Commonly believed to/traditionally believed to

Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Hi,

Context and Background:

Someone who first came to China (he told me he's from a poor country of Africa) and saw a pomelo and asked me to tell her something about it. And I said the following.

Pomelo leaves are commonly believed to/traditionally believed to ward off evil spirits and its rind is used for a deodorant.

I don't know which one is better; I want to say that people generally use pomelo leaves to ward off evil spirits, especailly dip it in the water and then use the water to bathe, this is commonly seen in some TV shows and films. And people from Guangdong and other provinces know this, accept it and even use this method.

Thoughts:

These two words have different meanings, according to the dictionary. But reading my own statement above several times, I think I might say "Pomelo leaves are generally/usually believed to....", but I still doubt its idiomaticness. I need your help.

Thanks a lot
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    It depends what you want to express. Either commonly or traditionally would be grammatically correct (and idiomatic); so would generally or usually, which you mention later as possibilities. You need to take another look at the dictionary and see which word most accurately describes the situation as you see it.

    P.S.: By the way, I think you meant that he "asked me to tell him", not "her".
     

    Wordnip

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hi,

    Context and Background:

    Someone who first came to China (he told me he's from a poor country of Africa) and saw a pomelo and asked me to tell her something about it. And I said the following.

    Pomelo leaves are commonly believed to/traditionally believed to ward off evil spirits and its rind is used for a deodorant.

    I don't know which one is better; I want to say that people generally use pomelo leaves to ward off evil spirits, especailly dip it in the water and then use the water to bathe, this is commonly seen in some TV shows and films. And people from Guangdong and other provinces know this, accept it and even use this method.

    Thoughts:

    These two words have different meanings, according to the dictionary. But reading my own statement above several times, I think I might say "Pomelo leaves are generally/usually believed to....", but I still doubt its idiomaticness. I need your help.

    Thanks a lot
    We often say, "are widely believed to ..." as well as 'are commonly believed to ...".

    "Traditionally believed to ..." may not be what you want because a tradition may not be widespread and you may wish to say that it is. Also, I would hesitate to use it with 'believed to' because the idea of a traditional belief is a little different from merely talking about the tradition of doing something which, in this case, carries with it the belief of warding off evil spirits. The meaning of 'tradition', as you wll find if you look up the dictionary as Parla suggests, can involve belief. I am drawing a distinction between mere tradition and there being a 'traditional belief'. So, I am suggesting that you could say, "Pomelo leaves are traditionally used to ward off evil spirits and its rind is used for a deodorant." The belief that they do so is implicit. If you want to say that their belief is erroneous you could add this but it is not implicit in your original sentence anyway.
     
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