I am looking for a work that almost means "positive comments" or "positive review". It should be subtle, so it cannot be very explicit that the review is positive. Simply hint it.

Some examples where this word or phrase would be used:

The movie critic gave the actor 'positive comments'.

The journal editor gave the authors 'positive comments'.

The sentence I actually want to compose is the following:

The most recent, positive comments from the referee are included in this letter.

but it's too obvious that I'm emphasizing the word positive. I would like it to be more subtle.

  • Could it be used in plural? or does it sound unusual? "The movie critic gave the actor 'mentions' " – dleal Jul 8 '19 at 20:21
  • @dleal it sounds unnatural in the plural. – Weather Vane Jul 8 '19 at 20:22
  • Thank you @WeatherVane and Sconroy. The sentence I want to compose is the following: "the most recent, positive comments from the referee are included in this letter" but its too obvious that im emphasizing the word positive. I would like it to be more subtle. – dleal Jul 8 '19 at 20:27
  • You could just write "comments from the most recent references are included in the letter". – S Conroy Jul 8 '19 at 20:54
  • “Favorable” is the adjective i’ve heard, contrasting with “not favorably received.” – Xanne Jul 8 '19 at 22:02

I think that the word "kind" can be of help here. Kind comments... kind reviews etc., will be somewhat more subtle and may hint at the desired action on their part ;)

Hope that helps!

  • "kind" is really good too. I think I might use this one as well. Its too bad I can only accept one answer – dleal Jul 9 '19 at 21:05
  • I think this is even better than my own answer. – Jason Bassford Jul 9 '19 at 21:38
  • Why can't I submit a new question on this forum? Can you please help to remove the strange ban? I am helping out others, earning points etc, Yet can't post a new question to this forum??? – Tommy Jul 10 '19 at 15:03

It's very difficult to come up with something that doesn't explicitly mean positive, but one way of doing so would be to use the word encouragement:

: the act of encouraging : the state of being encouraged

: giving hope or promise

In short:

The movie critic gave the actor encouragement.

While it's not made explicit if the comments are positive per se in terms of the actual performance, the overall tenor of the piece (and subtle implication) is that the critic sees, based on the performance (even if it was poor in context), positive things happening to the actor in the future.


We British do it all the time. One such phrase is not bad. Any

Ok, you bought all the papers: what are the reviews of your performance like?

Not too bad.

Any Brit will understand that this actually means “pretty good”

  • Not bad indeed, I am afraid (with a British accent please). – Tommy Jul 8 '19 at 23:49

Favorable might serve your purposes, either as "a favorable review," or as an adverb, "favorably reviewed." In your case, "favorable comments."

favorable, adj.


characterized by approval or support; positive: a favorable report. creating or winning favor; pleasing: to make a favorable impression. affording advantage, opportunity, or convenience; advantageous: a favorable position. (of an answer) granting what is desired. boding well; propitious: The signs are favorable for a new start.

For example: The paper was favorably received; or Comments on the paper were favorable.

Another term that's used in a general way is "well-received." Academics sometimes speak of a book that got poor reviews as "not well-received" or "not favorably received."

  • Did you mean "favorable" at the beginning of your answer? – dleal Jul 9 '19 at 21:05
  • @dleal yes, I did. Fixed; thanks. – Xanne Jul 9 '19 at 22:47

It’s quite simple:


The movie critic gave the actor praise

From Chambers:

The expression of admiration or approval

OK, it’s perhaps not nuanced enough for the example, but it works in US English, where good means poor and great means tolerable.

For British English, I think you need to use what is effectively a double negative construction to get the idea of faint praise. Something like

The most recent, not disfavourable, comments from the referee are included in this letter.

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