excel, superior, better

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, let's say you are being interviewed in a face-to-face survey on cars.

Interviewer: Why do you drive <car brand name> cars?
You: Because __________________________________.

1. they excel in design and performance
2. they are superior in design and performance
3. they are better in design and performance

4. they have better designs and performance


Supposing #4 is the most natural way of saying it, I'd like to know your opinions about #1-3. Is any of them unidiomatic? (I've never heard of the expression in #3.)
 
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I'm afraid none of them sound very natural to me. Sentences 1 and 2 sound more like the sort of thing you might read in a brochure.
    Supposing #4 is the most natural way of saying it,
    This one sounds particularly unidiomatic.

    I think the average person is more likely to say something like: I like the design and performance or Because of the design and performance.
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hi, let's say you are being interviewed in a face-to-face survey on cars.

    Interviewer: Why do you drive <car brand name> cars?
    You: Because __________________________________.

    1. they excel in design and performance
    2. they are superior in design and performance
    3. they are better in design and performance

    4. they have better designs and performance


    Supposing #4 is the most natural way of saying it, I'd like to know your opinions about #1-3. Is any of them unidiomatic? (I've never heard of the expression in #3.)
    I think your question may be about use of the plural (?)

    In fact 4 is the only incorrect one. 1 to 3 are all correct. Whether they are natural depends who is speaking - these sound like answers that could be printed as an option in a survey.

    In this context both design and performance are considered to be uncountable nouns and therefore are singular.

    P.S. I prefer "they excel" because "they are superior/better" prompts the question superior/better than what?
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you all very much for the help.

    Sentences 1 and 2 sound more like the sort of thing you might read in a brochure.
    1 to 3 are all correct. Whether they are natural depends who is speaking - these sound like answers that could be printed as an option in a survey.
    I see. So they aren't colloquial but would work as answer options in a web/paper-based questionnaire. That's really good to know.

    In this context both design and performance are considered to be uncountable nouns and therefore are singular.
    I don't drive a car so this is just my imagination, but is it unnatural for a car owner to think about the interior and exterior designs of their car separately and use the plural?

    I think the average person is more likely to say something like: I like the design and performance or Because of the design and performance.
    I agree. When I use this forum my mind is in translator mode, so excuse me when I can't come up with the usual/natural expression. :D

    How about “offer”? They offer better design and performance.
    Oh, was the verb "have" one of the reasons #4 was unidiomatic?
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    P.S. I prefer "they excel" because "they are superior/better" prompts the question superior/better than what?
    But, in that context, isn't it obvious that the sentence means they are superior/better than other car brands?
    Having said that, I've just noticed something interesting. Although the WR dictionaries all say "excel" means #1 "superior/surpass" or #2 "do extremely well/be outstandingly good or proficient", the ODE and Collins dictionary I have only mention the meaning #2. Maybe the meaning #1 is obsolete and that's why "they excel" doesn't prompt the question "Superior than what?/Surpass what?"


    In this context both design and performance are considered to be uncountable nouns and therefore are singular.
    I asked about this comment in my last post, but maybe I misused the word "design". I used the plural "designs" in the original post thinking about the countable interior design and the exterior design, which are both about appearance. But I remembered that the word "design" is used for not just appearance, but also how things are designed to work. So, in order to make the meaning clear, perhaps I should have written "they look and perform better" in #4?

    My suggestion was just an alternative, not a comment on the choices you’d offered already.
    Sorry, I didn't realize that. :oops:
     
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