faithful vs reliable

screenactorsguild

Senior Member
Vietnamese
This is a question from my homework at school:
This raises the awkward question of whether job candidates should be asked to complete psychological tests, and the further problem of whether such tests actually produce ............(faithful, regular, reliable,predictable) results.
At my first attempt, I think that "regular", "predictable" are absolutely wrong => The answer I choose is "reliable", but when teaching, my teacher says that it is "faithful"!
I think that "faithful" is a human character or something.
EG: A faithful wife (not cheat on her husband)
Can you explain why?
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I disagree with your teacher. I don't think "faithful" is a useful or meaningful word in that sentence. If I were answering the test, I would choose "reliable". I prefer this word over the others because employers need to rely on the results of the test in order to choose the best candidate.
     

    screenactorsguild

    Senior Member
    Vietnamese
    Yes, it seems awkward but in fact it is the right one!
    My teacher can't explain she just said we have to remember the context, which is very hard to follow!
     

    lizzyld

    Member
    British English
    It depends on the context. Faithful could be used, in the context that the results would not be faithful to the personalities of the applicants, but reliable could be used in the context that the results are not a reliable measure of personalities.
     

    jarabina

    Senior Member
    English - Scotland
    Faithful is not simply used to refer to human personality, as seems to be being suggested here.

    If we consider another example, we can say that the translation is faithful to the original, meaning that we can trust that it is an accurate and reliable translation.

    Faithful is often used this way in scientific papers.

    e.g. the results can be faithfully replicated.
     

    lizzyld

    Member
    British English
    I agree jarabine. I only used faithful with personalities in my reply because it was the survey example in the question.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    In the context of the test sentence, the question over the use of psychological testing in job applicants, reliable is the only possible word of the four given to use here. owlman's reasoning is spot on. To talk about the results of psychological tests being faithful to the personality of the individual is not a normal usage - I find it bizarre. The words more normally used when discussing test results are valid, accurate, reproducible and reliable. I have no hesitation in saying that screenactorsguild's teacher (or the teacher's study guide) is wrong.

    That is not to say that faithful cannot be used much more widely than only when discussing human behaviour, as pointed out in the posts that are gradually drifting off topic, it is just wrong in this specific context.
     
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