Student or Learner
I have some problems with getting below exercises correct. I would highly appreciate if someone could help me with them. I need them very badly...
and as soon as possible.....
Thank you very much,
Why shouldn't the following pairs of words be taught as exact synonyms?
a) large/great b) tall/high c) lazy/idle d) begin/start
2. Language function
The following language forms are used to request others to perform an action:
Do me a favour and pass that paper, will you?
Could you possibly pass me that paper?
You couldn't pass me that paper, could you?
a) Give examples of three further forms that might be used to make similar requests.
b) What factors are relevant in deciding which of these forms to use in a given situation?
I tried to solve them and my answers were unfortunately incorrect. Please find them below:
a) large/ great – ‘large’ accords to the size, whereas, ‘great’ to the quality
b) tall/high – we use them in a similar meaning but we do not use ‘high’ to describe people, animals, trees and plants
c) lazy/idle – ‘lazy’ – somebody’s choice not to do anything, ‘idle’ there is nothing to do, it’s the opposite to ‘busy’
d) begin/start – both mean the same, however, ‘start’ is also a noun and ‘begin’ is more formal.
Can you call me back?
Do you mind calling me back?
Would it be possible for you to call me back?
The factors that are relevant in deciding which of these forms to use in a given situation: a) To whom are we talking to, b) level of formality c) the level of emphasis
I would highly appreciate if you could take a look and correct me.
Thank you very much,
a) You're oversimplifying the differences here. 'Great' can refer to size: the Great Hall (it might not be that fantastic, but it would be the largest), I spent a great deal of money (nothing to do with the quality and everything to do with the quantity. Also, how would you contrast this usage with 'no big deal'?). Find further examples where the words don't collocate, and examples of where they have different meanings and senses and then you will see why they cannot be taught as exact synonyms.
b) Your explanation is partially right; I wouldn't say a 'high man', but imagine how your students would react after that explanation when they opened a book and saw 'He's very high up in the company'. There's an area where the meanings diverge- high society, high positions, etc.
c) A person can be lazy or idle (with the same meaning IMO), but your computer is not lazy, but it can be idle. It can also idle (verb), just as a car engine can idle at traffic lights.
d) Can you really justify the statement that 'begin' is more formal? If so, back it up with evidence. You haven't identified meanings where only one will work. Would you start or begin an engine?
Do you know this site: [DAVIES/BYU] British National Corpus ?
Enter words and phrases and get real examples from the British National Corpus. So, try entering these words, and look at the list produced and see if you can switch the word you have entered for the other term. This way, you will start to see the contexts and subtleties that determine our choices of word. Outside the fairly narrow confines of most dictionary definitions, words can have so many different uses and shades of meaning and it is in contrasting these that you will see the answer to the basic question, which is that you should not teach them as exact synonyms because they plainly are not.