1. sdunks
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    sdunks Member

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    Does this make sense?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by sdunks, Nov 20, 2012.

    Hi guys just a quick question! I was wondering if this sentence made sense..

    His silhouette gave off a ghostly sublimation.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Well, for me, no. I didn't know what 'sublimate' meant, and after googling it, I still don't understand. Couldn't you just use 'aura'?
     
  3. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    No. It doesn't communicate clearly.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    pretentious gobbledygook is what it says to me...
     
  5. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    It sounds repetitive and overwrought. What are you trying to say?
     
  6. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Sublimation is one of two processes: either the physical process of a solid passing directly to vapor without becoming a liquid first (CO² being used in fog machines is an example), or (in psychology) the rechanneling of socially-unacceptable desires or drives into expressions which are socially acceptable or even rewarded.

    Furthermore, a silhouette is simply an outline or shape lacking internal detail. How might it be giving off anything?

    The example in the OP is meaningless and should be rewritten.
     
  7. sdunks
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    sdunks Member

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    I appreciate the responses. What I was trying to picture was the character's silhouette sort of steaming- like how ice does when it's sub-zero. Any alternative to 'sublimation' would be much appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how can ice not be 'sub-zero'?

    and how can a silhouette be 'steaming'?

    a silhouette can't 'give off' anything, as noted above by thump, so finding an alternative to 'sublimation' won't do you any good...
     
  9. GHarrison
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    GHarrison Senior Member

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    A steaming backlit form, smoke rising from the silhouette of a man... why not? Sublimation... well it seems like the wrong word unless the shadowy form is the form of a snowman, or iceman... If it is important that sublimation is occurring, that his solid form is turning directly into gas, bypassing the liquid state, because he is made of frozen water, then you should be setting this up in the description of the entity. Maybe fuming or gaseous or smouldering would be better depending on the conditions of your setting...
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sublimation doesn't work for me; I'd go with "mist". Outlined in mist, maybe.
     
  11. AGWallace
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    AGWallace New Member

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    Hmmm. "His silhouette gave off a ghostly sublimation." Clearly, "sublimation" doesn't work, but forget that for a moment.

    First, replace "gave off" with a more active verb. What kind of "giving off" are you imagining? Is the ghostly sublimation toxic or angelic? (Hopefully it's not neutral, because that would probably be boring.) If toxic, then maybe the silhouette somehow excretes a toxic steam as if the man's body is about to be vaporized. If angelic, then perhaps the silhouette shimmers, and some kind of glorious revelation is transmitted to the observer.

    That change will probably make "ghostly sublimation" completely redundant. However, you could also extend the metaphor with purify, distill, dream, elevate, etc.

    Look up sublimate and radiate in a thesaurus.

    I like the idea! If you've changed the sentence, let's see it! :)
     
  12. Timewalker
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    Timewalker Member

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    I get it!

    His silhouette gave off a ghostly aura.

    That's what it should be so you can clearly understand.
     
  13. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    "Radiated a ghostly aura," to combine the two suggestions.
     

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