explore, examine, scrutinise, inspect

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Senior Member

Here is an exercise from a coursebook*:

Highlight the odd one out in each group.

c) explore, examine, scritinise, inspect
The key-booklet says it is explore that is different.

I've looked the verbs up, and this is what the dictionary says:

to search and discover (about something):
Let's explore this issue/idea more fully (= examine it carefully in order to discover more about it).
to look at or consider a person or thing carefully and in detail in order to discover something about them:
to examine something very carefully in order to discover information:
to look at something or someone carefully in order to discover information, especially about their quality or condition
(source:Cambridge online dictionary)

To me, the definitions are overlapping, aren't they? Do you agree with the key?

Thank you.

* CAE Gold Plus Longman
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I agree with the key.
    I may be disagreeing with the dictionaries.

    Examine, scrutinise and inspect are activities that I can do with something that is described and presented to me. None of them necessarily involve any originality on my part.
    Explore is much more likely to be an investigation of something that is not known.


    Senior Member
    Reading the question I have no confusion and can answer easily that explore is the odd one out, so i agree with the key.

    the primary meaning of explore is to go into unkown places and find out whats there -explorers such as columbus discovering America etc.

    examine/scrutinize/inspect are all about studying something in detail -> looking/thinking hard about something to figure something out or find something out about it

    *I examined/scrutinzed/inspected Indian culture* means something completely different to * I explored Indian culture*
    in the first case you are an outside observer, in the second you are taking part in it and discovering things as you go along.


    English - Canada
    To put it simply, you can (physically) examine/inspect/scrutinize something that you're holding in your hand, but you're rather unlikely to explore it.

    The Traveler

    Senior Member
    Spanish and Catalan

    I don't get the difference between scrutinize and examine/inspect. The difference between the latter (I don't know if it's correct to say it like that) is pretty clear to me, since I found this thread examine, check, inspect However, I still don't get in which context scrutinized would be more suitable than the other two verbs. For instance, I could perfectly say "The officer scrutinized/examined/inspected my passport", right?

    Thank you for your attention! :)
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