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In a story I'm writing someone is killed. A detective arrives at the crime scene.

The detective looked down at the body.

The detective looked down at the dead body.

  • Is "body" enough? Will writing "dead body" seem weird?

  • Let's say the name of the killed man was Michael, would there be any difference between writing "...looked down at Michael's body" and "...looked down at the body of Michael."?

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If you're going to write detective fiction, you'll have to get comfortable with the phrase "dead body" or its synonyms. :) If you've already stated that Michael is dead, body is enough. If you haven't said that, then you need to say dead body. The reader has to be informed that Michael is dead or he/she will be confused.

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  • If the crime is a rape, assault and battery, or a theft, it doesn't follow at all that Michael, on the floor, is dead. Jan 21 '21 at 22:23
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You could us either of these, and you do not need to state the body is dead at all. It is implied, as there would be no reason for a living person to be lying on the floor at the time a detective gets there.

Additionally, this is rather cliched (so people are expecting it), and "the body" as a phrase often implies it is dead, unless it is in a scientific setting (e.g. "The body is very good at eliminating toxins"). It would be very strange to refer to a living person's body with "The Body".

In regards to "...looked down at Michael's body" and "...looked down at the body of Michael.", both versions are correct, but Michael's body flows a little better.

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