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  1. Anonymous
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    #1

    Definition of "opposite"

    Hi, I would be grateful if somebody could help me out.

    As a simple example of my confusion, what do you think is the opposite of the word "good"? It could either be "bad", which is what your instinct tells you, or it could be "not good". However, if it is "not good" then this also includes the situation where whatever you are describing is neither good nor bad. I can see a case for using either, "bad" is the opposite of "good" in the sense that it has the exact same meaning but at the other end of the spectrum between "good" and "bad", but "not good" is the opposite of "good" in the sense that it encompasses every situation which "good" does not, thus including every possible situation.

    The dictionary isn't particularly useful, it tells me that "opposite" means "diametrically different", and "diametrically" seems to mean "the exact opposite"!

    If anyone has any views on this your comments would be much appreciated.

    Thanks

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    #2

    Re: Definition of "opposite"

    Quote Originally Posted by GPT
    what do you think is the opposite of the word "good"? It could either be "bad", which is what your instinct tells you, or it could be "not good".
    Welcome, GPT.

    Based on my knowledge and experience, here's what I think:

    good and bad are antonyms; not good is often used as a near synonym for bad, especially if the speaker/writer feels that 'bad' has a negative connotation (i.e., it's taboo). Using not good, a phrase made up of the adverb not and the adjective good, is a softer way of saying 'bad'. With regards to semantic structure, 'not' negates 'good', rendering it null: not good = zero good. So, by taking 'good' out of the semantic equation, the speaker/writer leaves it up to the listener/reader to determine the semantic range of 'bad': 'not good' means, neither 'bad' (i.e., a negatively charged word) nor 'good'.

    good----------------------not good/bad

    good and bad are antonyms; not good is a near synonym for 'bad'. It softens the expression.

    All the best, :D

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