What is an English word for the events that are part of a larger event?

For example in the event "solar eclipse", there are different phases or stages (https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/total-solar-eclipse.html):

  1. Partial eclipse begins
  2. Total eclipse begins ...

A solar eclipse is quite predictable and "linear": after phase 1, there will be phase 2 and so on. But what when the larger event is "non linear"? With my German background, where the translation of phase has a clear linear meaning (https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/Phase), phase seems wrong to me. I would rather use something like sub event.

Or is my understanding of phase wrong, and it is not as linear as in the German Phase, or the English stage (https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/phase)?

Example sentence:

The negotiations between the UK and EU, Theresa May's resignation and the related protests are _______ of the Brexit.

  • Hello, Qaswed. I think you're right in thinking that 'phase' is usually used when referring to an orderly, even planned, sequence of events / processes. We'd probably use the phrase 'stages in the process' for a more stochastic process. But Lexico doesn't address this fine distinction. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 17 '19 at 14:30
  • "Consequences" or (less formally) "fallout" could be used, but those usually signify events that are caused by another prior event. If you mean to imply that the protests and Teresa May's resignation are somehow part of Brexit, then the implication isn't quite right. – Michael Seifert Jun 17 '19 at 14:38
  • 1
    Segments, phases, portions, stages, facets, chapters, steps... – Solocutor Jun 17 '19 at 14:39
  • Also consider incidents or circumstances. – jxh Jun 17 '19 at 20:22

You could use portions but for your particular example sentence I like


The fun thing about this is that you can imagine a geometric solid with lots of sides or facets, for example a 12-sided die. Turn the die to a different face, and you get a different episode in the Brexit saga. (Episodes would be linear -- but you can shuffle them up to assign them to a side of the die.)

facet (Oxford)

1 One side of something many-sided, especially of a cut gem.

‘a blue and green jewel that shines from a million facets’

2A particular aspect or feature of something.

‘a philosophy that extends to all facets of the business’

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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