How to distinguish these words "stringent, severe" and so on?

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New Member
Hello every one,
I have a question about how to distinguish these word "stringent", "severe", "strict", "stern". what is the difference between these words? When I write something, I always cannot decide which word I should use. Please give me some help.
Thank you!
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    That's a good question, Princewarcraft. Though all these words are synonyms, they may hold different shades of meaning for different speakers. Your best bet here is to look at how speakers use these adjectives in sentences. For me, all these words are pretty similar. I don't think I'd use "stringent" as an adjective for a person. All the others seem interchangeable to me.

    By the way, welcome to the forum. :)


    Senior Member
    American English
    Welcome to the forum. :)

    Because the forum focuses on words in sentences and with context -- rather than your general question -- I'll suggest that you put each of these words, one at a time, in the Search box at the top of the page. After you click Search, you'll see a link at the top called "in context." Click on that and you'll see how each word is used in contemporary context. Like you, native speakers pick up the slight differences by listening to how others use the words in speech and writing.

    I'll close this thread and let you look around. If you have questions after you see the words in context, you may start another thread. Thank you.
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