I need something a bit more creative

clemond

New Member
Taiwan, Chinese.
There is a vocabulary test in our school's English mid-term exam, stated as below:

I need something a bit more c______e than an apology from you. How about a big meal?

The correct answer is "concrete". But some of my students put the word "creative" here. I am not sure if this alternative answer is accepted or not. Please advise me, thanks.
 
  • nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    There is a vocabulary test in our school's English mid-term exam, stated as below:

    I need something a bit more c______e than an apology from you. How about a big meal?

    The correct answer is "concrete". But some of my students put the word "creative" here. I am not sure if this alternative answer is accepted or not. Please advise me, thanks.
    But, but, but..............using a big meal to apologize is hardly creative :D
     

    Cristina Allende

    Senior Member
    US, English
    Concrete is the better choice because creative sounds too positive. The speaker is obviously angry because of something that someone else has done, otherwise he wouldn't be needing an apology. Also, for creative, an apology and a dinner would both be a form of an apology, so you wouldn't say, "I need something more creative than an apology, I need a dinner."
    In other words, concrete shows the progression from spoken apology to dinner apology better than "creative" does. But have mercy on the kids! I would hate for my English teacher to surprise me with a stunt like that! :)
    Christina
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Concrete is the better choice because creative sounds too positive. The speaker is obviously angry because of something that someone else has done, otherwise he wouldn't be needing an apology. Also, for creative, an apology and a dinner would both be a form of an apology, so you wouldn't say, "I need something more creative than an apology, I need a dinner."
    In other words, concrete shows the progression from spoken apology to dinner apology better than "creative" does. But have mercy on the kids! I would hate for my English teacher to surprise me with a stunt like that! :)
    Christina
    This must be a very personal thing, I would never ask for a big meal when I am angry.................

    And still, I think "concrete" is a far better choice, to me, it means that "stop saying how sorry you are, show me some proof!"
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    There is a vocabulary test in our school's English mid-term exam, stated as below:

    I need something a bit more c______e than an apology from you. How about a big meal?

    The correct answer is "concrete". But some of my students put the word "creative" here. I am not sure if this alternative answer is accepted acceptable or not. Please advise me, thanks.
    To be honest, this question is horrible!:eek: For starters, why would one want something more concrete than an apology. I can see getting the apology and then something else as an added atonement, but to say I'd rather have a big meal rather than an apology seems quite odd.

    For my mind, "concrete" is no better than "creative" so I'd allow it.
     

    occlith

    Senior Member
    USA
    English - USA
    Concrete? Contrite would work just as well as creative.

    I agree with Dimcl; the question is horrible.
     

    TyLeg

    New Member
    Australia English
    It just means that one would want an apology in the form of a meal rather than a sentence. But asking "I need something a bit more concrete than a sentence from you" is unclear.

    As for whether "creative" is acceptable, I would not think so, because it implies something unexpected, and as mentioned a big meal is not an uncommon use for apology.
     

    clemond

    New Member
    Taiwan, Chinese.
    Thanks for the detailed explanation. I got it right now. And I also told my students about the discussion here. They all learned a lot!
     

    lergnom

    New Member
    USA English
    The real problem with concrete is that it refers to an act, such as an act of contrition or repentance. Without that semi-religious context, the meaning of more concrete than words is not only obscure but misleading.
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    This answer reminds me of the American idiom, "Talk is cheap." To me, those words mean it takes very little sincerity, time, effort, and heart to say what you know someone wants to hear when you've hurt them deeply.

    So to say "I'm sorry." means nothing in the scheme of things, in my opinion.

    That's why creative would be my first choice, even though I understand why concrete is the definitive answer.

    I think the offensive part of this is throwing in the idea that a meal is equal in importance to a heartfelt, well-rounded apology package.

    It takes creativity to come up with a concrete set of sorry's that are specifically geared to a specific person.

    I like creative. Everybody's requirement of sorry's from someone who has hurt them is different and unique.

    I'd say the kids who answered creative were right on.

    AngelEyes
     

    lergnom

    New Member
    USA English
    I agree.

    This was a lousy test question; it presupposes a religious understanding which non-Christians might not have and it uses that supposition to draw a fine distinction. A good example, in my mind, of cultural bias hidden in language.
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Where does a religious agenda figure into this question? :confused:

    Someone hurts me.

    His response? "I'm sorry."

    That doesn't do it for me!

    Give me something more than words. Give me action. Give me a sign that it means something that you know you hurt me.

    Creative means you use your head and invest some time in figuring out what means something to me. That shows me you broke a sweat trying to make it up to me.

    Concrete has nothing to do with prayer, Jesus, or heaven. If anything, it links more closely to the hell you'll pay if you don't make it up to me.

    And the pay-back or the restitution doesn't necessarily mean it's going to come in the form of presents or food. That's where I think the weak link in the test question is.

    Not everyone would be appeased by a meal. To some, that's just not enough.

    I still don't get the leap from apology to God, either.

    I don't think it's all that bad of a question.

    AngelEyes
     

    clemond

    New Member
    Taiwan, Chinese.
    I agree.

    ... it presupposes a religious understanding which non-Christians might not have and it uses that supposition to draw a fine distinction. A good example, in my mind, of cultural bias hidden in language.
    Thanks for Iergnom's reply. But I don't really understand why there is a religious connotation in this sentence. Nor can I sense any cultural bias here. Please shed more light on me, thanks.
     

    clemond

    New Member
    Taiwan, Chinese.
    ........
    And the pay-back or the restitution doesn't necessarily mean it's going to come in the form of presents or food. That's where I think the weak link in the test question is.

    Not everyone would be appeased by a meal. To some, that's just not enough.

    .......

    AngelEyes
    Thank you for AngelEyes' clear explanation. I have to admit that this is a really awful test question. Indeed, "concrete" is a more acceptable answer, but "creative" here also makes sense especially when the heartbroken one wants something more than an ordinary "I am sorry!".

    The problem is in the next sentence, "How about a big meal?". It can hardly be linked to "creative". How can treating a person a big meal be creative? That's why many people would go for "concrete" as a correct answer. Anyway, the test is over. The students have all learned a lot from this thread. Thank you all again!
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    I need something a bit more c______e than an apology from you. How about a big meal?
    clemond,

    If you angered someone who loved to go out to dinner, one of the best ways to say I'm sorry is to treat them to something they would love to do.

    It's a concrete way to show you care enough to make them happy after you **%# them off.

    But it's a very creative process you went through in your mind to come up with just that right "something" you know will make them smile.

    For those students who chose creative, I would want to ask them if they think the act of really thinking about how to say those words through actions toward the person they hurt are arrived at.

    Maybe they think the process (creative) of the outcome (concrete) is just as, if not more so, important as the process of apology itself.

    You gave them a specific, concrete way to say I'm sorry, apart from the words. But you also challenged them to be creative in arriving at what you told them was the outcome in this specific example. (A nice meal.)

    Neither word is wrong, in my opinion, then.

    AngelEyes

    I still don't think it's a bad question. On the contrary, it highlights the different way we perceive one single, little apology.
     

    lergnom

    New Member
    USA English
    It's mostly religious because I missed the part that said "how about a big meal?" That makes concrete a more direct choice.

    I still think it's culturally biased. In many cultures, an apology is an absolutely "concrete" response and the idea that one is not "concrete" would be met with a shake of the head. The idea that an apology is not concrete is not universal and that connection is largely felt through religion, particularly in the Christian teaching that there is confession and also repentance.
     

    Trisia

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    An apology is something you say - words. So is a confession...
    A meal is something you can touch and see - it's not made of ideas, you just stuff it down your throat. That's as concrete as concrete can be.

    I still don't see how any of this is connected with religion.
     

    lergnom

    New Member
    USA English
    Again, in many cultures, an apology is an act, not just words. The act of apology is a cultural expression. An apology, for example, fulfills your social role in Japan. An apology affirms your honor in many Arabic speaking cultures. These are "concrete" acts even if they are not "concrete" in Western terms. The idea that an apology is just words reduces the concept to one of personal relations and that also is largely a Western concept. In many cultures, your apology is a statement on behalf of your entire clan and its acceptance may impose duties - such as the forgoing of revenge. In simple words, an apology is often a ritual but in the West the notion of apology has been separated to a great degree from its ritual action and is reduced to words exchanged between people.
     
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