Let's say you want to express something using a common expression, is this sentence correct?

I don't want to emulate others much, because this act does not develop my own individuality.

Note:if you spot any incorrect vocabulary usage, pls. Help. And if you can suggest alternatives or better expression even, feel free to share.

1 Answer 1


It is correct, although you could also omit "own".

Basically, you can always use Google as the first step in determining whether a certain phrase is in use by native speakers. For example, googling for "develop my individuality" (in quotation marks) turns up many results from books by native speakers, including the venerable G.K.Chesterton.

The only other caveat is that it is better to say "emulate others too much".

Also, it's best to replace "this act" with "doing so". X+ing is a form called gerund—a verb turned into a noun of sorts. "This act" presupposes one specific act, while you are talking about repeated actions.

  • Hello, thx for your feedback. I almost get all what you are saying, but, in terms of emulate, as my verb in present tense form, I don't quite get it why do you have to change it into 'doing so' from 'this act', because usually ''verb(ing)’s'' are usually grounded only for a temporary action(PLAYING a computer game, WASHING the dishes, and so on) Clearly, not used as facts or in repeated actions. Kindly correct me if I'm wrong.
    – John Arvin
    Feb 1, 2018 at 18:20
  • @JohnArvin Your sentence basically says it is your desire to avoid emulating others in general, not just in some specific case. Even if you are talking about a specific action, your sentence expresses your general rule. "This act" sounds a bit pompous and can only refer to 1 specific instance (and only if you've mentioned it in a previous sentence). "Doing so" is a good way to refer to the 1st half of your sentence—it is essentially a replacement for "emulating other people" (you don't need to repeat "emulating" a 2nd time) and it works both for a specific situation and for a general rule.
    – user68912
    Feb 1, 2018 at 19:29
  • @JohnArvin Besides, what you seem to be talking about is the Present Continuous tense ("to be" +ing). I'm not talking about this. I'm talking about a grammatical concept that is probably new to you — gerund (click on the link for more explanation). Notice how I haven't put "is" or "are" before "doing"; it stands alone. Every verb can be made into a "virtual noun" by adding +ing. For example, "Playing guitar is my favorit pastime"; "Crying will not help you solve the problem".
    – user68912
    Feb 1, 2018 at 19:44
  • 1
    @JohnArvin Yes. "In doing so" could be rephrased using your words "this act" (although I told you it sounded a bit pompous)—"through this act", something like this.
    – user68912
    Feb 3, 2018 at 20:27
  • 1
    @JohnArvin In your sentence, BECAUSE DOING SO does not develop my individuality". "Doing so" becomes the subject of this clause. Other examples: 1, 2, 3
    – user68912
    Feb 3, 2018 at 21:01

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