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    #1

    to ill-put

    Hi everybody,

    I'd like to know the opinions of teachers on the verb to ill-put. I've seen it a couple of times but I cannot find it in any dictionary (and there are very few google results).
    Given that is not common at all, is it correct English? Does it sound very formal?
    Could you provide some examples of its correct usage?

    Thank you in advance

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: to ill-put

    Never met it. 'Ill-' is sometimes used as a prefix to mean 'badly' - often when talking about appearancesand/or intentions: ill-dressed, ill-spoken, ill-attired, ill-mannered, ill-intentioned ... - often (always?) in contrast to a sort of appearance/<whatever> approved of by society, described with the prefix 'well-'. Some of these are archaic: a person described by Dickens as 'well-favoured' would be described today as 'good-looking'.

    But I'd say 'badly put' (referring to choice of words), or 'misplaced'/'misaligned' (referring to position of actual objects). There are other 'mis-' words to do with spatial arrangements: for example, an arrow might be misdirected.

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 11-Oct-2010 at 10:05. Reason: Added last sentence


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    #3

    Re: to ill-put

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Never met it. 'Ill-' is sometimes used as a prefix to mean 'badly' - often when talking about appearancesand/or intentions: ill-dressed, ill-spoken, ill-attired, ill-mannered, ill-intentioned ... - often (always?) in contrast to a sort of appearance/<whatever> approved of by society, described with the prefix 'well-'. Some of these are archaic: a person described by Dickens as 'well-favoured' would be described today as 'good-looking'.

    But I'd say 'badly put' (referring to choice of words), or 'misplaced'/'misaligned' (referring to position of actual objects). There are other 'mis-' words to do with spatial arrangements: for example, an arrow might be misdirected.

    b
    Thank you, BobK.
    Would you consider it to be a mistake if you read it in a text written by a non-native?
    On another English-language forum I found a thread where a similar question was posed and some people suggested using ill-posed (ill-put was suggested by a few non-natives as well). How does that sound?
    I guess a good alternative would be ill-conceived but I think that would slightly change the meaning.
    Last edited by Englishlanguage; 13-Oct-2010 at 16:54.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: to ill-put

    You're right. If it's ill-conceived it's badly thought out - not badly expressed. I'd understand it in that context, but it's unusual enough for me to wonder if it was intentional - and if the speaker was a non-native I'd suspect a mistake. I'm sorry, but non-natives are 'playing away'.

    b

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    #5

    Re: to ill-put

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

    I think a good ill-* alternative would be ill-defined though it wouldn't be good enough to describe a question.


    Cheers;

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    #6

    Re: to ill-put

    How about "ill-phrased"? I'm not really sure why, but it sounds a little better to my ear than "ill-put"? (Possibly because it isn't a single syllable after the prefix?)

    I'd still prefer "badly phrased" or "poorly phrased" though.

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    #7

    Re: to ill-put

    Not a teacher

    Agreed. 'Poorly phrased' sounds nice.


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    #8

    Re: to ill-put

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    You're right. If it's ill-conceived it's badly thought out - not badly expressed. I'd understand it in that context, but it's unusual enough for me to wonder if it was intentional - and if the speaker was a non-native I'd suspect a mistake. I'm sorry, but non-natives are 'playing away'.

    b
    That's absolutely comprehensible. I do it myself and I'm not a native!
    Last edited by Englishlanguage; 13-Oct-2010 at 16:55.


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    #9

    Re: to ill-put

    Quote Originally Posted by Tullia View Post
    How about "ill-phrased"? I'm not really sure why, but it sounds a little better to my ear than "ill-put"? (Possibly because it isn't a single syllable after the prefix?)

    I'd still prefer "badly phrased" or "poorly phrased" though.
    I noticed there are much more google results for combinations with 'question' than with 'idea' or 'problem' or 'argument' - which confirms my original feeling that ill-phrased would be more commonly used to refer to poor use of language rather than to the confusing structuring of the question (and therefore 'question' would be used in the sense of an interrogative expression; not in the sense of 'issue, problem or matter which is under debate').

    But I do realize google results are not much reliable for these purposes and probably the opinion of native speakers would be of much more avail.

    Would you use it to refer to the structuring of a problem, argument, idea or whatever?

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    #10

    Re: to ill-put

    'Ill-phrased' (and, occasionally 'ill-put') are indeed used to 'refer to the structuring of a problem, argument, idea or whatever. The subject line - 'to ill-put' suggests an active or infinitive use. That's impossible () for 'to ill-phrase' just as for 'to ill-put'.

    b

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