I'm watching my favorite film of all time, ALIEN, and Ash and Kane are reviewing an atmosphere analysis of LV-428 and Ash says: "It's almost primordial." Almost? Why does he qualify the description, the observation, with an almost? It is bloody primordial out there. Death in seconds is assured. Now, put Ash and Kane and the coming horror that is the xenomorph aside for a moment. We don't actually care about why Ash says what he says. This scene in my favorite film merely sparked the question in my mind, but is not the heart of the matter itself, because what I'm getting at is how we, as writers, employ descriptions in the narrative of a written story. It happens a lot in the items we critique here in the forum and elsewhere. The writer describes a scene or setting or part thereof with an image that would have been effective if it had been rather than seemed to have been the thing in comparison. Someone has an emotion, but no... wait... they don't... they only almost as if have the emotion. I find it in my own work and endeavor to expunge it, to commit to my image, my emotion, my observation, not to shrink from it with a flaccid almost or seemed to be. A ridiculous example for sake of clarity: There was a kind of mountain sort of in the distance with a purplish tone to it. The sky seemed to be made of something like a robin's egg in its nearly turquoise color. A river quasi-babbled in a stream with what seemed to be a bottom of smoothish river stone. In this description, nothing is. So, why do we do it so often? Why do we describe never-endingly in terms of almost, as if, seeming to be, seemed like? Do we fear our descriptions? Are we afraid they will embarrass or shame us in our writing, so we leave a little room for an exit in case it goes over poorly? Thoughts?