0

How can I replace harped on with a more positive expression?

The production manager harped on the new quality assurance regulations for nearly an hour.
6
  • concentrated on ...
    – Jim
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 20:59
  • 1
    Elaborated on... Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 21:10
  • My understanding of this idiom implies a fundamental negative connotation. To me 'harped on' means something along the lines of: disparaging ad nauseam. I don't think there is a way to describe this as a positive thing. If you are more concerned with making it positive than with preserving the meaning of the statement than you should look for a word that describes the fact that he was focusing on QA regs rather than on the fact that he was focusing on their negative aspects. Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 21:15
  • 1
    Dunno if I'm a lone voice here, but the cited example doesn't read like a valid usage to me. So far as I'm concerned, he'd have to have harped on about whatever his subject was. Less negatively he might have elaborated [at length] on his theme. Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 21:16
  • @FumbleFingers- Yes, I've seen that usage too. idioms.thefreedictionary.com/harp+on
    – Jim
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 21:19

6 Answers 6

5

dwell (on):

to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing (often followed by on or upon ): to dwell on a particular point in an argument.

Though, it is usually used for negative things but not necessarily. It is a more positive expression than harp on. Using the preposition upon is more formal and less common.

3

expound: "to explain by setting forth in careful and often elaborate detail <expound a law>"

In this case, you'd probably want to use it with the word on:

The production manager expounded on the new quality assurance regulations for nearly an hour.
3

To wax lyrical:

The production manager waxed lyrical about the new quality assurance regulations.

1
  • +1 if that's what the question meant - continually going on about something in a positive way.
    – Frank
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 11:37
1

A neutral version could simply be:

The production manager spoke about the new quality assurance regulations for nearly an hour.

Putting a positive spin on it:

The production manager spent nearly an hour elucidating the new quality assurance regulations.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/elucidate

To make clear; to clarify; to shed light upon.

0

Consider the following:

  • Focused on
  • zeroed in on
  • concentrated on
  • stressed on
-2

The production manager promulgated on the new quality assurance regulations for nearly an hour.

promulgate

  1. to make known by open declaration; publish; proclaim formally or put into operation (a law, decree of a court, etc.).
  2. to set forth or teach publicly (a creed, doctrine, etc.).

Example of the use of "promulgated on" from [Merriam-Webster]:2

Her ideas have been widely promulgated on the Internet.

4
  • 1
    Have to agree with the Beast here; in American English that is defintely bad usage. You can promulgate regulations, but you can't promulgate on them.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 4:05
  • @keshlam, thank you for your constructive reply but I believe my sentence compares with "the Court promulgated Rules of Civil Evidence" supreme.courts.state.tx.us/rules/history.asp : I am not convinced the omission of the 'on' from the original sentence is necessary. I need to think on it
    – Third News
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 5:01
  • 2
    One can promulgate a law or creed. One can promulgate a law or creed on the internet. In both cases promulgate is synonymous with "spread" or "disseminate". One cannot promulgate on a law or creed. Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 12:41
  • @WhatRoughBeast and I are in agreement, I'm afraid. It's just not a valid usage with "on" or "upon" in that position. At least not in the forms of English I'm familiar with.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 15:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.