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Thread: act, action

  1. ShadeWe's Avatar
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    #1

    act, action

    Am I right that action focuses more on the process of doing something, whereas act is just a deed, or a piece of action, and it focuses on the result?

    1) the action of something will make you feel better.
    2) the act of something will make you feel better.

    In the first sentence I'm saying that the process of something will make you feel better, for example: doing sports. Someone would like to do sports, but everybody knows that it leads to weakness, and If I say that the act of doing sports will make you feel better, am I saying that the result of doing sports will make someone feel better? (I don't think that someone likes when they are weak) I've always thought that act focuses on the result of action, or on the fact of being done. I'm just willing to know If I am right.

    Actually, that's unlikely that someone will say the second sentence with doing sports instead of the word something, I guess. There can be phrases like "act of kindness" or something else. I suppose that "act of kidness" means that someone's done something kind and that's all. Action of kindness is a set of acts or something like that, or it's just the process of doing kind things. Am I right?
    Last edited by ShadeWe; 19-May-2017 at 15:38.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: act, action

    I'm afraid that your post is very confusing, it's not at all clear what you want to say. Please post some sentences showing exactly how you want to use 'act' and 'action'.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

  3. ShadeWe's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: act, action

    What's the difference between these two:

    1) an act of vandalism
    2) an action of vandalism

    I don't clearly see the difference between act and action. I just want to know how you see each sentence. As I see, an act of vandalism it's just a done thing. Someone has done that. Action kind of focuses on the process or something, but I'm not sure. Seems like the second one might be used in a sentence where the process of doing something (vandalism in our case) is discussed.
    Last edited by ShadeWe; 19-May-2017 at 15:52.

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    #4

    Re: act, action

    An act of vandalism is a specific instance of vandalism. Knocking over someone's mailbox is an act of vandalism.

    I can't think of a phrase where "action of vandalism" would be natural.
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  5. ShadeWe's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: act, action

    I started to understand something. This is the last question, I guess:

    Act consists of different actions. Right?

    For instance: an act of kindness.

    Situation: It's raining cats and dogs. My friend comes to me. I take her clothes (action) in order to dry this, then I pour a cup of tea to her (one more action), and give her another clothes or something (another action).

    Do all these actions form the act of kindness?
    Last edited by ShadeWe; 19-May-2017 at 16:55.

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    #6

    Re: act, action

    Yes. You understand the two words correctly. The actions you listed comprise an act of kindness.
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  7. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: act, action

    You're asking an interesting question but it's also a difficult one to answer as it is so general. I could offer you a brief look at my way of thinking about this.

    I think you're on the right track when you say:
    Quote Originally Posted by ShadeWe View Post
    act is just a deed...and it focuses on the result
    an act of kindness
    an act of Parliament
    a speech act


    These examples are all related to human affairs, and to getting things done. They focus on doing something that makes a difference to the world. They therefore have a sense of being specific.

    The -tion word action is more difficult to pin down as it has a wider range of uses, but I see its deepest core meaning as having a sense of generality. And because of this, it is easy to use uncountably, as in:

    action films
    Director: "Action."


    There is a sense of happening, of movement, and people doing things. Now because this concept is so general, it's very natural for us to chop this up almost infinitely into smaller, more specific events (an action/actions, in the countable use of the word). So when we watch an action film, we are watching both action (generally) and a multitude of actions (specifically) at the same time.

    There is also, of course, the related concept of activity, which has a different focus.

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