fastidious, fussy

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Choose the word that best fits the context.

She was a ---- old lady, insisting on everything remaining in its proper place.

A) fastidious
B) fussy

I guess B is correct, as it seems unlike "fastidious", "fussy" has a negative connotation. What do you think?
  • WestSideGal

    Senior Member
    English, US
    I see. Well, I do not know what the test-maker has in mind writing this item. Do you have any idea?
    Officially, fastidious has to do with someone's obsessive attention to detail, cleanliness, everything in its place.

    Fussy has more to do with being particular, complaining and difficult to please.

    In this case I would say A) was the correct answer.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    I would say B.

    I think the key here is "insisting," which implies she involves others whereas "fastidious" is internalized and one doesn't have to insist on anything.

    Also, I think the writer of the test could spend more time on more practical issues.


    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I agree absolutely with SDGraham. The answer is "fussy".

    I disagree with the general concensus that the test writer's methods are questionable. In my mind, these questions prompt the student to think about the entire sentence rather than just the individual, fill-in-the-blank word. As SDG said, the use of "insisting" is the clue to the answer but unless you absorb and comprehend all of the words, it's easy to get side-tracked.


    Senior Member
    I also think it's "fussy." Someone can be quite particular about things being in a certain place without being fastidious at all. A place can be quite a mess and still be a mess with a very particular organization to it. I speak from experience. :)
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