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  1. #1
    kasakuri is offline Newbie
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    Default Which word is used in a strange way in these 6 sentences, and why?

    Hello and thank you sincerely in advance for your help. I'm an aspiring English teacher trying to familiarize myself with all the nuances of the language :)

    I am trying to identify which word in the following 6 questions are used incorrectly, explain why they are used incorrectly as well as replace the incorrect word with a better alternative. So far, I have identified (what I think) are the incorrect words and replaced them with (what I think) are the better alternatives. However, I'm really not sure how to explain the decisions that I've made.

    If you would be so kind, please look at the following 6 questions and help me Identify and explain the correct choices.

    A. In the sentences below, one of the words is used in a way that sounds strange or inappropriate.

    Identify the wrong word then supply a more appropriate word and say why this is better.

    Example:
    A healthy diet makes people skinnier and better looking.

    ANSWER: ‘Skinnier’ is wrong here. ‘Slimmer’ is better because it has a positive tone. ‘Skinnier’ sounds too negative in this context.

    1. The students have done a lot of progress so far.
    Answer: ‘done’ is wrong here. ‘Made’ is better.

    2. He doesn’t concentrate in class, he spends most of his time saying jokes to his friends.
    Answer: ‘Saying’ is wrong here. ‘Cracking’ is better

    3. The assistant manager left last week so now we’re trying to find out a replacement.
    Answer: ‘Out’ is wrong here. It should be deleted because it is extraneous.

    4. The work I’m doing at the moment is absolutely difficult for most people.
    Answer: ‘Absolutely’ is wrong here. ‘Very’ is better.

    5. Please could you cough up this money within the next seven days?
    Answer: ‘Cough up’ is wrong here. ‘Come up with’ is better.

    6. If things aren’t going well it’s important to keep going and not lose bravery.
    Answer: ‘Bravery’ is wrong here. ‘Courage’ is better.

    Thank you again,

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Which word is used in a strange way in these 6 sentences, and why?

    Your answers are fine. There's a more conventional possibility for 2. You could think of an alternative for 4 that might be better than very.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 03-Dec-2012 at 16:22. Reason: typo

  3. #3
    kasakuri is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Which word is used in a strange way in these 6 sentences, and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    You're answers are fine. There's a more conventional possibility for 2. You could think of an alternative for 4 that might be better than very.
    Thanks for your answer Tdol. My main concern is how should I go about explaining those answers? I'm not sure if "it feels right," would be a suitable answer. Any help on how I should explain my choices would be greatly appreciated!!

  4. #4
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Which word is used in a strange way in these 6 sentences, and why?

    Unfortunately, you'll find that "it just feels right" or "it just sounds more natural" is the explanation for a lot of what you will find on these threads.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Which word is used in a strange way in these 6 sentences, and why?

    1. The students have done a lot of progress so far.
    Answer: ‘done’ is wrong here. ‘Made’ is better.
    This is an example of collocation.

    2. He doesn’t concentrate in class, he spends most of his time saying jokes to his friends.
    Answer: ‘Saying’ is wrong here. ‘Cracking’ is better
    So's this- we tell jokes.

    4. The work I’m doing at the moment is absolutely difficult for most people.
    Answer: ‘Absolutely’ is wrong here. ‘Very’ is better.
    We use very with adjectives that have degrees, like difficult - it can be slightly/very difficult. We use absolutely with adjectives like impossible to give emphasis- something can't be a bit impossible.


    ​Etc

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Which word is used in a strange way in these 6 sentences, and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    This is an example of collocation.
    A cynic might think that 'collocation' is a fancy way of saying 'that's the way it is'.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Which word is used in a strange way in these 6 sentences, and why?

    It is, but at least it's a term for it.

  8. #8
    kasakuri is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Which word is used in a strange way in these 6 sentences, and why?

    Thank you all for your response, especially Tdol.

    After racking my brain (and reading through many grammar sites), I've managed to come up with (what I think) would be acceptable explanations for each of the 6 questions above. What do you guys think?

    1. The students have done a lot of progress so far.
    Answer: ‘Done’ is wrong here because it is used with a specific activity. ‘Made’ is used when referred to a specific product, in this case, ‘progress’, and is a better fit here.

    2. He doesn’t concentrate in class, he spends most of his time saying jokes to his friends.
    Answer: ‘Saying’ is wrong here because it is used to speak in general about something that has been said by someone. ‘Telling’ is better here because it is used when someone informs someone else of something.

    3. The assistant manager left last week so now we’re trying to find out a replacement.
    Answer: ‘Out’ is wrong here. It should be deleted because it is extraneous.

    4. The work I’m doing at the moment is absolutely difficult for most people.
    Answer: ‘Absolutely’ is wrong here because it is a non-gradable adverb. Since ‘difficult’ is a gradable adjective, ‘very’ is a better choice here.

    5. Please could you cough up this money within the next seven days?
    Answer: ‘Cough up’ is wrong here because it is too informal. ‘Come up with’ is more formal and is a better fit in this context.

    6. If things aren’t going well it’s important to keep going and not lose bravery.
    Answer: ‘Bravery’ is not the best fit here because it more often refers to external actions. ‘Courage’ is a better fit because it refers more to internal emotions.

    Are these explanations good enough?

  9. #9
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Which word is used in a strange way in these 6 sentences, and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by kasakuri View Post
    Thank you all for your response, especially Tdol.

    After racking my brain (and reading through many grammar sites), I've managed to come up with (what I think) would be acceptable explanations for each of the 6 questions above. What do you guys think?

    1. The students have done a lot of progress so far.
    Answer: ‘Done’ is wrong here because it is used with a specific activity. ‘Made’ is used when referred to a specific product, in this case, ‘progress’, and is a better fit here.
    That, and the fact that "to make progress" is the standard phrase.

    2. He doesn’t concentrate in class, he spends most of his time saying jokes to his friends.
    Answer: ‘Saying’ is wrong here because it is used to speak in general about something that has been said by someone. ‘Telling’ is better here because it is used when someone informs someone else of something.
    As with sentence 1, "to tell jokes" or "to tell a joke" is the correct standard phrase. We don't use "say + noun" that way.


    3. The assistant manager left last week so now we’re trying to find out a replacement.
    Answer: ‘Out’ is wrong here. It should be deleted because it is extraneous.
    It's not just extraneous, it's part of the phrasal verb "to find out" which means "to discover" which would be completely inappropriate here. We don't discover a replacement member of staff. We search for and then choose one - we find one.

    4. The work I’m doing at the moment is absolutely difficult for most people.
    Answer: ‘Absolutely’ is wrong here because it is a non-gradable adverb. Since ‘difficult’ is a gradable adjective, ‘very’ is a better choice here.
    Yes, we don't use "absolutely" with all adjectives. Had it said "impossible" then you could have added "absolutely". But "very" or "extremely" should go here.

    5. Please could you cough up this money within the next seven days?
    Answer: ‘Cough up’ is wrong here because it is too informal. ‘Come up with’ is more formal and is a better fit in this context.
    Yes, "to cough up" when talking about money is very informal and would be unlikely to be teamed with "Please could you ..."

    6. If things aren’t going well it’s important to keep going and not lose bravery.
    Answer: ‘Bravery’ is not the best fit here because it more often refers to external actions. ‘Courage’ is a better fit because it refers more to internal emotions.
    Yes, bravery usually applies to something you do. Courage is how you feel.

    Are these explanations good enough?
    See above.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Which word is used in a strange way in these 6 sentences, and why?

    I'd look at 2 again. Also, is 5 that formal?

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