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  1. #1
    Tracey77 is offline Newbie
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    Default Painful vs Embarassing

    Hi, I'm new to the forum and I joined because I'm having an on-going argument with my friend which I hope someone will help me to resolve!
    I'm British and an English teacher and I said I thought it was ok to say the following sentence:

    I stank of garlic - it was painful.

    It was said in the context of a person giving a lift to 3 other people in their car. I said it was ok because it is clear from the context that 'painful' means 'embarassing' and so we can substitute the word without any change in meaning. However, my colleague disagrees and says it should definitely be:

    I stank of garlic - it was embarassing.

    Could anyone help me and explain if the first sentence is correct and if so, why? And if it's not, why we can't use it?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    dbnunley is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Painful vs Embarassing

    I understood your statement and use of the word "painful". I'm not a teacher, but from the context of the sentence, I understood that you meant "embarrassed" before you explained it.

  3. #3
    Searching for language is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Painful vs Embarassing

    I wouldn't use it. I would perhaps say that it was painfully embarrasing.

    In the sentence that you used, you might say, "I stank of garlic, it was painful to me to realize that people were aware of it or offended by it."

    I would use painful in a way to say perhaps, "My dog had to be euthanized because he couldn't walk any more, it was terribly painful to the whole family."

    I am not a teacher.

  4. #4
    sarat_106 is offline Key Member
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    Exclamation Re: Painful vs Embarassing

    Quote Originally Posted by Tracey77 View Post
    Hi, I'm new to the forum and I joined because I'm having an on-going argument with my friend which I hope someone will help me to resolve!
    I'm British and an English teacher and I said I thought it was ok to say the following sentence:

    I stank of garlic - it was painful.

    It was said in the context of a person giving a lift to 3 other people in their car. I said it was ok because it is clear from the context that 'painful' means 'embarassing' and so we can substitute the word without any change in meaning. However, my colleague disagrees and says it should definitely be:

    I stank of garlic - it was embarassing.

    Could anyone help me and explain if the first sentence is correct and if so, why? And if it's not, why we can't use it?

    Thanks for your help.
    The context made me to recall a similar instance when I was a child reading in primary standard and going to a tutor with two others. One day while the tutor was explaining a mathematical solution I released gas from the bowels with a little sound and it stank garlic. My action was socially unacceptable and I was emotionally so upset that it immediacy made me feel ashamed but before I could think of my next step, my teacher asked me to go to lavatory, attend to call of the nature and then come back. It was understandably embarrassing and I left the place at once to save my dignity.

    Had the teacher scolded or even beaten me, considering my unintentional action as morally wrong, it would have been painful.
    Last edited by sarat_106; 22-Sep-2009 at 07:00.

  5. #5
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Painful vs Embarassing

    Quote Originally Posted by Tracey77 View Post
    Hi, I'm new to the forum and I joined because I'm having an on-going argument with my friend which I hope someone will help me to resolve!
    I'm British and an English teacher and I said I thought it was ok to say the following sentence:

    I stank of garlic - it was painful.

    It was said in the context of a person giving a lift to 3 other people in their car. I said it was ok because it is clear from the context that 'painful' means 'embarassing' and so we can substitute the word without any change in meaning. However, my colleague disagrees and says it should definitely be:

    I stank of garlic - it was embarassing.

    Could anyone help me and explain if the first sentence is correct and if so, why? And if it's not, why we can't use it?

    Thanks for your help.
    I don't think the first sentence works. I can't think of a narrative in which it could be put. If the context is already known, you could say "It was painful", but you would have already explained that you smelt of garlic before you made it clear that everyone noticed and you had noticed that everyone noticed. Only then does "painful" become understandable.

    In fact even the second sentence suffers from this problem. It belongs neither at the beginning nor at the end of the story. The rest of the story seems to have to go where the dash is.

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    Default Re: Painful vs Embarassing

    In my mind this falls under the variable category, depending on the context. Between friends and within conversation, you can rely on your friends to make all of the needed assumptions:

    I stank of garlic -- { I didn't want to stink of garlic; others in the area didn't like the smell of garlic; I knew they didn't approve; I felt embarrassed } -- it was painful.

    If you were writing a formal paper you would want to use the 'embarassed' option or put in the needed assumptions to be clear.

    I stick by the rules for writing but give wide berth (out of social necessity) for conversation.

  7. #7
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    Soup is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Painful vs Embarassing

    Re: I stank of garlic - it was painful.
    _________________________________________

    Hello Tracey77

    From a colloquial standpoint, it's perfectly fine: it means painfully embarrassing. As long as you explain that to your students, that it's colloquial and not what people are taught or would expected to hear, you're doing a good job.

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