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  1. #1
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
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    Default medium-sized / middle-sized

    Hello,

    A question in my test reads as follows:

    A monkey is a _________ animal.
    a) middle-sized b) medium-sized


    I feel that a monkey is a medium-sized animal, but the options given made me think about the difference between the two. When do we use medium-sized, and when do we use middle-sized?
    The Macmillan dictionary draws no distinction between the two.
    middle-sized town
    medium-sized sausepan

    Could somebody please comment on using these adjectives?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: medium-sized / middle-sized

    I've just looked up the words in LDOCE.
    a medium-sized business / a middle-sized company

    Looks like there's no substantial difference between the two, BUT it's still a medium-sized animal

    I'm struggling to find any guidelines, but if they are just collocations (and I've come across a bad question), I'll have to face up to this fact.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: medium-sized / middle-sized

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    I'm struggling to find any guidelines, but if they are just collocations (and I've come across a bad question), I'll have to face up to this fact.
    I didn't respond when you first posted your question because, although I would have chosen 'medium-sized', I couldn't think of any good reason for rejecting 'middle-sized'. I still can't.

    I certainly think it was not a good test question.

  4. #4
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: medium-sized / middle-sized

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I didn't respond when you first posted your question because, although I would have chosen 'medium-sized', I couldn't think of any good reason for rejecting 'middle-sized'. I still can't.

    I certainly think it was not a good test question.
    I think in BrE it's much more common to say "medium-sized".

  5. #5
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: medium-sized / middle-sized

    Thank you.
    The test is for pre-intermediate students. (!) This reminds me of the purposefully/ purposely case, but it was my mother tongue that helped me that time. The translations of these -sized adjectives are indentical.

    I wish authors thought more when writing tests for foreign learners.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: medium-sized / middle-sized

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    I wish authors thought more when writing tests for foreign learners.
    I'd be happy if some of them thought at all.

  7. #7
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: medium-sized / middle-sized

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I'd be happy if some of them thought at all.
    Unfortunately ESL is commercial and largely unregulated. Get monkeys to write tests, pay them peanuts, make more money.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: medium-sized / middle-sized

    I couldn't find any definite distinction between the two and I see it's not obvious to NESs either. It might well be that it's a matter of collocates. MacMillan and Oxford seem to support what bhai said, that middle-sized is more common in AmE:
    Oxford-midsize, MacMillan-middle-sized

    Middle-sized can also be shortened to (acc. to those dictionaries): mid-sized, midsized, midsize.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: medium-sized / middle-sized

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Get monkeys to write tests...
    How big?

    (FWIW, I'd call them medium-sized. When I think about, I fancy I use 'medium- sized' as a general expression of size, and 'middle-sized' as an expression of rank in sizes: 'a big one, a middle-sized one and a little one'. But this 'fancy' may be an example of the sort of "distinction for distinctions' sake" that 5jj has mentioned elsewhere.)

    b

  10. #10
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: medium-sized / middle-sized

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    How big?



    b
    Medium-sized. (their fingers need to be big enough to type with, but the bigger monkeys tend to consume too many peanuts).
    Edit: There is a media baron, a certain Mr M, who I believe works on the same principle when employing "journalists".

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