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    #1

    difference famous person and public figure

    Dear teachers,

    Is there any difference in usage between "famous person" and "public figure"?
    Which of the following example sentence is correct in this case?

    1. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is a famous person.
    2. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is a public figure.

    I have a question about the grammar in my example sentences.
    Since Abraham Lincoln has passed away for more than two hundred years, I wonder if I should use past tense instead of present tense in my example sentences?
    So they should be:

    1. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was a famous person.
    2. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was a public figure.
    Last edited by kwfine; 08-Sep-2010 at 18:26.

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    #2

    Re: difference famous person and public figure

    A learner

    He was a public but famous person.

  3. #3

    Re: difference famous person and public figure

    Firstly, you were right in correcting the tense of your sentences. Since Lincoln is dead, the use of "was" is proper.

    There is a small distinction between "famous person" and "public figure". A public figure can be either a famous person or an infamous person. Famous people usually achieve their fame by using their talents or performing noble deeds. Infamous people are typically hated antagonists or criminals.

    John Wilkes Booth (assassinated Lincoln) was a public figure because of his violent act, but I would not consider him a famous person.

    Pat

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    #4

    Re: difference famous person and public figure

    Quote Originally Posted by english-nation View Post
    Firstly, you were right in correcting the tense of your sentences. Since Lincoln is dead, the use of "was" is proper.

    There is a small distinction between "famous person" and "public figure". A public figure can be either a famous person or an infamous person. Famous people usually achieve their fame by using their talents or performing noble deeds. Infamous people are typically hated antagonists or criminals.

    John Wilkes Booth (assassinated Lincoln) was a public figure because of his violent act, but I would not consider him a famous person.

    Pat
    Thanks Pat.
    If the question is: Is there any public figure or stateman you like most?
    Can I say U.S. President Abraham Lincoln?

  5. #5

    Re: difference famous person and public figure

    Yes.

    The tense of this question is in reference to you liking the public figure NOW, not if the person is past or present.

    Pat

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    #6

    Re: difference famous person and public figure

    Quote Originally Posted by english-nation View Post
    Firstly, you were right in correcting the tense of your sentences. Since Lincoln is dead, the use of "was" is proper.

    There is a small distinction between "famous person" and "public figure". A public figure can be either a famous person or an infamous person. Famous people usually achieve their fame by using their talents or performing noble deeds. Infamous people are typically hated antagonists or criminals.

    John Wilkes Booth (assassinated Lincoln) was a public figure because of his violent act, but I would not consider him a famous person.

    Pat
    It's also possible to be a public figure but to not be either famous or infamous. For example, the clerk of courts in a small town. That is, they are a public figure by the nature of their job/position, but not famous in the sense that they are recognized out on the street.

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