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I have a question regarding English

  1. May 12, 2015 #1
    If you see that this not a right place to ask this question . Please shift this question to right place my question is "Some words in english have same meanings but their use is different why .? Can we use synonyms of the word in same sentence . For example abandon it or give up it or abdicate it ? "
     
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  3. May 12, 2015 #2

    SteamKing

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    This is where having a dictionary handy to look words up is helpful.

    The words "abandon", "give up", and "abdicate" all imply that someone is going to stop doing something. But checking each of these out in the dictionary provides more subtle information.

    "Abandon" can either be a noun or a verb. "Abandon" used as a noun means "complete lack of inhibition or restraint". "Abandon" used as a verb means "1. give up completely a course of action, a practice, a way of thinking", or "2. cease to support or look after someone; to desert".

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abandon

    "To give up" can be used in place of "abandon", but it can also mean "to surrender", "to despair", "to allow", and several other meanings:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/give up

    Similarly, "abdicate" is a term used in a specific situation where one chooses to stop being a king or a queen, to "give up the throne" as the phrase goes, or "to fail to do what is required", as in "to abdicate one's responsibility".

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abdicate

    English is one of the hardest languages to master because its vocabulary has a wealth of words and phrases which are synonyms (or nearly so).
     
  4. May 12, 2015 #3

    Bandersnatch

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    One needs to remember that perfect synonyms in any language are very rare and tend to be short lived. People are lazy beasts, thrifty with their languages, so if they ever retain two different words for the same concept, it's because there is some subtle difference in meaning that justifies clogging up their vocabulary.

    It could be a difference in the register or in connotations. These are hard to pick up just from dictionary definitions. The 'example sentences' section helps, if present in a dictionary. So does looking up the etymology of a word. Some semi-reliable rules can also be distilled (e.g. phrasal verbs tend to be less formal, archaic words evoke pathos).
    But the only sure way to get a hang of the different shades of meanings is to expose yourself to how the words are used.
    That is, read a lot and listen a lot.
     
  5. May 12, 2015 #4

    phinds

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    OR ... it can be regional differences that foreigners would REALLY have a hard time understanding (why so many words). For example, sub, foot-long [which also means hot dog], hoagie, hero, poor boy, etc.
     
  6. May 12, 2015 #5

    Bandersnatch

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    A fair point. Although calling these synonyms borders on incorrect, since any given dialect will tend to use just a single word for the item. It's like a boot and a trunk (of a car), a tap and a faucet, a lift and an elevator are not true pairs of synonyms despite describing the same concepts in what is collectively called the 'English language'. When you say 'an elevator' in England, you're not conveying a difference in meaning, just that you're a barbarous Yank :wink:.
    With dialects of a more regional variety, the distinction can get blurred due to geographical proximity facilitating diffusion of dialects. But to extent it is still like comparing words from different languages.
     
  7. May 12, 2015 #6

    phinds

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    Agree w/ all of that.
     
  8. May 12, 2015 #7
    The point to understand is that 'Two words having the same meaning' is a myth. It never happens that they have the same meanings, there must be a difference, no matter how little is that. Meanings have shades and different uses.
     
  9. May 12, 2015 #8
    Thank you guys :)
     
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