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    usage of pitiable combined with "background vs life"

    According to the dictionary, pitiable means making you feel pity.

    Suppose that a child lives in poverty and has little food and clothing. He or she cannot go to school but has to work with his or her parents.

    I am not sure which word fits better with 'pitiable' in the sentence below.

    (ex) The child has a pitiable life or background.

    I think both words, life and background, work because the child lives in poverty, and one's background is related to one's life.

    Do you think I can use either "life" or "background" in the sentence? Thanks for your help.

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: usage of pitiable combined with "background vs life"

    You can use either. The meanings are slightly different.

    When you say life and use the present tense, you're talking about the entire life, including the present.

    When you say background, you're talking about history. The child might be very comfortable and secure now.

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