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She wants to get rid of an affliction that had been haunting her most of her life.

I was thinking if I could make the passage above shorter, say using an adjective instead of that had been haunting her most of her life.

Is there any adjective I can use?

3 Answers 3

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You could say “had been a life-long burden” instead of “had been haunting her most of her life”, and it would read ok.

Also consider replacing “an affliction that had been haunting her most of her life” with “a long-burdensome affliction”.

Note that “She wants to getting rid of” is grammatically wrong. “She wants to get rid of” is grammatically ok. Also note, “get rid of” could be replaced by “allay”, “alleviate”, or similar:

She wants to allay a long-burdensome affliction.

More figuratively, and also closer to cliché (and implying rather than explicitly saying she wants to remove the affliction), one could write:

A horrible affliction had long been her cross.

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  • @jwpat7 Is it lifelong or life-long? I'm confused.
    – wyc
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 7:28
  • @janoChen, wiktionary (for example) lists life-long and life long as alternative spellings of lifelong. Note, ngrams indicates that life-long is most common, lifelong much less so but on its way up, and life long is rarely used. Take your pick and then be consistent. Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 15:16
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You also could use the term perennial

lasting or existing for a long or apparently infinite time; enduring or continually recurring

Another possibility is enduring

continuing or long-lasting:

Your construction could be

She seeks to be free of her perennial [or enduring] affliction.

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  • Perennial usually refers specifically to annual recurrence or surviving the winter. I don't think it has the right connotation for a long-term affliction. Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 5:46
  • @Bradd: perennial might work if the affliction was one that occurred in quasi-regular outbreaks, as opposed to being always existent.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 23:51
  • @J.R. Yes, that would make more sense. Perennial is about periodicity. Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 3:50
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Persistent is a good adjective, though it does not convey life-long. I agree that enduring makes sense in that context.

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