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  1. #1
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default well-used = worn out, threadbare, shabby, frayed, ragged, raveled

    Dear teachers,

    I know that the expression in bold in the following sentence means “worn out”. It made me strange impression that the expression in question has only a negative connotation in English language (when it is used many times, usually to the point of being worn out, that is barely functional, worn out, threadbare, shabby, out of elbows, the worst for wear, frayed, raveled, ragged).

    Two hands holding a well-used prayer book at a Methodist church service are symbolic of faith in South Africa. Note depth of field is shallow and is focused on just the thumb and the nearby text.

    [IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/ADMINI%7E1/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image002.jpg[/IMG]

    His clothes were rumpled and well-used.
    Would you be kind enough to tell me whether their is a possibility for expression of positive connotation with the expression in question? I have in mind such meanings as “advantageous”, “favorable, easy”, “profitable, paying”, “on easy terms”.

    For example as it stands in the following sentences:

    The well-used extension ladder balanced against the back of a house, poised to allow access to the house gutters.

    [IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/ADMINI%7E1/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image004.jpg[/IMG]

    Red Cross workers assures money will be well used.
    Our reference books get well used during advanced courses.
    The well used physics education project makes it possible for students and teachers to set close to the forefront of scientific research.
    Well used designs always contain these elements.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V.

  2. #2
    abaka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: well-used = worn out, threadbare, shabby, frayed, ragged, raveled

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    I know that the expression in bold in the following sentence means “worn out”. It made me strange impression that the expression in question has only a negative connotation in English language (when it is used many times, usually to the point of being worn out, that is barely functional, worn out, threadbare, shabby, out of elbows, the worst for wear, frayed, raveled, ragged). ....
    Would you be kind enough to tell me whether their is a possibility for expression of positive connotation with the expression in question?
    The answer to your question is yes. Your impression is, unfortunately, incorrect. The synonyms are all correct, but the connotation is positive: worn out from being used well.

    Two hands holding a well-used prayer book at a Methodist church service are symbolic of faith in South Africa.
    The writer conveys that prayer is pleasing to God and salutary for man.

    A His clothes were rumpled and well-used. (Positive "well" --> perhaps weakening to neutral.)
    B His clothes were rumpled and threadbare. Negative "bare".

    Since shabby clothing is not good, unless you are a crazy Victorian lord, , variant A does give a strange impression; B is usual, and I'd say much more common.

    I have in mind such meanings as “advantageous”, “favorable, easy”, “profitable, paying”, “on easy terms”.


    The well-used extension ladder balanced against the back of a house, poised to allow access to the house gutters.

    Red Cross workers assures money will be well used.
    Our reference books get well used during advanced courses.
    The well used physics education project makes it possible for students and teachers to set close to the forefront of scientific research.
    Well used designs always contain these elements.
    Yes. You've understood these sentences as I should. The connotation is positive.

  3. #3
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: well-used = worn out, threadbare, shabby, frayed, ragged, raveled

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post

    Two hands holding a well-used prayer book at a Methodist church service are symbolic of faith in South Africa. Note depth of field is shallow and is focused on just the thumb and the nearby text.

    In this passage, the "well-used" also indicates the piety of the person (and thus a moral worth) , since they must often use the missal.

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