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    #1

    Smile being stylistic

    Hi, everyone.

    ・Occasionally one encounters a work where quotation marks are used heavily to offset individual word, often in order to indicate irony or sarcasm. For example:
    He said I didn’t have an “eye” for detail, that I didn’t “know” what to do, that I was just “beginning” to enter this world – like he’s such an “expert.”
    Such works usually come hand in hand with flippant writing, where a cynical tone prevails. The problem with this, aside from being stylistic, is that it becomes a safety cushion. When every other word is encapsulated by quotation marks to indicate irony or sarcasm, the writer clearly uses it as an escape, to avoid definitively taking a stand himself. Eventually it will lose its effect and turn readers off.
    -- Noah Lukeman, A Dash of Style

    I guess being stylistic means something bad.
    What’s the specific meaning of being stylistic in this context?
    Thanks in advance.

    P.S. I always have a hard time understanding ‘stylistic’ which express something bad. For example:
    The art is stylistic but well done.
    http://www.politedissent.com/index.php?s=abc&
    In the above sentence, I guess stylistic is something bad because it’s opposite to well done.
    However, I can’t figure out the exact meaning of it. Dictionaries only say ‘connected with a style …’ or something. They don’t tell me about a bad nuance in the word.

    I don’t mean I open two questions in here.
    How would you paraphrase ‘being stylistic’ in the first example, if you can’t tell its exact meaning?
    Or if my question doesn’t suit for this forum, I’d like to have your advice.
    Last edited by PromisingBlue; 05-Sep-2016 at 06:15. Reason: I have no answer for two days.

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: being stylistic

    I don't think "stylistic" means either bad or good. It means, I think, expressive of a particular style. Other than that, don't worry about it.

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    #3

    Re: being stylistic

    Unlike "stylish", which is broadly used in a complimentary way, "stylistic" is essentially neutral. Saying, "...being stylistic" is offering a critique, the tenor of which will be deduced by the context in which it is found.

    I would agree that, in the case you have presented, it is used in a derogatory tone, however:

    "The work made excellent use of stylistic devices to paint a picture in our minds" - Complimentary.
    "The description by the academic clearly illustrates the usage of stylistic forms of writing" - Neutral.
    "The paper was littered with trite cliches and cheap, stylistic prose" - Derogatory.

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    #4

    Re: being stylistic

    Hi, thanks for the good examples.
    Quote Originally Posted by ChinaDan View Post
    "The paper was littered with trite cliches and cheap, stylistic prose" - Derogatory.
    Does that happen to have the same meaning as overly stylistic or too stylistic?
    When it’s used in a derogatory tone, should I take it with ‘excessively’?

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    #5

    Re: being stylistic

    Quote Originally Posted by PromisingBlue View Post
    Hi, thanks for the good examples.

    Does that happen to have the same meaning as overly stylistic or too stylistic?
    When it’s used in a derogatory tone, should I take it with ‘excessively’?
    No, you need to observe context; take the intended meaning from the words around it

    In this case, my intent was to convey that the mere presence of stylistic writing was a bad thing. There was no signal to suggest that a little would be okay, but this went too far.

    A derogatory example of meaning it was "excessively" used (in my opinion) might be:
    "The story was overburdened with stylistic phrases".

    "Overburdened" is the signal that I mean "excessive" or "too much". And it implies that I might have actually felt that a small use of stylistic writing could have been a good thing.
    Last edited by ChinaDan; 12-Sep-2016 at 02:58.

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