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  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • Russian
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      • Russian Federation
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      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 1,681
    #1

    Which word fits better here - accident or incident?

    When a chandelier crashed down on to the people in the Opera House and hurt and even killed some of them (in "The Phantom of the Opera"), was it an accident or an incident? I used to think it was an accident because this word seemed more "strong" to me. But now I think it was an incident as it had been planned by the Phantom and done by him intentionally and dictionaries say that accidents happen unintentionally, without someone planning them. Right?

    Or does it depend on which "side" you are? For the audience it was an "accident" because they didn't know that it all had been scaled down by the Pnantom while for the reader of the book it was an incident? Well, I am confused.)
    Last edited by englishhobby; 13-Feb-2014 at 08:51.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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      • British English
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      • UK
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      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,868
    #2

    Re: Which word fits better here - accident or incident?

    It was both.

    The people involved would probably say "There was an accident at the theatre this evening. A huge chandelier fell onto people and some of them died". They would probably describe it as an accident because no-one caused the chandelier to fall on purpose. It was not a deliberate act.

    The police and the theatre owners would probably say "There was an incident at the theatre in which several people were hurt or killed by a falling chandelier".

    That does not mean that the two words apply to all contexts.

    Q. Why on earth did you get pregnant?
    A. It was an accident. (Not "It was an incident".)
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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