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    #1

    Oppress, Repress or Suppress? And a sentence

    Hi there

    I have got a bit confused with those three words that mean kind of the same, I know that one might have a stronger meaning to it (do you understand that?), but what else is the difference and do you just use them interchangeably?

    And there there is this sentence that I wrote, but then afterwards I got in doubt (can you say that?) whether it was grammatically correct, here I am especially thinking congruence. Here is the sentence:

    A country like Iran pops into mind, where last year (or two years ago?) there were protests, which were effectively put down, but now the protesters can see that it does help to demonstrate and that you can gain something from it, do you agree with me on that?

    So should it be "was" or "were"? And why?

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Oppress, Repress or Suppress? And a sentence

    You've got it right. It has to be "there were" rather than "there was" because "protests" is plural and the verb must agree in number with its subject.

    Your question about the differences among oppress, repress and suppress is fascinating. I'll spend hours with dictionaries thinking about that, and leave you to do the same.

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    #3

    Re: Oppress, Repress or Suppress? And a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    You've got it right. It has to be "there were" rather than "there was" because "protests" is plural and the verb must agree in number with its subject.

    Your question about the differences among oppress, repress and suppress is fascinating. I'll spend hours with dictionaries thinking about that, and leave you to do the same.
    Yeah well but what bothered me was the fact that the noun is behind the verb, but I guess that "there" in some kind of way acts as subject. Because in English the subject must always stand before the verb, unless it is a question, am I not right about that?

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Oppress, Repress or Suppress? And a sentence

    opp- against
    supp- down
    re- again

    That's a good starting point. Meanings and applications have broadened, but Latin ob, sub, and re- are helpful pointers.

    b

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    #5

    Re: Oppress, Repress or Suppress? And a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by lo2 View Post
    ... in English the subject must always stand before the verb, unless it is a question, am I not right about that?
    I am not a teacher.

    Normally, yes, but exclamations get that treatment sometimes: What a good boy am I! (I couldn't think of a modern example.) A poet might switch them, too, for poetry's sake. Expletives make them switch: Here is the money I owe you. There may be other cases I haven't thought of.

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    #6

    Re: Oppress, Repress or Suppress? And a sentence

    I've thought of a better way of thinking about differences between opp- supp- and re- words. (It's based on the same idea, about Latin roots, but it's less dry.)

    Think of them in relation to other words with the same prefix (and in doing this is does help to know that ob- before p* became opp-, and sub- before p* became supp-

    ob- words: obstruct, oppose, obfuscate, obstreperous, obscure, opprobrium, oppress... All have some sort of implication of 'againstness' (or to use a Latinate word opposition).

    sub- words: support, supposition (something that underpins an argument), suppress... (and the more obvious sub- words like 'sub-contract)... All have some implication of 'underness'.

    re- words: revert, revenge, repeat, remorse, regret, repress...(and the more obvious repetition words, such 're-appear'... All have some implication of 'again-ness' (or to use a Latinate word repetiition).

    (Here endeth the lesson . For homework, students might want to think some other such words; but don't go mad! Some re- words, such as - I think - 'report', derive from rem - meaning 'thing/matter'.)

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 15-Feb-2011 at 18:55.

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    #7

    Re: Oppress, Repress or Suppress? And a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I've thought of a better way of thinking about differences between opp- supp- and re- words. (It's based on the same idea, about Latin roots, but it's less dry.)

    Think of them in relation to other words with the same prefix (and in doing this is does help to know that ob- before p* became opp-, and sub- before p* became supp-

    ob- words: obstruct, oppose, obfuscate, obstreperous, obscure, opprobrium, oppress... All have some sort of implication of 'againstness' (or to use a Latinate word opposition).

    sub- words: support, supposition (something that underpins an argument), suppress... (and the more obvious sub- words like 'sub-contract)... All have some implication of 'underness'.

    re- words: revert, revenge, repeat, remorse, regret, repress...(and the more obvious repetition words, such 're-appear'... All have some implication of 'again-ness' (or to use a Latinate word repetiition).

    (Here endeth the lesson . For homework, students might want to think some other such words; but don't go mad! Some re- words, such as - I think - 'report', derive from rem - meaning 'thing/matter'.)

    b
    Thank you very much for a very informative answer! I can see that you have really looked into, which I appreciate.

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