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Thread: Humbly v/s Humblingly

  1. #1
    Will write for coffee Sohia Rose's Avatar
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    Humbly v/s Humblingly

    Humpf. I'm torn between these two words. They're both adverbs, but the "humbly" is the one I wrote first, though it looked wrong to me. Then I looked it up. It was spelled correctly. But then I came across "humblingly," which is what came across my mind at first, but the three syllables seems a bit much.

    What do you think? Which word is more appealing to you.


    ... humbly/humblingly admit.

  2. #2
    Infuriatingly Theoretical TheIT's Avatar
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    Humbly. I've never even heard of "humblingly".
    Weave a web of words and trap the unwary on the stickiness of meaning.

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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
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    Humbling means to make humble. So Person A could say something humblingly, I suppose. Then Person B would be humbled and would reply humbly.

    I think humbling, humble, and humbly should go in the "funny words" thread.

  4. #4
    Megalops Erectus Silver King's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandi LeFaucheur View Post
    I think humbling, humble, and humbly should go in the "funny words" thread.
    And don't forget humble pie. Yum.

  5. #5
    Will write for chocolate FloVoyager's Avatar
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    Hmmm. Not knowing the context... "Humblingly" seems a bit much to me, and I think I'd smile if I saw it in a book. Is that a reaction you'd want? I'd go with your first instinct, "humbly."

  6. #6
    Will write for coffee Sohia Rose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FloVoyager View Post
    Hmmm. Not knowing the context... "Humblingly" seems a bit much to me, and I think I'd smile if I saw it in a book. Is that a reaction you'd want? I'd go with your first instinct, "humbly."

    Smiling is good. My (non-fiction) WIP has some (sarcastic) humor in it and it's very conversational. In conversation, I would say "humbly" but you know reading the text on the page may require some modifications. Also, I try to use words that the general public would be familiar with.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW janetbellinger's Avatar
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    Well I never use words I can't pronounce so I would choose humbly if I were making the choice.
    Janet


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  8. #8
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    Opposite meanings

    Quote Originally Posted by Sohia Rose View Post
    Humpf. I'm torn between these two words. They're both adverbs, but the "humbly" is the one I wrote first, though it looked wrong to me. Then I looked it up. It was spelled correctly. But then I came across "humblingly," which is what came across my mind at first, but the three syllables seems a bit much.

    What do you think? Which word is more appealing to you.


    ... humbly/humblingly admit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandi LeFaucheur View Post
    Humbling means to make humble. So Person A could say something humblingly, I suppose. Then Person B would be humbled and would reply humbly.

    I think humbling, humble, and humbly should go in the "funny words" thread.
    Like Sandi says, they have opposite meanings so use them in opposite ways.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW
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    Humblingly

    Never use a word that sounds bad, or that will make readers have to untwist their tongues. "Humblingly" is such a "word." It is, I suppose, a real word, but it sure is a lousy, seldom used word.

  10. #10
    Comic guy Bartholomew's Avatar
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    Humble. I love that word. It sounds like a funny way to walk. =)

    She kicked him in the nuts and he humbled out of the room, cupping his manhood.

  11. #11
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  12. #12
    Outward Hound Requiescat In Pace
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    Adverbs have their place, but--and maybe it's just a personal preference, I tend to use them as a last resort when nothing else seems to fit. Instead of 'humblingly', which I agree is a mouthful, I would opt for 'humble' or 'with humility'.
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  13. #13
    Will write for coffee Sohia Rose's Avatar
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    I went back to that page in my manuscript and I used the word, "humblingly."

    I guess it reads funnier with the sentence.

    Thanks!

  14. #14
    Will write for coffee Sohia Rose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woof View Post
    Adverbs have their place, but--and maybe it's just a personal preference, I tend to use them as a last resort when nothing else seems to fit. Instead of 'humblingly', which I agree is a mouthful, I would opt for 'humble' or 'with humility'.
    I don't use adverbs frequently, I usually go with descriptions, but it's currently a 24-word sentence. Adding a description to that would make it longer. Plus, it's a non-fiction (how-to) piece--more telling with anecdotes sprinkled about. So I've tried to pack as much in a sentence with as little words as possible (write tight!). The word "humblingly" comes in as sort of an interjection.

    Actually, now that I think about it, I've used the word as part of my humor style. The piece is conversational, so I'm writing it like I would tell it to someone in person (with slight modifications of course). And what I usually do is start telling the story, then sometimes, I "interject" with something sarcastically humorous, then I continue with the story. It's my personality. Interestingly, I usually change the tone in my voice when I do that, usally deeper than my natural tone; it's like "going into character." I've noticed that Oprah does this too. Humpf. I've written several published articles in this tone. My memoir is similar in tone, but more "tamed."
    Last edited by Sohia Rose; 05-28-2007 at 07:22 PM. Reason: to add

  15. #15
    Outward Hound Requiescat In Pace
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    Your point is well taken. If it's a sylistic approach you're aiming for, I guess you pretty much have carte blanche to choose words to create an effect--humor in this case. All I would add, is that if you are going in this direction, then it is especially important to be consistent in the rest of your word choices.
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  16. #16
    Transitioning Between Homes AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sohia Rose View Post
    I went back to that page in my manuscript and I used the word, "humblingly."

    I guess it reads funnier with the sentence.
    This doesn't make sense to me. If humbly is a so-so fit, and it means the opposite of humblingly, then how can one successfully replace the other?

    Maryn, scratching her head in puzzlement
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  17. #17
    My Name is Sweet Thing trumancoyote's Avatar
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    Zach, also humblingboogily scratching his head in puzzlitude.
    "I don't understand," Hans Castorp said. "I don't understand how someone can not be a smoker -- why it's like robbing oneself of the best part of life, so to speak, or at least of an absolutely first-rate pleasure."

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  18. #18
    Will write for coffee Sohia Rose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maryn View Post
    This doesn't make sense to me. If humbly is a so-so fit, and it means the opposite of humblingly, then how can one successfully replace the other?

    Maryn, scratching her head in puzzlement
    I'm sorry Maryn that you're puzzled. What shall I write?

  19. #19
    Transitioning Between Homes AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    It depends on what you're trying to say.

    If your character is being a humble person when s/he speaks, you want humbly. ("No, Mama, I don't deserve any dessert tonight," he said humbly.)

    If your character wants the person he or she is addressing to feel humble, then the other--but only if you must. ("After the way you've behaved at the dinner table, and in front of Grandma, what makes you think you deserve any pie?" Mama said humblingly.)

    All things being equal, you want to use stronger words, especially verbs, with very few adverbs to extend or elaborate on the meaning of the verb or the sentence's other elements. (FWIW, the two dictionaries I can reach don't list humblingly at all.)

    Maryn, who rarely uses a funny word for its own sake
    Why does everyone want introverts to leave their comfort zone and be talkative, but no one expects the extroverts to be quiet to make that zone comfortable for introverts?

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  20. #20
    Luftmensch Emeritus, A.D.D. Pat~'s Avatar
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    I've never heard of "humblingly"--didn't know you could make an adverb out of "humbling" like that. It's an incredible mouthful, not to mention most people wouldn't know what, exactly, it was supposed to mean.

    Whether or not you should use it I guess depends on what you're trying to accomplish...(humor? confusion?) Show us how you've used it in your WIP, and we'll tell you if it works or not.
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