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    #1

    Smile terrible, dreadful, tragical

    Please check out the following senteneces.
    Are the words "terrible, dreadful, tragical, direful" suitable in each sentence? Which is better?
    (1) A wrong policy is more terrible than corruption.
    (2) A wrong policy is more dreadful than corruption.
    (3) A wrong policy is more tragical than corruption.
    (4) A wrong policy is more direful than corruption.

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    #2

    Re: terrible, dreadful, tragical

    Hi,

    Never 3 nor 4, and neither 1 nor 2 sound particularly natural.

    Perhaps 'harmful' is a better word but it really depends on the context and exactly what point you are trying to make.

    Regards

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: terrible, dreadful, tragical

    ... and they don't sound natural because 'wrong policy' is an unusual collocation. Here are the first ten 'wrong' +<noun>s in the BNC:
    1 WRONG WAY 396
    2 WRONG SIDE 282
    3 WRONG PLACE 169
    4 WRONG TIME 112
    5 WRONG THING 94
    6 WRONG DIRECTION 93
    7 WRONG END 84
    8 WRONG REASONS 62
    9 WRONG MAN 53
    10 WRONG THINGS 53
    There are thousands more, which anyone interested enough can check at British National Corpus (BYU-BNC) . Perhaps 'policy' figures somewhere at the bottom of the list, with 1 or 2 hits in the entire corpus; these ten all have more than fifty. A policy may be 'unwise' or 'ill-chosen' or 'badly thought-out' or 'mistaken' or 'tyrannical' or 'undemocratic, or... there are thousands of possibilities; but 'wrong' - while possible - would be unsuitable in most contexts.

    b

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    #4

    Re: terrible, dreadful, tragical

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    ... and they don't sound natural because 'wrong policy' is an unusual collocation. Here are the first ten 'wrong' +<noun>s in the BNC:


    There are thousands more, which anyone interested enough can check at British National Corpus (BYU-BNC) . Perhaps 'policy' figures somewhere at the bottom of the list, with 1 or 2 hits in the entire corpus; these ten all have more than fifty. A policy may be 'unwise' or 'ill-chosen' or 'badly thought-out' or 'mistaken' or 'tyrannical' or 'undemocratic, or... there are thousands of possibilities; but 'wrong' - while possible - would be unsuitable in most contexts.

    b
    I think your argument is invalid.
    All of those things you mention are more common than policies, therefore one would expect wrong examples of them to be more common as well.

    Similarly, even if "white unicorn" comes in at number 2,300 for collocations with "white", we can't assume that unicorns are wrongly called "white".

    Of course, the sounder way to argue is to look up the collocations with "policy" (or "unicorn"), and show how far down those lists "wrong policy" and "white unicorn" come.

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    #5

    Re: terrible, dreadful, tragical

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    ...
    Of course, the sounder way to argue is to look up the collocations with "policy" (or "unicorn"), and show how far down those lists "wrong policy" and "white unicorn" come.
    Yep - I tried that, but couldn't work out the syntax for the database query, so settled for a poor alternative while I was at that site.

    b

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    #6

    Re: terrible, dreadful, tragical

    (1) A wrong policy is more terrible than corruption.
    (2) A wrong policy is more dreadful than corruption.
    (3) A wrong policy is more tragical than corruption.
    (4) A wrong policy is more direful than corruption.

    We would tend to say - the wrong policy, or, an incorrect policy in such sentences (care with spelling, see yours).
    Terrible and dreadful are not descriptions we would normally choose and then it should be tragic and dire - tragical is rarely used although tragically is well used, and direful appears in poetry but rarely in written/spoken English.

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    #7

    not a teacher

    Never say "tragical". The word is "tragic".

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    #8

    Re: not a teacher

    But never say never.

    b

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    #9

    Re: not a teacher

    It exists, but apart from the Tragical History of Dr Faustus, I can't think of many examples.

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    #10

    not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It exists, but apart from the Tragical History of Dr Faustus, I can't think of many examples.
    "Romeo and Juliet" was originally translated into English as "The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet".

    It's just a word that you don't need to say. Like how it's not really WRONG to say "orientate", but you shouldn't say "orientate" when you can say "orient".

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