dawn v. starting v. beginning

hhtt

Senior Member
Turkish
Would you please explain if starting and beginning are good substitutes for dawn in this sentence? If they are good substitutes, do they retain the meaning?

"Although it is as ancient as the dawn of humanity, it has been developed in diverse forms by every culture." (I cannot find the source for this sentence)

Another example: "My studies have shown me that this desire is as ancient as the dawn of humanity"

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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    "Beginning" sounds okay to me as a substitute for "dawn" in those sentences. "Starting" sounds odd, however. "Beginning" isn't a poetic cliché as "dawn" is. For that reason, I think you lose something of the author's original intention if you replace "dawn of humanity" with "beginning of humanity".
     

    hhtt

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    "Beginning" sounds okay to me as a substitute for "dawn" in those sentences. "Starting" sounds odd, however. "Beginning" isn't a poetic cliché as "dawn" is. For that reason, I think you lose something of the author's original intention if you replace "dawn of humanity" with "beginning of humanity".
    Would you please clearly explain what something you referred to could be? It is clear that "dawn" has an implication but "beginning" not, if I understand you correctly.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    There's no great mystery here, hhtt. Of course "the dawn" refers to the rosy beginning of the day. When used to talk about the origins of humanity, it has a poetic quality. It is not a dry, abstract word like "beginning". Does that clear things up for you?
     

    Moolric

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    I don't like beginning or start in that sentence. Dawn is a gradual process which happens over time, which is how humans came to be. When they became humans is impossible to pinpoint. I assume that this thing that is just as old is also impossible to pin down to a specific time.

    Beginnings of humanity, is less precise so more equivalent. But dawn really is the best word.
     
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