constituent / fare / proffer / repast / boon

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Greg from Poland

Senior Member
Polish
Hello everybody,

I would like to ask you some questions about language use. Would you be so kind as to tell me what is wrong with the sentences below?

1. Money is a crucial constituent of our lives. (=part)
2. It is very hard to prepare a tasty fare. (=meal)
3. I spent an hour in a common. (=in a park)
4. I often abandon myself to my favourite hobby. (=devote time to my hobby)
5. Modern lifestyle proffers us many opportunities. (=offers)
6. We have found many delicious repasts in that restaurant (=meals).
7. Salary is a splendid boon of his new job. (=advantage)

The words in bold were considered wrong. In the brackets I have also indicated what I intended to say.

Thanks a lot,
Greg from Poland
 
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  • Oeco

    Senior Member
    English - US
    1. Money is a crucial constituent of our lives. (=part)
    2. It is very hard to prepare a tasty fare. (=meal)
    3. I spent an hour in a common. (=in a park)
    4. I often abandon myself to my favourite hobby. (=devote time to my hobby)
    5. Modern lifestyle proffers us many opportunities. (=offers)
    6. We have found many delicious repasts in that restaurant (=meals).
    In almost every case, the italicized word, sounds better.

    1. "Part" is better than constituent.
    2. "Fare" is OK but meal is better.
    3. "In a common" is not idiomatic in the US. It might be in the UK. There are parks or campuses, especially in the northeast of the US, that are referred to as "the Commons" but I think that they are proper names.
    4. "Abandon" does not sound right in that context.
    5. While "proffer" can be used as a verb, it is most often replaced by "offer" (see WordReference Dictionary).
    6. Repasts is a bit archaic sounding to me.
     
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    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    1. Money is a crucial constituent of our lives. (=part)
    Constituent is just way too formal, we wouldn't really say it. It's not an incorrect use of the word, but it would just never be said, not even by the Queen.
    2. It is very hard to prepare a tasty fare. (=meal)
    In all honesty, I'd never even heard of "fare" in this context. I'll take Oeco's word for it that it's correct, but as you can tell, uncommon and, again, presumably too formal.
    3. I spent an hour in a common. (=in a park)
    We wouldn't say "common" in the UK either, it means exactly the same, but most people don't use the term.
    4. I often abandon myself to my favourite hobby. (=devote time to my hobby)
    I agree with Oeco, it's not idiomatic and doesn't sound right, devote time to is much better.
    5. Modern lifestyle proffers us many opportunities. (=offers)
    Again, I'd never heard of proffer (I've learnt a lot,) like the rest, it's too formal, it just wouldn't be said.
    6. We have found many delicious repasts in that restaurant (=meals).
    Another one I didn't know, archaic, formal, etc.
    7. Salary is a splendid boon of his new job. (=advantage)
    This is becoming depressing, that's another word I didn't know! It's just too formal again.
    There's absolutely nothing wrong with your vocabulary, it's much better than mine, (and most native-speakers for that matter,) by the looks of it. It's just that these words are too old-fashioned and too formal, even for formal occasions, such as letters and speeches. You just wouldn't be understood. To the native-speaker, language is something which just comes naturally and people use the simplest and most common words, so the simpler, the better.
     

    Oeco

    Senior Member
    English - US
    on #7 WordReference Dictionary has the example ""a spanking breeze is a boon to sailors", so it's possible, but not right in the context. It's possible to rearrange the sentence so it would work, but why would you. Advantage is what you want.
     

    Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    Hello everybody,

    I would like to ask you some questions about language use. Would you be so kind as to tell me what is wrong with the sentences below?

    1. Money is a crucial constituent of our lives. (=part)
    2. It is very hard to prepare a tasty fare. (=meal)
    3. I spent an hour in a common. (=in a park)
    4. I often abandon myself to my favourite hobby. (=devote time to my hobby)
    5. Modern lifestyle proffers us many opportunities. (=offers)
    6. We have found many delicious repasts in that restaurant (=meals).
    7. Salary is a splendid boon of his new job. (=advantage)

    The words in bold were considered wrong. In the brackets I have also indicated what I intended to say.

    Thanks a lot,
    Greg from Poland
    As the others have said, I would use the words in brackets over the ones in bold face. These are the words commonly used by native speakers. The other words would be appear to be correct, according to a dictionary definition, but they are rarely used.
    There could be two reasons for this. Were you choosing cognates in your native language, when you chose these words? If so, the common meaning in English is similar, but not identical, to the meaning in your own language. Or, were they chosen based on dictionary definitions or words learned as a type of 'vocabulary builder' program common for university exams? If so, then you are certainly expanding your vocabulary, but it is going beyond what is commonly used. Also, I would consider several of these words academic, approaching archaic, they are so rarely used outside of a classroom: common (in the sense you use it), proffer, repast, and boon.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Hello everybody,

    I would like to ask you some questions about language use. Would you be so kind as to tell me what is wrong with the sentences below?

    1. Money is a crucial constituent of our lives. (=part)
    2. It is very hard to prepare a tasty fare. (=meal)
    3. I spent an hour in a common. (=in a park)
    4. I often abandon myself to my favourite hobby. (=devote time to my hobby)
    5. Modern lifestyle proffers us many opportunities. (=offers)
    6. We have found many delicious repasts in that restaurant (=meals).
    7. Salary is a splendid boon of his new job. (=advantage)

    The words in bold were considered wrong. In the brackets I have also indicated what I intended to say.

    Thanks a lot,
    Greg from Poland
    They look like sentences where someone has taken the intended word and looked up a synonym in a thesaurus. I don't know if this is how they were created, but a thesaurus can be a curse as well as a blessing. The judicious use of variety, keeping in mind the currency of the substitute word, is as important as the dictionary meaning of the word.

    Keeping a consistent tone is also important. To have "It is very hard..." (hard being an informal word) mixed with "fare" is odd. There are subsets of vocabulary that "play well together". :) It is not easy to learn which words go together in tone, even for native speakers.

    On the subject of "fare" mean "food", the "a" also throws it off. "It is difficult to prepare tasty fare under these conditions" would sound more natural to me, although still very formal. "A fare" is a paying passenger for a taxi, a boat ride, or some service.

    Just as a final note... we normally request that each word in question have its own thread. In this case I think you are asking a general question about a type of vocabulary. If you have specific questions about specific words or phrases, though, please open a separate thread for each one. WRF is linked to the dictionary through the thread titles, so it is important to have the word in question in the title for future researchers.
     
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    Greg from Poland

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Indeed, these words are a result of a vocabulary builder programme and thesaurus work. As you all said, I guess I have gone over the top a bit.

    Thank you a lot for the explanation, it gave me someting to think about :)

    Take care.
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Moderator Note:

    As has already been hinted, this thread is pushing the limits of the one thread - one topic rule. The questions seem to have been answered, so I am closing it now.

    Thanks everyone.
    Nun-Translator
     
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