How can I word this statement better? "The author MAKES the character show different qualities." I think I need a better word to replace "make" to make the statement sound better.

Expert Answers

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I think what you are struggling with in this statement is word order. It grammatically works, but you sound like you might be in the process of editing and revising. I always want to make what I say more specific, more precise, and I want it to demonstrate strong word economy.

I recommend:

  • The author ___________ a variety of qualities in the character, ____________.

In your first blank, use this list to determine a very specific verb to use. In the second blank, list the actual character's name.

  • employs
  • models
  • displays
  • portrays
  • demonstrates
  • shows
  • creates
  • illustrates
  • illuminates
  • highlights

Each of these are stronger verbs than the MAKE that you were trying to use. As an English teacher myself, when I see students move away from using do, have, is, are, make, give and a few other verbs that apply to many situations, I am then able to see them use their vocabulary to its fullest potential.

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I do not think there is necessarily anything wrong with the way you have put this.  But I suppose you could use any one of the following wordings:

  • The author has the character show different qualities
  • The author writes the character in such a way that (s)he shows different qualities.
  • The characters' actions and words show different qualities.
  • The way that the author portrays the character shows different qualities.
  • The author causes the character to show different qualities.
  • The character shows different qualities (and never mind putting the author in there.
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