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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    using precipitously

    Hello everyone.

    I learned a new word: precipitously

    Have I used it correctly in these two sentences?


    The virus has been spreading precipitously over the past few weeks.

    The health crisis in our country has been deteriorating precipitously.



    My doubt is that this word has a connotation of decline in something.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: using precipitously

    That's good use of the word. It means both suddenly and steeply but doesn't suggest a direction.

    Related:

    - precipice
    - precipitate
    - precipitation
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. Senior Member
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    #3

    Re: using precipitously

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    That's good use of the word. It means both suddenly and steeply but doesn't suggest a direction.

    Do you know the noun precipice or the verb precipitate?

    You mean both sentences I have written are correct?

    Yes. I also learned the verb. I had already heard the noun precipice in the expression "on the edge of precipice".

    I live in a country which has been on the edge of precipice for quite some time!

  4. Moderator
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    #4

    Re: using precipitously

    Precipitously is not the right word. When used for actions that don't have a sentient agent, it means with a rapid downward trajectory. That's the opposite of the situation you're describing.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: using precipitously

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Precipitously is not the right word. When used for actions that don't have a sentient agent, it means with a rapid downward trajectory. That's the opposite of the situation you're describing.
    I wondered about that before I answered, so I looked it up first. The definitions I found didn't suggest a direction, so I decided not to impose one.

    I just looked it up again to find more definitions, and found both the words decline and ascent used. So maybe its meaning has broadened over the years.

    We can think of it like elevators and escalators, which go down as often as they go up.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  6. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: using precipitously

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post
    You mean both sentences I have written are correct?

    Yes.

    Yes. I also learned the verb. I had already heard the noun precipice in the expression "on the edge of a precipice".

    I live in a country which has been on the edge of a precipice for quite some time!
    Yes, you do!

    Right now, we're all on the edge. But Iran is having an especially hard time. Best of luck!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  7. Senior Member
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    #7

    Re: using precipitously

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Yes, you do!

    Right now, we're all on the edge. But Iran is having an especially hard time. Best of luck!
    Thanks. We all could use some luck. The situation in the U.S is heartbreaking too. Americans have made life so much better on this planet and I don't like the news coming out of that country at all! The situation appears to be deteriorating precipitously. I hope the U.S can get the better of the virus soon.

    I blame the Chinese! So irresponsible!

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    #8

    Re: using precipitously

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post
    The situation appears to be deteriorating precipitously. I hope the U.S can get the better of the virus soon.

    I blame the Chinese! So irresponsible!
    Your wording is apt. I think it's a bad idea to cast blame, though. Some Chinese authorities were slow to take action. Once they did, they seem to have done everything possible to contain the epidemic — and the Chinese people responded better than most. They may have been partly motivated by fear of those authorities, but their sacrifice should be appreciated.
    I am not a teacher.

  9. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: using precipitously

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post
    Thanks. We all could use some luck. The situation in the U.S is heartbreaking too. Americans have made life so much better on this planet and I don't like the news coming out of that country at all! The situation appears to be deteriorating precipitously. I hope the U.S can get the better of the virus soon.

    I blame the Chinese! So irresponsible!
    If you believe the Chinese there have been more deaths in Italy due to the coronavirus than in China, where it started. However, I do not believe the Chinese. They have been lying from the beginning, and they are still lying. (At least one Chinese doctor who told the truth "disappeared". )
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  10. Senior Member
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    #10

    Re: using precipitously

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Your wording is apt. I think it's a bad idea to cast blame, though. Some Chinese authorities were slow to take action. Once they did, they seem to have done everything possible to contain the epidemic — and the Chinese people responded better than most. They may have been partly motivated by fear of those authorities, but their sacrifice should be appreciated.
    The thing is, the Chinese do not respect nature and animals at all! They ruin animals' natural habitat and they overexploit natural resources in any way they can. This is what they have been doing in Africa as well. Why should they eat bats and cats and dogs in the first place? They should find other means of sustenance!

    And they were not transparent about this from the get-go! I don't believe for a second that only 3000 people have died in China by this disease.

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