Author Topic: 60+ Ways to Replace "That"  (Read 31863 times)  

Offline Cherise

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Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2017, 07:33:15 pm »
At a cafe -- where there isn't much of what actors call business, which means body movement -- the point-of-view character could make little observations about each character's tendencies, past, or tastes before they speak, in order to avoid the script look and keep this in novel territory.

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    Offline Nancy_G

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    Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
    « Reply #26 on: January 02, 2017, 09:50:31 pm »
    Yeah, I struggle with this as well, trying to find something different than smiled or grinned or shrugged. I try to avoid the talking heads syndrome and add action in something they're doing. Great thread!
    Nancy

    Offline Nancy_G

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    Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
    « Reply #27 on: January 02, 2017, 10:02:36 pm »
    I've also found this little gem to inspire descriptions: https://www.descriptionari.com/quotes/blue-eyes/. You can add whatever you're trying to describe like brown hair, green eyes, legs, arms...whatever.
    Nancy

    Offline Nic

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    Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
    « Reply #28 on: January 03, 2017, 06:41:51 am »
    As an editor I see authors constantly, repetitively, describing frowning, smiling, nodding and shrugging.

    As a reader I have to say that I see too many books which are mainly heads talking, with nary an emotion or reaction displayed, and an excess of at least 50-60% dialogue. Dialogue is an important means of exposition in theatre and plays in general. Its usefulness in books is overestimated by many.

    Offline daveconifer

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    Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
    « Reply #29 on: January 03, 2017, 06:56:08 am »
    Yeah, I think trite body language is definitely overdone.  I've read some books where every character is constantly doing these things, and it gets old.  Faces and heads are not like dashboards on a car that indicate emotions or reactions.

    furrowing their brow (concerned)
    mouth fell open (surprised)
    biting or chewing lip (worried)  [sometimes they talk at the same time!  I always act that out when I come to it!]
    lump in throat/it in stomach (upset)
    shrugging (showing that they still exist or sometimes showing that something isn't important)
    grinning (often to indicate approval or pleasure, but really, people don't grin every time they are satisfied or pleased.  It would really be creepy if everybody grinned as often as they do in some books.  That's another one I act out)
    eyebrows raised or arched (surprise)

    edit: I don't have a problem with scowling or frowning, but as somebody else said, if I was worried about finding a different word for it I might be concerned that there was too much of it.

    Great question!  And I realize that I'm just some schmuck whose opinions are just that.
    « Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 06:59:39 am by daveconifer »

    Offline GrandmaBirdie

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    Re: No! Another frown. And a scowl. What else can I use?
    « Reply #30 on: January 03, 2017, 07:52:07 am »
    It is my observation over a long number of years that interesting people include gestures, facial expressions, and body language in casual conversation. Boring people are deadpan and show little emotion or movement to accent or punctuate what they say.

    For the OP, I like "glower."

    Glower used once in a short story would work. More than that, and readers will notice it. Anything that takes a reader out, even for a microsecond, detracts from a piece.

    If a character is aggravated, appropriate body language could include:

    clenched jaw
    crossed arms
    pacing
    tapping foot

    The same character, if angry, might exhibit:

    bared teeth
    flared nostrils
    stamping a foot
    wide-legged stance

    The post provides many such alternatives.

    Offline GrandmaBirdie

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    Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #31 on: January 09, 2017, 06:21:55 am »
    To have, or not to have? That is today's question.

    The importance of have can't be ignored. As an auxiliary verb combined with a past participle, have forms the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect tenses, as well as the conditional mood. However, when used to express ownership, it can weaken writing.

    Consider a woman in a black dress as she walks down the street. You could describe her in several ways:

    She had a black dress.
    She owned a black dress.
    She paraded a black dress.
    She wore a black dress.
    She flaunted a black dress.
    She modeled a black dress.


    Over 100 Ways to Say "Have"


    Edited to restore link. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 06:33:13 pm by Becca Mills »

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #32 on: January 09, 2017, 07:46:36 am »
    Not sure about your example. If I am describing what a person is wearing, I would say "she wore..." Not "she had..."

    She had a black dress merely states possession. It is a bad sentence not because of the word had, but because it doesn't tell us anything out of context.

    She wore a black dress is a neutral statement.

    She modeled a black dress implying that she is showing the dress to someone else.

    She paraded a black dress sounds silly. Is she a Mummer? Maybe she paraded around in the black dress would make sense, implying that she was showing off.

    She flaunted a black dress also sounds silly. Is she taunting someone with the dress? "I bought it and you couldn't" sort of thing?

    Don't just change a word because some blog tells you the word is overused. Use the RIGHT WORD at the RIGHT TIME. Every one of those examples has a completely different meaning. They are not interchangeable words for "had." I see this all the time as an editor. Writers using "cute" words to try to avoid overuse of a "bad word" when there is nothing wrong with the word they should have used. It is like those blog posts telling you to avoid the word "said" in dialogue.

    Words have meaning. We shouldn't just grab a thesaurus and swap out words without making sure we are using the right word in the right context.

    Offline The Bass Bagwhan

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #33 on: January 09, 2017, 07:51:19 am »
    "Her dress was black".
    Don't over-complicate things. If you're ever referring to a list of "100 Alternatives" to a term such as "have" you need to reassess what you're trying to do.
    And as I'm writing this Julie beat me to it!
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    Offline unkownwriter

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #34 on: January 09, 2017, 07:51:39 am »
    Well said, Julie.

    Offline GrandmaBirdie

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #35 on: January 09, 2017, 08:04:56 am »
    Use the RIGHT WORD at the RIGHT TIME. Every one of those examples has a completely different meaning. They are not interchangeable words for "had."

    Exactly. Had is weak. If the woman has lost twenty pounds and wants to show off her new figure, she might flaunt the dress. If the dress is new and she's looking for reactions, she might model it. The correct verb choice will enliven writing.
    « Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 09:03:05 am by GrandmaBirdie »

    Offline GeneDoucette

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #36 on: January 09, 2017, 08:12:22 am »
    the dress had a woman inside of it

    Offline Not any more

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #37 on: January 09, 2017, 09:26:03 am »
    the dress had a woman inside of it
    but we were able to rescue her before the insatiable garment completed its meal
    This post remains on KBoards over my objections.

    Offline daveconifer

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #38 on: January 09, 2017, 09:56:19 am »
    the dress had a woman inside of it

    Post of the year!

    Offline eroticatorium

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #39 on: January 09, 2017, 10:04:00 am »
    the dress had a woman inside of it

    The female's corpus was located within the confines of a piece of fabric constructed according to cultural fashions and governmental regulations to qualify as a "nice dress" whose threads were dyed in order to absorb all light, generating a color that humans refer to as "black".
    All that you would, you are

    And that is the crown of a craving.

    You are slaves of the wormwood star.     

    Analysed, reason is raving.
           Feeling, examined, is pain.

    What heaven were to hope for a doubt of it!

    Life is anguish, insane

    And death is - not a way out of it!

    Offline AkariaGale

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #40 on: January 09, 2017, 02:50:47 pm »
    The female's corpus was located within the confines of a piece of fabric constructed according to cultural fashions and governmental regulations to qualify as a "nice dress" whose threads were dyed in order to absorb all light, generating a color that humans refer to as "black".

    Lulz forever! You aiming that award they give to worst writing of the year?  :P

    Offline Calvin Locke

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #41 on: January 09, 2017, 03:27:35 pm »
    To have, or not to have? That is today's question.

    The importance of have can't be ignored. As an auxiliary verb combined with a past participle, have forms the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect tenses, as well as the conditional mood. However, when used to express ownership, it can weaken writing.

    Consider a woman in a black dress as she walks down the street. You could describe her in several ways:

    She had a black dress.
    She owned a black dress.
    She paraded a black dress.
    She wore a black dress.
    She flaunted a black dress.
    She modeled a black dress.




    link removed -- promotion not allowed in the WC :) --Ann


    I am not sure 'had' is weak here, as much as it is just not proper. Now, if you said, 'She had ON a black dress' it would be appropriate, and yes, a bit weak.

    Offline The Bass Bagwhan

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #42 on: January 09, 2017, 04:33:23 pm »
    Don't get me started on dialogue tags... my pet hate is "She/he stated".
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    Offline daveconifer

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #43 on: January 09, 2017, 05:05:18 pm »
    She had a black dress -- in her hands.  "I can't believe it's okay to walk around this place naked," Graeme stated.  "What does she think this is?  A parade?"

    Offline Flay Otters

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #44 on: January 09, 2017, 05:14:17 pm »
    So...many...rules.
    "James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher."
    I have had it with had.

    Offline mdrake

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #45 on: January 09, 2017, 05:47:32 pm »
    Can we just not with the stupid rules threads?  ::)

    Kboards is like an oasis in the sea of crappy forums dedicated to people arguing over adverbs and how many times "was" gets used in a novel.

    Offline JRTomlin

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #46 on: January 09, 2017, 06:29:38 pm »
    The use of 'had' you might find in that sentence more realistically is 'She had a black dress on.' That is a sentence that works and if it's not an important point, you might go with it. I don't love it, but some things aren't worth working yourself to death over (unless you're James Joyce and know the 7 words you wrote today but not the order they should go in).
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    Offline Reveries

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #47 on: January 10, 2017, 01:48:59 am »
    A quote from Stephen King. Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.
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    Offline unkownwriter

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #48 on: January 10, 2017, 04:53:58 am »
    Can we just not with the stupid rules threads?  ::)

    Kboards is like an oasis in the sea of crappy forums dedicated to people arguing over adverbs and how many times "was" gets used in a novel.

    I agree that this is indeed an oasis in the sea of craft wars. Except that these "rules" no one wants to bother with often save one from bad writing. And some are actually rules about grammar, which so, so many writers I've read lately really need to know. Spelling, grammar and punctuation have been standardized for a long time, and not knowing them is often excused as being "new", and also by people not wanting to spend the time to learn them.

    Discussions about things like use of "said" need to be prefaced for newbies by a warning that only occasional use of other words should be considered. Those "5000 alternatives to X" are an abomination. And why are we even talking about such stuff any more? Any decent writing book covers the subject, and more, so aspiring writers should already know this. If they don't, there's no reason they can't learn.

    Offline GeneDoucette

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    Re: Do You Overuse This Verb?
    « Reply #49 on: January 10, 2017, 05:05:09 am »
    A quote from Stephen King. Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.

    I love this

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