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    #1

    promise or prospect

    This morning I administered an English test together with another teacher. In the test there is a multiple choice question which reads: The doctor says there is little _____ of improvement in his condition. For the blank, I think, the option of "prospect" is correct, but the key provided is "promise." I strongly believe I am right about choosing "prospect." What's your take on this question? Would you give me a hand? Thanks.
    Richard

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    #2

    Re: promise or prospect

    "prospect" is correct.
    It's not impossible for a doctor to say "little promise of improvement", but they generally wouldn't.

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    #3

    Re: promise or prospect

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    "prospect" is correct.
    It's not impossible for a doctor to say "little promise of improvement", but they generally wouldn't.
    Thanks for your help.


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    #4

    Re: promise or prospect

    There is a fine shade in difference in meaning.

    If the doctor was intimating that in his judgment, there was little hope of improvement, then 'prospect' would be the word of choice.

    If it could go either way, then 'little promise' would mean 'there is little indication so far that improvement is likely to occur' - that is, there are no early, first signs to suggest improvement has begun, so there is 'little promise' of improvement.

    If I had been doing the test, with just that one sentence and no context, I would have gone for 'prospect'.

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    #5

    Re: promise or prospect

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    There is a fine shade in difference in meaning.

    If the doctor was intimating that in his judgment, there was little hope of improvement, then 'prospect' would be the word of choice.

    If it could go either way, then 'little promise' would mean 'there is little indication so far that improvement is likely to occur' - that is, there are no early, first signs to suggest improvement has begun, so there is 'little promise' of improvement.

    If I had been doing the test, with just that one sentence and no context, I would have gone for 'prospect'.
    I agree. When the teacher administering the test together with me asked me about which one to pick, I chose "prospect" without any hesitation. The test paper did not give any more information. "The doctor says there's little ______ of improvement in his condition." plus four options(the other two being nonsensical) is all I could get for this test item. But of course this sentence is taken from a context which the test paper did not provide.
    Many thanks.


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