mavisol (mavisol) wrote in linguaphiles,

Please help get rid of three "look"s in a passage

Please, can anyone suggest how to modify the fragment below to avoid using derivatives of the verb to LOOK three times:
"Many of us, the young nuns, when first introduced to the abbess, dreaded talking with her. But this sense of fear melted away as she LOOKED at you tenderly and lovingly. I learned very quickly that she wore chains, although you would have never guessed LOOKING at her robe, which LOOKED nearly elegant due to its immaculate cleanliness”. Thanks a lot in advance!
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  • 17 comments

wordbuff

December 29 2013, 19:32:30 UTC 3 months ago Edited:  December 29 2013, 19:33:14 UTC

Hmm..
(a) use synonyms or
(b) rephrase

(a) For example:
"Many of us, the young nuns, when first introduced to the abbess, dreaded talking with her. But this sense of fear melted away as she (LOOKED at you)/(regarded us) tenderly and lovingly. I learned very quickly that she wore chains, although you would have never guessed (LOOKING at)/(glancing at) her robe, which (LOOKED)/(seemed)/(appeared) nearly elegant due to its immaculate cleanliness”

wordbuff

December 29 2013, 19:48:03 UTC 3 months ago Edited:  December 29 2013, 19:48:55 UTC

p.s. You know, there is a very well-known game on the BBC radio, called "Just a Minute", in which the game inventor made players do what an old-fashioned headmaster in a public school had made him do as a punishment: talk for 1 minute, unprepared, on some random topic, "without hesitation, repetition or deviation" ;))
Meaning, if tasked to speak about whales he was not allowed to deviate and go on about seas or whalers, could not "er" and "um", and could not repeat the same word twice (excluding prepositions, articles and the topic word, "whale" in our example).

So think of it as playing a round of "Just a Minute" in writing ;)

mavisol

December 30 2013, 05:11:46 UTC 3 months ago

Many thanks!

teaoli

December 29 2013, 19:39:34 UTC 3 months ago Edited:  December 29 2013, 19:43:23 UTC

My attempt:

"Many of us, the young nuns, when first introduced to the abbess, dreaded talking with her. But this sense of fear melted away as she GAZED at you tenderly and lovingly. I learned very quickly that she wore chains, although you would have never guessed LOOKING at her robe, which SEEMED/APPEARED nearly elegant due to its immaculate cleanliness”.

ETA: I just noticed that wordbuff also used "seemed" and "appeared", so I wanted to offer something different (even those those are my go-to for that sense of "look").

Meh. Tried, but I seem to be too stubborn to try something else. Also, I would let "looking at her robe" stand.

meepettemu

December 29 2013, 20:11:33 UTC 3 months ago

I too would go with gazed for the first one and for the second 'never have guessed from/by her robe' :)

houseboatonstyx

December 30 2013, 04:13:55 UTC 3 months ago

Yes. 'Gazed' would work for the first one. For the second, I like your getting away from any verb with 'from/by her robe', though 'from/by the drape of her robe' would be more clear and less abrupt.

How about this:

"... although you would have never guessed it from the drape of her robe, which WAS nearly elegant due to its immaculate cleanliness”.

mavisol

December 30 2013, 05:12:26 UTC 3 months ago

Thanks a lot!

mavisol

December 30 2013, 05:12:12 UTC 3 months ago

Thanks a lot!

iddewes

December 29 2013, 23:52:14 UTC 3 months ago

I thought the same words as you before I saw the comments ;)

mavisol

December 30 2013, 05:12:39 UTC 3 months ago

Many thanks!

mavisol

December 30 2013, 05:12:00 UTC 3 months ago

Thanks a lot!

ashen_key

December 29 2013, 20:58:12 UTC 3 months ago

"Many of us, the young nuns, when first introduced to the abbess, dreaded talking with her. But this sense of fear melted away as she LOOKED at you tenderly and lovingly. I learned very quickly that she wore chains, although you would have never guessed FROM her robe, which WAS nearly elegant due to its immaculate cleanliness."

mavisol

December 30 2013, 05:12:56 UTC 3 months ago

Many thanks!

sideband

December 29 2013, 23:13:07 UTC 3 months ago

gazed, looking, appeared.

mavisol

December 30 2013, 05:13:05 UTC 3 months ago

Thank a lot!

nofaves

December 30 2013, 03:43:36 UTC 3 months ago

"melted away under her tender, loving gaze"

"her immaculate robe, which gave her an air of elegance"

mavisol

December 30 2013, 05:13:17 UTC 3 months ago

Sounds good, thanks!