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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.

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  • Could it be used in plural? or does it sound unusual? "The movie critic gave the actor 'mentions' "
    – dleal
    Jul 8, 2019 at 20:21
  • @dleal it sounds unnatural in the plural. Jul 8, 2019 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, 2019 at 20:27
  • You could just write "comments from the most recent references are included in the letter".
    – S Conroy
    Jul 8, 2019 at 20:54
  • “Favorable” is the adjective i’ve heard, contrasting with “not favorably received.”
    – Xanne
    Jul 8, 2019 at 22:02

5 Answers 5

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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!

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  • "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, 2019 at 21:05
  • I think this is even better than my own answer. Jul 9, 2019 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, 2019 at 15:03
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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:

[Merriam-Webster]
: the act of encouraging : the state of being encouraged

encouraging
: 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.

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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”

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  • Not bad indeed, I am afraid (with a British accent please).
    – Tommy
    Jul 8, 2019 at 23:49
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Favorable might serve your purposes, either as "a favorable review," or as an adverb, "favorably reviewed." In your case, "favorable comments."

favorable, adj.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/favorable

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."

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  • Did you mean "favorable" at the beginning of your answer?
    – dleal
    Jul 9, 2019 at 21:05
  • @dleal yes, I did. Fixed; thanks.
    – Xanne
    Jul 9, 2019 at 22:47
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It’s quite simple:

Praise

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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