What verb or gerund could be used in this circumstance? I was thinking something along the lines of "affect", but I am looking for a better word.The sentence it would fit into is:

"In Richard III, curses are used as a method of ________ (affecting) God's plan."

I'm looking for a word that carries a positive connotation and implies that the curses are being used to carry out God's plan while building onto it and swaying it in the favor of the ones who utters the curse.

  • You need to clarify. Many words could fit there. Do you mean changing the original plan, adding on to to it or something else? Is this supposed to be positive or negative?
    – Mitch
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 17:33

2 Answers 2


One of the usages of Subvert:

  1. To cause to serve a purpose other than the original or established one; commandeer or redirect: "a short, virus-like piece of DNA that replicates itself ... by subverting the cell's DNA replication machinery" (Richard Dawkins). - thefreedictionary.com

This would additionally carry the implication of also undermining the plan, which is as it is not clear that is at issue, perhaps a better option is either:


  1. To take or assume for one's own use; appropriate: co-opted the criticism by embracing it. (ibid.)


Appropriate (verb)

  1. To take possession of or make use of exclusively for oneself, often without permission: My coworker appropriated my unread newspaper (ibid.)

There are multiple words you could use, so I'll present ones that occur to me, and try to say a little about their connotation.

The most technically dry phrasing I can think of is replacing God's plan - curses have overwritten God's plan, and inserted themselves instead. Overwriting God's plan would also work, for that matter, as would superseding God's plan, or supplanting God's plan.

Given God's status, there's an argument to add a little emotional punch here, so replacing would probably come across as too plain. Words with somewhat more flavor include usurping, upending, or upsetting. All three of these don't really connote replacement, and they're certainly not orderly. But maybe that's what you want.

You might try looking up these words in a thesaurus, to see if you turn up something better. (One of these days, I'd like to find a reliable thesaurus that discusses differences between synonyms in terms of connotation and context.)

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