a reply to " Which do you think is more powerful between lawyer or attorney?"

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Hello,teachers. I have a question.

Which would be a correct answer to the question "Which do you think is more powerful between lawyer or attorney?"

-> I think [(a) lawyer/ (b) a lawyer / (c) lawyers (d) the lawyer] is more powerful.

I don't konw which is correct. Please teach me. Thank you in advance!
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    My answer is (b): I think a lawyer is more powerful.

    (I would also say "between a lawyer or an attorney.")

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's not a well-phrased question with that clumsy 'between a ... ' construction and it's especially hard to answer because of the error in omitting the article! Or was that your typo?

    All the same, I suppose the 'correct' response should reflect the (correct) construction of the question, so the answer would have to be 'I think a lawyer is more powerful ... '
    The plural for the question would have been far better and the plural answer would be more natural. 'Lawyers are more powerful than attorneys'.
    You'll have to decide which is the best way of dealing with the situation, but 'Lawyer is more powerful than attorney' is wrong.


    Thank you for your responses! I saw the sentence on a ESL website. It may not have been written by a native speaker. By the way, it is clumsy to use "between" in this question? Should I put the "A or B" construction instead?
    And I now realize sometimes laywers and attorneys mean the same..


    Senior Member
    I think it would be more natural to see a question like "Between lawyers and attorneys, which do you think are more powerful?" (Of course, attorneys are lawyers so the question doesn't make much sense.)

    I agree with Hermione that using the plural in both the question and the answer is much more natural and elegant.

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I hope it doesn't sound difficult of me to prefer the singular form - Who is more powerful, a lawyer or an attorney?

    I'm quite happy with Who are more powerful, lawyers or attorneys? forgetting the point that the one is a subset of the other.

    This reminds me of the famous old question - What is the difference between a buffalo and a bison?


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'mm not even sure what the question means. I think it's possible that "Which do you think is more powerful between lawyer or attorney?" might be intended to mean "Which of these two terms carries more prestige or sounds more impressive?"


    Senior Member
    Lawyers who practice law are called attorneys (or attorneys-at-law) so I'm not sure if the author of the sentence was trying to make a distinction between lawyers who do not practice law and those who do or some other difference between the said terms was perceived.
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