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    #1

    severe/ serious

    According to dictionary.reference.com, severe means: serious or stern in manner or appearance
    serious means: of grave or somber disposition, character, or manner: a serious occasion
    Could you help me figure the difference between them?
    Thanks,

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    #2

    Re: severe/ serious

    Quote Originally Posted by hitinvo View Post
    According to dictionary.reference.com, severe means: serious or stern in manner or appearance
    serious means: of grave or somber disposition, character, or manner: a serious occasion
    Could you help me figure the difference between them?
    Thanks,
    Serious - thoughtful, solemn, earnest, sincere, of importance, giving cause
    for concern.
    - to be serious about sth,
    - is he serious about her.

    Severe - strict, rigorous, hard to do, harsh, austere, extreme.
    - we had severe winter last year,
    -it was the extremely severe headache.
    S.M.

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    #3

    Re: severe/ serious

    hi,
    Please note I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker,

    As the words are synonyms I find very helpful to have a look at the collocation.
    So as they are adjectives lets have some fun and list the nouns that goes often with each word :
    BNC link

    "Severe" has a nice pattern if we look at the nouns which it describes.

    WORD 1: SEVERE

    1 WEATHER
    2 LEARNING
    3 OESOPHAGITIS
    4 DISABILITIES
    5 REFLUX
    6 PANCREATITIS
    7 WINTERS
    8 ALLOWANCE
    9 PAINS
    10 RESTRICTIONS
    11 DEMENTIA
    12 HYPOGLYCAEMIA
    13 ASTHMA
    14 DIARRHOEA
    15 SENTENCE it's mainly a prison sentence
    16 URGENCY
    17 HANDICAPS
    18 STORM
    19 DISABLEMENT
    20 ABNORMALITIES
    21 LIVER
    22 EPISODES
    23 FROST
    24 HYPERTENSION
    25 INFLAMMATION
    26 MALARIA
    27 MALNUTRITION
    28 REPRESSION
    29 REPRIMAND
    30 WINTER
    31 POVERTY
    32 ARTHRITIS
    33 COLD
    34 COLITIS
    35 GALES
    36 HEADACHES
    37 HEPATITIS
    38 TRAUMA
    39 HEADACHE
    40 PAIN
    41 DYSPLASIA
    42 ENTERITIS
    43 GALE
    44 LIMITS
    45 RETARDATION
    46 SENTENCES
    47 STENOSIS
    48 TURBULENCE
    49 STRAIN
    50 DROUGHT
    51 PUNISHMENT
    52 CONSTIPATION
    53 STORMS
    54 STYLE I don't really get that
    55 ANAEMIA
    56 CLIMATE
    57 FROSTS
    58 KNOCK
    59 LESIONS
    60 PRUNING
    61 DISABILITY
    62 HARDSHIP
    63 PRESSURES
    64 BEATINGS
    65 EARTHQUAKE
    66 ECONOMIES
    67 FLUCTUATIONS
    68 IMMUNODEFICIENCY
    69 IMPAIRMENTS
    70 JOLT ???
    71 MIGRAINE
    72 PNEUMONIA
    73 PORTAL hypertension
    74 PREMIUM
    75 PROVOCATION
    76 RAIN
    77 SPASTICITY
    78 RECESSION
    79 SANCTIONS
    80 WEIGHT loss
    81 STRESS
    82 DEPRESSION
    83 STOMACH
    84 BURN
    85 RESTRICTION
    86 ANGLE ???
    87 ANGINA
    88 ALTERATION
    89 ARTERIOPATHY
    90 ANOREXIA
    91 BRUISES
    92 BUDGET
    93 CLIMATES it's not about the weather
    94 CONTEST ??
    95 CUTBACKS
    96 DEAFNESS
    97 DISCHARGES
    98 DROP
    99 DYSPNOEA
    100 ENEMIES

    red - health related nouns
    Blue - weather related
    strike - N/A mainly used as adj
    no colour - I just didn't know how to classify them.

    Cheers.
    Last edited by Jaskin; 14-Jun-2010 at 01:29.

  1. chester_100's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: severe/ serious

    Quote Originally Posted by hitinvo View Post
    According to dictionary.reference.com, severe means: serious or stern in manner or appearance
    serious means: of grave or somber disposition, character, or manner: a serious occasion
    Could you help me figure the difference between them?
    Thanks,
    Words have primary and secondary meanings. Sometimes their secondary meanings happen to be synonymous with those of other words.
    -Serious: dangerous and important.
    -Severe: dangerous, harsh, unpleasant.

    So when something is harsh, painful, extremely dangerous, we can use severe.
    When something is dangerous, and calls our attention to its bad effects, and requires us to do something about it, we can use serious to describe that thing.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: severe/ serious

    When ti comes to describing appearance, the words can be close to synonyms.

    She had a serious/severe look on her face.

    If I saw someone who looked serious, I might wonder if something was wrong.
    If I saw someone who looked severe, I might be afraid to approach her.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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