Force vs .coerce

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Crawford Powell

Senior Member
Native Arabic speaker from "Egypt"
-What's the difference between Force & Coerce in the following sentence:
  • The cold weather & the low degrees in Russia forced/coerced the German army to retreat from Russia.
 
  • skiedge1

    Member
    English - United States
    I agree that in this sentence "forced" is better.

    If you wanted to use "coerced" I think it would sound better if you re-arranged the sentence to have a more passive voice:

    "The German army was coerced by the cold weather and low degrees to retreat from Russia."

    This also personifies the weather a little bit, which might be desired depending on the style of the writing.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I agree with e2. I think that you are coerced into doing something.

    (I wouldn't dream of taking the thread off topic:eek:, but is there any difference between "cold weather" and "low degrees", I wonder?)
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I would use coerce only if the force or authority was exerted by human agency.
    I wouldn't use it for a natural phenomenon like cold weather.
     
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