Obsolete or redundant

sagar grammar

Senior Member
Namaste,
Dear members.

Please see this question, I ticked #2 as an answer but they have given #1 as correct.
Could you help me get it if they are right to say so?

:- The smart phones have made digital cameras a little _____ in today's world.

1- obsolete
2- redundant


Thanks in advance. :)
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Either word makes sense to me in that statement, SG. I don't think there is any one "correct" answer out of the two possibilities.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Because it's a test and you have to choose only one answer, I would have chosen #1. Many people only have a phone camera these days, and even those people who have both a phone camera and regular camera often find they're using their phone more than their camera.

    I would also note that the sentence isn't grammatical, in my opinion. I would expect one of these two:

    Smartphones have made digital cameras a little _____ in today's world.
    The smart phone has made the digital camera a little _____ in today's world.


    I also see "a little obsolete" to be using a degree modifier on a fairly absolute term, like "a little pregnant." It's either obsolete or it isn't (for me), which makes #1 a questionable choice – in which case, "a little redundant" makes more logical sense because I feel that redundancy can have degrees.

    All in all, not a good question. :rolleyes:
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    "Obsolete" suggests they aren't used at all any more but that's not the case. Professional photographers don't take photos with their cellphones.

    "Redundant" doesn't really fit either but in my opinion it works better than "obsolete" here. They have become redundant in the case of some people, who can use their phone cameras instead.

    Cross-posted.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    The same point that Copyright made about "obsolete" is also valid for "redundant". Something is either redundant or it isn't. Something is either obsolete or it isn't. For that reason, it doesn't make much sense to modify either adjective with "a little" in that sentence.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think Barque is right.

    If something is obsolete, it is such old technology that it is no longer sold widely, may not be easily repairable. It has been replaced by a newer technology for all or most purposes.

    If something is said to be redundant, it merely means that it is no longer needed. If I am certain that I will never ever swim again, my subaqua diving gear is redundant, even if it is the most up to date kit available.

    In other words, obsolete is applicable to the PRODUCT whereas redundancy relates to someone's use of or need for that product.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think in most cases there are varying degrees of redundancy.

    If I buy a smartphone, my old calls and SMS-only phone is largely redundant, but not totally. I may keep it as a back up in case I misplace/lose my old phone, or it breaks down.

    Modern computer systems invariably have some form of technical "redundancy" built in, and that is not simply there or not there.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    If something has some potential use, Linkway, I wouldn't call it "redundant". I would use "redundant" for something that I no longer had any need for at all because I used something else for that function.

    But I mostly reserve "redundant" to talk about needless words in some piece of writing where those words have been used to say something that has already been said earlier in the text.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    My paper and print dictionaries are largely redundant, now that online dictionaries are so easy to use. I do consult them sometimes, though. They aren't obsolete - yet.

    Like the OP, I would have plumped for #2. I'm far happier with "a little redundant" than with "a little obsolete". As Copyright says, it smacks of "a little pregnant".
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    I tried think it's vital to recognise that redundancy is not an intrinsic attribute of any product at any time.

    Redundancy relates to someone's need or use of the said item. Something can be completely or partially redundant for some users and important or essential for others. Whether something is redundant or not depends on the individual's needs, preferences and above all alternatives that they have.

    A firm might dismiss some workers as redundant; they may be perfectly good workers but are simply not needed by that employer at that time.

    Obsolete is very different from redundant.
     

    sagar grammar

    Senior Member
    "Obsolete" suggests they aren't used at all any more but that's not the case. Professional photographers don't take photos with their cellphones.

    "Redundant" doesn't really fit either but in my opinion it works better than "obsolete" here. They have become redundant in the case of some people, who can use their phone cameras instead.

    Cross-posted.
    Thanks.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    Obsolete and redundant are two different concepts.

    If a product is obsolete, it has been replaced by something better. The replacement typically works better, is cheaper to buy or run, is more reliable, etc.

    An item is only redundant in relation to the owner's or user's needs.

    Perfectly good workers may be made redundant simply because their current employer no longer wants or needs them.

    For someone to say that their latest model digital SLR camera is redundant because they always use their smartphone camera does not mean that the SLR is obsolete.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    In American English, "redundant" chiefly means something is superfluous, extra, excess in quantity.
    Many Americans would interpret your sentence as meaning that having your cell phone and your camera means that you have two cameras, not that one of them is "obsolete". It might be good to have two cameras in case one of them fails.
    (The cell phone in your camera is still a basic point-and-shoot box camera - no zoom, one fixed aperture, one f-stop, ... Almost any camera that is still being sold is actually better. ;))
     
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