precise shades of meaning

Discussion in 'English Only' started by evergreenhomeland, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. evergreenhomeland Senior Member

    Chinese
    Hello everyone:

    What is the meaning of "precise shades of meaning" in following sentence?


    But I’m hopelessly in love with English because it’s plain and it’s strong. It has a huge vocabulary of words that have precise shades of meaning; there’s no subject, however technical or complex, that can’t be made clear to any reader in good English—if it’s used right.


    The source is from
    http://theamericanscholar.org, and the link is this page.
    Thanks in advance.

     
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    I understand "words that have precise shades of meaning" to mean "words that are used to describe something precisely", evergreenhomeland. Many writers have commented on the large number of words in English. Some of those words are vague, and others are precise.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  3. evergreenhomeland Senior Member

    Chinese
    My understanding is that "even multiple words overlaps on a certain meaning, but because of huge vocabulary in English, it has enough words to express a full range of its meanings from the most powerful one to the weakest one". Maybe a little exaggerated.
     
  4. srk Senior Member

    South Bend, Indiana
    English - US
    Here's a recent thread where forum members tried for two days to come up with an adjective meaning "having had too much to eat". No one thought that the exercise was unequivocally successful. There must be some missing precise shades of meaning for some very mundane ideas.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  5. Sprachliebhaber Moderator

    USA English
    Of course there is not always a single-word adjective for each shade of meaning, or our vocabulary would be much larger than it is (or than would be manageable).
     
  6. srk Senior Member

    South Bend, Indiana
    English - US
    Of course. But I'm talking about overeating.
     
  7. evergreenhomeland Senior Member

    Chinese
    Thanks for your explanations.
     
  8. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Chicago
    Spanish - Uruguay
    Sorry. All languages have the ability to convey ' precise shades of meaning'. They may need more wording than some words in English, but they (those other languages) will also have some precise words you can't find in English.
     
  9. evergreenhomeland Senior Member

    Chinese
    To duvija,

    That might imply they are describing cultural-specific phenomena.
     
  10. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Chicago
    Spanish - Uruguay
    Sometimes, but not always. I can provide tons of examples (machismo, gaper's delay, etc)
     

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