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Periods in periods result in my contraction.
One of which appears in the expanded starting fraction.

I am often confused with that is taken from "in d'nest".
To exhibit explicit qualities is how you'd use me best.

Hint 1:

One of the lines contains an instruction to reveal a clue.

Hint 2:

Each line will help verify to conclude the correct answer but line 3 contains the most obvious clue. If you analyse it literally that is.

Hint 3:

One line describes the definition of the 'word'.
One line describes how it sounds.
One line describes a 'word' it is commonly confused with.
And one line describes how it looks.

Final hint:

Combine ample clues with the red herring and you have your answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ do you mean "red herring" not "hening"? $\endgroup$ – AHKieran Feb 1 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ @AHKieran hening is intentional but only a little bit auxiliary. $\endgroup$ – JonM Feb 1 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Omega Krypton I've added a hint! $\endgroup$ – JonM Feb 3 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ @JonM have you considered giving us another hint? it has been a week! thanks! $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Feb 9 at 3:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Sensoray the "that" is intentional. It will make sense in the context of the clue/answer $\endgroup$ – JonM Feb 26 at 15:20
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The answer is

uterus

Periods in periods result in my contraction.

muscles in uterus contract during female's menstruation, aka period

One of which appears in the expanded starting fraction.

One of the eggs appears in the fraction/splitting of egg by sperm that starts life. CREDITS @ Tommy Jollyboat

I am often confused with what you'd put in nest.

refers to the egg cell in the uterus as there are eggs in a nest (of birds)

To exhibit explicit qualities is how you'd use me best.

perhaps the DNA in an egg cell that controls the external features of a bab?


P.S. Please tell me why this answer would be downvoted, and how it can be improved. Thanks!

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  • $\begingroup$ Oh damn! I didn't notice this and I just posted the same answer. $\endgroup$ – Tommy Jollyboat Feb 1 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah it was a sound guess. Don't think it deserved a downvote $\endgroup$ – JonM Feb 1 at 17:14
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Are you:

Punctuation?

Periods in periods result in my contraction.

Periods are the end of the sentence, and contractions are represented by apostrophes.

One of which appears in the expanded starting fraction.

A hyphen looks like the bar used in fraction representation.

I am often confused with what you'd put in nest.

unsure

To exhibit explicit qualities is how you'd use me best.

Punctuation helps exhibit explicit qualities of how a sentence is structured.

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the answer is:

a space :

Periods in periods result in my contraction.

MS Word auto correct "..." to make them denser, contracting space

One of which appears in the expanded starting fraction.

I am often confused with what you'd taken "in d'nest".

"in d'nest" sounds like indent, made by the tab key, often confused with multiple spaces

To exhibit explicit qualities is how you'd use me best.

to show that words are apart explicitly

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Partial answer, I think it's a

Womb

Periods in periods result in my contraction.

Womb Contracts in a rhythm between periods

One of which appears in the expanded starting fraction.

One of the eggs appears in the fraction/splitting of egg by sperm that starts life. Umm, or something very similar.

I am often confused with that is taken from "in d'nest".

human eggs are similar to eggs taken from in nests. Not sure about the d'

To exhibit explicit qualities is how you'd use me best.

(Haven't a clue)

Title typo:

Red hens lay eggs, most classically

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I think the answer is

indent (which was already mentioned in @Omega Krypton's answer)

Periods in periods result in my contraction.

If we write period after period, our text is not separated into paragraphs, so we don't have any indents.

One of which appears in the expanded starting fraction.

A paragraph starts with an expanded fraction, the expanded 'space', the indent itself.

I am often confused with that is taken from "in d'nest".

It sounds similarly

To exhibit explicit qualities is how you'd use me best.

It's purpose is to explicitliy show the distinct fragments of the text (or, if we use the hint "One line describes a 'word' it is commonly confused with", it can be a reference to the word 'intent')

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  • $\begingroup$ It's a good answer but not the one I'm looking for. If you get the right answer it will all make sense! $\endgroup$ – JonM Feb 25 at 13:10
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My thoughts/interpretations as a partial answer that might help others:

Period could mean a few things, Menstrual Period, a length of time, a specific time period (like B.C. or A.D.), or the punctuation mark. Contraction could mean 2 words combined, coming down with something (like contracting a disease), becoming smaller or contractions that happen during pregnancy.

Red Hening

With Hen, nest, periods and contractions, it's sending us on the though path of eggs (uteral and chicken). But as the title says, that aspect may all be a red herring. I've tried thinking of this in all of those aspects: Eggs, pregnancy, birth, etc, but nothing seems to fit.

THE ANSWER

Wow typing all this out has got me thinking and I think I just figured out the answer. ACCENT!

Periods in periods result in my contraction.

In various time periods, some phrases or words become popular and are turned into a shortened-slang form where an accent is placed at the end like: nothin´ . This could also refer to various periods in time where foreign alphabets were created and they have accents over the letters themselves, like i's (can't replicate it on this keyboard).

One of which appears in the expanded starting fraction.

Accents are developed when small groups splinter and live somewhere isolated and then their community grows and develop until they have their own way of pronouncing words. (Like England versus Ireland)

I am often confused with that is taken from "in d'nest".

The accent punctuation symbol [´] can look like an apostrophe but it's not.

To exhibit explicit qualities is how you'd use me best.

To show someone is from a specific area or have a specific upbringing, they speak in an accent, or you write them and change how words are spelt in writings to reflect that accent.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 This is such a creative answer. I love it and I really wish it was this but the intended answer is so much simpler. rot13(Lbh'ir qrsvavgryl vqragvsvrq gur erq ureevat nfcrpg bs vg, gung vg unf pyhrf sbe rttf ohg abguvat zhpu gb qb jvgu rttf orfvqrf fbzr natyrf sbe n pyhr) $\endgroup$ – JonM Feb 25 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ @JonM My heart just broke $\endgroup$ – Sensoray Feb 25 at 17:05
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Thinking a little outside the box...

Periods in periods result in my contraction.

Putting a period inside a period creates (assuming one period is bigger than the other) a circle!

One of which appears in the expanded starting fraction.

Representing the circle as "()", one of the parentheses are often using in the start of expanding a fraction, in mathematical equations.

I am often confused with that is taken from "in d'nest".

"in d'nest" (in the nest) is often an egg, which is a very similar shape to a circle, just a little more oblong

To exhibit explicit qualities is how you'd use me best.

You use can circle something to highlight specific qualities (especially in text)

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  • $\begingroup$ I like these abstract answers. The solution though is far simpler. $\endgroup$ – JonM Feb 26 at 9:12
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I believe the answer is

Parentheses

Periods in periods result in my contraction.

Parentheses are used to contain tangentially related sentences, thus contracting them down to a single, cohesive sentence.

One of which appears in the expanded starting fraction

Fractions often use parentheses to delineate the numerator from the denominator, when writing them in a single line.

I am often confused with that is taken from "in d'nest".

Parentheses look like eggshells! () This also applies to the title.

To exhibit explicit qualities is how you'd use me best.

Parentheses can be used to specify qualities about a particular object.

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