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  1. #1
    tileeba is offline Newbie
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    Default Can I use the word DOMINATE?

    Hello!

    We have a project to help Brazilians learn Phrasal Verbs (TIM AND TAMMY TEACH). In one of my texts I wrote that I would help them DOMINATE phrasal verbs. Someone wrote and said that I couldn't use the word "dominate"; I could only use the word "master". What do you think? Is it permissible to use the word "dominate" when speaking about mastering a very difficult subject? I sort of meant it as "conquer", "command", "gain control of", etc.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can I use the word DOMINATE?

    No: "to dominate" means literally "to rule over" or "to govern"; as a metaphor, it can mean "to overshadow" to "to characterize" -- for example, "The cooling towers of the power station dominated the landscape."

    In the sense you want it to mean, "to master" is the correct choice.

  3. #3
    tileeba is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Can I use the word DOMINATE?

    Thank you for your answer, rewboss; but just for the sake of argument, how about these definitions of "dominate"? -

    ==> To control, govern, or rule by superior authority or power: Successful leaders dominate events rather than react to them.

    ==> To have or exert strong authority or mastery.

    The American Heritage Dictionary

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can I use the word DOMINATE?

    Both those meanings refer to the literal meaning of "dominate": to rule over, as a lord rules over his subjects. In the first case it really is a lord or some other ruler, and in the second case it is person acting like a lord.

    A domineering person is a person who orders other people around.

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