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    #1

    refrain, abstain, restrain, avoid

    What’s difference between refrain and abstain? I think we should say refrain from doing something but abstain from something. Is that right? Although “abstain” seems to be rare in use!

    There are a lot of other words like avoid, restrain, etc. I am in doubt where and why to use either of them.

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    #2

    Re: refrain, abstain, restrain, avoid

    Abstaining can mean not voting and it can also have a moral dimension- you abstain from something you enjoy because you feel that there is something wrong or immoral about that pleasure.

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    #3

    Re: refrain, abstain, restrain, avoid

    I think we should say refrain from doing something but abstain from something. Is that right?

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    #4

    Re: refrain, abstain, restrain, avoid

    You will find abstain from doing and you will find refrain from + noun phrase, though your patterns are more common, but they are not rules:
    Go to this site ad enter refrained from and abstained from and look at the search results and you will see that your patterns are not the only ones in use: British National Corpus (BYU-BNC)
    If you're no familiar with sites like this, it is a database of language designed for such searches and is very useful for checking questions like yours out.

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    #5

    Re: refrain, abstain, restrain, avoid

    Thanks Tdol, I found it good.

    Would you please suggest me any American corpus site like British National Corpus but with the American accent.

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    #6

    Re: refrain, abstain, restrain, avoid

    Quote Originally Posted by atabitaraf View Post
    Thanks Tdol, I found it good.

    Would you please suggest me any American corpus site like British National Corpus but with the American accent.
    You probably meant the American dialect. Here's something you might like: CORPORA: 45-400 million words each: free online access

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    #7

    Re: refrain, abstain, restrain, avoid

    Since there are just a few volume of corpora in this kind of sites, I'd prefer to use Google instead, if you say it's not reliable, I'd say refering to its address would be a good checking up. How do you think?

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