I am taking https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/50932/are-there-alternatives-to-in-such-a-way as example, but I am referring to any similar question.

Grammatically, there is nothing wrong in using four words, and the justification "it sounds somewhat clumsy to me" seems arbitrary. Basing on that justification, how can I know the OP finds clumsy also what I am suggesting?
There isn't any valid criteria for selecting an alternative, and there are many alternatives to use. That takes me to consider that every answer is equally valid, and the FAQ says those questions where the answers are all equally valid should be avoided.

Are questions that set apparently arbitrary restrictions to the word to use constructive?

2 Answers 2


These strike me as, at best, requests for advice about writing (for which writers.SE would be a better fit).

  • I agree that it is probably a request for advice about writing. What I am asking is about the justification given for not using a 4-word phrase, which could also be a justification for not using any given suggestion, and questions using similar justifications/rationales.
    – apaderno
    Dec 7, 2011 at 18:00

I recall thinking that "it sounds somewhat clumsy to me" in the original was an odd thing to say, but I don't see this justified moving it to writers.se where it just got closed.

There have been many other questions asking for alternative wording - many are even tagged as such. Leave a comment to disagree with the "clumsy" misconception, and/or answer with one or more paraphrasings. And close it if the number of answers looks like getting out of hand.

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