this technical message be made clearer?

How could this technical sentenced be improved for better clarity? Cannot translate the ‘name1’ concept1 to the ‘name2’ concept2 because the higher precedence ‘name3’ concept3 also exists, which ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Other options for “had had”? [closed]

Although the use of "had had" is grammatically correct, it doesn't read well and seems awkward to me. Take for example the following sentence: I had had enough of this nonsense and was ready to ...
2
votes
3answers
78 views

What is best way to accentuate the positive in an endorsement?

I want to write an endorsement for someone. I have one line that begins like this: "I have no doubt that ..." But I don't like the negative connotation of 'no doubt'. My best alternative of ...
6
votes
2answers
156 views

Finding words through meanings

Is there a place or a type of dictionary or even a good method, that instead of searching for a word, I can search for a meaning and get more words that have similar idea or meaning? For example, if ...
1
vote
2answers
168 views

Is there anything wrong with saying “Thanks” several times in the same email? If not, how could I correct it?

E.g. here is an email I just sent: Hello X, Okay I see - thanks very much for all the code! I'll definitely have to take some time to study it before I can ask any questions. :) Also - ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

A more specific type of “nervous laughter”

A handful of my friends have an odd trait where they say something and immediately laugh after it in an attempt to judge its success. The topic is usually a rant along the lines of, "These people have ...
1
vote
3answers
106 views

Does this convey that I recommend the anthology I'm reviewing?

Here's a snipped-up version of a review of an anthology I wrote a while back (full original review here). Most of the stories were pretty good, a few were superb, and there were a few poor ones. For ...
1
vote
5answers
293 views

Complimenting on solid structure with no major flaws

When reviewing fiction, there's a certain quality that's very important to me, which I can best describe as being "solid." By which I mean: the story is well thought-out, well constructed; it flows ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Is Postscript still useful in the age of email?

"Post script is usually written when a writer forgets to write something on the main body of the letter and wants to add on to what he had written on the letter." But in this age of email and word ...
3
votes
4answers
135 views

Is this clearly expressed: “The real power is information”

I want to say that information is the real power in the world. I want to say it in one clean (short) sentence. Is the following good enough? (My mother language isn't English.) The real power is ...
5
votes
5answers
758 views

How to refer to character of focus in a story

I find that when I write, I'm not always sure how to refer to the character of focus. You can only say "he/she" so many times before it feels choppy and repetitive. Constantly referring to character ...
1
vote
7answers
3k views

Write a resume objective that expresses my desire to hone and sharpen my skills

I wish to convey to prospective employers that I not only want to use my skills, but hone and sharpen them as well. Does the below paragraph do justice to it? Do you have any suggestions? Does the ...
12
votes
7answers
3k views

Why does using this “-ing” verb construction make my writing weaker?

I had to write a scholarship essay, wherein I wrote this sentence: Over the ensuing years I read as much as I could, trying to increase my knowledge and understanding of my own language. I sent ...
7
votes
4answers
985 views

Common words to avoid when writing formally

I am rather useless at writing formal English and sometimes find that I can come across informal with my choice of words. So I wondered what common words and phrases should be avoided when writing an ...
3
votes
3answers
729 views

What is a systematic way of using Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases?

I'm new to the book, and not sure where to start. Please share some ideas on how you as a writer use Roget's. I love that the book has so many different words and I would like to know how you use ...
2
votes
3answers
297 views

Please help me polish this paragraph.

I'm learning English as a foreign language. In one of my writings, one paragraph goes: But it's not saying we just indulge ourselves and turn into wild beasts. We train our brain hard so that we ...
1
vote
1answer
112 views

Critical review of blog post

I wrote a blog post a long time back. For this post I chose a writing style very different from what I'd read or what I'd seen before. Some guys did criticize me and others did acknowledge me for the ...
15
votes
13answers
2k views

How much swearing is TOO much? (And how much is not enough?)

I've noticed that some of the most successful writers refrain from using profanity, such as Stephanie Meyer and Norman Mailer. Are readers turned off by swearing in books? More importantly, is it ...