an apprehensive marmot

Zsuzsu

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hi all,

I don't know if the word "apprehensive" is the most accurate in my sentence:

"Since the marmot is apprehensive, the hunter often has to fire from a long distance at the animal looking out of its cave."

Is this word OK, or shall I use something else: shy, fearful, whatever...?

Thanks a lot!
 
  • Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    Apprehensive sounds fine to me. You could use 'cautious' or 'timid' but they wouldn't be better.
    I would put 'so' before apprehensive to intensify the meaning:

    Since the marmot is so apprehensive/shy/timid....
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello Zsu. Personally I prefer timid ~ it is the nature of marmots* to be fearful: this is covered by timid. For me apprehensive suggests that marmots are fearful of something in particular ("Oh dearie me, I feel like I'm going to get shot today, I'd better not look out of my hole ... ").

    *I presume that when your text says the marmot it is referring to marmots in general, rather than a specific marmot.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, I would prefer timid or fearful . Apprehensive suggests a considerable amount of foresight and consciousness - a level of intelligence that is not normally attributed to marmots.
     

    Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    Yes, I would prefer timid or fearful . Apprehensive suggests a considerable amount of foresight and consciousness - a level of intelligence that is not normally attributed to marmots.
    You are confusing apprehension with comprehension.

    Marmots do not literally have the intelligence to comprehend the specific danger posed by a man with a gun so far away, yet they still behave in a manner that we call apprehensive because they do apprehend the danger. They're quick to sense danger, even if they don't understand what it is.

    I would suggest the degree of anthroporphism expressed by 'apprehensive' is actually less than calling marmots 'shy' or 'fearful'. Do marmots blush and go quiet at parties? Do they see a doctor about their nerves?:p
     

    snozboz

    New Member
    English - British
    I would go with 'timid' as well. It's not exactly that 'apprehensive' suggests a human-like level of intelligence, but it's more that the word suggests that there is a reason for the behaviour that is specific to the situation rather than a general characteristic.

    Your sentence does make sense. However I feel it doesn't scan as well as it might because the hunter is introduced between the marmot being introduced and then later referred to as "the animal" and "it's [cave]" right at the end of the sentence.
     
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