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  1. #1
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default the difference between "point to" and "show"

    “MANY signs point to a growing historical consciousness among the American people.”

    Question: If I change “point to” with “show”, what’s the subtle difference?
    My own feeling is that if we say “signs point to something”, we are suggesting something that is quite likely to happen. Likelihood is involved. But if we say “signs show”, then the likelihood is not there. Am I right? Or I didn’t see the real difference between the two? Thanks.

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: the difference between "point to" and "show"

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    “MANY signs point to a growing historical consciousness among the American people.”

    Question: If I change “point to” with “show”, what’s the subtle difference?
    My own feeling is that if we say “signs point to something”, we are suggesting something that is quite likely to happen. Likelihood is involved. But if we say “signs show”, then the likelihood is not there. Am I right? Or I didn’t see the real difference between the two? Thanks.
    There is not really any difference in meaning between the two.

  3. #3
    Kraken's Avatar
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    Default Re: the difference between "point to" and "show"

    With due respect, I disagree on this one


    For me, whithin this context, "point to" may mean suggest.
    “MANY signs suggest a growing historical consciousness among the American people.”

    Whereas "show" might mean: give evidence of, as of records.
    “MANY signs prove a growing historical consciousness among the American people.”

    So, there could be a subtle change in meaning using one or the other.

    But, hey, I am not a teacher. It's just my two cents.

  4. #4
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    Neillythere is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: the difference between "point to" and "show"

    Hi, as a Brit and mentor, but not a teacher:

    I agree with Kraken and believe there is a differeence:

    "Point to" means "suggest/tend to indicate", whereas

    "Show" means "demonstrate/prove", in this case.

    Regards
    NT

  5. #5
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: the difference between "point to" and "show"

    Quote Originally Posted by Neillythere View Post
    Hi, as a Brit and mentor, but not a teacher:

    I agree with Kraken and believe there is a differeence:

    "Point to" means "suggest/tend to indicate", whereas

    "Show" means "demonstrate/prove", in this case.

    Regards
    NT
    I agree too, but I don't believe you can say it's a hard and fast rule. Some people use 'Many signs point to <undisputable-fact>' ; but some people to say 'Many signs point to <a strong possibility>' Some people trade on this possible ambiguity. A market analyst might well say 'I predicted this recession. Two years ago I said 'Many signs point to a recession' and I was right' - but when he said it, it was just a prediction. I agree, 'show' is clear-cut; but 'point to' is less definitely one or the other.

    b

  6. #6
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default Re: the difference between "point to" and "show"

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I agree too, but I don't believe you can say it's a hard and fast rule. Some people use 'Many signs point to <undisputable-fact>' ; but some people to say 'Many signs point to <a strong possibility>' Some people trade on this possible ambiguity. A market analyst might well say 'I predicted this recession. Two years ago I said 'Many signs point to a recession' and I was right' - but when he said it, it was just a prediction. I agree, 'show' is clear-cut; but 'point to' is less definitely one or the other.

    b
    Can we say this: There is a subtle difference between the two, but the difference is too small to pay attention except in cases where subtle differences are extremely important, say, as in a crucial legal document?

    In foreign language classes, teachers always use the technique of "paraphrase" to teach students. This is an effective means, but sometimes in paraphrasing we tend to overlook the subtle differences.

  7. #7
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: the difference between "point to" and "show"

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    Can we say this: There is a subtle difference between the two, but the difference is too small to pay attention except in cases where subtle differences are extremely important, say, as in a crucial legal document?

    In foreign language classes, teachers always use the technique of "paraphrase" to teach students. This is an effective means, but sometimes in paraphrasing we tend to overlook the subtle differences.
    Yes, you are right, it is a subtle difference, which in everyday language has little or no importance.

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