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  1. Junior Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 77
    #1

    Smile Thank you, Barb

    The company sought to cut labour costs,___the number of suppliers...
    A. reduce B. diminish

    The answer is "reduce" , I don't know why we cant use "diminish" , as we can say "We should try to diminish the cost of production."

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,216
    #2

    Re: Thank you, Barb

    This is a very difficult question to answer. Both words have "decrease" as synonyms.

    I think that we tend to use "were diminished" as more of an EFFECT of some action than the active use of diminish as an ACTION.

    You will probably want some more answers, but there may not be a logical reason that "reduce" sounds right and "diminish" sounds wrong. It's just how we tend to use them.

    What an utterly unsatisfactory answer. I hope someone else can do better.
    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.

  3. kenkk2's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2010
    • Posts: 69
    #3

    Re: Thank you, Barb

    Barb_D has done a good job, I tried to find the different usage of the two but seems to be in vain. I'd try to put it this way to see though:
    Reduce could be used to decrease things appearing to be countable or nouns that normally could be put a number in front of such as "Reducing size, number, degree, volume, cost, quantity, speed, weight".. and Diminish does the contrary. "Diminishing strength, hopes, enthusiasm, achievements, supplies, funds...
    Dear all, what do you think? Pls, do not laugh at me if I am wrong.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,216
    #4

    Re: Thank you, Barb

    No, that seems logical: Reduce countable things, and diminish uncountable things.
    But I want to reduce my weight, not diminish it... so... to be honest, I'm finding it hard to find examples of where diminish as a transitive verb sound natural.
    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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