Abroad

gentilutin

New Member
français
Hi everyone,

I am a French student at University. My last English exam included a question which seems very strange to me. The problem is my teacher refuses to give me an explanation. Could you please give me your opinion?

The question is:

Choose the right equivalent for 'abroad' in the following text:

Though some health experts here and abroad question whether overuse of the Internet or computers in general is an addiction in the strict medical sense, many agree that obsessive computer use has become a growing problem in many countries.

(full story is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/technology/18rehab.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

A. in the same country
B. in a different country
C. in all countries
D. everywhere


It seems to me that none of these proposals is correct since the author cannot speak about one single different country nor about all countries. What do you think?

Thanks in advance for your help!
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    You are correct - 'abroad' -> 'in [some] other [unspecified] countries'. Specifically, it does not mean 'in all countries/everywhere', which would include your own country and render 'here' obsolete.
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I agree; "abroad" here means "in other countries," which does not fit any of the choices. (In some contexts, "abroad" can mean "in another country," but it doesn't here.)
     

    gentilutin

    New Member
    français
    Thank you very much for your confirmations!

    But I still have to solve my problem with my teacher.

    I am a representant of students and try to defend their rights. I think this question should be considered right for every students.

    But I need the opinion of some kind of English language authority. In France, we have the Académie Française. You don't have any equivalents in the United Kingdom nor the United States, unfortunately. But maybe you know someone with that kind of authority in English who could give his opinion.

    I sent an email to the author of the story but I guess he's overbooked, being Tokyo bureau chief for the New York Times...

    Thanks again for your help!
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Let's suppose that "here" means in the U.S., and that one expert here and one in Canada have expressed the question.
    I think, technically, "abroad" means "outside of this country".
    So the speaker is justified in using the plural "experts" (for the two experts),
    and he/she is justified in saying "abroad", since there is an expert outside of the country of reference.
    So the speaker is not exactly lying, but...
    "abroad" is so often used to mean "in various other countries"
    that the statement gives the impression that many experts in many countries have spoken.
    Let's say it's ethically questionable to use "abroad" in this way.
    For your multiple-choice question, I think B is the "best" answer (because it is the least wrong).
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    B is definitely the only possible answer. A, C, and D are absolutely wrong; therefore B is the most correct. (I rarely side with the test in these kinds of situations, but this might be an exception.)

    I suppose it's arguable that "abroad" means "in a different country" and the sense of "in multiple different countries (but not necessarily all different countries)" comes from the plurality of "health experts." For instance, "We consulted with the agency abroad" would mean "We consulted with the agency in a different country"; "We consulted with the agencies abroad" would imply multiple different countries, because there are multiple different agencies.

    What answer did your teacher give? What answer did you give?
     

    gentilutin

    New Member
    français
    I don't know which answer my teacher gave. Again, he refuses to give any explanations.

    Myself I gave D, thinking it was the least wrong (in French, everywhere can, in some context, mean elsewhere).
    After I asked the surveillant, who told me we had to give a choice even if none of the proposals seemed correct.
     

    gentilutin

    New Member
    français
    By the way Lucas, did you read the full story (18th paragraph in particular)? Do you really think possible the author speaks about a SINGLE country other than South Korea? And in this case, which one would it be? :)
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Well, you should definitely find out what the "correct" answer to the question was.

    "Abroad" can only mean B, in my opinion; it's not that it means "experts in South Korea and in only one other country" but instead "experts, each of which is either in South Korea or in another country."
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    As a writer and editor, I completely concur that if an answer must be chosen, then the only possible candidate is B, since the other three are categorically wrong. Yet there is no real basis for B, since "another" means one other. It's a bad, bad question.
     

    gentilutin

    New Member
    français
    Thank you for your answers! Looks like everyone agrees: B is the least wrong answer, but none of the proposals was perfectly correct. Tell me if i'm wrong.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    It's really the difference between "not perfectly correct" (B) and "absolutely, hands-down, entirely wrong" (A, C, D).
     

    gentilutin

    New Member
    français
    You still didn't answer my question Lucas. Did you actually read the full story? Is there any piece of information making you believe the author speaks about a single country other than South Korea? If so, please name it. :)
     

    gentilutin

    New Member
    français
    Anyway, I activated some of my contacts in the journalism business (I didn't tell you I'm an 'old' student by the way) and I believe I should get an definite answer from the author of the story himself before the end of the week about whether he meant one or several other countries in his text.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Any native speaker will understand that the author is discussing multiple other countries (although perhaps he is only discussing one other country). This is because there are multiple experts, so they probably aren't confined to only one other country.

    Nevertheless, each individual expert will be located "in a different country." So your teacher will be able to say that B is a possible answer regardless of what the author's intention was.

    Answer B is also the only answer with the basic idea of "abroad," which is the idea of a different country. Don't overthink it!

    You also know that B is the correct answer because A is obviously wrong, and C and D mean the same thing (so neither one of them can be right, because if they were then there would be two correct answers to the question). Remember that mastering the subject of a multiple-choice test is not always the same as mastering how to take multiple-choice tests... Often they're tests of the bizarre logic they exemplify, and not at all tests of the material they're supposed to cover.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top