alertness OR briskness

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Bradshaw

Member
Spanish & Catalan
Hi again,

I don't know what to choose: 'alertness' or 'briskness'. In fact, I don't even know if both would work here.
It might help to know that I'm writing about Trainspotting

Renton’s alertness/briskness stands in great contrast with Diane’s apparent lack of interest in what is going on around her.

Thanks
 
  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    Alertness is a more direct opposite to unawareness, willful or otherwise, of one's surroundings. Alertness and briskness are not interchangeable. What does your dictionary tell you about them?
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I just checked different examples and I think 'briskness' is more appropriate here.

    Thanks bibliolept
    No, actually, it's not more appropriate here, Bradshaw. As Bibliolept previously stated, "Alertness is a more direct opposite to unawareness, willful or otherwise, of one's surroundings"

    When comparing opposites as your sentence does, you need to use the appropriate opposite. Your sentence refers to "Diane’s apparent lack of interest in what is going on around her." This implies someone who is not interested in the goings-on around her. "Alertness" is far more the opposite to the unawareness and disinterest that Diane is displaying. "Briskness" does not correlate.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I thought 'briskly' meant 'keenly alert' and so considered it to be more defining of Renton's attitude
    Here's the definition of "brisk" from Dictionary.com:

    1. quick and active; lively: brisk trading; a brisk walk. 2.sharp and stimulating: brisk weather; brisk wind.

    This does not have the same meaning as "alert" in the context you are using.
     

    dabigkid

    New Member
    United States, English
    I say "alertness." It is a more commonly used word and it fits the sentence better for the reasons said above.

    For practical purposes, I would say that the best word is probably "attentiveness."
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Renton’s alertness/briskness stands in great contrast with Diane’s apparent lack of interest in what is going on around her.
    Briskness might describe a manner of moving. It does not contrast with lack of interest.
    Alertness might be considered opposite to a demonstrated lack of interest. Other choices
    include awareness or attention.
     

    dabigkid

    New Member
    United States, English
    Briskness might describe a manner of moving. It does not contrast with lack of interest.
    Alertness might be considered opposite to a demonstrated lack of interest. Other choices
    include awareness or attention.
    Awareness can also work, but "attention" does not tell indicate the amount he paid attention, which is what is being compared. "Attention" will not work. In this case, he would want "attentiveness."
     

    anothersmith

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    I have never heard the word "brisk" used to describe a person (although a person's movements can be described as "brisk").

    I would definitely go with "alertness" rather than "briskness," since you're describing his condition rather than his movements.
     

    Bradshaw

    Member
    Spanish & Catalan
    Yes, I'll definitely go for 'altertness'. After all this discussion it seems to me that 'briskness' was a terrible option in the first place!

    Thank you all!!
     
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