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    #1

    pervasive fault line

    "Today, as a new century begins, race is still a pervasive and troubling fault line running through American life. "

    The question is about the word "pervasive". There is only one fault line here, which runs through American life and this line is troubling, and also pervasive. Since the word pervasive means "spreading throughout" such as "The pervasive odor of garlic", how could the line be pervasive, as fault line can't be moving around like odor can do, a line can only go as a line. So what kind of mental picture do we have here? If I move "pervasive" away from fault line to modify race or more accurately racial issues, then pervasive makes sense, as issues can be found everywhere in the society. Thanks.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: pervasive fault line

    Your interpretation of 'pervasive' is too restrictive. Something doesn't have to move about, or be ubiquitous, to be pervasive; it just has to go through something. The San Andreas Fault, for example, pervades much of California (I think - geography was never my strong point).

    Don't rely on bilingual dictionaries. If a device tells you a word means one thing and one thing only, it's a fair bet that it's wrong.

    b

  2. davidbailey's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: pervasive fault line

    I take 'pervasive' to mean 'affecting' a large portion of the population. Not that is necessarily moving around. ;)

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    #4

    Re: pervasive fault line

    Thanks. In fact, that is exactly what I meant in my message. It doesn't have to go around to be pervasive, which actually means "pervasive" in this case is different from pervasive in pervasive odor of garlic, which does go around.

    I didn't use a bilingual dictionary in fact. I usually look up a word in Onelook.com, which has many online dictionaries.

    Thanks again.



    QUOTE=BobK;540235]Your interpretation of 'pervasive' is too restrictive. Something doesn't have to move about, or be ubiquitous, to be pervasive; it just has to go through something. The San Andreas Fault, for example, pervades much of California (I think - geography was never my strong point).

    Don't rely on bilingual dictionaries. If a device tells you a word means one thing and one thing only, it's a fair bet that it's wrong.

    b[/QUOTE]

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    #5

    Re: pervasive fault line

    I agree. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbailey View Post
    I take 'pervasive' to mean 'affecting' a large portion of the population. Not that is necessarily moving around. ;)

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