I have the following sentence (with a noun substituted for "something"): "It's easy to show how something is terrible." This is awkward. I feel like there's a word or elegant phrase for "to show something is terrible", but I can't come up with it. Any ideas?

closed as unclear what you're asking by tchrist, Hellion, TimLymington, Chenmunka, Brian Hooper Nov 18 '15 at 13:11

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • More context would help. – user139454 Nov 3 '15 at 0:57
  • 3
    Your question lacks self-consistency. There is a difference between 'show how something is terrible' as given in your sentence and 'show something is terrible' as in the definition of your single word. Please can you say which you require and edit the question accordingly. Thanks. – chasly from UK Nov 3 '15 at 1:17
  • It depends what kind of a "thing" you're talking about. – Brian Hitchcock Nov 3 '15 at 7:10

You could try words like:

  • denigrate
  • disparage
  • criticize
  • defame
  • malign
  • vilify
  • condemn
  • denounce

There are also phrases such as:

  • highlight the faults of
  • speak ill of
  • cast aspersions on

Unfortunately, none of these provides a certain aspect of the tone of the your original: namely, a sense that the speaker is "in the right." When I read "...to show how..." I am interpreting that there is a certain amount of valid evidence in support of it. By contrast, if I denigrate or denounce something or someone, I could be doing so for any number of subjective or inappropriate reasons.

I think it might be interesting to consider substituting a more specific noun for terrible and using a construction such as:

It's easy to show/prove the _____ of something.

For example,

It's easy to prove the malice of prejudice.

It's easy to highlight the injustice of torture.

It's easy to demonstrate the blight of bigotry.

It's easy to showcase the ills of hatred.


"It is not difficult to expose (something's) malevolence."

"It is not difficult to expose malevolence."

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