A friend asked me to read and edit a short story for fun. I was just wondering if he was correct when he wrote this.

Its dazzling rays of resplendent, golden sunshine spread far and wide, across the magnificent purple sky. The light peaked the tallest mountain, making a beautiful contrast between gleaming white snow and the violet sky, emanating a powerful glow. The sheer awesomeness and force of the strange energy seemingly reached down to the heavens.

In the above paragraph, the word emanating is in bold. The definition of emanating is to come from a source.

If the word emanating is referring to a source, what would be the source? Originally, I thought the source was the light, but now I think that the emanation is from the contrast of the violet sky, gleaming white snow, and dazzling rays of sunlight.

What is the source of the emanation, and is emanating used properly?

  • 2
    The source is the source of the dazzling rays of resplendent golden sunshine. The piece is poorly written. Where is it from? There should be no comma after 'sunshine'. – Michael Harvey Nov 4 '20 at 22:44
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    Please tell us the name of this text and the author. If possible give a link to the source. This reads like an amateur writer trying to use a lot of long words. – chasly - supports Monica Nov 4 '20 at 23:31
  • It's a slight misuse of the word. Nothing that most native English readers would have difficulty understanding, however. – Hot Licks Nov 4 '20 at 23:34
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    What if we have a typo for emitting, giving off or sending out? – Yosef Baskin Nov 4 '20 at 23:47
  • @chasly-supportsMonica Yes, and of two adjectives where one will do fine, – Tuffy Nov 5 '20 at 0:35

emanate = to come from or out of

Cambridge dictionary

The source of the light in this case is the illuminated snow near the top of the mountain.

A contrast is not capable of emanating. Nor is the violet sky (at least, not in comparison to the brilliance of the snow). So what did the light do? The sentence may be understood as:

The light

  • peaked the tallest mountain,
  • made a contrast between gleaming white snow and the violet sky, and
  • emanated (from the brightly lit snow) as a powerful glow that felt empowering and strong.
  • 2
    Usually things emanate from a source. If you say this light is coming from the snow on the mountain then it is being reflected by the snow. It’s not emanating from the snow. – Jim Nov 5 '20 at 5:15
  • 1
    The light that strikes the snow from the sun is indeed reflected. It is also refracted within the ice crystals of the snow. Its spectral composition is changed by its passage through the ice. Its intensity is slightly reduced by the passage through the ice. Its directionality is changed by diffraction in the small scale structures of the ice. This means that the light leaving the snow is not simply reflected light. It is a changed light that now emanates from the snow. – Anton Nov 5 '20 at 8:21

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