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I would like to include a sentence in a response to a critical reader thanking him for his "fertile" comments, in the sense that they lead to improvements of the text he read. "Fertile" in a figurative sense would seem to me appropriate, however the dictionary entries for this word don't include a figurative meaning going that far (an investigation may be fertile, but not something that a comment or an idea it seems — and a google search seems to agree with that).

What word would you use? 'Fruitful' does not sound appropriate either, because it is not the comment that actually "bears the fruit", but only the work initiated by these comments. I would like to avoid less focused qualificatives as 'intersting comments'.

4 Answers 4

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I think "fruitful comments" is just fine and doesn't really invite any misinterpretation. A Google Books search gives thousands of hits for "fruitful comments".

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Constructive criticism (Wikipedia) is the usual term:

The purpose of constructive criticism is to improve the outcome. In collaborative work, this kind of criticism is a valuable tool in raising and maintaining performance standards.

Leaving off the implicit 'critcism', gives you the single word, constructive.

"Thank you, your criticism was very constructive."

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  • Thanks, that's adequate, although it doesn't carry the whole meaning I was looking for: 'constructive' means that the reader meant to be helpful, but not necessarily that he actually brought some decisive idea. In the context of thanking a critic, I'm even afraid it might be suspected of meaning "you meant well, we think otherwise" (as I have to rebut some of his other criticism)
    – Joce
    Aug 8, 2014 at 7:50
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Perhaps you wish to refer to the comments as thoughtful, or motivational.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I used them as motivation to make improvements.

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I would thank him for his "productive" comments.

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