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    #1

    fatal and fateful

    Dear teachers,

    Please read the following definitions which are from my dictionary:
    No. 1
    fatal: 1 A fatal illness or accident, etc. causes death
    2 very serious and having an important bad effect in the future
    No.2
    fateful: having an important and usually negative effect on the future

    I have two questions:
    No.1
    It seems the second meaning of 'fatal' and the word 'fateful' are interchangeable. In other words I think the word 'fateful' in 'the fateful day of President Kennedy's assassination' can be replaced by 'fatal'. Is that right?
    No.2
    Could you please kindly explain why one definition is 'IN the future' and the other is 'ON the future'? Is there any difference in meaning?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  1. #2

    Re: fatal and fateful

    It seems the second meaning of 'fatal' and the word 'fateful' are interchangeable. In other words I think the word 'fateful' in 'the fateful day of President Kennedy's assassination' can be replaced by 'fatal'. Is that right?
    That is correct, although I would consider "fateful" more idiomatic.

    As for your other question,

    ...very serious and having an important bad effect in the future
    The underlined part simply describes when will the bad effect happen

    having an important and usually negative effect on the future
    Here, the underlined part describes on what will "the thing that is fateful" have a negative effect. You know, it's like in other phrases with "effect on", e.g. This noise will have a negative effect on your hearing

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
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      • China
      • Current Location:
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    • Join Date: Nov 2003
    • Posts: 2,715
    #3

    Re: fatal and fateful

    Dear Mariner,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. Now I see.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Mariner View Post
    That is correct, although I would consider "fateful" more idiomatic.

    As for your other question,

    ...very serious and having an important bad effect in the future
    The underlined part simply describes when will the bad effect happen

    having an important and usually negative effect on the future
    Here, the underlined part describes on what will "the thing that is fateful" have a negative effect. You know, it's like in other phrases with "effect on", e.g. This noise will have a negative effect on your hearing

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