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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    clouds will congregate

    Hello

    Is it correct to use congregate for clouds or stars in the sky? Are these correct?

    The blue turned to black....and soon the stars started to congregate in the pitch black sky...

    The clouds were congregating in the night sky.

  2. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: clouds will congregate

    congregate has the sense of 'come together'. Is that really what you want to say? It's hard to imagine how stars can come together since they don't move relative to each other.

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    #3

    Re: clouds will congregate

    It also implies intentionality, as in the very old advertising slogan wherever particular people congregate. I think you want a different word here.

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    I am not a teacher.

  4. Senior Member
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    #4

    Re: clouds will congregate

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    congregate has the sense of 'come together'. Is that really what you want to say? It's hard to imagine how stars can come together since they don't move relative to each other.
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    I saw it in a Robert Frost book. Is that not about stars?

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    #5

    Re: clouds will congregate

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post
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    I saw it in a Robert Frost book. Is that not about stars?
    Yes, and understood in that context, but the term is most often used in reference to people. Frost owned a "poetic license".

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    #6

    Re: clouds will congregate

    Frost is anthropomorphizing the stars. It's literary device being used to intentionally suggest the stars are willingly gathering like people at an event.

    Similarly,your original sentence is also suggesting that the sky is deliberately turning colors to set the stage (so to speak) for the stars to gather.

    If that's what your goal is, then your sentence is okay. If you're simply trying to state that the stars appear when the sky is dark, then find another verb.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

  7. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: clouds will congregate

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post
    I saw it in a Robert Frost book. Is that not about stars?
    Yes, it is. I don't understand, then—if you knew that Frost uses it, why are you asking if it's correct? What do you mean by 'correct'?

    You must understand that Frost's use is an example of poetry, where the normal limits of meaning do not apply. This is what Yankee mentioned as 'poetic licence'.

    I know that you are a fan of poetic expression, but that is not a justification for using it for everything you say. If your aim is simply to develop your own poetic style, you must make that clear to us, and avoid borrowing other writers' images. A good poet expresses his own original way of seeing the world.

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    #8

    Re: clouds will congregate

    Quote Originally Posted by Skrej View Post

    If that's what your goal is, then your sentence is okay. If you're simply trying to state that the stars appear when the sky is dark, then find another verb.
    My goal is the ladder. What verb can I use? Gather? Is there something better and more interesting?

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    #9

    Re: clouds will congregate

    I'm sorry but you misunderstand. You have to say what you mean. In other words, the thought comes first and then you find the word to express the thought.

    If you mean 'appear', say appear. If you mean 'gather', or 'congregate', use gather, or congregate.

    What exactly is it that you want to say?

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    #10

    Re: clouds will congregate

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I'm sorry but you misunderstand. You have to say what you mean. In other words, the thought comes first and then you find the word to express the thought.

    If you mean 'appear', say appear. If you mean 'gather', or 'congregate', use gather, or congregate.

    What exactly is it that you want to say?
    Appear is my first choice. I want to know if there is a verb with similar meaning which can make the sentence more literary.

    I feel like you are getting angry my friend (kidding)

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