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Thread: correct word

  1. #1
    mehdihas is offline Junior Member
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    Default correct word

    Hi there,
    Which word can fill the blanks in the following sentences?
    1) Divorce is now (common/commonplace)
    2) Few of these rules are (applied/applicable) to UK citizens while they are abroad.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: correct word

    What do you think? Have a go, and we'll comment.

    b

  3. #3
    mehdihas is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: correct word

    Hi there,
    Both words fill the blanks, I guess. But since I'm not a native speaker, I can not think of the nuances of the difference between the words. I think a ntive speaker is able to see any difference between the similar words. Now, would you please provide me with an answer?

  4. #4
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    euncu is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: correct word

    ***Neither a teacher nor a native-speaker.***

    Quote Originally Posted by mehdihas View Post
    Hi there,
    Both words fill the blanks, I guess. But since I'm not a native speaker, I can not think of the nuances of the difference between the words. I think a ntive speaker is able to see any difference between the similar words. Now, would you please provide me with an answer?
    The word nuance already indicates a subtle difference. Thus, your sentence becomes ...the subtle differences of the difference between ... .

  5. #5
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: correct word

    Quote Originally Posted by mehdihas View Post
    Hi there,
    Both words fill the blanks, I guess. But since I'm not a native speaker, I can not think of the nuances of the difference between the words. I think a ntive speaker is able to see any difference between the similar words. Now, would you please provide me with an answer?
    To my ear, 'commonplace' sounds a little less common than 'common'. Another difference is that 'a commonplace' is a possible noun (meaning [usually] 'something that is commonly met'). The noun 'a common' refers only to a piece of land (I don't know whether this sort of common exists in Am English - I imagine not).

    In the second sentence the case is clearer. If something is 'applicable' it may be applied, so the two sentences have different meanings.

    b

    PS Your last sentence sounds as though you're a bit irritated - I hope not.

  6. #6
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: correct word

    Quote Originally Posted by mehdihas View Post
    Hi there,



    Which word can fill the blanks in the following sentences?
    1) Divorce is now (common/commonplace)
    2) Few of these rules are (applied/applicable) to UK citizens while they are abroad.

    Thanks.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) I know how you feel. If I were studying French or Spanish, I

    think I could check with an official language academy to find out

    what is good French or Spanish. Sadly, we English speakers do not

    have an official body to give us the ("thee") correct answers.

    (2) So may I give you my two cents' worth?

    (a) I would say: Divorce is now common.

    (i) My dictionary tells me that "common" = widespread; regular

    occurrence.

    (ii) My dictionary tells me that "commonplace" = uninteresting; dull;

    ordinary.

    (3) I would say: Few of these rules are applicable to UK citizens

    while they are abroad.

    (i) My dictionary tells me that "applicable" = capable of being

    applied; relevant; suitable.

    (a) For example, if you do not have any children, then you would

    write N/A ("not applicable") if there were a question for you to

    give the names of your children.

    (ii) I cannot explain it, but I feel a difference between:

    Few of these rules are applicable to Britons abroad. = seems to

    indicate the possibility that a few of these may be applied.

    Few of these rules are applied to Britons abroad. = seems to

    indicate that a few of these are actually applied.

    (4) Mr. Bryan A. Garner is an American expert on usage

    ("good grammar"). He says quite often the word "applicable"

    should not be used. In other words, he MIGHT suggest that

    your sentence read:

    Few of these rules apply to UK citizens while they are abroad.

  7. #7
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: correct word

    Quote Originally Posted by mehdihas View Post
    Hi there,

    Which word can fill the blanks in the following sentences?
    1) Divorce is now (common/commonplace)
    2) Few of these rules are (applied/applicable) to UK citizens while they are abroad.

    Thanks.
    NOT A TEACHER.

    If that's an actual test question, it's a terrible one. All the answers provided could be correct.

    My dictionary says that "commonplace" has two meanings: (i) encountered or happening often and (ii) dull. So "commonplace" can also mean "common."

  8. #8
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: correct word

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen165 View Post
    NOT A TEACHER.

    If that's an actual test question, it's a terrible one. All the answers provided could be correct.

    My dictionary says that "commonplace" has two meanings: (i) encountered or happening often and (ii) dull. So "commonplace" can also mean "common."


    Perhaps your last point shows up yet another Br E/Am E difference. Could it be possible that in Am E 'commonplace' means only dull/uninteresting?

    b

  9. #9
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: correct word

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post


    Perhaps your last point shows up yet another Br E/Am E difference. Could it be possible that in Am E 'commonplace' means only dull/uninteresting?

    b
    It's possible but, nonetheless, not true. It does mean the same as "common".

  10. #10
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: correct word

    I wish to share a delicious event that has just occurred.

    While reading online the world-famous Times Literary Supplement, I came across a

    letter from a gentleman who once taught English in Argentina. He writes:

    [I] always recommended that [his students] should read works by Somerset Maugham ... because there they would find the ... COMMONPLACE language that they needed to learn."

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