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    #1

    tears welled behind his eyelids

    Hello, everyone!

    I know tears can well in someone's eyes, but what about this following variant: "One or five tears welled under/behinds his eyelids and, when cracking his eyes open, dropped heavily and belied his nonchalant proclivity to all death-related matters." ?

    I'd appreciate your help!

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    #2

    Re: tears welled behind his eyelids

    I have moved this thread from Ask a Teacher as you are branching out into florid, imaginative prose which I don't understand and which will baffle mainstream students.

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    #3

    Re: tears welled behind his eyelids

    Am I, really? I thought this was a somewhat common expression. I don't mean my writing to sound overly complicated!

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    #4

    Re: tears welled behind his eyelids

    I'm afraid it is a very unnatural way to write.

    He opened his eyes, and the tears that had gathered rolled down his cheeks, belying his indifference to [her/his] death.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Re: tears welled behind his eyelids

    I take it it'd be grammatically correct, though? I try my best to abide by e.b. white's "elements of style" maxims (what a book!), but sometimes I fear I'm being too blunt and try to add some more colorful imagery which, of course, can and may go terribly wrong. Thank you for your honesty!

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    #6

    Re: tears welled behind his eyelids

    tears welled under/behind his eyelids
    - It is usually expressed as "tears well up in his eyes", to mean the accumulation of tears in the eyes.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: tears welled behind his eyelids

    Your version doesn't work for me. The meaning of tears welling up under the eyelids is clear enough, but it sounds odd because it isn't used. The florid bit for me is belied his nonchalant proclivity; this kind of language sounds like something you might get in a very old text. If that is the effect you are after, then it's fine, but if you want it to sound like something someone would use today, then use something like Barb_D's version.

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