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  1. #1
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default serial and successive; faint and obscure

    Dear teachers,
    I have two questions to ask.

    No. 1
    The patient underwent four____ operation in two weeks.
    a. serial b. successive
    Is there any difference between the two choices?
    According to my dictionary 'serial' means 'arranged or happening one after the other in the correct order'. 'successive' means 'coming or following one after the other'. It seems in this sentence both are correct. Am I right?

    No.2
    I can use 'faint' to modify sound. Can I use obscure to modify sound? In my dictionaries compiled by Chinese scholars there is an example of 'a obscure sound'. But I can't find the same example in my English dictionaries.

    I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  2. #2
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    Default Re: serial and successive; faint and obscure

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang
    The patient underwent four____ operations in two weeks.

    a. serial b. successive

    Is there any difference between the two choices?
    According to my dictionary 'serial' means 'arranged or happening one after the other in the correct order'. 'successive' means 'coming or following one after the other'. It seems in this sentence both are correct. Am I right?
    'serial' is attributive. It decribes the nature of the 'operations' (i.e. the operations are serial (?)). What we're looking for is an adjective that expresses 'a series of operations' / 'operations arranged in an ordered succession' (i.e. successive).

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang
    I can use 'faint' to modify sound. Can I use obscure to modify sound? In my dictionaries compiled by Chinese scholars there is an example of 'a obscure sound'. But I can't find the same example in my English dictionaries.
    In the sense that it's a rare sound, I'd say it's meaningful. Whether it's semantically acceptable or not, though, I'm not 100% sure. My intuition tells me that in order for something to be considered obscure (i.e. unclear, unknown) it had to have existed in a non-obscure form at one point in time. I'm not sure if sound can be thought of in that way, at this date and time, not to mention in our world. It's perplexing. 8)

    All the best,

  3. #3
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: serial and successive; faint and obscure

    Thank you very much for your explanation.
    I think I understand the second one. Now I am trying to interpret your explanation to the first one so that you can decide whether I understand it or not.
    'serial' refers to the form of the operation. That is the operation is not done once but several times. A group of operations makes up the whole operation. 'successive' means something like time sequence. That is the operation is carried out one after another. Am I right?

    I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Quote Originally Posted by jiang
    The patient underwent four____ operations in two weeks.

    a. serial b. successive

    Is there any difference between the two choices?
    According to my dictionary 'serial' means 'arranged or happening one after the other in the correct order'. 'successive' means 'coming or following one after the other'. It seems in this sentence both are correct. Am I right?
    'serial' is attributive. It decribes the nature of the 'operations' (i.e. the operations are serial (?)). What we're looking for is an adjective that expresses 'a series of operations' / 'operations arranged in an ordered succession' (i.e. successive).

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang
    I can use 'faint' to modify sound. Can I use obscure to modify sound? In my dictionaries compiled by Chinese scholars there is an example of 'a obscure sound'. But I can't find the same example in my English dictionaries.
    In the sense that it's a rare sound, I'd say it's meaningful. Whether it's semantically acceptable or not, though, I'm not 100% sure. My intuition tells me that in order for something to be considered obscure (i.e. unclear, unknown) it had to have existed in a non-obscure form at one point in time. I'm not sure if sound can be thought of in that way, at this date and time, not to mention in our world. It's perplexing. 8)

    All the best,

  4. #4
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    Default Re: serial and successive; faint and obscure

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang
    Thank you very much for your explanation.
    I think I understand the second one. Now I am trying to interpret your explanation to the first one so that you can decide whether I understand it or not.
    'serial' refers to the form of the operation. That is the operation is not done once but several times. A group of operations makes up the whole operation. 'successive' means something like time sequence. That is the operation is carried out one after another. Am I right?

    I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you in advance.
    'serial' modifies the meaning of the word 'operation'. An operation happens once. If we add 'serial' to it: a serial operation, which by the way is not meaningful, I'm just using it to make my point, it means something like, an operation involving continual acts of operating within that one operation. The plural form, serial operations, means the same thing, but in this case, a series of acts are done in each operation.

    Does that help out?
    Where's Mike when we need him He's really good at explaining the semantics of attributive adjectives.

  5. #5
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: serial and successive; faint and obscure

    :D
    I think I understand it perfectly now.
    A serial operation ( as you said is impossible) means an operation keeps going on and on, maybe in different sections, without
    stopping. 'successive' means after one operation another operation might be carried out after an interval of certain time. I hope I am right this time.

    I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang



    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Quote Originally Posted by jiang
    Thank you very much for your explanation.
    I think I understand the second one. Now I am trying to interpret your explanation to the first one so that you can decide whether I understand it or not.
    'serial' refers to the form of the operation. That is the operation is not done once but several times. A group of operations makes up the whole operation. 'successive' means something like time sequence. That is the operation is carried out one after another. Am I right?

    I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you in advance.
    'serial' modifies the meaning of the word 'operation'. An operation happens once. If we add 'serial' to it: a serial operation, which by the way is not meaningful, I'm just using it to make my point, it means something like, an operation involving continual acts of operating within that one operation. The plural form, serial operations, means the same thing, but in this case, a series of acts are done in each operation.

    Does that help out?
    Where's Mike when we need him He's really good at explaining the semantics of attributive adjectives.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: serial and successive; faint and obscure

    That's a BIG thumbs up! :D

  7. #7
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: serial and successive; faint and obscure

    Many thanks!
    I hope next time I'd be clever enough so that you don't have to spend so much time explaining them to me.

    Thank you for pointing out my misuse of English, which I really sincerely hope you would do. I won't use 'Am I right' from now on.

    Jiang

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    That's a BIG thumbs up! :D

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