Not long ago, I've decided to write exclusively in English (mainly because everything I write in my language becomes sentimental). After that, I began thinking about my English being inadequate, mostly about phrases, wrong/right word choice etc. Consequently, I began thinking that maybe it would be good if there was a thread on this forum where (English non-native) writers could post phrases, sentences of their work, where some specific words were troubling them. If members and, mostly, admins agree that this thread could be useful, then it could become pinned, for easier access. Of course it is also possible that this thread will fall into oblivion, but it's worth a try. There are some rules though. Since we are writers, it's also our job to do a research. So please post your problems only if you couldn't find a a solution on the internet. In my opinion, the easiest way to look up the meaning of words are various monolingual dictionaries (I personally like Oxford dictionary, for beginners Longman dictionary of contemporary English might be better) where you can see the definitions of words. Then, if you are still not sure if the word is the right one for your context, you can check in a corpus how the word has been previously used (I like British National Corpus). I hope I was understandable and I'm looking forward to our cooperation. My first question is rather simple: can a cough be strained, as in: "A strained cough came from the master bedroom. Melvin's mother was sick again." Thank you.