Better words to substitute for "things"?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Laozha, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. Laozha Member

    Hello everyone,

    "There are three things I did well".

    Are there any words that can substitute the word "things". It doesn't sound formal enough to be used in an essay.

    Please help.
  2. national Member

    It is very formal in an essay, I don't know why you think that is not formal.
  3. Thelb4 Senior Member

    UK English
    More context is needed. Are the "things" aspects of a performance? Or paragraphs on a page? Or tasks completed on a building site? (and so on)
  4. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    The existence of another word depends on what those things are. After a decathlon competition, an athlete might say "There were three events in which I did well, but I had average or poor results in the other seven." A surgeon, after a long day in the operating room, might say "There were three procedures I did well." There are other specific terms in many other contexts. If you give us more of the context in which you plan to use this sentence, or the subject of your essay, we might come up with some that fit. Lacking any context, the generic "things" is all we have.

    Added in edit: Cross-posted with the previous poster, who said the same thing in far fewer words.
  5. Laozha Member

    This is a reflection paper I need to write after my communication class speech. I need to identify three things I did well and three things I need to improve.

    I don't want to use the word "things" too many times in my paper. Could you please help?

    Thank you!
  6. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    We could help you better if you gave us an idea of what those things actually were, Laozha.
  7. AngelEyes

    AngelEyes Senior Member

    English - United States

    For things you didn't do so well, you could say:
    "...areas for improvement would include..."
    "I need to improve on/I need to work on..."

    For the things you did well, these are some suggestions:
    "I performed well in the area of..."
    "My performance in (whatever) was.."
    "I succeeded in doing/saying/showing, proving..."

    As Ewie said, that's about as specific we can be, considering you weren't much help. :)

    As you can see from my examples, I used phrases instead of the word things.
  8. eli7

    eli7 Senior Member

    Tehran; Iran
    Persian (Farsi)
    Where can we use STUFF instead of thing? instead of "I should do something" can I say "I should do some stuff"?
  9. Laozha Member

    Thank you everyone for your help.

    I really appreciated all your help. I have had this problem in many cases, not just for this essay, but now I know it is ok to use "things" in a formal essay and I have to choose your word choice based on the situation.

    Thanks again.
  10. eli7

    eli7 Senior Member

    Tehran; Iran
    Persian (Farsi)
    I do not know if I should start a new thread for this question or not. so i post it again. please help me out
  11. alex_ln Senior Member

    Your question is whether we can substitute "something" in "I should do something" to "stuff"?

    No of course you can not!

    Stuff is used when you are talking about things such as substances, materials or a bunch of objects when you do not know what they are called or you dont want to specify their names.

    I hope it helps
  12. eli7

    eli7 Senior Member

    Tehran; Iran
    Persian (Farsi)
    It actually did. thank you. So, it must be a correct sentence: " I am so busy today. I have to do some stuff". Right?
  13. alex_ln Senior Member

    I found "Come on Gina, get on the dance floor and do your stuff." in the Longman Dictionary; now I think you can say " I am so busy today. I have to do some stuff", however I think it is better if others (especially natives) answer you to make me and you sure :)
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011
  14. ESOL Teacher Jana Member

    South Carolina
    English - USA
    "I am so busy today. I have to do some stuff." This is very casual speech, perhaps even colloquial (slang). I have so much stuff to do today. Alex's example: "Come on Gina, get on the dance floor and do your stuff." is definitely a colloquial idiom. It means Gina is a good dancer and the speaker wants her to get out and really show everyone how well she can dance.

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