lazy vs. idle

Insider

Senior Member
Ukraine (Ukrainian)
Hello everyone,

I need to find out what word, mentioned in the name of the thread, is more suitable to be written in a formal letter.

As for me, an idle sounds more formally and conservatively. Also I belive that the lazy is much more common word.

Thank you in advance!

Insider
 
  • GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Hi Insider,

    Could you perhaps give us a sample sentence of what you are trying to write? Much depends on what specifically you are trying to convey.

    If it is a letter to a colleague or other professional, "idle" might be more appropriate. If you are writing a letter of complaint about a service you received, "lazy" may indeed be the appropriate word, but it's hard to tell without more context.
     

    Insider

    Senior Member
    Ukraine (Ukrainian)
    OK, here is my quotation from the formal letter that should be written:

    "First of all, you consider students from incorrect side: not all of them are idle (lazy?)"
     

    Insider

    Senior Member
    Ukraine (Ukrainian)
    No, it's not a letter to colleague or to the friend. It's an answer to the inccorect and impolite article published in the magazine. So, it should be written strongly and formally.
     

    petereid

    Senior Member
    english
    Hello everyone,

    I need to find out what word, mentioned in the name of the thread, is more suitable to be written in a formal letter.

    As for me, an:cross: idle sounds more formally:cross: (formal) and conservatively:cross: (conservative). Also I believe that the:cross: lazy is amuch more common word.

    Thank you in advance!

    Insider

    a few corrections
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Hello Insider

    To begin with I would probably use something like "..., you view students from a wrong perspective ...." or something similar (depends on the context and what he/they really do).

    Now students are usually "idle" :D but I prefer "lazy" for some reason.

    As an aside, isn't this a bit ... harsh? It sounds a bit impolite too but I don't know the whole situation so maybe there is a reason for this "style".
     

    Kenneth Garland

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Insider, thanks for your further information about the letter.

    I think I would still need to know some more about what the original article said, but I'm starting to think that your sentence might be better as something like:

    "First of all, you talk about students on the 'wrong side': not all of them are lazy"

    I'm still not happy about 'wrong side', though it's better than 'incorrect'. What is it that they've done to be on the wrong side?
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I agree with what the others said, especially if you happpen to be talking about high school students (read: teenagers).

    Idle may aptly describe someone who is a complete "do-for-nothing," where as students are typically just "undermotivated," having other distractions (hormones, fun, driving, etc.) that keep their minds occupied.
     

    Insider

    Senior Member
    Ukraine (Ukrainian)
    ireney,

    Why do you think this sounds harsh and impolite? I suppose that everything was written in entirely good way. Perhaps, you could explain it somehow?
     

    Insider

    Senior Member
    Ukraine (Ukrainian)
    Kenneth Garland,

    I started to think that the sentence you was attempting to correct sounded really not good. Thanks for some corrections. I hope they would help me.
     

    Insider

    Senior Member
    Ukraine (Ukrainian)
    GenJen 54,

    Thank you for very good explanation of the word "idle". I mean, "do-for-nothing" and about fun, driving. Really helped me.
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Well I said that I didn't know if there was a good reason for the tone anyway didn't I?

    The reason I see it as harsh and impolite is that
    a) it's very curt
    b) "incorrect side" (which I don't like all that much as I mentioned) is an absolute isn't it? "What you do is wrong". Maybe it is (I haven't read the article) but I am just going with what I've got.

    I am not saying that you shouldn't write the letter in a terse and absolute way since sometimes such a style is the right one.
    On the other hand I may be too polite ( I would personally include at least an "I think", "as I see it") :)
     

    Insider

    Senior Member
    Ukraine (Ukrainian)
    Here is a piece from the article.

    "As far as I concerned, today's students are unproductive individuals who do nothing but sit around all day listening to CDs and spending their parents' hard-earned money."
     

    Kenneth Garland

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Insider, thank you for the quote from the original article.

    Can I suggest something like this for your reply?

    "First of all, you are focusing on only one type of student: not all of them are lazy. In fact, most of them work hard to gain their qualifications and make a contribution to society."

    (I've added a bit here, but it's the sort of point I myself might make in the same circumstances).
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hello everyone,

    I need to find out what word, mentioned in the name of the thread, is more suitable to be written in a formal letter.

    As for me, an idle sounds more formally and conservatively. Also I belive that the lazy is much more common word.

    Thank you in advance!

    Insider

    Even knowing the context, to me there is not a huge relationship between the words "idle" and "lazy". I can be a very hard worker in my office but am idle at the moment because my boss has given me no work. Because I am currently "idle" does not connect to the theory that I'm lazy.

    And, in the context of the magazine article sentence that you quoted, "lazy" could very well be the appropriate word to use.
     
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