Interested in Language
I heard someone on a China's English television channel say 'the story does not sound very credulous' and that does not sound quite right to me.
Only people or animals can be credulous, right?
He or she used the word incorrectly. However, native speakers often associate credulous with credible due to the fact that both are somewhat synonymous in meaning.
Postscript: It's alright, though. Not necessary to follow prescriptive rules.
Last edited by Editors4Writers; 23-Jun-2010 at 16:06. Reason: Postscript
I sense a bit of animosity from you Raymott. Do you feel threatened by me? I can't recall if I've done anything to offend you.
There are descriptive and prescriptive rules in the English language. Most of my colleagues, as well as a percentage of native speakers, choose not to be governed by such prescriptive doctrines. Credulous is an adjective, which serves the function to modify nouns. In this instance, grammatically speaking, credulous serves as a wonderful postmodifier.
(1) Yes, I think you are correct.
(2) But we must be very kind toward that person because THE COLUMBIA
GUIDE TO STANDARD AMERICAN ENGLISH reminds us that the seven
words that come from the Latin word "credere" also confuse native
(a) I would never dare use one of those words without first checking.
(3) I guess that person should have said:
The story does not sound very credible.
That book I mentioned says:
credible = believable (The dean thought her story credible).
credulous = gullible, naive (His mother's credulous acceptance of his explanation stunned us).
That book also explains:
(a) incredible = unbelievable (The news was incredible).
(b) incredulous = unable to believe . Applies to people -- AS YOU SO
CORRECTLY said. (The expressions on their faces were incredulous.)
***** Thank you *****
P. S. Good news for that person you heard on TV:
The book says that "incredulous" DID mean "unbelievable" 200 YEARS AGO
!!!! But not today.
"Credulous" is a wonderful post-modifying adjective if you mean "credulous". It's less wonderful if you mean something else.
Last edited by Raymott; 24-Jun-2010 at 06:15.
Much as I appreciate sticklers for excellence I am always wary of indiscreet ones.Such an elaborate cavil in a place where students are supposed to be helped is undesirable.Correcting people and being corrected by people is a healthy ancillary to progress.I hereby plead with both EDITORS4WRITERS and RAYMOTT to please bury the hatchet a move on.
Now,with regard to the flagrant thread,or better still,the thread which went flagrant,I think INCREDIBLE means something or someone difficult to believe.That is ,containing,having and holding facts and details which are hard to believe.However,INCREDULOUS means reaction to something incredible.Since it is only human beings who possess the ability to know when something or someone is believable or not,then only human beings can be credulous or incredulous.If you do not believe something,you react incredulously.If you always believe everything,you are too credulous(gullible).
'"That is an incredible story little wonder the incredulous little smile on her face.'"
I have locked the thread, as requested.
If there are substantive questions about the original topic or about incredible/incredulous, please start a new thread.
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.