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Consider the following sentence:

After she faked her death, she kept the fact that she was alive a secret from the rest of the world.

Here "the fact that she was alive" is a clear reference to her state of life, but I'd like to express this idea more concisely. It could be rephrased:

After she faked her death, she kept her being alive a secret from the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, this is a bit awkward and could possibly become unclear without the starting clause ("After she faked her death").

Are there any other options?

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    Modern English unfortunately has evolved so that the fact that ... is an unavoidable ugly phrase. 200 years ago, it would have undoubtedly been phrased differently. See Google Ngrams. Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 20:18
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    Would you be ok with a slight rewording to use a noun, such as "After she faked her death, she kept her life a secret from the rest of the world."? Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 20:20
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    I might be inclined to say "her survival".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 20:23
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    @Graham - When one of us old wheezers survives a heart attack it doesn't mean someone else didn't.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 20:35
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    @HotLicks To me, the word "survival" implies that she was involved in an incident that she may not have survived. But faking her death need not involve any such incident.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 18:49

3 Answers 3

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"The rest of the world" is a pretty tired cliche. Why not just rewrite as "She succeeded in faking her death" or "She successfully faked her own death"?

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  • +1 I agree it's cliché. In my specific case, I have some specific contextual reasons for including the phrase "the rest of the world", but I think there are generally better alternatives.
    – Graham
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 20:17
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Hot Licks' suggestion happens to fit what I want, but it hasn't been posted as an answer, so I'll just post it myself:

After she faked her death, she kept her survival a secret from the rest of the world.


It does come with a few caveats. While my comment fell short in identifying the a potential problem when using 'survival', TrevorD's comment successfully identified a commonly understood definition of 'survival':

To me, the word 'survival' implies that she was involved in an incident that she may not have survived. But faking her death need not involve any such incident.

And as Sam notes in their answer:

"The rest of the world" is a pretty tired cliche.

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Her mortality After she faked her death, she kept her mortality a secret from the rest of the world.

Herself After she faked her death, she kept herself a secret from the rest of the world.

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    'Mortality' usually means 'ability to be killed' Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 21:06
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    “Mortality” can also mean death, and keeping her death a secret would seem to undermine the purpose of faking it. ;-) Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 2:03

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