Can I say "the manager decided to unite two depts"?

dongzi

New Member
China/Chinese
I saw the two sentences below in two difference dictionaries. It feels to me that "unite" is not the appropriate word to use here (I know these dictionaries are supposed to be authoritative). If so, which word is a better replacement, "consolidate" or "integrate"?

1.The school united its music and theater departments. (in a dictionary compiled by a Chinese publisher)
2. The manager decided to unite two departments. (in The Oxford Study Thesaurus)
Thank you in advance for your input!
 
  • jamesjiao

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English and Mandarin Chinese
    Well, we need to know what you are trying to say first. Are you saying you are bringing two departments together under the same management or pooling the resources from both departments together to share?
     

    dongzi

    New Member
    China/Chinese
    The dictionary doesn't give the context. I just wonder whether the sentence alone sounds awkward or not at the first sight. What do you think of it?

    And I would think dictionaries list commonly used examples; if so, this sentence would mean to pool the resources together.
     

    Mr_Antares

    Senior Member
    US English
    In American (at least), when the meaning is "to pool two departments under common management", the usual word is "merge", although "unite" will also be understood. "Consolidate" is a good alternative also. "Integrate" sounds less correct for this context.
     

    Rana_pipiens

    Senior Member
    USA / English
    When things are consolidated, integrated, or merged, you can't necessarily tell the formerly separate parts apart.
    -- To consolidate is make something more compact (or solid); sometimes the things brought together weren't actually separate items, they were merely spread-out parts of a single thing.
    -- To integrate is to incorporate something into something else, or make separate things into a complete whole; its opposite is segregate, meaning to separate or sort. (These two words are used so much in a racial context that for many people that tends to be the first meaning that comes to mind.)
    -- To merge is to combine or blend together things that were fully separate; for instance, to merge two lanes of traffic, two companies, or a form file and a data file.

    On the other hand, things that are united often still keep an individual identity, although being joined together; two notable examples being the fifty states of the United States of America, and the four originally sovereign countries or kingdoms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    Sometimes the meaning is along the lines of being in strong agreement. If I heard "The manager decided to unite two departments," I would wonder whether a merger was taking place, or whether the two departments had been bickering and the manager was simply trying to make them get along better.
     

    dongzi

    New Member
    China/Chinese
    Thank you both, Rana and Mr Antares. I'm still curious to find out from you, whether, as native speakers, the two sentences sound idiomatic to you at all. Thanks!
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    Although the meaning of unite is correct, these sentences don't strike me as very idiomatic. They seem a bit forced, as if someone was struggling to find examples of the use of unite, which may be the case as I don't think it's a very commonly used verb. The adjective form is much common as we have seen with the given examples of the U.S. and U.K. (also "to present a united front"). I would expect to see "merge", "combine" or even "join together" in preference to "unite".

    I think a more common use of unite would be; "The workers united to overthrow the Government" or "The Allied Forces decided to unite against Nazi Germany in the Second World War".
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top