“Is John ill? He’s lost weight.”, “<Yes> he is rather slender...."


Topic: “Is John ill? He’s lost a lot of weight.”, “Yes, he is rather...
Added by Cagey, moderator

I am supposed to correct this dialogue, but I'm not sure where the mistake is. Is the question tag used incorrectly or rather saying "yes" to refer to being slender instead of being ill (the question was about being ill, not slender).
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  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    There's nothing actually wrong with it. What I think they mean is that 'slender' has the wrong tone. It means 'thin' (the most general word), but it's a good thing: a slender person isn't too fat, and is probably healthy. We use 'thin' if someone is thin because of illness.


    English - England
    I can't see anything wrong with it either1. Where is the example taken from?

    1 Perhaps the person who set the question thinks that "slender" (potentially positive) would be better as "thin" (potentially negative), but I do not agree as "slender" can be used to indicate that the speaker does not think that the loss of weight makes John look as if he were ill.


    Senior Member
    English (American)
    I agree that there is no problem at all in the dialogue as Lucretius has posted it. Questions about whether "slender" adopts exactly the right nuance of tone would require a variety of assumptions that are well outside the scope of this problem.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Please put the quotation directly in your question. It's easier to look at and study and also it's one of the forum rules.:) Thanks.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I agree that the only possible "mistake" is using slender instead of thin. But I do think thin makes a much better fit.
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