in every sense of the word, or, in the real sense of the word

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Heba, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. Heba

    Heba Senior Member

    Coventry, England
    Egypt, Arabic
    Hello friends,
    Which one of the following is correct?
    He is a man in the real sense of the word
    Or, He is a man in every sense of the word.

    I wanna know the right use please.
    Thank you.
  2. anuska martin New Member

    The word real could here serve the purpose of very, could be emphatic like saying in the very sense or just what it seems the true sense and every in all the aspects that define a man.
  3. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    Both of these are correct, but with different nuances.

    He is a man in every sense: if you think of all the stereotypes, he is probably all of those. He is strong, honest, direct, hides his feelings, likes to fix things...

    He is a man in the real sense of the word: the speaker wants to emphasize a particular aspect of manhood, and probably disagrees with part of the stereotype. This one depends on context to tell you what is meant. For example, perhaps he is a very loving and affectionate father. This does not fit the "hiding feelings" stereotype, but it is still a good reason to be considered a "real man."

    wanna is incorrect and rather irritating to we pedants.
  4. wordwars New Member


    I was wondering if I could write:

    The company is renowned in every sense of the word.
    Or does renowned only have one 'sense' and therefore cannot be used?
    Thank you.

  5. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Can I describe a woman as "She's beautiful in every sense of the word", meaning that she's beautiful internally and externally?
  6. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    Yes, I think that would be the most natural interpretation: that she is not just pleasing to look at, but possesses an inner beauty as well. Absent the phrase "in every sense of the word," the reading of "beautiful" as referring to inner beauty, outer beauty, or to both would depend on context.
  7. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Thank you very much EStjarn. The phrase will come in handy for emphasis or hyperbolic effect

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