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Thread: "possibilities"

  1. #1
    Jack Clark is offline Newbie
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    Default "possibilities"

    I have frequently heard and seen (in instruction manuals) the word "possibilities" used a bit oddly by native speakers of German. It seems to be used where "options" or sometimes "features" is intended. For example:

    "This new development left John with only two possibilities (meaning "options"): . . ." etc.

    "This product has the following possibilities (meaning "features"):
    Greater capacity
    Faster speeds
    Longer life" etc.

    Is there a better way to teach word choice in a situation like this other than simply providing a list of examples? Or is that the best way?

    (Addressing American English only.)

  2. #2
    markdoyle is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: "possibilities"

    Yes, the best way is through experience (which is not the same as giving examples). Experience lets the student relate the use of certain word/phrase with a meaning by themselves. I think reading in English is one of those experiences, and it should be encouraged by teachers. Collocation is an arbitraty thing, but our memory needs to relate it to a certain experience, otherwise it might not fix.

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