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Hi this is my first post !! Salute to y'all nice people!!

I am not a native English speaker so sometimes I concerned about if I picked up the correct word.

The word today is "affection". I try to describe a guy holds a little boy and like it as much as his own son, so I use He shows him(the boy) much affection like to his own son.

I am not sure that's the correct phrase, the reason I use this word is the guy is not the real father to the kid so love sounds too much and like sounds dull. But I am not sure if affection make the guys sounds perverted, from a man to a kid. Because nowadays people need to be careful to show fondness to kids...and my native language does not has a equivalence as this word, we generally use "like" all the time :)

Also I am always confused about this word, it sounds like a little more than like but less than love but with some "love". So what is the normal occasion to use this word? Only to kids? a thing?

Thanks in advance.

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    It wouldn't hurt to use a qualifier such as "fatherly affection". – Kristina Lopez May 28 '14 at 17:41
  • @Kristina Lopez ie 'He had an affection for him' sounds rather strange whilst 'He had a fatherly affection for him' sounds totally acceptable. To someone who's used the language regularly for tens of years. – Edwin Ashworth May 28 '14 at 19:50
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Affection is an acceptable word to use in the context you describe. Other words would be fondness, tenderness, or warmth, as in:

  • His fondness for the boy was like that of a father towards his son.
  • He felt tenderness toward the boy, as if he were one of his own
    children.
  • His warmth toward the boy was like a father's.
  • He affectionately held the boy as if holding his own child.

I think including the phrases like a father, etc. save the description from seeming to indicate an improper relationship.

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