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  1. Key Member
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    #1

    a tentative/reluctant smile...

    Hello.

    Can I say "tentative or reluctant smile"?

    Do these work?

    1. A tentative smile curved his lips.

    2. A reluctant smile curved his lips.

  2. VIP Member
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    #2

    Re: a tentative/reluctant smile...

    I don't think a smile curve one's lips. It is the reverse - you curve your lips to smile.

    He curved his lips to give a tentative smile.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: a tentative/reluctant smile...

    It doesn't work for me. I don't really understand the concept of either a tentative smile or a reluctant smile.
    Not a professional teacher

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    #4

    Re: a tentative/reluctant smile...

    It is a hesitant or unwilling smile.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

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    #5

    Re: a tentative/reluctant smile...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    It doesn't work for me. I don't really understand the concept of either a tentative smile or a reluctant smile.
    I meant he smiled even though he didn't want to.

  6. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: a tentative/reluctant smile...

    Both words are fine. They mean different things. I agree that curved is somewhat unnatural. You might try:

    - He smiled tentatively. (That is, uncertainly.)
    - He smiled reluctantly. (That is, with misgivings.)
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  7. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: a tentative/reluctant smile...

    Well, it might work in a situation in which somebody insisted that the person smile. Them you might say:

    He smiled reluctantly.
    Not a professional teacher

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    #8

    Re: a tentative/reluctant smile...

    I found curve and smiling in the dictionary:

    https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/curve

    Check the verb definition and example.

    What other verb can I use? I know I can use smile as a verb, but I want to see if there are other verbs.

  9. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: a tentative/reluctant smile...

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post
    I meant he smiled even though he didn't want to.
    Then reluctantly is better.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  10. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: a tentative/reluctant smile...

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post
    I found curve and smiling in the dictionary:

    https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/curve

    Check the verb definition and example.

    What other verb can I use? I know I can use smile as a verb, but I want to see if there are other verbs.
    Are you asking what a smile does on a face? I guess you could say it curves. But why bother? Everyone knows what a smile looks like.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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