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

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32
votes
17answers
3k views

Secular alternative to “preaching to the choir”?

Is there a secular alternative to the phrase "preaching to the choir"?
18
votes
14answers
11k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
43k 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 ...
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.
14
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
7answers
9k 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
5answers
6k 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 ...
13
votes
10answers
14k 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 ...
11
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
748 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.), ...
9
votes
7answers
2k 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
7answers
64k 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 ...
7
votes
11answers
853 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
724 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
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
8answers
3k 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
6answers
20k 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
521 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
16k 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
2k 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
1answer
171 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
3answers
3k 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

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?"
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
3answers
413 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
31k 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
3k 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
4answers
631 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
4k 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
3k 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
288 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
4answers
113 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 ...
3
votes
7answers
2k 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
1k 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
4answers
81 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
356 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
288 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
337 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
1answer
289 views

Avoid using 'at' twice while addressing subset programs/centers

I was wondering if there is a better way of saying the following sentence: I received the ABC scholarship at the PQR center at the University of Education. I have seen this in many places, but I ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Between '(s)he' & 'he/she' — which is recommended/ preferable?

When talking about or referring to someone who could either be a male or a female, I usually write it as (s)he but I have also seen usage like he/she, which also seems correct to me. I use (s)he ...
3
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
281 views

Unless in third conditional sentences

"Jane wouldn't have found a job unless she had gone to London" is a natural-sounding sentence and has two different meanings, depending on whether Jane really did move to London or not: (1) "Jane ...
3
votes
2answers
338 views

Another word/phrase for precipitation?

Is there some word that I could use in place of precipitation when I don't know if it's raining, snowing, or hailing outside? Saying "there is probably precipitation right now" (in place of something ...
2
votes
10answers
5k views

What are some old-world alternatives or precursors to 'WTF' (expressions of frustration or surprise)? [closed]

Such as 'what on Earth' or 'what in the world', etc. I'm trying to come up with a list of witty alternatives. Note: I'm not looking for alternatives to the letters W, T, and F. I'm looking for ...
2
votes
2answers
263 views

What is the meaning of “greasing the pan”?

In a tutorial, the instructor says: We've greased the pan, now it's time to pour in the batter. The tutorial is technical (IT), and has nothing to do with cooking, so what is the meaning of the ...
2
votes
4answers
5k views

Alternative to “as-well-as” for an academic paper

Is there some better alternative to phrase as well as for an academic writing? It sounds to me too informal. The whole sentence is: Improvements of both parts are possible as well as joining ...
2
votes
2answers
92 views

Alternative to “accessible”

In the context of a technical manual, engineers use the word "accessible" to indicate that a piece of hardware should have "easy access" for repair, maintenance, and other modifications. What would ...
2
votes
4answers
984 views

Alternatives to the noun 'dump' (as in “a data dump”)

What are alternatives to the noun 'dump' (as in "a data dump")? The word dump here refers to the data that gets dumped, in other words, to the mass of what is being dumped. Another not-so-common ...
2
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the proper alternative for 'credentialize'?

Usage: The emergence of a second competitor in the market will help credentialize the product and the vision.
2
votes
4answers
438 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 ...