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[writing] Phrasing questions?
Hmm. Just deleted an entire entry about online dictionaries before even posting it as I noticed that www.m-w.com has an optional paid part that has all the features I want for a price I'm happy to pay. (US $29.99 per annum certainly beats the £195+VAT that the OED wanted to charge). Hooray! I love it when a plan comes together!

Despite now having access to a shiny, appropriate usage dictionary, I still have a couple of phrasing questions:
1) exalt : they'd had a ceremony in which they'd:
a) exalted their relationship
b) exalted in their relationship ?

I'm pretty sure it's (a), but all of the examples given are of things considerably more tangible than a relationship: exalting a throne, a victorious admiral, dramatic poetry and a nation. So I want to check.

2) I want some alternative phrasings for opening and closing eyes. He moaned faintly, and closed his eyes to collect his thoughts. ... Opening his eyes again to look at his husband, he began to list the points. The first sentence isn't too bad, though not perfect. The second one is downright clumsy, but I'm struggling to improve it.

3) Kitchens! Argh! In British English, we talk about "buying a new kitchen" to mean buying a new set of kitchen units and appliances. I'm not sure there's another way of saying this? But I want to make it clear that I mean buying a new set of kitchen units and appliances without having to use that whole long phrase. How about "kitchen suite"? If that's completely weird, is there any way I can make it more specific?

4) What does "ashen" mean? Is it "very pale" or "covered in ash", or could it be both? If both meanings exist, I've made a sort of pun.

That's it for now. I actually managed to fix all my other problems myself. Hooray! Going to bed now. Yay, bed.


8 comments or Leave a comment
otterylexa From: otterylexa Date: 8th February 2006 05:38 (UTC) (Link)
1a, but it sounds weird - that adjective isn't normally used for that kind of thing.

2 I can see what your problem is, but I can't think of any alternatives. You could possibly leave the re-opening of his eyes implicit "he closed his eyes... he looked at his husband"

3 You can say "buying a new kitchen suite", but it sounds vaguely sales-talkish. Depends if "buying a new kitchen" will confuse enough people.

4 the colour of ash i.e. very pale. You could use it if you were describing something covered in ash, but you'd have to make it clear that that was your meaning

P.S. all opinions out of my own head... caveat lector
otterylexa From: otterylexa Date: 8th February 2006 05:55 (UTC) (Link)
Now that I've said that, I'm not all that sure that 1b isn't also valid. I vaguely remember (and a quick google seems to bear out the recollection) that some of the psalms had "exalt in the lord" in them. I'm not quite sure what it's supposed to mean, given the definition of exalt given above.

Exalt is archaic anyway. Maybe you want a different word? Revel in? Celebrated? Affirmed?
From: hattifattener Date: 8th February 2006 07:36 (UTC) (Link)
My mental dictionary says "exalt, vt." and "exult, vi.", which have slightly different meanings.

For once, my paper dictionary agrees with me: they're different words, and I think you want exalt (to raise aloft etc., –L. exaltāre, f. ex- + altus high; think of altitude) for 1a, and exult (to leap up, rejoice –L. ex(s)ultāre, exsilīre; f. ex- + salīre to leap; think of saltation) for 1b. Using these words, 1a would mean that they'd raised up or praised or honored their relationship; 1b would mean that they'd gloried in their relationship.

I sometimes see "exult" used in the negative sense of taking excessive pride in something, or taking pride in something that isn't particularly good, e.g.: "Not one of my subjects doesn't tremble at my name!" exulted the evil king.

I also sometimes see the word "exault". I don't know what, if anything, it means.
johnckirk From: johnckirk Date: 8th February 2006 12:02 (UTC) (Link)
1) I agree - checking my dictionary, it gives the example of "exulting in her escape, Lisa closed the door behind her."

2) "Blink" is the only related word I can think of, although that's probably not quite what you're after.

As for the OED, something that confused me until recently is that there are actually two different dictionaries with similar names.

The OED (Oxford English Dictionary) - this is about the size of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, and it's a historical reference. E.g. "This word was originally from the Danish, and it was spelt X until the 12th century, at which point..."

The [N]ODE ([New] Oxford Dictionary of English) - this is a guide to modern usage, and is typically published in one volume. I bought one from Amazon last week for about 23 quid, and that includes free access to the online edition until Jan 31st 2007. In fact, although the flyer in the book says "free access is only for a single user, not to be shared", the website seems to be advertising it to all and sundry.
From: hattifattener Date: 8th February 2006 07:42 (UTC) (Link)
As for #3, I'd probably say that the people had "remodeled their kitchen". That assumes that they did a fairly thorough job of getting new stuff — new appliances at least. I'd use that phrase for things up to and including taking out all the appliances and cabinetry and stripping the room down to the lath before putting in new stuff.
thekumquat From: thekumquat Date: 8th February 2006 10:38 (UTC) (Link)
1 - b sounds more familiar, but I'm not sure it's not exult that's been said/meant. Is it 'sing in exaltation' or exultation? I think the former. I could be wrong.

2. Raising/lowering eyelids?
3. Purchasing white goods and fixed/free-standing units?
4. More usual meaning would be very pale, unless it was obvious from context you were talking about something likely to get covered in ash. Compare 'bloody'.
sashajwolf From: sashajwolf Date: 8th February 2006 14:38 (UTC) (Link)
Is it 'sing in exaltation' or exultation? I think the former. I could be wrong.

I also think it's 'sing in exaltation', but that doesn't help - it's just like 'sing in jubilation' or 'sing in grief' or any other emotion. It's a different construction from the one baratron is querying, which concerns the object of the exa(u)ltation, whereas yours is about the motivation for the singing.

I agree with previous commenters on the exalt/exult issue. Which one baratron actually wants depends on whether she wants to say that the people concerned are praising their relationship ("exalt") or being joyful about it ("exulting in").
(Deleted comment)
baratron From: baratron Date: 9th February 2006 02:18 (UTC) (Link)
Oooh! That works!
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