"My brother looked down at the water and he saw his own reflection in the sea."

Is this sentence correct to convey the meaning of seeing one's reflection in sea water, i.e., when one stands and looks straight down at the sea?

Any other, more effective, manner of saying the same in a different way?

"My brother looked straight down at the water and he saw his own reflection in the sea."

Does the adj "straight" make it clearer?

Thanks, Tommy.

2 Answers 2


The term 'peered into' rather than looked down or looked straight down would be a better use of words, as it could show a reflection of the mind, as well as a reflection of the self.

I would also remove 'he' and 'own' from your sentence, since we already know who the subject is:

My brother peered into the water and saw his reflection in the sea.

Alternatively, you could use,

"The water reflected my brother's image."

  • Peering involves too much effort or care for me here. He stared into the water.
    – Lambie
    Dec 14, 2017 at 23:15
  • Thanks Tamara! I like "peer into the water" but wonder if that does not imply difficulty in that action of gazing?
    – Tommy
    Dec 14, 2017 at 23:30
  • In your opinion: Can the reverse order also work: "My brother peered into the sea and saw his reflection in the water" Thanks!
    – Tommy
    Dec 14, 2017 at 23:50
  • Actually Tommy, that works also. On another note, you could even leave off 'in the water' and just say that your brother peered into the sea and saw his reflection. I guess it depends on long you want the sentence to be! Dec 15, 2017 at 7:14

It depends on the effect you are trying to create. If you think ‘looked’ is too neutral and ‘peered’ too uneasy, you have to think what effect you do want. You really need a Thesaurus.

You might write “gazed down into the water” if you thought he was just looking with no particular purpose or was thinkingq about something.

There is a problem with “..in the sea”. Presumably the reader already knows he is staring down at the sea from a bridge, or a boat or something. So, you could just say “...reflection.”. If that is too abrupt, then “... his own reflection gazing back.”. This gains a certain mood from its iambic rhythm (ti-tum-ti-tum-ti-tum-ti-tum).

  • Thanks. “gazed down into the water” - looks fine! Another question about this sentence: "My brother was taking a deep look into the sea" vs. "My brother was taking a deep look at the sea" What works better, if my brother was actually going inside the water. Thanks!
    – Tommy
    Dec 15, 2017 at 11:40
  • Or just: "My brother was taking a deep look down" Does this sentence work?
    – Tommy
    Dec 15, 2017 at 12:03
  • Tommy, I think it is time for you to trust your own judgement.
    – Tuffy
    Dec 15, 2017 at 14:06

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