Being persistent is not always a bad thing.

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salai

Senior Member
Russian
Hello,

Here are a few sentences from a virtual poster created by one of my students:
'I am a very creative person. I am stubborn at times, though. But, to my mind, being persistent is not always a bad thing.'

I am not sure about the word 'persistent'. I would say 'firm' or 'obstinate', the latter being better, in my opinion, as it is a synonym of the word 'stubborn'.

What is your opinion?

Thank you in advance.
 
  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Stubborness is usually a negative concept, while persistence/perseverance are usually positive.
    I agree that obstinate is like stubborn. although it sounds to me stronger than stubborn.

    Schoolchildren used to be told the story of the Scottish king Robert the Bruce, who watched a spider spinning a web. The spider eventually managed to create a web and to Robert it seemed that it did this by being persistent. This inspired him to fight against the English occupiers of Scotland.
     

    Embonpoint

    Senior Member
    English--American
    Well, first of all the English he wrote is perfect. Any criticism is the same type of criticism you might make about a native speakers' logic.

    I overall have no issue with it. If you really want to nitpick, you could say that the word persistent is already often viewed as positive. So the logic is a little weak ie. we all already know persistent isn't a bad thing. It's almost like saying this: I'm a workaholic. But to my mind, being industrious isn't always a bad thing. We know being industrious is not bad; it's the workaholic part we're worried about! The same problem occurs with firm to me; firm is more positive than negative.

    You could ask him to change it to obstinate. But that's not what he's saying. He's saying that being persistent isn't always a bad thing.

    Personally, if I read this sentence as a teacher of foreign language I would ignore that tiny nitpick and mark it excellent.
     

    salai

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Well, first of all the English he wrote is perfect. Any criticism is the same type of criticism you might make about a native speakers' logic.

    I overall have no issue with it. If you really want to nitpick, you could say that the word persistent is already often viewed as positive. So the logic is a little weak ie. we all already know persistent isn't a bad thing. It's almost like saying this: I'm a workaholic. But to my mind, being industrious isn't always a bad thing. We know being industrious is not bad; it's the workaholic part we're worried about! The same problem occurs with firm to me; firm is more positive than negative.

    You could ask him to change it to obstinate. But that's not what he's saying. He's saying that being persistent isn't always a bad thing.

    Personally, if I read this sentence as a teacher of foreign language I would ignore that tiny nitpick and mark it excellent.
    After the mid-term exams are over, I am going to congratulate the girl on a good piece of writing she posted on her virtual poster.
     
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