1. Roux
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    Roux Member

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    Half Chuckling

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Roux, Mar 21, 2014.

    I'm sorry if this is in the wrong forum, I just have a quick question.
    Does anyone have another word to describe half chuckling? Like if it was used in conversation and dialogue.
    Ex:
    Sam half chuckled, "Well I'm glad the test results came back negative. God could only imagine the problems your offspring would bring forth to the world."

    I found that my characters are half chuckling a lot, but its just how their personalities are in conversation. They're very sarcastic and always making noises. I really don't know why, it just happened. Help? Thanks! :)
     
  2. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    Is he trying to comfort the other character? Or is he just relieved? I'm not sure what is going on in his mind.
     
  3. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    Smirk?
     
  4. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    I surfed some online thesauruses. There isn't a word for half chuckle anywhere. :( What about putting it into the dialogue as a "Ha! Well I'm glad the test results came back negative."?
     
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  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    How about similes or longer descriptions?

    A laugh came out like a strangled hyena.
    He laughed like a kookaburra whose beak was taped shut.
    He had a habit of conflating a smile with a laugh so you never knew which it was supposed to be.
    He stopped himself from laughing a couple seconds short, no one was fooled.
     
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  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, a chuckle is a half laugh, so I think that it already serves the purpose.
     
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  7. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    Snicker is the closest word I can think of. @GingerCoffee's expansions work best I think if the action is referenced multiple times.
     
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  8. GingerCoffee
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    Thanks for the compliment. :)
     
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  9. Smoke Z
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    Smoke Z Active Member

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    To me, not-quite-laughing depends on the context. I would actually try making that sound, then try to describe it.

    The fake cough might be when they are wondering if chuckling would be appropriate or not.

    For your case, I might go 'He cleared his throat with amusement.' (Sorry, I've been writing in purple.)
     
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  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first of all, you can't 'chuckle' or even 'half-chuckle' [whatever that's supposed to mean] words!

    so, that comma before the dialog has to be changed to a period...

    as for the 'half-chuckle' itself, i fail to see why anyone would write that, as it makes no sense to me at all... so, my best advice is to consign that combo to the round file and describe the speaker's expression, or action, to let the reader know what's going on, rather than trying to find a substitute for a term that should never have seen the light of day...
     
  11. Bryan Romer
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    Snort?
     
  12. Christine Cholette
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    Christine Cholette Member

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    Sometimes I find a half-laugh is a similar to a snort, or more "he exhaled sharply through his noise".


    Sam huffed a small sound of amused relief, "well, I'm glad the test results came back negative. God could only imagine the problems your offspring would bring forth to the world."
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    :confused:

    Why not? Chuckle is a verb or a noun.
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can't chuckle words, was I think the point. Just as you can't fry or drive or paint words. Yes, "chuckle" is, unlike the others, a verb that means making a noise with your speaking apparatus, but I would agree that it's not an action that produces words.

    You can chuckle and then speak, so you could change the tag to a beat:

    Sam half chuckled, "Well I'm glad the test results...

    to

    Sam chuckled. "Well I'm glad the test results..
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    I see. And yet it is OK to chime in. Some in my critique group complained about that but when I looked it up it was a common term. From the Free Dic:
    I think pointing it out is legit: ... ," he said, half chucking. I didn't get @mammamaia's comment so I hadn't thought of that either.

    But we take so much artistic leeway with words, I'm not sure one could 'never' use it. Again, I agree one should know why not use it when choosing to use it anyway.

    This made me curious about "phrasal verbs". They turn out to need a preposition.
    http://www.englishpage.com/prepositions/phrasaldictionary.html

    So what about phrases like:
    Coughed out the words
    Choked out the words
    Those are not that much different from:
    Laughed the words
    I suppose you could say "out" is implied.

    Hmmmm...

    He joked.
    He choked on the words.
    He choked the words out.

    It's complicated.

    I suppose it does make more sense: ...," he said, half chuckling, half speaking.
     

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