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I'm looking for a noun that takes an article, meaning basically "there there, it's not so bad."

A compound word of phrase would be acceptable as long as it can be given (just as with praise, or condemnation)

Example

The reporter gave the subject a [[pass? nod?]], for while the subject did not win first, at least he made a valiant effort.

The biographer gave Faulkner a [[??]] because although he failed at being a good husband, his works contributed so much to humanity.

"encouragement" doesn't work because it doesn't recognize the struggle or the loss "condolence" doesn't work because it doesn't encompass encouragement

The best word would be a noun that takes "a" or "an" and it could be obscure.

1 Answer 1

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A consolation. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as:

  1. The action of consoling, cheering, or comforting; the state of being consoled; alleviation of sorrow or mental distress.

  2. (with plural) An act or instance of consolation; a person or thing that affords consolation; a consoling fact or circumstance.

Incidentally, this noun influenced the formation of a related phrase used in a situation where someone didn't win but was given some acknowledgement: a consolation prize.

The word can be used with or without article. Merriam-Webster has an apt example that shows the use with article in action.

His kind words were a consolation to me.

So the resulting sentence might be:

The reporter gave the subject a consolation, for while the subject did not win first, at least he made a valiant effort.

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