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  1. nininaz's Avatar
    Senior Member
    Student or Learner
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      • Native Language:
      • Italian
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      • Italy
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      • India

    • Join Date: Jul 2013
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    Lightbulb it reinforces your shortcomings

    What is the meaning of 'reinforce'? and what is the meaning of the whole sentence?

    W: How do you always pull off such high grades in English, Harry?
    M: I use a computer flash card program to remember the irregular
    forms. It makes studying kind of fun.
    W: Huh? How does that help?
    M: Well, it displays a verb, like “freeze” for example. Then, I have
    to type in the simple past and past participle forms.
    W: That would be “froze” and “frozen,” right?
    M: Right. If I screw up, then it comes up again at the end of my
    W: Wow, so it reinforces your shortcomings.

  2. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
    English Teacher
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    Re: it reinforces your shortcomings

    I quite understand why you question its use by W. From the context, it seems that W is confused about its meaning as well! A program that tests you again on something that you got wrong first time around doesn't reinforce anything.

    "Reinforce" means what it seems to mean; when you reinforce something you make it stronger. In the area of behavio[u]rism - which is where the verb acquired the relevant meaning - it referred to rewarding the desired behavio[u]r or punishing the behavio[u]r that was not desired, to strengthen (make stronger) the tendency in the subject to do it.


  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    VIP Member
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    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,982

    Re: it reinforces your shortcomings

    I agree with BobK. A better verb would be exposes or highlights.


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