This tag is for questions about choosing different or alternative words or phrases.

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33
votes
17answers
4k views

Secular alternative to “preaching to the choir”?

Is there a secular alternative to the phrase "preaching to the choir"?
22
votes
3answers
83k views

“Alternately” or “alternatively”

What is the difference between alternately and alternatively? I've seen both words being used, but which one is grammatically correct? He could do X. Or alternately, he could do Y. He could do ...
18
votes
14answers
14k views

How to say “She/He is my girlfriend/boyfriend” without the possessive “my” [closed]

Is there a way to indicate that somebody is your girlfriend without using the possessive term my? I think saying She/He is my partner/other half is OK for married people, but it doesn't feel right for ...
15
votes
18answers
3k views

Is there a less religious alternative to “the creation” when referring to everything that's alive?

Is there an alternative to "the creation" (when referring to everything that is alive) that is less "religious"? After all, having a creation implies there is also a creator.
15
votes
4answers
3k views

Equivalent for “née” in spoken English

Née is a word borrowed from French that means "born as" and is used to denote someone's former name, such as the maiden name of a married woman. It is usually seen as a parenthetical aside: "Jane ...
14
votes
5answers
7k views

What is an alternative to “Bless you” after sneezing? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are alternative responses for when someone sneezes? I know the history/reason why people say bless you to you after you sneeze. My question is, is there an ...
14
votes
6answers
15k views

Can you also say “Take you care” or “Take you care, too”?

As a greeting in parting you often say "Take care" (at least in the US, I am not so sure about the UK). Can you also say "Take you care" or answer with "Take you care, too"?
13
votes
10answers
29k views

Alternative expression for “bang for your buck”

I have been hearing the expression "bang for you buck" many times a day and I find myself distracted when I or others use it. In an effort to be an attentive listener, what is a good alternative ...
12
votes
12answers
2k views

Neutral alternative to “deny” to mean “assert the untruth [of a claim]”

The term "deny" means to reject the truth of some claim. However, it often seems to imply the claim is in fact true, denial notwithstanding. Smith continued to deny that he had shot Jones. I ...
12
votes
3answers
923 views

Is 'compatriate' really an English word?

I recently saw the word 'compatriate' used in a newspaper article. Upon looking it up, suspecting a typo (or even an eggcorn: it is easy to see how compatriot would be mixed-up with expatriate etc.), ...
11
votes
1answer
75k views

Correspond to vs. Correspond with

Is there any significant difference between Correspond to and Correspond with? I only mean in the sense of "matching", here, rather than "communication". I've looked at a few sources, but I can't ...
10
votes
8answers
258 views

Alternative for overchallenged

I'm a non-native speaker, looking for a single term to describe the quality of feeling overwhelmed with a task of work in a person. I found overchallenged on dict.cc, but when I wanted to look it up ...
10
votes
7answers
140k views

What is an alternative for “thank you”?

So... I am seeking a new job and several recruiters are helping me. Instead of saying 'Thank you', should I say 'I appreciate'? Which one is more polite? Could someone please tell me how to express ...
10
votes
6answers
36k views

Alternative to the phrase “not to mention”?

Despite knowing how the phrase "not to mention ..." is often used, it still grates on me to use it because I am in the act of "mentioning" even as I use it. I found it helpful to read the origins of ...
9
votes
7answers
3k views

What is an antonym for “prior” that is shorter than “subsequent?” [closed]

In a software application, two drop-down lists are presented. The first is labeled "relative period" and is populated with "Prior," "Current," and "Subsequent." The second list is labeled "interval" ...
9
votes
15answers
920 views

Alternative to “the blind leading the blind”

I'm looking for an alternative to the blind leading the blind that won't be offensive to anyone. Proverb - Someone who is not capable of dealing with a situation is guiding someone else who is not ...
8
votes
10answers
5k views

What is a less offensive term for “Christian mythology” that still implies it's non-empirical?

I'm trying to find an alternative term for "Christian mythology" that characterizes it as non-empirical, but isn't quite so caustic towards those sympathetic to Christian beliefs. I've considered ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

You cannot “eat your cake and have it” or “have your cake and eat it”?

Which is it? You cannot eat your cake and have it, too. meaning you can have it or you can eat it, but once it's gone there's no cake left to eat. You cannot have your cake and eat it, ...
7
votes
11answers
1k views

Noun (or alternative) of thought-provoking?

I'm planning to start a blog. And before every post, I'm planning to add how thought-provoking I think that post is. So I was thinking about something that I can call thought-provoking-ness level. ...
7
votes
10answers
1k views

Alternative to “a bunch”?

About two years ago I watched some old Monty Python interviews. In one of them, Graham Chapman, a Brit, makes fun of Terry Gilliam (the only American) for his lack of vocabulary. He specifically cited ...
6
votes
8answers
5k views

Alternative to “double entendre”?

Does anyone know another word or way to say double entendre — in the non-bawdy sense of the word — as this phrase was only invented in the latter 1600's and so not around when Shakespeare wrote his ...
6
votes
8answers
2k views

Said In Context: A more appropriate alternative to [sic]?

For a long time, I understood [sic] to mean said in context, but I was told that that said in context is really a backronym. Fair enough. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sic#Improper_abbreviation ...
6
votes
6answers
4k views

What's an alternative idiom to “rob Peter to pay Paul?”

I'm looking for an alternative to the phrase, but I can't seem to figure any out. What's an alternative to "rob Peter to pay Paul?"
6
votes
6answers
667 views

Alternative to “lossily compressed”

Is there a better way to say "lossily compressed"? The adverb lossily can not be found in Merriam-Webster, but the adjective lossy can. It also feels a bit unnatural.
6
votes
4answers
26k views

Is there a better way to say: “My question is, is…” (e.g. “The question is, is it the right time”)

It feels a little weird for me (or should I say to me?) to say: So my question is, is having two 'Is' correct? And also this seems to me incorrect grammatically: So my question is, is ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

end-to-end alternatives

I just received an email that included the phrase soup-to-nuts meaning "end-to-end." Are there any other alternatives to this? eg cradle-to-grave? I want to include some in the reply email.
6
votes
3answers
724 views

Sieve vs filter? Are they opposites?

If I have a set of numbers, and I say I will filter the primes, that means to me that I will remove the primes, and return the remainder. If I have a set of numbers, and I say I will sieve the ...
6
votes
2answers
150k views

What are other alternative ways of saying “how are you?” in business email [closed]

I'm looking for an alternative ways to ask my email recipients about themselves before we go into more serious discussion. I think "how are you" does not sound professional when you are emailing to ...
6
votes
1answer
261 views

Noun adjuncts, possessive or using “of”

meta: This is my first time on your site. I have been teaching English for longer than I care to mention (native speaker). I am trying to find a way of explaining to some intermediate students why ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

Beg to differ - Why is there a need to beg for differ

Wouldn't 'Wish to differ' be better than 'Beg to differ'? A friend of mine asked me why I like to 'beg to differ', instead of 'wish to differ' or 'want to differ'. Any insight on the history of 'Beg ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Non gender-specific alternative to “layman”

Is layman a gender specific term, or can it be used like (college) freshman? Is it still appropriate to use, or has it been superseded by some other term? Specific to IT, it seems more appropriate ...
5
votes
4answers
992 views

Up my street and down the lane [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do I travel “up” or “down” to London from north of the city? Except where there is obvious difference in elevation e.g. on a sloping road, how do ...
5
votes
2answers
12k views

Alternatives to 'respectively'

Is there any other word I can use instead of respectively? This word provides me a way to describe a list of items conveniently in a single sentence and hence save space. I've used this many times ...
4
votes
6answers
549 views

What's another word for “grind thoroughly” or “grind smoothly”?

I want another word for: grind thoroughly or grind smoothly, as in "Help me to grind this pepper thoroughly." i need proper words that could be use instead. I don't know whether you are getting ...
4
votes
6answers
4k views

Alternatives to “skating on thin ice”

The idiom skating on thin ice to express that a person is performing an action that has a great risk is commonplace. What are some good alternatives, both common and uncommon or possibly regional?
4
votes
9answers
884 views

A neutral word to describe ones ability to bypass social expectations in interpersonal interactions?

My assumption is that humans rely heavily on an embedded framework of social contracts when engaging in social interactions. This is for sure both biological and cultural in origin. I'm searching for ...
4
votes
4answers
5k views

Use of “when about” as colloquial alternative to “approximately when”

If I wanted to ask someone approximately when they would be doing something, for example arriving, I could use Approximately when do you think you could do that? Would the following be a correct ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

Is there a short word or slang for “matchmaker”?

I'm trying to find an appropriate name for kind of a dating website. The purpose of the website is to match between people, hence the description - matchmaker. However this word isn't catchy enough. ...
4
votes
2answers
637 views

What is a good alternative to “the film is set in”?

I'm writing a paper about a movie. I would like to start like this: Monsters is a 2010 independent science-fiction film directed by Gareth Edwards and set in the Mexico-U.S. border region. It ...
4
votes
6answers
116 views

Is there a more positive alternative to the word “inevitability”?

Inevitability just sounds so depressing to me. The "inevitability of death" is a glaring example. There has to be a word that means "unavoidable but in a good way" right? Edit: The sentence I'm ...
4
votes
4answers
137 views

Alternatives for “layperson”

We are developing a website and we have different personas (to connect with certain user types). We think layperson is probably not the best and i was wondering if the community here might be able to ...
4
votes
1answer
90 views

Better alternative for “bring something to something”?

Is it correct to say bring some experience to some activity, as in Our product brings new experience to everyday shopping (artificial example) or there is an expression, that fits ...
3
votes
7answers
3k views

Alternatives to “hypocrite”

I'm trying to accurately describe a person who acts in one way and does another but knowingly and openly accepts that his actions also include him in the same group he criticizes. This differs from a ...
3
votes
10answers
3k views

Is there an adjective for someone who can withstand ridicule?

I've been searching both my mind and several thesauruses attempting to find the adjective that best describes this type of person. The term "thick-skinned" is the closest to what I am trying to ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Formal alternative for “suck” [closed]

What is a more decent/formal alternative for the word suck? I want to use it in the context of being bad at something. To be precise, I want to translate "To suck less at a job every day" to formal ...
3
votes
4answers
180 views

Does the word 'Conscripter' exist and if doesn't what is the alternative?

I recently came across the word 'Conscriptees'(Thanks to Pirates of the Carribbean 4) and looked up the meaning for it and found that it referred to the victim of a 'Conscription' which in turn means ...
3
votes
3answers
387 views

Which one is the proper alternative ? niche / field / area / domain

I'm developing software that asks user to specify a niche / field / area / domain of the document he is uploading. It can be business proposal, technical documentation, official stuff, correspondence, ...
3
votes
3answers
302 views

Is there a specific name for a portmanteau of two alternative spellings?

This question came about in a discussion between myself and another user of the Gaming.SE chat after I linked in this chiptune track called An Eskimeau Experience Here is the gist of the discussion: ...
3
votes
5answers
532 views

Word meaning “convalescing” their mental health

Is there an alternative to the verb convalescing for someone recuperating from a mental breakdown, as opposed to convalescing after a physical illness?
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Alternative wording for “Falling into pitfalls”

Context: Are you fully knowledgeable of the subject, or are you falling into the common pitfalls? I don't like having falling and pitfall together. I also think "experiencing the common pitfalls" is ...